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Black woman sits comfortably with her head tilted as streams of productivity symbols blow out of her ears

You’re Resting, You’re Not Lazy

I grew up busy. I was always doing some activity, whether it was at home or outside of the home. Even as a kid I looked at rest as being lazy. There are so many things to do; why would you just sit on the couch?

Is it any surprise that my journey with migraines started in elementary school? The bottom line, I never relaxed much. I “relaxed” when I got a migraine… and we all know how “relaxing” that experience is. Yet here I am four decades later, as a working momma who continues to manage migraines, still trying to learn the same lesson.

Why is productivity valued more than rest?

Rest is not laziness. Rest is healing. Rest is necessary when managing a chronic illness like migraines.

We live in a culture where we pride ourselves on the amount of work we can do in a day. Did you complete your unrealistic to-do list today? Congratulations, you receive the imaginary badge of honor, regardless of the cost.

How do I want to measure my days?

Thankfully I’m getting to a point where I don’t want that badge anymore. I want to encourage rest. I don’t want my days to be measured by “busyness.”

I want them to be measured by the memories that I’m able to make in a day — and keeping busy stands in the way of that. That level of busyness has also become a big contributor to migraines.

How am I building rest into my days?

So, as we are in one of the busiest times of the year, I’m choosing to let go of my attachment to busyness. I can still get things done, but I need to add a buffer to my day. For me, that means getting some fresh air, even for a short walk around the block in the middle of my day, or dare I say, resting on the couch.

It means having a hard stop at the end of the day when I turn off the computer and stop scrolling on social media.

Resting has to be part of my schedule. That’s how it must work for my Type A personality. What gets scheduled happens. What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t happen.

How did my mom set an example of this?

As I think back, my mom set a good example of this in our home. If I wasn’t so busy being busy, I could have learned this lesson a lot earlier in life and likely saved myself a lot of stress and many migraines!

She took a bath at the end of every day and then relaxed on the couch for about an hour. It wasn’t all night, but she consistently rested at the end of every day. She did the same thing at the end of every week. Every Sunday, she took a nap at 2 pm. It was after church, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning, but unlike me, who would keep pushing until the end of the day, she took a 30-minute nap.

How do I remind myself it's ok to rest?

So, what can I do now to break this mindset that resting is a form of laziness? I’m starting with two steps.

The first is to develop a new belief. Every time I try to tell myself that rest is being lazy, I correct myself by saying, “rest is healing.”

And as I mentioned, I need to schedule rest into my day and into my week. Making sure that I allow myself to rest at the end of the day is so helpful in setting me up for a restful night's sleep too! And guess what happens when you sleep? Your body can heal better then too! So, there’s another confirmation that rest truly is healing.

What helps you get more rest into your day or week?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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