December 16, 2019
Word of the Week: Rest
Right before we left for our trip to Germany a few months ago, I developed a calf injury. My calf hurt so bad I could barely walk. I was convinced our trip would be ruined because I wouldn’t be able to walk anywhere and nothing I did to “make it better” (e.g. stretching, icing, Advil, etc.) seemed to be helping.
As I hobbled around Germany the first few days of our trip, I had a hard time not chastising my body for letting me down. I tried to have compassion for my body that was clearly telling me it needed to slow down but I was mostly annoyed and frustrated at it. We didn’t adjust too much of our itinerary to accommodate my poor calf. I just powered through as I normally do.
On the third day of our trip, we headed to Baden Baden (fun fact: this is the region of Germany my grandmother’s family is from). Baden Baden is known for its healing mineral water and ancient spas. We did something we don’t normally do and decided to spend the better part of the day at one of the spas.
While part of me felt like it was a “waste” to spend one of our precious days (and money) in Germany inside at a spa (hello social conditioning!), most of me was grateful to have some time to just chill out.
The spa had lots of different stations ranging from dry saunas to steam rooms to hot and cold baths. It felt so luxurious that there were moments I had this nagging feeling we would be “caught.” Caught in the act of self-care. Like we were rebels. I kept having the urge to rush through the stations as if our time at the spa was an inconvenience.
“You have nowhere to be,” I told myself over and over again. “Just enjoy.”
As we were walking out the door of the spa, four hours later, I noticed that the pain in my calf had completely disappeared. I couldn’t believe it. It felt like magic. It made me reflect on how often we get fixated on trying to “do” something to make things better when in reality, most of our problems work themselves out as soon as we do less.
Ask Yourself: What is your relationship to rest? Do you view it as a vital form of self-care or does it seem like a waste of time? How often do you over-effort to force something to get better instead of backing off and surrendering to rest?
Weekly Mantra: Rest is productive.