CRY Magazine
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CRY Magazine

Healing Through Rest

The power in kicking your feet up

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash, Edited by Author

The best way to do anything, from what I’ve found, is to do what feels true to you. When it comes to healing my approach is to have dedicated time set aside every week (or day when I’m really going through it) to just let go, chill out, and ease up on the reigns that often hold on a little too tightly. This is my practice to be less hard on myself, not something that comes easily.

Every Sunday I put on my comfiest clothes, make a favorite food, don’t engage with the news, and slide into a hot bath. The warmth of the water doing its best to wash over all the stressors of the week. My eyes closed to screens, unstrained by the seductive glow of the virtual world and my place in it. I give myself a break from exercise and allow my body to rest. Mix in cozying up to a roaring fire and I’ll happily be putty in the day’s hands.

Rest, what a revolutionary concept. We talk about it a lot, but I fear we do not follow it up with enough action. Productivity has poisoned our relationship to relaxation. Go, go, go. The common refrain of all the feet pattering on the pavement to get to a place they’re already late to because of the last thing they were doing. It’s only been recently we’ve begun to have conversations around burnout and that maybe, running ourselves into the ground continually isn’t that good for us after all.

However, rest is also a luxury and too often a privilege for people. This is the thought I carry with me into my Sundays, not exactly the most calming thought, but one that allows me to cherish my rest more and attempt some gratitude. That’s the kind of healing that helps the mind just as much as the body, and so I sink deeper into my bathtub.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash, Edited by Author

I try to take this mentality with me everywhere and for everything I do. If I am struggling, I will let myself stop and recollect. The ability to pause keeps us from quitting altogether, and with a mind that likes to defeat more than encourage, anything that helps me stay on the path is worth sticking with. So, now I acknowledge when it’s too much, and permit myself to live in that until it’s processed, and then I can be on my way. That is healing too.

All this said I am not perfect at it. Is anyone? Making space for healing, for unwinding, for truly unclenching that jaw takes effort. Counterintuitive as it may be, it’s what my experience has been with it. The urge to check in with my news feed, or the pressure to always be writing, or even just to harp on myself for not moving enough seeps in and wrangles to take control over that healing ritual. I can’t always let my brain lie down in the way I can with my body, and so like so much of life, it’s a work in progress.

Protecting that space of healing is important for my wellbeing and walking around as a more balanced person. Everything in moderation, as the saying goes, and that applies here. We can only hope to meet the day if we first let ourselves stay in bed that morning maybe just a little bit longer. Let the cloud of doing lift, and in its place let the clarity of simply being remain. That is just as good, that is enough sometimes, and we deserve to walk through this world lightly when we get the chance. Mostly, I have to make those chances for myself and carve out peace of mind. It will not be given to me, I have to go spelunking for it, and allow myself to revel in it when I manage to get there.

I believe a source of healing for ourselves can be helping others to heal as well. Providing a space where others can feel free to relax, be heard, or even sit in comfortable silence is a real sign of unencumbered humanity. So many of us feel left out in the cold like we have to figure it all out by ourselves, and this lack of community can also be a lack of healing. If ever I can be that for someone, I try to take that opportunity, thus potentially sparking a chain reaction of healing. The alchemy of gentleness, empathy, and kindness.

Sometimes healing is not always so delicate. Setting boundaries, advocating for yourself, prioritizing alone time, and other methods of laying the groundwork to heal can be difficult. The pushback from doing what’s best for you can sometimes rub others the wrong way, especially if they have yet to learn what works for them. The hustle clashes with the slowness which can make this a tougher goal to achieve. I believe healing is a state of being and reaching that state does not always align with the outside world.

Life is full of scraping, fighting, and just surviving that too often we relegate what heals us to the side. It becomes some date on a calendar that never comes. Find what healing is true to you, even if it’s feeling your bare toes wiggle around in the green grass. Whatever it is, once you discover it, nourish it. Sunday or not, for me, I know there’s always a bathtub waiting.

Photo by Emily Powers on Unsplash, Edited by Author

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Charlie Cole

Charlie Cole

Writer • Photographer • Editor • Champion Overthinker • She/Her • Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/charliecole