Why Self Care and Rest Aren't Happening Even Though You Know You Should


Most self-care and "prioritize rest" messages are missing this super important detail:

If you're a high achiever who has always been praised for your productivity or you're the one who always takes care of everyone, rest and self care aren't going to feel good. They will feel "bad" and unsafe. 

In order to truly start prioritizing rest, we need to talk about the discomfort that is part of the process of starting to put yourself first instead of expecting it to feel amazing.

During my lunch break today, I decided to sit down to watch the last 20 minutes of a Grey’s Anatomy episode and to read some of my Fourth Wing book (instead of my typical non-fiction book which is also work-related).

The old me NEVER would have done that.

As I thought about giving myself permission to do that, I observed my inner child feeling excited about the prospect of pausing and not being productive - in the middle of the day!

A few minutes into sitting down, I observed my body start to become tense as an old pattern of shame and guilt started to creep in.

It took me over 30 years to realize that being stuck in trauma responses led me to burnout. Early in life, my trauma responses (flight and fawn) became who I thought I was.

Signs I was in the flight response:

  • I was an over-achiever and struggled with imposter syndrom.
  • I always felt like I needed to do more and to do better no matter how much or how well I did.
  • I was living for the future always telling myself, "as soon as this happens/I finish this, then it will be better".
  • I didn't think I was "the kind of person” who liked to slow down.

Signs I was in the fawn response:

  • I had always been the peacemaker in the family and the “nice” girl who never got emotional.
  • When asked what I wanted to do I’d always say “whatever you want to” partly because the thought of saying something they didn't like was terrifying and partly because half of the time I didn't even know what I wanted (I was really good at focusing on other people and not very good at tuning into my own needs).
  • I'd often say, "yea, absolutely!" to things I most definitely didn't want to do and then I'd instantly feel regret and dread whatever I had just agreed to. 

When your brain believes that flight and fawn tendencies are what help to keep you safe and loved, they become habituated patterns.

The difference between just being a high achiever and kind human versus a trauma response: with trauma responses, it’s negatively influencing your own well-being.

For example, trying to do a million things on your day off instead of prioritizing rest when you’re exhausted and need a break or self-sacrificing by saying “yes” to something even though you immediately feel overwhelmed or resentment because it’s too much on your plate.

When you’re caught in these patterns and someone says “you need to rest” or “prioritize you”, that can just lead to more stress and shame.

You WANT to rest and to not feel stressed and exhausted, but you can’t. Rest never feels like you think it will. Instead of it feeling amazing to finally rest or put yourself first, it feels stressful and uncomfortable.

And that makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong while everything keeps piling up.

You’ll feel guilty for putting yourself first.

You’ll try to do absolutely everything on your to-do list so that you can “earn” rest (for a moment until your brain comes up with something else you “need” to do).

You'll be caught in this limbo of desperately wanting to take better care of yourself but not being able to take the steps to do that because every time you try to take the first step you don't feel better - you feel worse.

📣 This is what we need to talk about! We need to talk about the discomfort that is a part of starting to prioritize your own needs, so that LEARNING how to move past the discomfort of rest and prioritizing you becomes an expected part of the process in order to change it.

The first step is awareness. It's a game changer when you realize that you’re not doing something wrong, your brain just needs some reprogramming so it feels safe.

In order to create change, you have to know how to comfort your nervous system and tell it, “Hey, this rest is actually okay. It’s good! Saying no to an extra shift wasn’t bad. We’re safe.”

Anti-anxiety tools are key for this!

They act like a roadblock for those old patterns in your brain so you can create new ones. That’s why I have so many free resources sharing them.

As you unlearn these patterns, rest and putting yourself first becomes easier and easier. And yet, you’ll continue to notice times when it pops up in a new situation (like when I decided to watch tv and read a book in the middle of my work day).

The initial discomfort I felt wasn’t a problem, because I noticed it and I knew what to do. Instead of believing the thoughts, “you’re such a slacker”, “you should be working”, “If you have time to read in the middle of the day, you should be picking up a vet shift”, I just thought, “how interesting I’m having those old thought patterns”, I comforted my nervous system, and enjoyed giving my brain a software update.

Start prioritizing you with the resource that sounds most appealing, because in order to change you have to change what you're doing:

⭐️Use my favorite anti-anxiety tool to start reprogramming your brain any time you notice the discomfort of starting to put yourself first

⭐️Practice prioritizing you in a low key way while calming your nervous system with self love month

⭐️Start my 6 month Life Boost mentorship where I'll walk you one small step at a time through the process of unchaining yourself from the old patterns that have been preventing you from feeling good again (even if you feel like you don't have time because that's your trauma response talking and that's exactly why I created the mentorship program for you)


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