Rest vs Doing with Autoimmunity


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Ah, rest vs doing…

This is a topic that I, and others with Autoimmunity, struggle with finding balance. And, frankly, we all struggle in some ways with finding the balance between rest and doing. In our culture, especially here in the US, we are considered more “valuable” the more productive we are: at home, at our jobs/workplace, and so on. It’s considered “better” to have more steps in your day, to exercise frequently, to train for that marathon, and so on. And while all of these things are inherently amazing in and of themselves, if you are pushing yourself to do those things because there is a perceived lack or not-enoughness around NOT participating in these markers of value in this culture then all you are doing is making yourself sick and exhausted from staying on the hamster wheel and pushing yourself past capacity.

Many of us with autoimmunity, specifically Hashimoto’s, feel that we have to do it all or want to do it all. The problem with this, is that you don’t listen to your body or internal “no” to people, activities, tasks, desires, and so on, and end up making yourself sick.

This is where pushing yourself beyond capacity comes into play.

And because you do that on a regular basis, by overriding your internal NO, your body steps in and starts saying no for you. But, because your body is an intelligence all its own, it starts saying no to foods, to your own cells, and essentially starts attacking itself.

When this happens, you are forced to rest.

You are forced to say no to a whole lotta things.

But then the cycle maybe starts up again: you realize that you cannot have certain foods, so you start exhausting yourself in preparation of the foods or around the foods. Or your emotional and mental state starts running amock around this.

You swing from one extreme to the next.

All rest or all action.

What we want, all of us no matter our state-of-body, is a balance between rest and doing. Between action and stillness. And, to live in joy and presence in each moment.

I know I struggle with this so much.

I’m great while I’m pursuing the things I love doing, and I struggle with being present in stillness.

For example: I was really sick recently and the mere act of having to do the bare miniumum spurred my mind to go in a zillion directions at once about “my life” and what it “should look like”.

It’s a terrible habit.

Just like thinking that I have to be able to do it all every day.

On the greatly balanced days, I work, I enjoy my food and the company of loved ones, I move in an enjoyable way, I laugh, and I have time to just be still.

When we’re forced to be still when we want to be moving… that’s when the rubber meets the road. Are we really okay with being still? Or are we worried or anxious about what we should or could be doing if we were better?

I get it. I spent years struggling just to get through the day, living in a state of perpetual exhaustion and brain fog. Now that I’m “better”, there is a little fear hanging out in my mind that if I rest “too much” I’ll “go back there”. This is very very common thinking. I’m not alone in this.

We’re told in this society that to stop moving is death, to stop growing or being productive means you’ll be left behind or irrelevant.

Did you even want to be on the track that you were on to begin with?

What if there is another way of being, of living?

What if honoring who you are, and how you live is THE WAY of being and living?

The balance between rest and doing, of stillness and action, is found through accepting the reality of where you are at in this moment.

Fighting that reality on a regular basis is what makes us sick in the first place.

Accepting that reality is what will heal us.

So if you say you don’t have time to be still, or to rest in the moment, who is saying that to you? Where is that message coming from?

If you could do your life however you wanted, without limitations or constraints, how would you do it?