beware the well-rested woman

22nd November 2017

I spent five days last week running my annual retreat.

Usually, I would be pretty much back at my desk asap, under some delusional notion that I had things to do that couldn't possibly wait.

Back in my corporate days, I would actively choose to fly into Heathrow at 6 am and go straight in to work. It was a badge of honour to be able to tough it out, to never show any kind of weakness.

I earned so many kudos points for constantly saying how tired I was, how much I had on, how I was bravely forging on in spite of my unreasonable need for sleep. I completely bought into the idea that I was some sort of moist-robot; willpower and stoicism were all I needed.

I was so interested in competing to win, I never questioned if this was a moronic way to live.

It took days to recover from the jangly spacey not-quite-here feeling. It was brutal.

On Sunday after our retreaters left, we spent an hour collapsed on sofas, sharing our experience with many belly laughs and deep appreciation for each other. Then two therapists arrived to give us hour-long deep-tissue massages. We took turns to have our aching bodies pummelled by Rebecca and Anne, two older women with the air of midwives, who could hold us and our need for deep care. Then we celebrated with supper in front of the fire at a lovely pub in the next village.

By the time we crawled into bed, we had released so much.

Since we all got home, we've been messaging each other, checking in, staying connected. We've all taken at least a day to re-enter our lives.

I said yesterday on Instagram, that to have the space to recover physically and emotionally after such an undertaking, allowing everything to be absorbed and felt and to let it go, is a huge gift. But that buys into the idea that I should feel hashtag blessed for what is actually just necessary and humane care.

Back in the days of Heathrow red-eye flights, I felt constantly anxious that I wasn't doing enough. I've spent decades obsessing about how much I weighed. I've lost days replaying conversations and worrying about what everyone thought.

It's all the same kind of bullshit distraction.

We are conditioned to believe that taking time for ourselves is selfish and should render us guilt-ridden enough to double our efforts in order to 'justify' our rest.

We forget that we are creatures.

We ignore that productivity, progress and profit are all entirely made-up things.

If we collectively refuse to believe this, to ask for help, say no or just stop doing a lot of pointless crap we think we need to do, we would (eventually) bring down the patriarchy.

I'm convinced the revolution will be led by well-rested, well-fed women with excellent boundaries.

 

ABOUT SAS

Hello, I'm Sas Petherick. I'm a self-doubt researcher, coach and podcaster who helps thinking humans transcend self-doubt. If you'd like to receive these posts in your inbox please subscribe here (with bonus info and first notice of opportunities to work with me). PS: I totallyInstagram - join me there?

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