For those that know me, I’ve had back issues for a very, very long time. Most recently, I had various types of shots and an ablation earlier this year. I’ve also tried acupuncture and see a chiropractor regularly (or I did, pre-COVID anyway).

I’ve had mixed results with all of these. None of them have gotten rid of my low back pain entirely, but some have helped enough that I can walk 3-4 miles and enjoy walks with my partner/husband, something I wasn’t sure would happen again in my darker moments.

Just last week I came home from a walk, just over 4 miles, and I was in a bit of pain. Nothing unusual, usually I am feeling it and sit for a few minutes, stretch a little and then go about my day. But as the day went on I realized that this pain was different. It was, well, more painful.

Photo Credit: pixologic/Depositphotos

So I rested for the next few days and told myself and my partner that if it hadn’t improved by Monday I would call my back doctor and see what he said. I also made an appointment to see my chiropractor (who is booked 2 weeks out due to COVID restrictions and cleaning protocols). So I rested, used ice, took ibuprofen and just did all the things I normally do for pain.

As of today, Monday, I am feeling better. Not 100%. Not even 80%, but better.

The Pain Isn’t The Enemy

What I realized recently though, is that while I am completely “over” dealing with this type of regular pain, and I am hugely frustrated with feeling 100 when I am only 41, I have a support system like no other.

I have friends and family who will offer sympathy and a shoulder to whine one when I need it. I have a husband who is the best nurse anywhere (for real, he’s the best) and who will rub China Gel on my back as well as massage my back for long periods of time to do whatever he can to help me feel better.

The pain isn’t the enemy, it’s my relationship with my pain that is the problem.

Much like my food addiction. My gastric sleeve surgery didn’t solve my relationship with food, I had to do that myself. The surgery was a tool to help me make peace with my addiction and make lifelong changes to be better, and do better.

With my back pain it’s a bit different, there isn’t much that can be done that I haven’t already done to “fix it,” but I have to not hate it so much. I have to just let it be what it is, a message that I did too much and I need to rest.

Resting is Hard For Me

I don’t know when this started, but resting makes me feel guilty. Even when I know I have no other choice, I feel like I should be doing something, anything else but resting.

I need to take a cue for Shadow the Cat — She feels no guilt whatsoever about resting. Photo Credit: J.L. Metcalf/Washington

I feel like I am failing somewhere or someone when I don’t work or clean or…whatever I think I should be doing.

The fact is, no one else sees me that way.

No one else thinks that I am failing them.

But yet, I still feel as though I need “permission” to rest. In fact, on Friday, my husband was the one who made the case that I just relax instead of sitting at my desk — which exacerbates my pain — and just relax on the couch.

He was 100% right.

By resting for a few days, watching Halloween cooking shows, and just taking care of myself I did feel better by Monday.

But almost more than feeling better, I realized a few things:

  1. When I receive these “messages of pain” I need to listen.
  2. When I receive these “messages of pain” I need to respect them.
  3. When I receive these “message of pain” I need to honor them.

So whoever may need to hear this: It’s OK to rest. Your body is telling you something it. Listen to it. Respect it. Honor it.

Your body will thank you for it.

Resting is good for you! Do it more!
Photo by Lisa Fotios on


Published by jessicaleemetcalf

JL Metcalf lives in the Ocean State with her artist husband Frankie, and their artistic black cat Shadow. She one day hopes to live in a Hobbit Hole surrounded by her friends and family in the Shire making jams and jellies, while also writing many leather-bound books. She has self-published four novels: The Last Daughter of Lilith, Coming Undone: Musings on Life, Love and Hobbits, Menagerie of the Weird, and the sequel to Last Daughter of Lilith, called Dawn Seed. JL can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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  1. Not an easy thing to do, rest, when feeling guilty is part of your make-up. I’m glad for you that you are hearing and heeding the message. Be well and stay safe.


    1. I am lucky that Frankie reminds me what the pain means, that it means rest, I’m slowly (VERY slowly) learning to heed that message and do what’s needed. Because I felt so much better when I rested those few days than when, in the past, I have pushed on and ignored the pain till I can barely move.


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