When dealing with chronic illnesses, the importance of rest cannot be overlooked, it goes against society yet is needed. Let’s talk about it.
In our society, which is very much based on money, how much you have and how much you earn, we are bought up to believe unless you work you are not worthy. The idea of being on benefits, or needing help is thought to be a dirty concept, that you are worth less or must be lazy.
So, when disability comes later in life leaving us unable to work, we feel as if we have to keep up a façade of still doing. By this I mean, we feel pressure to explain how much housework we managed to do, how much exercise we did or what we did before we got sick to try and prove to others, we are still worthy of help.
I have seen this in my own life, it isn’t enough for me to explain that I was a nurse with an active social life who loved going on long walks before I got sick. I also have to tell people who ask what I do for a living, about my blog and YouTube channel and add in that I do gentle exercise and look after my dogs too.
It is mostly because of a look that comes over that person asking’s face, a sad look of embarrassment as they ask what is wrong with me. Then comes the harder expression as I try to explain how my illnesses affect me and why I cannot work even if they have not heard of some of the things I have. Unless, they have an aunt who has the same and they do yoga and work full time…
Letting go of these experiences and learning the importance of rest is not easy, realising I am a worthwhile human takes time. I first got sick in my early twenties, a time when I was trying to figure out who I was and where I wanted my life to go. Discovering that it was going to be painful, tiring and spent being ignored mostly by society was a difficult pill to swallow and at times still is.
Recently I have been trying to make my life work for me instead of trying to cope in a world that makes my illnesses worse. I bought my first desktop computer in years so I can edit my videos and put out my content in my bedroom where it is quiet, and I don’t feel so overwhelmed. I also bought a keyboard for my iPad so I can write blog posts and fanfic whenever I want without having to get out a heavy laptop.
On top of this, I stopped trying to force myself to be dressed and ready to go in the mornings, which is always a very difficult time of day for me. It takes time for my pain meds to kick in and waking up from a night’s sleep takes me until at least 11am.
If you struggle with making the world work for you, just know you are not alone.
I have literally just a couple of months ago realised because I don’t work, I can make my life work for me… 20years after first getting sick! It takes times to walk away from societies pressures and to see yourself as worthy of love and rest and care. So, slow down in accepting, you need as long as you need to grieve the life you had imagined.
The importance of rest:
- Work out your best time of day – figuring out when you are at your best is a great place to start. Changing your routines to fit in with when your symptoms are at their easiest will let you plan your day better
- Let go of expectations – stop planning so much, yes things need to be done, but planning too much and putting pressure on yourself is not manageable or sustainable
- To nap or not to nap – I find naps do not suit me, they tend to make me have headaches and harder to sleep at night. But if your body needs to sleep more, then let it! Fighting your body and what it needs will make your illnesses worse.
- Slow down – slow living is a wonderful way to really enjoy life and so many people are turning away from the rush of life. Slowing down means doing one thing at a time and not rushing from one task to another, things that will help you if you have chronic illnesses.
- Rest between – Factor in time for a sit down between tasks, have a cuppa or just having a sit for a little while after completing each task is slow and steady and as we all know that wins the race.
I know it’s a long road to realise your own rhythm and to let go of the 9-5 mentality, but if you need a nap in the afternoon, or a lie in then do it. You are not lazy or faking, and that person asking why you don’t work does not need to know your medical history. You are worth the time and effort it takes to accept you are sick and need to change up your days in order to make your life better.
The importance of rest is something we need to learn as a society, people work themselves ragged just to try and survive that is what is wrong, not we who are disabled and chronically sick. I hope this helps you to see that, and I hope I can keep knowing that myself.
Thank you xx