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  • Writer's pictureAli

RIP: How to Rest in Peace • Bubble, Bubble, Toil & Trouble

This week, we are flying into a new world of relaxation and rest. We will be discovering all there is to the magic within HallowRestTown: why we need it, why we deserve it, and how to learn to enjoy it.


This week's witch's brew:

stress + overworking + not enough grace = toil & trouble


This week's phrase to hold onto:

"Magic is really very simple. All you have to do is want something, and then let yourself have it."

-Aggie Cromwell



**SPOOKY STORY ALERT**


This week has been a good, fully absorbed lesson on learning to rest, asking for help, and allowing someone else to care for me - all things I'm not great at. Since my passion is to help people, I often put others first; I have a tendency to put my own needs aside, which prevents me from taking a break or ask for help when I'm struggling. I'm vulnerable enough to admit my weaknesses, as I've said from the beginning of this journey: our stories have the power to erase shame. Maybe the topic of rest doesn't trigger any feelings of shame within you, but brutal honesty about ourselves and our weaknesses can, and in my case, often does.

Monday was the beginning of the end of my struggle to rest. I was in a therapy session with my counselor that afternoon, and I felt a sudden sense of nausea come over me. My body became unexpectedly shaky, and I knew something wasn't right. Not long after the end of my therapy video call, I laid down on the bed, called my girlfriend, and said that I needed her to come home from work. Not long after she came to my rescue, she suggested that we go to the hospital. From there, I was admitted for 4 days with suspected viral meningitis. I won't get into every detail, but thankfully, I didn't have meningitis for the fourth time in my life. I do, however, have a migraine that is as stubborn as Kalabar's obsession with power.

I wasn't struggling with shame for feeling unwell. I wasn't taking my daily medication to ensure I didn't get meningitis again, and I felt deep shame around that. I felt deep shame for not taking care of myself and my health, especially since that is a cornerstone I live by. I felt deep shame that it could've been that same dreadful diagnosis again, but I didn't do what I needed to do to prevent it. I feel shame that this is a struggle of mine.

Since being out of the hospital, I continuously need help to do mundane, boring things - things that are usually easy for most people; like, getting comfortable in the bed, making myself food, standing up for any length of time, or any other physical activity. The pain is relentless. In order to diagnose meningitis, lab results should be confirmed by way of a lumbar puncture. I've had 5 successful lumbar punctures in my life, and a handful of unsuccessful ones. None of them are easy, but some of them are less painful than others. While in the ER, the doctor attempted to get spinal fluid from me three times but failed. Eventually, my procedure was completed in radiology a couple of days after I was admitted. Even still, my back is sore and tired, which makes it hard to do many things independently. Thus, the beginning of the end of my struggle to rest.

Kat, my girlfriend, has undoubtedly been the biggest support system during this hospitalization. She has offered to help me do everything: make coconut water, meals, bathing, bathroom trips, and feed our cat (no, I can't even bend over). She pushes me to ask for help when I need it, give myself grace, and she reminds me that I can't conquer everything alone. Actually, she reminds me that I can't conquer anything alone; that I need people to help encourage me, help give me a break, and ultimately, bring me peace and rest. She is the magic that teaches me how to let myself have what I need. In a matter of days, she has shown what rest really is about: selflessness and love.


Ok. So, now that I've been super sappy and sad, here's a funny meme:


Since beginning this mental health awareness journey, I've learned to love myself more by slowing down, listening to myself - mind, body, and spirit, and resting with intentionality. Here are some of my tips for day-to-day activities to help encourage rest:

  • bubble (Bubble, Bubble) baths

  • reading a good spell-book

  • that witchy, green herb, especially ones that taste good

  • stretching

  • meditation and mindfulness for the witchy-noodle soul

  • deep breathing

  • staying alcohol-free

  • coloring a cauldron picture

  • talking to a friend

  • petting my cat (or any creature)

  • connecting with Kat (my other creature)

  • watching a movie or TV show

  • listening to haunted mansion music

  • journaling my spell ideas

 

**A FRIGHTFUL SPOOK ALERT**

  • According to The American Institute of Stress (AIS), 46% of witches, warlocks, and Supremes (people) report that the majority of their stress involves work overload (Toil).

  • According to Psychophysiologic Disorders Association (PPDA), 1 in 6 adults, and 30-40% of ghosts, goblins, and ghouls (people) who see a primary care physician (PCP) suffer from chronic functional disorders or psychosocial factors that lead to chronic pain.

  • They further explain that pain is what signals our brain pathways to emotionally signal our fight or flight (on a broomstick) response. This kind of signaling can result in a trauma response and further lead to a lack of rest.

  • These types of monstrous conditions include:

    1. Fibromyalgia (Trouble)

    2. Migraines (Trouble)

    3. Myofascial pain syndrome (Trouble)

    4. Insomnia (Trouble)

  • My firsthand knowledge tells me that pain makes it nearly impossible to feel relaxed or get quality rest.

  • Also, according to firsthand knowledge, stress and overworking ourselves looks a little like this:

Umm...no thanks, Kal.

 

I can hear Dylan now, "so what's the good news about rest if stress is constantly a fear factor?"

Thanks, Soph. There's actually some impressive data to help give us ghoulishly good insight on how to fight stress and get rest:

  • Healthline tells us that exercise is among the top ways to help our bodies rest. When we exert energy, we release stress hormones, like cortisol. And we all know from watching those late-night commercials: stress raises cortisol. Cortisol releases toxics. Toxins make us fat. Seems to me like they might not be a big fan of curvy witches.

  • They also give insight to suggest us to lower our caffeine intake. You've seen that TikTok, right? The one where the lady explains that you'll lose 87% of the effing joy you have in life if you give up coffee? I'm with her. I'm not caving on that pumpkin spice. But maybe I can compromise, and drink more water.

  • The Mayo Clinic suggests that we laugh more. I've definitely been there. I keep laughing at all the stress, because I can't effing believe I have to deal with that amount of stress. But maybe I can compromise, and embrace fun a little more.



So, welcome to HallowRestTown! It is compromise and grace, and grace is where the magic happens. It's the messy in-between of not having it figured out, but enough courage to try. It's the space we enter when we try something new, venture on an unfamiliar, midnight flight, and drink from the well of joy. I think it's time that we give up our stresses and embrace rest; surrender the toil and trouble for a whole lot more bubble, bubble. I think we'll continue to find that life is much less spooky when we listen to our bodies, embrace rest, and ask for help when we need it. No matter where your path to self-love leads you, know that the magic begins at the beginning.



See you on the other side!

 

Sources:

[1] Boyd, Danielle. “Workplace Stress.” The American Institute of Stress, 9 Feb. 2021, www.stress.org/workplace-stress.

[2] “Symptoms.” Psychophysiologic Disorders Association, ppdassociation.org/symptoms?gclid=Cj0KCQjw-4SLBhCVARIsACrhWLWdTN5aWkXhxTV28PoIhx5FmUS9HGOCctXQMzy2V5_7bH87uA0RNikaAkflEALw_wcB. Accessed 9 Oct. 2021.

[3] Jennings, Kerri-Ann M. “16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety.” Healthline, 28 Aug. 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety#4.-Reduce-your-caffeine-intake.

[4] “Stress Relievers: Tips to Tame Stress.” Mayo Clinic, 18 Mar. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relievers/art-20047257?reDate=09102021.

[5] Halloweentown. Directed by Duwayne Dunham. Disney Channel. Kimberly J. Brown, Debbie Reynolds. 1998.


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