The struggle to rest

One of the most important things you can learn to do when you are living with chronic illness is learning to rest. And I mean properly rest. Not sitting on the couch with your feet up ‘just answering some emails’, scrolling social media or catching up with the housework…

Learning to switch off and do nothing stimulating.


Initially, this was torture for me. My mind would run crazy. I would know everything I ‘should’ be doing and tell myself that not doing them was more stressful than doing them…

It was how I lied to myself, how I would pretend to rest. To be able to heal, I was going to have to learn how to properly rest. How to switch out of that sympathetic nervous system of constant action and into a space of parasympathetic healing.

Resting doesn’t just mean lying there and doing absolutely nothing (although sometimes, it’s exactly what it is).

Getting out of the house, being somewhere that had no signal, away from ‘real life’ and distractions, was how I discovered what resting felt like. Uncomfortable at first, for sure. BUT then the peace would start to settle in. A sense of space.

I feel this way when I go camping or to the caravan with my parents and don’t take my social phone. Yes, I have a separate phone with all my social media. It can only be used on WiFi, so it doesn’t leave the house with me unless I am going somewhere to work with WiFi and I am planning on doing social stuff.

Going to the water also has a healing and calming effect on me. It doesn’t matter if I am at the beach, out on my paddle board, or at a loch… or even what season it is. Just being by the water calms me (I am a Pisces, so that could be part of it). And sometimes I get in the water too.

Practising Yoga (not teaching it), lying on my shakti mat, breathwork, reading fiction, paddleboarding, walking in the park, watching comedies, having an infrared sauna,

I have understood why I found it so difficult in the journey of learning to rest. Distraction and being busy are easy for me. It makes me feel important, like I am achieving something, or I can hide from my feelings and emotions.

Like anything that is difficult to do, it takes purposeful practice. You couldn’t walk the first time you tried it, so you played around, took support and found out how that worked for you… I invite you to play around with different techniques and find what works for you.

Back To Top