Vacation from Vacation (Embracing the Very Human Need to Restore)
I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Arizona, a vacation filled with many firsts and a variety of breathtaking scenery. I met my new brother-in-law from the Dominican Republic for the first time, experienced the magnificent beauty of Sedona and the Grand Canyon for the first time, and for the first time was able to test for myself what it meant to run in the oppressive Arizona heat (something I did often, and it wasn’t really that bad, as it usually didn’t go much above 98 degrees when we where there).
My vacation was less the “sit-on-the-beach” variety and more of the “let’s go, go, go” variety. It was more of the “let’s cram everything in while we can” variety. It was full of air and car travel (I deal with motion sickness, so this stuff can be a crapshoot for me); it was full of early mornings and late nights; it was full of fun activities and eating and drinking liberally toward the end of enjoying myself and soaking up the moments; and it was full of generally being juiced up and turned on.
It was awesome! But when I got back from my trip, I was slammed with work and home responsibilities and projects. And then, about a week after my way-too-early-morning return flight home from the Phoenix/Mesa area, I felt myself crashing a bit.
It was inevitable.
We are only human, and we can’t run at full speed indefinitely. Eventually we need rest, maintenance, and restoration. So we must embrace those things in order to once again find increased energy and clarity.
And that is what I try to do. If and when I feel myself getting worn down (which can be physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual), I try to get back to the basics and take some time to restore. This could involve many things, but a few examples are: additional rest; watching movies; reading; additional spiritual time; writing; exercise; spending time outdoors (sunshine is vital); attending to “mundane” household items like cleaning my office or making a much-needed trip to the library; cooking; taking some time to simply dream and plan for the future, etc.
Balance is key in life. With work we need breaks and play. After motion we need stillness. After activity we need rest. After stress we need calm.
After injury and illness we need recovery. After abuse and trauma we need comfort, encouragement, and rebuilding.
Fatigue is normal and human. Getting worn down and reaching one’s limits with regards to stress is human. These are concepts that are especially apt for people who are going through a healing process.
In my coaching, I mostly work with people who are coming off of antidepressant and/or benzodiazepine medications (I came off such medications years ago, too), and I can tell you that one of the challenges of such a recovery involves once again understanding and making peace with what it means to be human. Medications get people used to the idea that the human experience can be hijacked, that we can become bullet-proof—without fatigue, without boredom or focus struggles, without grief or breakdown, without anxiety or depression, impervious to the many mental and physical effects of stress. But this is a fallacy.
We can become stronger and wiser, but we cannot become “un-human.”
We are born human and cannot be changed. So we must work to accept, learn more about, and go-with-the-flow of the human experience rather than constantly fighting against it or wishing for something different. We also must work to accept, learn more about, and go-with-the flow of “being ourselves” rather than constantly fighting against ourselves or wishing we were someone different.
A part of that “going with the flow” of being human and ourselves might mean being okay with the idea that we will get anxious, depressed, angry, or restless from time to time. And a part of that “going with the flow” means being okay with the fact we will get worn down from time to time, too; and that we will need dedicated “restoration time” to get back on track, which we will.
Different things might wear each of us down individually. We each have unique stresses, sensitivities, trigger points, and tolerances. And we are each at different and unique chapters of our lives. Earlier on in a healing situation, for example, the restoration time needed after years of chronic stress and/or medication use might be many months instead of the days a person generally needs to get back on track after a furiously busy workweek or vacation.
But that doesn’t matter.
The timelines don’t matter. All that matters is what is being accomplished by the process.
Restoration time is always productive time, as it literally gives our body, mind, and soul what they need to live and breathe and thrive.
Instead of feeling guilty about needing to rest and restore, embrace the process and use it to fill your soul. This in turn calms the mind and heals the body.
Use the time to: read books or watch movies that touch your heart and expand your mind; read Scripture and devotions and listen to sermons that slow the “outside world” down for you and help you to put things in perspective; watch something lighthearted on your phone or on Netflix (but don’t spend too much “junk” time on devices); get in touch with what your body needs with regards to fresh air, fresh water, sunlight, nutrition, and exercise; have good conversations with people who encourage you and make you feel loved; journal about your daily life and your dreams and what you are going through; think about a charity you can get involved with or donate to; think about the people and things you are grateful for; get in touch with the human experience; get in touch with your life and your needs and dreams; picture yourself being restored and strengthened; know that you are growing and engaged in productive work as you do these things.
Rest and restoration aren’t optional. Either you voluntarily make time for these things and embrace them or they will eventually slap you in the face and force you to make time for them and embrace them anyway.
If you are feeling worn down today, for whatever reason, that’s okay. That’s human. Don’t panic about it or feel guilty about it. Instead, focus on finding your rest your rest and restoration, and know that this will get you back on track.
Whatever form this takes for you and however long it takes for you, find your rest and restoration. And know that the process is leading you somewhere beautiful.
Take care until next time,
Michael Priebe is a writer and wellness coach who has studied psychology, literature, and print journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated with honors, and over the years he has helped people from all over the world understand antidepressant withdrawal and benzodiazepine withdrawal and find healing in their lives. He puts out a variety of spiritually inspiring content at The Lovely Grind, and he blogs about his life at www.michaelpriebewriter.com. He invites you to find out more about his coaching here, and he hopes you'll reach out to him on Facebook and Instagram.
“Michael helped me in a way that no doctor or therapist has been able to! His personal experience combined with his optimistic, constructive input and guidance is priceless. I highly recommend his coaching sessions.”
“I contacted Michael for coaching because he has the ultimate credential of having been through it all himself! I liked his warm, empathetic manner. He is easy to talk to, and I felt as if he were a family member in his warm caring toward me. Michael has a very reassuring way of communicating, and I would highly recommend him.”
Jon - British Columbia, Canada
“I came across Michael’s videos by chance while looking up information on prescription drug withdrawal. I found his YouTube videos to be very informative, honest, and consoling. I was watching one after the other and even converted the sound on the videos to MP3 so that I could listen to his advice while going for walks. That was very soothing for me, and therefore I decided to try his coaching services. Great decision.
"Michael is a great and patient listener, and during our time together I felt that he sincerely cared about my healing progress and had genuine empathy for all those going through withdrawal. He is a positive-minded individual who disseminates hope, and I appreciated the useful, personalized follow-up notes he sent after our session. Most certainly I would recommend his coaching.”
Yasmin - Cairo, Egypt
“No one else is doing what Michael is doing. It truly is a ministry! Michael is willing to make himself vulnerable to help others during their journey in the valley. He is very easy to talk to (I felt like I had known him forever), and I would most definitely recommend his coaching to others.”
Andi, North Carolina
“Michael’s coaching is truly a game-changing experience. I appreciate the level of understanding he brings … tons of knowledge on how to survive the days and get closer to recovery. When you finally get to look someone in the face and know they understand exactly what you’re going through, it can bring a different level of comfort; that is what Michael’s coaching provided me, and without a doubt I would recommend it to everyone going through this.”
“I decided to use Michael’s coaching services because he seemed very genuine and trustworthy. After speaking with him a couple of times, I realized that I am strong enough to overcome certain obstacles, but also realized that I need not rush the process [of becoming medication free]. It was comforting talking to Michael about my withdrawal issues so that I could realize that what I’m going through is common, and it was also useful that Michael took the time to give me feedback in specific areas—like making a schedule and forming realistic expectations for myself. Michael gave me more useful feedback than a lot of mental health counselors I’ve had. Michael has helped me, and I hope he continues to help others. I would definitely recommend his coaching services.”
“I learned a lot from Michael. At first I was so confused by withdrawal (wondering what I was going through and if I would be this way permanently), but Michael helped me to realize that we do heal and that things do get better. I had a lot of worries, but he helped to ease my mind and he gave me positive feedback regarding how to approach each day in this process. Michael has a caring heart, and I would 100 percent recommend his coaching to others going through this.”
Erikka, South Dakota
“It can be frustrating having to deal with [withdrawal] symptoms for months on end and getting next to no support from doctors or anyone in the medical community (people who for the most part are clueless). Simply getting a chance to speak with Michael—someone who has gone through what I have and is able to offer support—was comforting. I also really enjoyed his follow-up notes. They were insightful and helped me to consider things I hadn’t thought of. I very much enjoyed working with Michael, and I would recommend his coaching to anyone who is going through this process and looking for support.”
“Michael is relatable and non-judgemental. I liked his positivity and follow-up notes. He provided good support overall. I believe that if a person really wants to withdrawal from medication, then support like this, from someone who has personal experience, is invaluable, and for that reason I would recommend Michael’s coaching to others going through this process.”
Leanne – Ontario, Canada
"Because of Michael’s own experiences, he knows what serves and what damages. He helped me to control my intake of negative information, he made me more optimistic, and he gave me a sense of the “whole [healing] picture.” Michael is a good listener and his comments are very precise. I would definitely recommend his coaching to others going through withdrawal."
Miguel, Atlanta, GA
"I really enjoyed my coaching sessions with Michael and looked forward to each call. He is very easy to talk to and offers very good advice. Our conversations gave me hope and coping skills, and his follow-up notes and progress plan were very helpful; I reference them often to stay on track. I found it comforting talking to someone who has been through this and really understands the struggle. I now look at withdrawal as something that can be overcome, something that I can heal from. I felt very comfortable talking to Michael, and I would recommend his coaching services to others going through the withdrawal and healing process."
“I decided to try Michael’s coaching because, in his videos, he seemed so honest, relatable, upbeat, hopeful, and knowledgeable. I believe I got more out of Michael’s videos and coaching than I got from years of professional counseling. It is very comforting talking to him because it is like talking to a very knowledgeable, long-time, close friend. I have more hope for the future after talking to Michael, and that helps me to survive the times when I am feeling blue. I would recommend his coaching to those going through the withdrawal and healing process.”
“I really enjoyed the care that Michael put into every contact with me. I appreciate how he shared his own experiences, found out about my overall context, and made direct suggestions; it was so important to believe that I was not losing control of my mind and body and that I could carry on with living while going through the process. It was also helpful to set goals and a plan and check back in on these things. Michael’s coaching is very professional and authentic, and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is going through the withdrawal and healing process.”
Emma, United Kingdom
“I always refer back to what Michael coached me on in the past regarding dealing with such times during the recovery and healing process. I enjoy working with Michael because he takes his time answering each of my questions in detail. Michael has true answers and guidance. It is comforting being coached by someone who understands my symptoms, and also Michael is a very compassionate person. I would definitely recommend his services to a person in need of help during the withdrawal process.”
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CONTACT ME ABOUT COACHING
If you or someone you know is struggling to survive the pain and confusion of prescription drug withdrawal or chronic stress, I would like to offer my coaching services. Stress can suck the joy out of life, and the withdrawal process can be challenging (I know from experience). However, with the proper tools and mindset, these things can be survived and even used for greater growth. If you or someone you care about is trying to quit antidepressant or benzodiazepine medications (or simply trying to reduce stress levels), please click here to email me about coaching options and availability.