The Battle To Rest ~ 7 Things That Help Me Rest
The Battle To Rest
Resting is perhaps one of the most difficult things that I do on a daily basis. For me truly resting is a battle that is not easily won. Although, as a Lyme disease patient, rest is one of the most necessary parts of treatment. Even though I know this, I am constantly at war with myself about when and how to accomplish it.
During frequent visits with my Lyme doctor, I explain to him the depth of my fatigue. Quite honestly most days I feel like I have been chugging poison along with my mug of hot tea. My daily struggle to function on any level is very real. Of course his reply is always the same, “That is your body telling you it needs extra rest. Rest as much as possible.” It sounds so simple, yet it is not simple at all.
I am one of those people who find it hard to sit still.
Always thinking ahead to what needs to be done in the next five minutes, the next five days or even the next five weeks, I am a plan ahead type of gal. I am the sort of person that you might find pacing the floor at midnight puzzling over a grocery list or some other unimportant chore, or at least I used to be. Although my body no longer has the ability to remain busy, my mind never quits. It is torture!
When I was a little girl, my grandmother ran a daycare from her home. Every day after lunch, she had a time that she set aside for the little ones in her care to “rest.” This was by far my least favorite part of the day. Rest time was boring to me, it seemed like such a waste. While the whole world was outside doing all sorts of interesting things, I was stuck indoors lying on a blanket “resting.”
I didn’t realize then, how healing a brief rest in the middle of a busy day can be. It was a restful time, because my grandmother would play soft music on the record player and dim the lights. She provided story books and pillows with cozy blankets. An exercise in resting. Today, I’m so grateful for those lessons in resting. Especially since my life’s motto has become , “Live to rest and rest to live.”
I have been the queen of multi-tasking for as long as I can remember.
When severe chronic illness sidelined me to the bleacher seats of life, I had to find new ways of dealing with the itch to keep busy.
My mind is a one track race course. It constantly runs on fast forward. When brain fog sets in, it tends to look more like a Picasso painting. The parts are all there, but none of it makes a lot of sense.
The persistent thoughts that track through my brain involve a vast array of “what I should be doing or what I wish I could be doing.” The guilt that often plagues my mind and heart due to my inability to “do all the things I used to do,” is distressing.
What To Do When the Prescription Is To Rest
So by now you are probably wondering how I handle the stillness and solitude of a chronic lifestyle. It is a hard fought battle, I can assure you. Resting will never come easily to me, but the healing that comes as a result of that resting is well worth the daily fight.
I have found a few things that have helped me to cope with, “having to rest.”
I thought I would share a few of them with you here on the blog. These are by no means original or even extremely creative, they are just simple coping mechanisms that I have developed into habits over the years. They keep me from going stir crazy, when resting is all I have the energy to do.
My Hand Surgery Is Looming On The Horizon
This post is quite fitting, as I will be having hand surgery in just a few weeks time. I will temporarily lose my ability to type and use my dominant hand. It frightens me to think about it, but I know it is something that needs to be done.
I have been pushing to get a few extra blog posts written, so that my blog and my readers do not feel abandoned during this time. As soon as my hand has healed I hope to be back to my writing and raising awareness of Lyme disease. (Actually by the time you are reading this, I will be in recovery from hand surgery.)
So without further rambling, I give you 7 things that help me cope when I have to rest.
7 Things That Help Me Rest
Music has long been a great love of mine. But, with the onset of severe neurological Lyme disease, it is increasingly hard to enjoy it. Playing my beloved piano is a struggle. I can no longer listen to the raucous songs of the eighties and nineties that I used to love.
With that said, I have begun a love affair with Pandora. This online radio has been a life saver during my severe illness. I love soft music. It soothes my soul and quiets my restless mind. While I rest, I put on a little Pandora and drift away on a cloud of melody. My current favorite station is French Cafe. I love old jazz and the French language is lovely and soft. I keep the volume low and it plays in the background as I rest.
Fatigue is the enemy of my days. Some days it even keeps me from holding a simple book. The weariness is so great that all I can do is lie on the bed and stare. This is where my Kindle comes in.
It has a marvelous feature, that I love. The cover of my Kindle works as a stand to hold it in an upright position. The only movement I have to make is to flick my finger to turn the page. I also adore the blue shade feature which helps to create a muted screen and decreases glare, which I am extremely sensitive too.
There are so many free e-books on Amazon and other sites to pick from. It is like having a virtual library at your fingertips. It helps to while away the hours, when you can do nothing but rest.
It helps me immensely to keep a notepad or journal by my bed. During my rest times, if I think of something I need to do, I just jot it down. The simple act of writing it down, seems to release the urgency to get up and do it!
It helps me to temper my need to constantly be doing. I keep a running list of things to do. When I feel up to it and I slowly chip away at my to do list as much as I am able.
Some days I just don’t want to stare at the four walls. I want to “do” something. I get cabin fever and feel that I must get away. When I get the travel itch, but know that it is not an option, Netflix comes to my rescue. You can read more about my virtual travel adventures here: My Chronic Adventures 7 Amazing Ways to Virtually Travel.
My current favorites on Netflix are The Crown and The Chef’s Table. A great way to get away, when you can’t physically go anywhere! I try to stick with restful shows that don’t send my adrenaline pumping, so that I can do what I set out to accomplish in the first place which is to rest!
Cozy Blankets, Pillows & Soft Lighting
My grandmother had the formula right for rest time. A cozy blanket and a soft pillow go a long way to contributing to a restful environment. My bedroom has lace curtains that allow the soft sunlight to filter through them. It makes for a very cozy place to rest. When I know my fatigue has reached levels that cannot be ignored. I grab my favorite cozy blanket, my memory foam pillow and curl up on my bed for a nap. It is by far the most restful place in my home. Free from distractions and noise, it is my napping place.
Creating a quiet spot to truly rest in your home is essential for a healing respite from life. Gather all of your favorite things together in one area and truly take a break. You will be glad that you did! Rest is healing.
Organic Aromas Essential Oil Diffuser
One of my favorite products that helps me relax is my Organic Aromas Essential Oil Diffuser. This wonderful diffuser is so quiet, I can hardly hear it at all. Unlike many diffusers it requires no heat and no water. It provides effective aromatherapy simply using pressurized air. It is a powerful little device and provides aromatherapy for up to 800+ square feet.
My favorite essential oil is Young Living’s lavender. Lavender oil promotes relaxation, boosts mood and improves sleep. When I am ready to rest, I simply put a few drops of lavender into my diffuser and this lovely soft scent, helps me to truly relax and rest.
You can read my review of this special diffuser here: Organic Aromas Raindrop Essential Oil Diffuser Review. It is truly one of my favorite ways to relax.
Remember The Things That You Have Been Able To Accomplish
This has always been a hard one for me. Sometimes I fail to recognize what huge victories all the little things can add up to! Even if all I accomplished this morning was getting out of bed, getting dressed, taking my medicines and starting a load of laundry. At least I got out of bed!
I have found that thinking through the small accomplishments of a morning help me to counteract the guilt that so often accompanies my rest times. Remembering that small steps lead to destinations just as well as big ones do, helps me to feel more rounded.
Counting my blessings has been a way of life for me, for a very long time. I try to look on the “I cans” in a situation. Focusing on the positive and looking for the silver linings has its own restful qualities. After all, I am still here, breathing and living my life, no matter how small it may seem and that alone is a blessing.
The Value of Resting
Without a doubt in today’s busy world the value of truly resting has fallen by the wayside. But, I am here to tell you it is one of the most healing and positive things that you can do for your health. The top prescription that my Lyme doctor always gives to me is rest, rest and more rest.
Take a moment to truly relax and you will be better for it.
Until next time, take care and be well!
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