Rest. It can be a hard thing to get ourselves to do. I don’t know about you, but taking time out brings me a decent level of anxiety. I think it’s likely two things for me: my people pleasing tendencies (I’m a recovering people pleaser, as I like to say) and the perfectionism that those tendencies drive. It can be very difficult for me to put things down and rest, even when everything in me is telling me it’s the right thing to do. That little voice of anxiety saying, “But, you need to do this, this, and this!”, is somehow louder than everything else. That word, “need”, always replaces what should really be in that spot: “could”. And as we all know, just because you could doesn’t mean you should. That’s always a tough one to remember though, isn’t it?

Over and over again, life tried to teach me this lesson, and I just wouldn’t listen. I hated calling in sick, I usually just pushed through, and I often overexerted myself, either causing me to get sick in the first place or preventing me from getting better as quickly as I could have. I ignored the signs that rest was needed and I instead listened to that voice telling me I needed to keep going. And so, life sent me something I couldn’t ignore.

When I was diagnosed, this was my weekly schedule:

  • Monday-Friday: Teaching all day
  • Monday and Wednesday: Tutoring after school until 8pm
  • Saturdays: Working a full day at CIBC as a teller

Three jobs, six days a week, and two of those were 14-hour days. Throw in the fact that I wasn’t sleeping well thanks to chronic stress and a pretty sugar-heavy diet and I don’t think I had ever needed rest more in my life, or had ignored that fact harder.

Cancer taught me so many things, and one that still took a long time to hammer home was the importance of rest. But I think I’m finally getting it, and what I’m finally getting is that I am worthy and deserving of rest. I don’t need to push through in order to have value. I am more than the work that I can do in my professional life or the contributions that I can make in my personal life. I don’t need to do this, this, and this to know that I matter and am a good person.

You may want to continue working and meeting your previous commitments throughout treatment, and that is absolutely okay; whatever helps you to feel like yourself and get through that time is what you should do. Or perhaps you may not have the luxury of being able to take a chunk of time off. But, you can still find moments for rest. It doesn’t need to be taking full days off. It of course can be, but it can also be just finding moments to take a minute for yourself. Maybe it’s going for a short walk or bike ride, or meditating for a few minutes, or having a power nap, or reading a chapter of that book you’ve been wanting to get to, or watching an episode of that terrible sitcom that inexplicably makes you laugh. Or maybe it is taking an entire day or two or five to let it all go and see where your inner voice of rest and recovery takes you. It’s not only a factor in our mental and emotional wellbeing but in our physical health as well, and never is that more important than during something like a cancer diagnosis.

However and wherever you find those moments, take them. Try your best to shut out the voice that urgently tugs at your sleeve and says that you don’t have time for this, that you don’t deserve this, that you need to keep going. Listen instead to the voice that’s likely quieter, calmer, and less urgent, the one that doesn’t push or pull but simply “is”. It’s inviting you to simply “be” too, and it’s an invitation that you should accept as often as you can, because you deserve it.

Happy Healing ❤️

1 Comment

  1. Maria

    Thank you for the reminder, that we deserve to rest, everything else can wait. I was taught that being idled was for lazy people. So I have to learn to stop and rest.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Verified by ExactMetrics