How many times have you felt a cold coming on, been struck down with illness or managed to injure yourself and not taken the proper time to rest and heal? Have you fallen victim to powering through the pain or illness because you couldn’t possibly take time off work right now, or you have pressing social commitments – just to end up prolonging or sometimes worsening your affliction? All of us have done this at some point right?
When I was younger, I thought it was my duty to go to school no matter what and used to turn up when I should have really been at home in my sick bed. Once I was rocking a hefty 39 centigrade fever for almost a month and couldn’t speak without cough drops – yet I diligently turned up at the school gates everyday. This belief carried on through to my working life. I hated to take sick days and even came back to work way too soon after a surgery that I was having difficulty recovering from. Clearly I had some issues with just resting and healing.
Why do we continue to push ourselves when we are under the weather instead of taking time to look after ourselves and rest?
Fear of letting others down: Many of us feel an obligation to our boss, co workers, friends and family to show up for commitments and not let them down by cancelling or taking sick days – cold be damned. We fear that if we take the time for ourselves that we will risk jobs or jeopardise relationships.
Fear of vulnerability: When you are ill or injured you expose yourself as being vulnerable – which can be very difficult for those who usually hide behind superhero masks. Powering through when you’re not your best is seen to be preferable to risking showing your vulnerable side.
Disconnect from body: Sometimes we are so disconnected from our body that we ignore it’s needs. We drown out signals telling us to slow down with over the counter medicines so that we can ‘quiet’ the body and carry on without having to deal with aches, coughs or pain.
Guru Dog Neve knows when shes not well, rest is the best thing for her. She had 4 teeth surgically removed (being a greyhound and a rescue, her teeth are pretty bad) and was quite beat up from the operation. Her muzzle was swollen right up to her eyes, she was unsteady and sore. As soon as we got home from the vets, she climbed onto the couch and stayed there for about 5 days straight. Ok yes – she spends most of her day on the couch anyway. But she would not jump off to follow me around the house, or when I was in the kitchen as she usually did. She stayed on her soft perch and rested until her body had recovered. She instinctively knew that she needed to take time to be still and rest to heal her wounds. Dogs don’t have limiting fears stopping them from resting when they are unwell. They are in tune with their bodies and listen to what it needs.
Next time you feel a cold coming on, wake up with a bad headache or injure yourself – don’t be afraid to take the time you need to rest and heal. It is okay to say no. Take sick leave and cancel those dinner plans. People will understand. We are all human and aren’t 100% healthy all the time. Even Superman had his kryptonite. Connect with your body and honour it by giving it the time it needs to recover and heal.
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live – Jim Rohn
Love and couch naps,