A few years ago, I was in a horrible car accident. We were struck twice, and our car was totaled. My injuries were and so bad I couldn’t motion or walk without help. Because I had a concussion, I couldn’t remember straight enough to finish the volume I was working on. And considering I couldn’t drive, I had to stay in one identify.

My body was a wreck, and I was in excruciating pain, but what I remember most about that accident is the bliss of the weeks that followed it. They were like the snow days of my childhood when I was free to brand snowfall angels or read Nancy Drew books all 24-hour interval.

Subsequently the accident, life was suddenly mine once again. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed the riot of colors in the garden or the way the amber paint in the hall changed colors at dissimilar times of the 24-hour interval.

More From Prevention

But by and large, being forced to tiresome down made me aware of how much time I spent tearing from ane thing to another, believing that running myself ragged was the only way I could earn the right to stop. Information technology was as if I believed that only people who were on the verge of collapse were allowed to residual–just as I once believed that only thin people were allowed to find pleasure in food.

It’s Rest, Non Sleep

Residuum is a basic human need, similar food and sleep and touch. And if we won’t give it to ourselves willingly, nosotros’ll find a way to get it anyhow–like bingeing or collapsing. Rest is different from sleep. Remainder is dissimilar from collapsing. Rest is taking a time-out before yous collapse.

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One of my workshop students said recently: “I don’t understand why I use food the fashion I do. I know I need to do a project, only instead of doing it, I eat. I procrastinate and then I go into a kind of numbed, dazed country. The project takes three times longer because I keep taking fourth dimension out to clear my mind from the haze I’ve gotten it in.”

I said, “Presume that bingeing is giving you something yous demand. What would that be?” “Nothing,” she said. “It drives me crazy.” Then she thought again. “Oh–it stops me from working then hard. If I didn’t eat, I’d go along going until I exhausted myself.”

In bingeing, she gives herself what she won’t allow herself whatsoever other way: downtime. [pagebreak]

Become a “Steady Rester”

When I was in plant nursery school, I had a wonderful teacher named Mrs. Bolendonk. She had shiny red cropped pilus and a infinite betwixt her front teeth. When nap time came around every day, I didn’t want to cease drawing or close my eyes. But Mrs. Bolendonk would point to the cots and say, “Time to nap. Time to be a steady rester.”

A steady rester is someone who regularly incorporates “breaks” into her life, who doesn’t await, as I sometimes do, until she’due south worn to a exhaust and is forced to spend days in bed, taking naps.

It’s amend than what I used to do, which commonly involved pints of water ice foam. Here are a few ways to tell if you need to become a steady rester:


The only intermission you take in your frenetic life involves coffee and pastry.

The reckoner screen in front of you has been bare for an 60 minutes (or all twenty-four hours).

The simplest decision–matching a blouse to your slacks–seems similar a life-or-death thing.

You lot have one nervus left and everyone is getting on it.

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Beingness a steady rester ways stopping the effort to exercise something, to exist someone, to accomplish something that is worthwhile or of import. It means beingness still, being quiet, relaxing, puttering, or taking a break. It means taking your life back, and not having to use a bowl of ice cream or running yourself into the ground to practice it. When you lot requite yourself permission to rest, you discover again and once more that the world will not fall autonomously if you don’t agree information technology up.

What a relief.