Resisting rest is not only harmful for the body, it can be harmful for the mind and spirit in recovery. Not getting enough sleep has been equated to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and risk of relapse. Even if it is just for a few moments each day, it is important to find times of rest as well as getting enough sleep at night to let the body rejuvenate itself.
Be, Not Do
Very quickly, it seems, society has become a people of doing, not being. Being present is all the rage right now but people still struggle with what it means to be present and stay focused on the here and now. When you think of ‘be, not do,’ it can mean lots of things. Mostly, it means learning how to relax and rest in everyday life, not just when you are tired. When you are tired is the time your body is telling you that you are exhausted. Even if you ‘catch up’ on sleep, you never recover those lost hours that help you heal.
To be counter-cultural is to shift away from what everyone else is doing and do your thing for you. In recovery, you need to practice good self-care and be present to yourself so you can be present for others. If you really want to be counter-cultural, you need to stop worrying about whether you are staying up late with friends when you should be sleeping, working longer hours on that project (again), or pushing your personal boundaries to the point of exhaustion. Recovery means your body is still recuperating, and may be, for many years to come. If you hope to stay sober and clean, you need to give your body space to rest.
Not everyone can get away for expensive vacations or holidays. It is much easier to incorporate play and rest into daily life than try to escape life to rest. Sometimes it causes more stress than relaxation to up sticks and leave life for awhile (not to mention a hit to the pocketbook). Here are some easy strategies to try if you just want to carve out personal time for rest:
- Take a walk in the neighborhood or local park
- Take a long bath
- Read a book you’ve been eyeing on your bookshelf or list (visit a library for free)
- Listen to soothing music while doing nothing else
- Explore new cultures, cooking classes, or hobbies that help you find rest
- Use essential oils to support restorative practices
- Dance to music that moves you
- Canoe or kayak outside
- Just sit on the front porch in a chair and people watch or watch clouds go by
- Take a sober staycation or vacation
Whether or not you travel far for rest or learn to incorporate daily practices, you may find ones you like and others you do not. Try some and keep what works. Be open and willing to shift according to what your mind, body, and spirit need in a given moment. You are never going to just find rest, it has to be an intentional act. Just like in recovery, intention is everything but so is the doing. When you are well-rested, you are less likely to feel triggered and susceptible to relapse.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.