SLP Self-Care Tip: Force Yourself to RELAX!

I love the part of Terminator 3 when Claire Danes is making as much noise as possible in the back of her vet rescue truck (where she’s been imprisoned by the newest Arnold Schwarzenegger robot from the future) as a robot-battery-turned-bomb explodes outside and Arnold yells at Claire, “RELAX!” as he looks intensely towards the back of the truck. I think of it constantly on Sundays (my designated “relax and rejuvenate day”) as I’m tempted to be productive instead.

It’s so HARD for me to relax! There are chores to be done, patients to be seen, SOAP notes to be written, insurance forms to be sent and processed once received, phone calls to be answered, hopefully no robots yelling at me, and so many mystery/sci-fi/fantasy books to be read and board/card/video games to be played! On top of that, I want to make sure I spend time with my family, friends, and pets and enjoy their company, too, despite the fact that I’m an introvert and I only really feel energized after spending time alone. Lastly, the constant urge to nap that comes with my sleep disorder is harder to ignore when I’m sitting still and any deviation from my sleep/wake schedule could mess me up for WEEKS!

I’m constantly reminded of the crash-courses in neurology I’ve received both formally and informally as an SLP and the part where we all need to spend time in our “rest and digest” parasympathetic mode. That’s one of the reasons I love going to zoos – it reminds me that all animals spend time in “rest and digest” mode.

Brene Brown’s research validated this – she found that those who practiced “Wholehearted Living” prioritized play and rest.

I recently talked to one of my patient’s parent who is similar to me – neither of us can relax if we can see things that need to be done! I told her what I do: I have a spot in my garden that I use to read and relax for at least a couple hours each weekend. I can’t see anything that needs to be fixed or done from there and I’m able to rest and digest for at least a little bit. She tried it and it worked for her, too!

Now I just need Arnold standing ready to glare and yell “REST! DIGEST!” every time I get up to do something productive.?