#VoicesOfTherapy: Discovering what your body needs

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In working with my therapist, I came to realize that I never understood the importance of true rest and relaxation.

Growing up, my family never modeled what rest looks like, nor did they ever take time just for themselves. We were always the kind of family that spent their weekends being triple booked—an afternoon movie, a house project, a get together with friends, dinner out. This endless list of activities and to-dos were the things my family taught me were supposed to provide rest and relaxation on the weekends.

Six months into the pandemic, I came to realize that this type of “rest” wasn’t what my body needed. I had been doing everything I could to survive the pandemic, and my body was in hyperdrive. The buildup of stressors to just survive had hit a limit and the anxiety and overwhelming feelings were creeping back in.

Ultimately, I found it hard to focus at work, which was what I told my therapist at the start of my session. Within the first 30 minutes of my session, they knew exactly why I was struggling. My body needed rest. Rest that didn’t involve accomplishing things or succumbing to the ever-present grind, fitness, and improvement cultures. I needed to understand what rest looked like for me in this moment and that required me to understand how I had been taught to rest as a kid.

Using this knowledge, I took a weekend to really listen to myself and understand what I needed. This past weekend it was art. I don’t know what rest will look like for me in the future, but I am now empowered to know how my body feels when it gets the rest it needs.

–Jennifer K.


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