Healing Trauma with Rest

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In our fast-paced modern culture, we have a need for speed. The collective psyche is a blur of BusyBusyBusy.
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To put it bluntly, this is insane behavior. It’s harmful for all of us. And, for trauma survivors in particular, the impulse to rush and push ourselves is incredibly destructive.
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In order to fully heal our trauma, we need plenty of rest.
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If you are a survivor of trauma, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, more important than rest on your to-do list. In fact, I invite you to make it your number one priority.

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After resigning from a promising academic career due to sheer exhaustion, I remember so many days of just sleeping. There was literally nothing else I could do. A blue couch became my home. My partner Robert cooked my meals and rubbed my sore, aching head. I had PTSD, migraines, depression, anxiety, candidiasis, adrenal fatigue, leaky gut syndrome, severe food/environmental allergies, eczema, and other chronic illnesses. However, somewhere inside, there was a gentle, loving voice. She was telling me that I could recover, with patience and time. She was telling me that rest was a crucial part of my healing journey.
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I’m so glad I listened.
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Learning the art of rest has been one of the most valuable lessons of my life. I cured myself of PTSD and most of my chronic conditions (I’m still working on healing my lungs). I feel so much freedom and joy. With each year that passes, I seem to be getting younger! Each year brings more vitality and health. It’s incredible.
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And yes, I still do have difficult days on occasion. When that happens, I give myself full permission to stop what I’m doing and rest.
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I have learned the delicate art of cancelling appointments and saying “no” when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
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I wasn’t always so easygoing and relaxed, though. The healthy Anya who writes this book today is a very different person than the sick Heather that I was back then. (During my healing journey, I changed my name from Heather to Anya as a symbol of my spiritual awakening.) Back then, as Heather, I was a classic Type A personality: impatient, competitive, stressed, and constantly planning and micromanaging life. I was constantly seeking validation from the outside world. I felt little inherent worthiness inside myself. And, because of this, sleeping often felt like failure because I was judging myself by the standards of Western culture. In the West, we judge our worthiness not by our spiritual wisdom but by our ability to “get things done” in the world. Our success is judged by how productive we are. Unfortunately, in my recent travels to India, I discovered that this mindset is slowly seeping into the East as well, which is a true tragedy.
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Success means not how much money you make, but rather listening to your body. Success is not about how popular you are, but rather being brave enough to stop and sleep when you are tired. Success means not building an impressive resume, but rather being brave enough to step outside the box and learn the miracle of self-care.
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If you are on the path of healing trauma, I want you to know you can do it. I thought I would be an anxious mess forever, and now I am happy, with a thriving healing business and a circle of conscious friends who support each other. Life is good.
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As we heal from our past, we can question standard societal definitions of success. We can rewrite the standard scripts and reach for something more deeply fulfilling. We can tune into our own sense of self-worth, regardless of the opinions of others. We can find we love ourselves.
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And it is this love, this unconditional self-love, that is the core of healing trauma.

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My dear love, release the guilt and shame. That’s society’s bullshit—and you don’t need to carry that anymore!
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Please know that are not lazy if you need lots of rest right now. You are not lazy at all… in fact, you are one of the bravest people in the world. You are doing what so many do not yet have the courage to do. You are lighting the way. As you heal your trauma, you allow others to heal their trauma, too.
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Sleep is vital in the trauma healing journey. If what you need right now is 14 or 15 hours of sleep at night and lots of naps during the day, then I invite you to do so. Have compassion for yourself. Listen to your body and soul.
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I invite you to not only give yourself permission to rest but also to find a way to enjoy it. And who knows?…you just might find that rest is a delicious medicine.

2 thoughts on “Healing Trauma with Rest

  1. people never see the every day effects of abuse .their
    views judgements very Snotty Nosed .i was abused as a child .i have m.e . migraines bladder and bowel problems
    long list health issues ..very very well done for talking about abuse ,.my story of abuse is in A Authors book
    my blog.http;//mark-kent.webs.com
    twitter.supersnooper

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mark. 🙂

      Glad you are sharing your story with the world. Sharing and opening up about these topics is so important. Blessings to you XO

      Like

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