Getting sick is no fun for anyone, and this week, I got the flu. Feeling nauseous, having a fever, and spending most of the time in the bathroom is not the way that anyone would want to spend their days. There is something that we should pay attention to, however, when our body tells us that it’s trying to mend itself. I sometimes forget to listen to my body when it’s in pain or not feeling well, and push myself to keep going. This time, it rebelled and taught me a very important lesson. When your body tells you it’s time to rest, you need to rest.
I often tell people who are working on self-care and mental health issues that they need to listen and evaluate messages from the brain and from the body. They work on being more attuned with how their body functions, and it can help them care for themselves more effectively. This week, my body rebelled, because I wasn’t paying attention and it took my out! I spent almost 2 days in bed, and the next day laying around. I think that happened because it was just pushing myself, and stress compromised my immune system and I got knocked on my butt, literally!
As I laid in bed the first day, feeling horrible, and having trouble sitting up without feeling violently ill, I had to admit that I really needed the rest. I went between sleeping and watching pointless weekday shows, and trying to stay hydrated, but I don’t remember the last time I gave myself permission to lay in bed. Generally, I feel like I have to be busy. Much of the time, I am very good at giving recommendations to others to help improve their mental health, but not as good at taking my own advice. It’s important to take those days, now and then to just lay in bed and read magazines. I used to do that before I was married, and before I had kids. I would lay in bed on the weekend, and read magazines, cut recipes, and plan trips I wanted to take. I had home magazines, and travel magazines, and cooking magazines and I would go through them and just enjoy the day. With my pets by my side, we had a lazy day, that made the next work week that much more tolerable.
By the second day, I was able to remember that the way I was feeling wouldn’t last, and that I would be okay, but still wasn’t feeling well. I was awake more, although very dehydrated which made thinking tricky. I was able to rest, and save what energy I had for important things, but I was also able to think about being forced to rest and decided it was a good thing. I was able to eat (just a little), for the first time, and tried to get hydrated again with lots of fluids (don’t forget the fluids!). As the day progressed, I was more alert and feeling better, but still working on getting back to normal. The forth day was better, and more normal, but taking the time to rest helped me come back stronger.
When you get sick, take the time you need to get better. Get sleep, fluids and rest. Take care of yourself, and allow others to help you (I’m not good at this, most times). Let your body do what it needs to do, even if it’s not very fun. If you are feeling tired, it’s telling you it needs sleep. If you feel pain, your body is telling you to allow it to heal and get stronger. If you get the flu, take time to rest! Listen to your body. It’s all a part of being happy for life, even when you get the flu.