Fear of Relaxing: Do You Deserve to Relax?
Answering the question “Do you deserve to relax?” is a no-brainer for many and challenging for some. This post is the third and final in a series of posts on Fear of Relaxing and is for those of us that shift uncomfortably at the thought of relaxing.
Years ago, I attended a dinner hosted by a friend’s family. My friend’s mother had put a lot of effort into creating our meal. After dinner, she refused my offer of help to clean up and insisted that I socialize in the living room with the others. When she had finally finished tidying up and joined us, she sighed heavily with fatigue as her tired body slumped onto the couch. It was hard for me to understand why she was so hard on herself.
Every behaviour has a reason.
A tenet of counselling is that every behaviour has a reason. Do you believe that it’s your responsibility to take care of everyone else? Do you believe that in order to be considered a good person, you must put others’ needs ahead of your own?
Our beliefs have consequences.
How is resisting relaxation making you feel? Are your putting aside your personal goals because you’re too busy attending to others? Does being hard on yourself come more naturally to you than being gentle to yourself? Perhaps it’s time to address that.
Relaxation is a form of self-compassion.
Consider how your physical health could benefit from some relaxation. Self-compassion has health benefits. Research has shown that being nice to yourself boosts your immune system and promotes healing.
Caring for yourself is necessary before you can care for others.
Flight attendants’ safety announcement where they explain that you must place the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others is a great analogy for the importance of self-care. If you’re not taking care of yourself, your ability to care for others will be compromised.
Be your own best friend.
Do you support yourself as much as you would a close friend? As mentioned in my previous post, showing empathy to yourself validates your feelings. Being your own best friend means allowing yourself to relax once in a while.
If you’re not taking care of yourself, who will?