Why we should all rest, play, and create our way through stress, loss, and trauma. Yes, really.
This year of Covid-19 has been traumatic for many of us, and so many of us have also experienced other kinds of trauma in the past or alongside the pandemic. When we’re experiencing the effects of trauma, our stress hormones literally change the way we process information so that our brain focuses on risks, threats, dangers, losses, and problems rather than opportunities for rest, bonding, creativity, pleasure, and play. Perhaps this is part of the reason why we intuitively expect that the process for recovering from trauma must involve focusing on the trauma, working harder, and doing and talking about very serious and heavy things. But ironically – and gratefully – there are many different routes to recovering from trauma and they don’t have to be serious, hard work, or involve focusing on the trauma event. Instead, we can rest, create, socialise, laugh, and play our way to calmed nervous systems so that we can think, learn, function, and feel well again.
I loved this post from Phyllis Fagell, and I think it applies to all of us adults too! While we as adults might be able to find more words to talk about the trauma (sometimes!), talking about trauma isn’t the only way to process and recover from trauma. Resting, exercising, socialising, playing, laughing, creating, and other pursuits that we find pleasurable are just as effective and important for trauma recovery. And they feel good!
If you just read that and then told yourself that you don’t have time for rest, play, socialising, or creativity as an adult, you might be needing to consider the ways that internalised toxic Capitalism is blocking your access to healing and to enjoyment of life in general! (It’s not just you – toxic Capitalism is so damn sneaky. Even with all I know about the healing value of rest, creativity, and play, it’s an ongoing battle to weed these toxic ideas out of my life!)
And if you’re ready to make rest, reflection, creativity, and play a priority for your own recovery from grief and trauma, my workbook, “Untangle Your Grief” will guide you to do just that.