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Things a Nap Won't Cure

Last week I was upset.

I had a discussion with a teenager about summer fun and expectations and the conversation did not go as I was hoping it would.

Distraught. Frustrated. Mad. Self-depreciating. Helpless. Discouraged. These would all go on my “feelings line”, if you have coached with me. I didn’t like those feelings.

I suddenly realized I hadn’t eaten in a while and was low on carbs, in particular. I popped some popcorn and found myself going to town on the bowl like it was my last meal.

I wasn’t even tasting the salt and butter on those fluffy, white kernels that I grew up on.

Sunday night was popcorn night in my family. Dad would make a big batch, load it with butter, and fill up the huge, metal bowl that only came out on those Sunday nights. It meant togetherness and games. It meant jokes. It’s when things got lighthearted and we all joined in on a common interest: eating popcorn.

When I stopped to ask myself why I wasn’t even tasting it, I realized I was buffering. I was using the food as a distraction…a convenient one since I needed carbs anyway, right? I was using it to soothe myself without feeling and recognizing and listening to the unsettling thoughts that came up after that interaction.

And so, I chose to sit with them for a while. I journaled about what I was thinking and what I was making that interaction mean about me and about him, and about parenting in general and family life. I had told myself a whole bunch of stories and none of them served me in a way that would help me have a different experience next time.

And that’s okay.

But when I was done, I wasn’t hungry for popcorn anymore.

We are notorious for trying to meet our needs in ways that have nothing to do with the actual need, aren’t we? We've been doing it since we were children like my super-aware nephew in this video.

Fatigue is one of those needs that comes up frequently when you are managing an autoimmune disorder.

According to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, there are several types of fatigue and they require different kinds of restorative measures. There are some types of fatigue a nap just won’t cure.

Getting to know how each one feels in you and how you feel restored from each type can help you address the need in the way that will actually bring rest and recovery for that particular need.

Here are some of the styles of recovery that could help you:

Physical: The chance to use the body in restorative ways to decrease muscle tension, reduce headaches, and promote higher quality sleep. Mental: The ability to quiet cerebral chatter and focus on things that matter. Spiritual: The capacity to experience God in all things and recline in the knowledge of the Holy. Emotional: The freedom to authentically express feelings and eliminate people-pleasing behaviors. Social: The wisdom to recognize relationships which revive from ones that exhaust and how to limit exposure to toxic people. Sensory: The opportunity to downgrade the endless onslaught of sensory input received from electronics, fragrances, and background noise. Creative: The experience of allowing beauty to inspire awe and liberate wonder.

*Credit to Saundra Dalton-Smith

After I received this information, I had a ton of question for myself:

What is really important to me?

How can I honor those things and put them first in my life?

Am I in alignment now with the things that are important to me?

What can I do to cut things out that keep me out of alignment?

How can I best measure how I’m spending my time and energy resources?

How can I listen to my body more?

What signals am I getting now?

What is my body telling me I need?

How can I create more mental and emotional and spiritual space to heal?

What thoughts keep me from allowing myself to rest?

These are all journal prompts that I am using for myself to uncover what thoughts are underneath my feelings, actions, and results. So far I have found a few interesting ones and am excited to find more. The more I can discover, the more I can change them out for thoughts that align with where I really want to be.

Healthy. Emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, creatively, socially. All of it.

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