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Body Image Booster: Savor Rest & Relaxation

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Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts your week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

One of the best ways we can take care of ourselves is by resting. But for many of us that’s much easier said than done. Because when you finally let yourself rest, how often do the guilty, I-should-be-doing-something-else thoughts resurface?

This happens to me often. While I’m lying on the couch and watching TV or savoring a delicious read in bed, my mind inevitably starts playing and replaying a mile-long to-do list and a slew of coulds and shoulds.

Right now you should be sitting with your computer. You should be writing that article or answering allll those emails. (Remember, that load won’t lighten on its own.) Or you could be cleaning the house. Vacuuming the floor. Organizing your closet.

Laundry. Trash. Dirty dishes. Clutter. Lots of clutter. 

Or you should go grocery shopping. Or you should  write a week’s worth of blog posts. Or you should do any number of tasks, activities and errands you haven’t done. 

We equate rest with laziness, lethargy, slothfulness. It’s something naughty. Maybe it’s as naughty — and forbidden — as a cookie or a bowl of pasta once was for you.

That’s when the guilt rolls in, a tank squashing your delight. And being on the couch becomes as laborious as being off it. With the tasks and chores and guilty feelings swirling, anyway, you just get up and get to work.

Sound oddly familiar?

Liz Lamoreux wrote a great post about reframing rest and taming the roaring guilt for Vivienne’s 14 Days of Self-Love series. She reminds us that rest is rejuvenating and healing.

But then I have to remind myself that the guilt that comes up about this really belongs to someone else because what I deeply know is that time spent alone is how I find myself again. If I don’t rest all those many roles I play, I will begin to disappear into them.

When I come out on the other side of rest, I so often find myself in the midst of this truth: Rest also helps me heal from the cracks living creates.

Liz then leaves us with a powerful invitation for thinking about rest. She writes:

In this moment, I wonder what old stories have prevented you from resting and taking care of what you and your body and heart most need. Spend a few minutes writing about this. Just put pen to the page and see what comes up. Then, look for clues that might help you unpack why you don’t give yourself the gift of rest in all its possible forms. Consider making a list of the ways you do rest or ways you could start resting now. Put this list somewhere you can easily see it, so it can remind you to give yourself the gift of rest.

Even if you carve out 5 or 10 minutes today, give yourself a sliver of rest. Savor it.

If the guilty thoughts come up, acknowledge their presence, and watch them float away like clouds. Tell them you’re resting right now, and you’ll tend to them later.

Remember the power of rest. Take a few deep breaths, and sink into its softness.

What’s preventing you from resting? What are your favorite ways to rest?

Body Image Booster: Savor Rest & Relaxation

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2014). Body Image Booster: Savor Rest & Relaxation. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 3 Mar 2014
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