Health, Lessons Learned

If We Do Not Take the Time to Be Well…


We are sick again this week. Well, rephrase that–the hubby and baby are sick, while I am still miraculously holding on to some semblance of health (although how long it will last, no one can be sure since I started feeling a bit sick myself yesterday).

I have taken off the afternoons over the past two days to try and help Matt care for Raven (and to give him time to go into work himself when he’s felt up to it), and the hours we spent awake last night trying to get Raven to sleep made us feel like she was a week-old newborn all over again, with no promises for a good night’s sleep anywhere in sight.

Being sick is the worst.

The funny thing is, I can almost always tell when a sickness is coming on–my body starts to feel more aches and fatigue, my throat generally gets a little sore/scratchy, and I just get the general sense of unease within myself that something is just a little . . . off. The (not so funny) thing is that despite almost always knowing when a sickness was coming on, I rarely ever did anything about it.

In years past, whenever I started feeling symptoms come up, I would just keep pushing through, knowing that an inevitable break was bound to come up soon—a long weekend, the end of a semester, an easier work day—and I’d pretty much always end up sick over said break.

My body has taught me a lot of lessons since developing an autoimmune disease, one of which is that I can’t afford to “push through” anymore because if I do, I can trigger another flareup, which I (now) know can take months and months to get over (not to mention being put on medications that I hate). I am now so close to being fully into remission that I can almost taste it, but I know that one strong bout of trying to “push through” could very well not only lead me straight to burnout and general sickness but could trigger a flare-up that was just as bad as what I experienced back in July.

And we just can’t have that.

So I’ve learned to take it easy–to take the day off when I feel the sickness coming on (rather than after it’s already fully blown), which is almost always enough to boot the sickness to the curb before it ever gets the chance to settle in.

The old me would have thought this was crazy. The old me was going to school full-time and working three jobs and juggling a very busy church calling, not to mention adjusting to married life and trying to keep up with friends and family and exercise and the house. Then later, when life slowed down a bit after my graduation from college, I continued to fill up my time (since I now had so much of it!) with worthy–but busy–pursuits like training for marathons and half-marathons and doing family history and starting a photography business, which meant that I STILL was not taking much time to really rest and relax.

I can chalk up my recovery from my Type A desire to remain perpetually engaged and busy and “productive” to two things:

1. Getting an autoimmune disease that literally forced me to slow down, and

2. Truly pursuing a more “minimal” lifestyle in all its aspects, from drastically paring down our possessions and spending to simplifying my schedule and the demands on my time.

Because, as one particularly powerful speaker said, “If we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill.”

So even though I’m getting a bit behind at work by staying home the past two (half) days, I know that in the long run, it will pay off much better for both my daughter and husband as well as for me.

I think I’ve finally learned that lesson (for reals), body.

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