Why It’s So Hard for Me to Rest

I’m on the second day of my four days off between my first group of Bali travelers and my second. The last day of our trip, I woke up sick with a head cold. My body held off on getting sick until my responsibilities were over, and then it knocked me flat.

My plan for these days in-between facilitating groups was to pick up my friend Eileene from the airport and head with her to Sideman for a three-night stay. Sideman is a part of Bali I’ve never visited before, and I was eager to explore it. A member of our first group had spent time here before meeting the group in Candi Dasa and had shown me fantastic pictures of her adventures in Sideman. She raved about it and sent me the Whatsapp number of her local guide and gave him a heads-up that I’d be calling him. I was looking forward to meeting local weavers, swimming in an isolated mountain pool, exploring back roads and local villages on a scooter.

But now I was sick. My first day here, I was flattened, and all I could do was sleep. But by this morning, day #2, I was starting to feel a little better. I was still coughing (my colds often head into bronchitis) but I was getting a little energy back. And I immediately started bargaining with myself. Well, I still have tomorrow—one more full day here. If I Whatsapp the guide now, maybe I can still have my day of exploration in Sideman. Maybe I can see more than just the inside of this hotel room.

This is a familiar pattern to me. As soon as I started to feel a little energy, I immediately wanted to spend it. I always want to do that. My need to take care of myself, and in this case, save my strength and energy for welcoming and leading the next group, is competing with my FOMO—my fear of missing out, my love and eagerness for the next adventure.

Fortunately, my friend Eileene keeps reminding me that I need to rest, just like Karyn does when I’m at home, getting over an illness, eager to jump up and do the next thing.

It is not in my nature to value rest as much as I value activity.

As I sit on my bed now, wearing a mask (so as not to give my cold to Eileene), looking out the window at a vast spectrum of coconut palms, listening to incessant all-day roosters, I keep telling myself it’s good for me as a human, and essential for me as a leader to rest. To guard my energy. To let go of my plans and recover, so I can meet the next group and lead again.

And so my big plan for today is to walk down about twenty steps to an open-air pavilion to get a 90-minute Balinese massage. And then to walk up the stairs again and get back into bed…and into reading my novel.

My body is talking to me and I have to listen.

Scroll to Top