The Importance of Rest

Rest is important. Yet we live in a world where the masses worship at the alter of busyness. We try to appear productive, so others will perceive us to be important.

In a society where worth is tied closely to output, rest is often placed on the back burner, sometimes forgotten entirely. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of this.

For the last nine months, I have allowed myself 12 to 16 hours of sleep each day because “my body needs it.” Yet, I often deny my body’s pleads for more. When left undisturbed, I sleep for 21+ hours at a time.

Clearly, my body needs rest.

Instead of sleeping, I insist that I have things to do. I can’t afford to sleep all day. What about laundry, dinner, and errands? Though my boyfriend has graciously taken on all of the day-to-day chores, I can hear my ego rattling on about how I need to contribute–to assert my importance, to prove my value.

Prior to developing cocci, I would wake naturally and feel fully rested after six hours. Sixteen hours feels execssive and extravagent, no matter how I reframe it.

The last several days, I have been been plagued by the worst headache of my life. The dreaded “LP headache” has presented itself in a way that suggests a cerebrospinal fluid leak. Every small movement makes my head feels as if it’s under attack–the sharp blow of cannons paired with the flooding pressure of a sinking ship. And yet, I still insist on chopping, loading, and folding.

I just got off the phone with my infectious disease doctor. She told me to lie flat and rest for the next week to help resolve the headaches. This is, perhaps, the largest horse-pill I’ve ever had to swallow.

For too long, I have been denying my body the rest it needs: from its initial silent tug on my shirt sleeve a few years ago, up until its overly-dramatic temper tantrum at my feet these last several months.

Our bodies are imbued with the wisdom of generations; if our physicality insist on, counter-culturally, spending 90% of each day sleeping, perhaps it would serve us to listen.

Busyness achieves nothing, particularly when cognition and focus are impaired. I am facing this reality head-on every single day. And I am realizing that perhaps three hours of semi-rested wakefulness hold more value than struggling to fight through eight hours of extreme fatigue.

I am seeing now that one focused and intentional activity contains the same feel-good potential as a “normal” day filled with several accomplishments.

The half-dozen doctors I’m working are all shocked that my body has not responded to the high-dose anti-fungal medication. I was too, until I started paying closer attention to my body. I am endlessly tired, yet continually striving for optimal output. I’ve put aside my maternal instincts, forcing my body to stay awake and perform mundane tasks. It’s no wonder its acting out.

My body needs rest, and must set my ego aside in order to give myself permission to rest and recover. It’s time to apply for short-term disability and gift my body consistency, rather than sleeping in my office and limiting time off to the worst of days.

Rest is important, and it really is time I begin treating it as such.

7 thoughts on “The Importance of Rest

  1. After having had 3 major health issues I finally gave into the need of my body’s need for rest & recreation.
    So I replaced my worldly ambitions with a spiritual one (which is called aspiration) and then the task totally changed around from doing as much into relaxing as much as I could, because the spiritual rules seem to work opposite to the materialistic ones: The less you do and the more you let life flow, the more open you are for a total different kind of energy.

    I did call it the transformation from the adrenalin energy which is propagated by society onto us from the beginning onwards by the means of values such as discipline, faking it until we make it, biting ones teeth, and then through the many advertisements constantly thrown upon us, which propagate a youthful energetic life, sexuality and action as being cool.

    I endured many criticisms of people like relatives who ask me what I am doing the entire day, and they measure me at my success, so I recently benevolent tell everyone that I will take time of to withdraw for the length of a Tibetan retreat time of 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, and 3 years.

    It took me two years to overcome my feeling of guilt for not contributing to the national gross income through which I currently receive health-benefits, but slowly it dawns upon me that I am changing to a “true” energy which allows for longer stamina – kind of like walking slow when doing a long hike, knowing that I could never pull a day’s walk of when jogging.

    It is factinating what comes up now: I start to gain a sense of what suits me and what not and I get less and less entangled in stuff which was merely pushed onto me but did not suit my inner self.

    I do believe that the very profound root-causes for our “dis-eases” are spiritual misconceptions which misdirect our energy away from the healthy ease, so for anyone who has the opportunity to take a step back from the picture of a frantic society I strongly to engage with it with perseverance, because first one will loose the edge and be nothing, but if one keeps walking through the desert of no admiration one will keep getting out the other end with a clarity and an ever increasing purpose in life.
    And it is the purpose wich will give you an inner strength which is not dependent on any external help, such as acknowledgment, vitamins or success.


    1. This is truly beautiful, and I’m reaching a place where it makes so much sense to me. Society pushes us to achieve everything, all at once…and do so while looking young, sexy, and energized. It’s completely unrelistic–impossible, really–so many strive for just that.

      The realization that you’re chaning to a “true” energy is a powerful one. Our modern world revolves around money, at the expense of spiritulity and authenticity. The world needs more people who are “walking slowly” in pursuit of spiritual growth, the sharing of positive energy, and the willingness to let life flow through them.

      Whether a willing choice or a decision made out of necessity (i.e. dis-ease), moving through life with purpose, clarity, and an immunity to the opinion of others is a true gift. I think it helps bring focus back to the things that matter the most: alignment between mind, body, soul, environment, and motivation. The inner-strength you mention brings us home to ourselves and, since we are all merely a set of resonant atoms in a vast universe, this brings us back to a sense of oneness–an deep understanding that slow and steady progress just may change the world for the better. 🙂

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