April 25, 2021

E66: It's Ok To Take A Break From Healing Trauma

In this episode, let's talk about why taking a rest is important in our healing journey.
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In this episode, let's talk about why taking a rest is important in our healing journey.

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Read my book Think Unbroken for FREE at traumahealingbook.com

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Transcript

Hey, what's up my friend? Michael Anthony here, author speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma. 

Today I'm going to talk to you about taking a break. Now, you're probably wondering. Well, what does that mean? Well, it's very simple. In this trauma healing journey, we are often especially when we get deep into it, I see it again. and again with the clients I work with, we get deep into this healing journey where it becomes our life. We're reading all the books, we're going to all the events, we're listening, all the podcast (No, don't go away yet. I'm not telling you not to leave this podcast) and we put ourselves in this position where we're constantly going and going, going and going and going.  One of the biggest things that you have to understand about the response, as one of the really natural responses to trauma, is the lack of control and so for many of us is to take control to become a control freak.

That was my life. I was a fucking control freak. Everything was in my control at all times and I'm not saying control is necessarily a bad thing when especially when you're leveraging correctly, but sometimes control ends up becoming the slippery slope where the next thing you know is that you're buried deep within doing 10,000 things at a time and not accomplishing one or worse, you’re overextending yourself. 

I see this happen all the time and that was my experience. Also, I was overextending myself to the point that I was nearing exhaustion and my trauma healing journey. I was reading all the books, I was going to therapy three times a week. That is crazy! Regular therapy, men's group therapy, EMDR therapy, CBT therapy. I was going to all of them. I was doing them all the time and eventually, I hit burnout.

Now, you probably hear about burnout all the time from a work perspective and I think that holds true also. Sometimes we can work our self too much. Now, for some people that doesn't exist. I don't know, well that's not what this conversation is about. You may actually be in a position right now where you need to PAUSE. Take a breath. Go outside and play. Go do something different than being in the book, then learning, then studying, then the therapy, then the coaching, then the journaling, the meditation, all these things. Now, this may sound counter to 99.9% of the things that I tell you but sometimes you have to force yourself to take a break as a part of the healing journey.  

You see when we're growing up and we're in this in a chaotic environment and it's so out of our control the moment we get controlling our life, we leverage it and we go into fifth gear. The next thing you know we're going down a hundred miles an hour on the control Highway. We hit this roadblock and our life implodes on us because we find out we are exhausted. Now, I'm not saying that there aren't times in which you have to go a hundred miles an hour because sometimes you do. Sometimes you have to go out life a hundred miles an hour to accomplish things, but you have to listen to your body, you have to listen to your brain. You have to listen to your intuition. If your body is saying stop, pause. Hey, listen to me. I'm fucking tired. You need to take a break. If your body is screaming at you and your mind is so convoluted that you can't think straight then maybe it's time for some Netflix and chill. Maybe it's time for a walk around the block. Maybe it's time to get outside and experience life for a moment. Maybe it's time to say, you know what this week, I'm not going to go to therapy. I'm not going to go to coaching, I'm not going to read that book. Instead, I'm just going to try to live for a moment. 

It gets so easy to get caught up in this journey because we're often seeking that deadline, that endpoint, that goal. That stopping place where we say, “Okay, great! I got it. Now, my life is only going to work when I hit this thing.” We chase, we drive, and we push ourselves to exhaustion in the hope that will reach that thing. We will hit that goal and suddenly life will be magically what it is that we want it to be. 

I've told you before, there's no Disney moment. I'm sorry, but that moment isn't coming. So what you can do is think about this, every single moment of every single day, including right now, as you living your life - this is your Disney moment. Right now, is that moment in time, in which you are creating who it is that you want to be and who it is that you are. Sometimes you have to take a look at what's actually happening now from a disassociation standpoint. It's really easy to ignore our core needs because we've been so used to our core needs being ignored for the majority of our life. Our parents didn't take care of us, didn't take us to the doctor, the community didn’t take care of us, the teacher didn't take care of us, the school didn't take care of us, college didn’t take care of us, work didn’t take care of us, our partner didn’t take care of us, peers didn’t take care of us, friends don't take care of us, and the list goes on and on and on and on and on. You are the only person in your life responsible for taking care of you and that means putting yourself first. That means taking care of yourself in the moments in which you were starting to run out of gas. 

The worst thing that you can do is run out of gas. That is the worst thing you can do instead of ignoring every gas station on the road, on the way to where you're going, five miles till the next gas station, 30 miles to the next gas station hundred miles to the next gas station, and ignoring all the signs. Instead of doing that, you gotta pull over. You have to pause. Get that Gatorade, get those. Pretzels, get those gummy bears. Me, if I'm on a long road trip, I'm grabbing the gummy bears and then get that gas recharge. Pause. Rest area. Rest areas exist for drivers because exhaustion leads to death. You can go look at all the statistics around car accidents - being tired, people falling asleep at the wheel, people losing the ability to have a cognizant understanding of what's happening right now. That translates into everything in life. Not being in this position where you're cognizant of what's happening in your life because you're going a hundred miles an hour is a dead-end road. It is.

I'm going to tell you something right now that you need to hear and something you probably need to tell yourself. As a reminder, maybe it's what your goals need to be. Maybe it needs to be the theme of your day. I want you to write this down actually, here's what I want you to do. I want you to go and find a piece of paper or get out your phone and add a note in your notes app because I know you got one. Take a piece of paper, a sticky note, a napkin, a receipt, I don't care. Grab something and write this down and remind yourself. Remind yourself of this every single day and this is a very binary statement - I am the kind of person that rests when I need it. I'm the kind of person that rests when I need it. 

You have to put yourself first in this journey of trauma healing. Because one of the things you have to do to integrate all of this work is you gotta pause, you got to take a break. You have to take care of yourself. A) This is emotionally exhausting. Healing trauma is emotionally exhausting realistically. There's so much work that we do every day and so much effort that we put in being on this path and on this baseline. Being on this road all the time is exhausting. The other side of it is what happens when you're buried in learning all day long? Then you don't have time to process everything. I am a learner. I'm always going to put myself in a position to learn. I have my earbuds in pretty much non-stop all day. I am consuming education because I want to learn. If I'm not creating, I'm learning. But a perfect example is one Sunday afternoon, I just finished writing this huge course. I finished writing the second book which is about to come out. I've been buried for six weeks non-Stop. Before I hit that exhaustion point because I can go longer. I've trained myself to be able to get up to like 60, 70 straight days of work. Now, that's my choice, because that's the way that I operate in the world and it works for me. But Sunday morning, I came in sat in the office started doing what I do and then I thought to myself, you know what, it's time to take a break, I shut it down immediately and I spent the rest of the day chilling. That's what you have to do. If you want to be the leader of your own life, you have to have the rules in the parameters, in your life that say, Hey, you can take a break, you can go chill.

So, I want to challenge you to something. If you're in a position in your life, right now where you are exhausted, You've been going a hundred miles an hour, you're in therapy and reading the books and listening to this podcast. You got a family, you got kids, you got the job, you got the hobbies, you're going to the gym at 6:00 a.m., you're doing all the things everybody tells you to do and you feel burnt out, hit that pause button. Pull over and get that refill. Grab those gummy bears. Get those pretzels, take a break hit that rest area, and then get back to it. There's nothing wrong with taking a day off. Nothing. The problem comes into play when you take too many offs in a row because you don't need it and you're actually procrastinating now. That's another conversation for another day, Here's my challenge to you. My friend, take the time to rest when you need it. 

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Until next time my friend…

Be Unbroken,

-Michael

Michael Unbroken

Coach

Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.