5 Beliefs About Slowing Down That Might Keep You From Benefitting From It
Whether it’s to rest your body, be present, recharge, think, get in touch with your feelings, or connect with your value outside of doing things or taking care of others, slowing down is important for your mental and physical health.
Strategically though, in our capitalist, misogynist, and white supremacist culture slowing down is stigmatized in order to maintain production and consumption from which those with concentrated power profit.
In turn slowing down, rest, and relaxation are luxuries that most of us can’t afford. At the very least we experience shame for “indulging” ourselves. The further marginalized someone is by white supremacy, the more likely they are to have to carry out intensive labor over longer periods of time for less compensation, making rest increasingly inaccessible.
It’s no wonder, then, why many of us believe the following things if we slow down:
I’m being lazy
I’m being selfish
I’m being frivolous
I have more important things to do
I can’t afford it
These beliefs are valid in that to make ends meet in a capitalist society, we can’t spend too much time without actively earning. These beliefs, while I hope I’ve contextualized their source, do serve our need to survive.
That being said, if I could have a therapy session around the belief, “I can’t afford it,” I would ask, “Can you afford not to?” The answer depends on your goal.
For a therapist like me who focuses on long-term self-work, I tend to support people who are at least exploring that they’re not able to. As a therapist, I am holding the belief that to embody your truth and live your best life requires a deep relationship with yourself and has irreplaceable benefits. This means that, if your goal is these things, then slowing down is actually the most efficient, direct path. In fact, if you’ve been going to the point where you’re burnt out and it’s not serving you the way it used to anymore, then I would argue no, you can’t afford not to.
Lastly, if you want to slow down but believe that it’s too hard, I would say, “You don’t have to do it alone.” Valuing yourself in our fucked up society is not a process you need to engage with on your own. Therapy is wonderful because it teaches this. Fundamentally, you’re no longer taking challenges on in isolation because through sessions you’re relating to someone in the process, if only your therapist. One of the things I love most about being a therapist is that my job is to hold hope- that you are worthy just by existing and that through making space for your feelings you open up endless possibility.
Stay tuned for a blog post next Monday announcing March’s theme!
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Image credit: @lezlielokz
Image reads: “Sometimes the most productive thing we can do is rest.”