My calendar says I’m recovering that day

April 19, 2016

I used to call them do-nothing days. Or resting days. Or dead days. Lately I’ve been calling them Recovery Days. Because that’s what they are. I’m not doing nothing, I’m recovering!Recovery Day

Our culture says that a day of watching tv when you should be buying groceries and cleaning and going to a job and and and…. is lazy. I say that if you have a chronic illness, sometimes it’s necessary.

I had a recovery day yesterday. I could have pushed myself. I had a long list of things to do. If I’d pushed myself I might have been able to get a couple of things done. But I wouldn’t have gotten far on that list, and I would have done things badly. Then I’d have felt lousy today and I’d have barely gotten anything done at all. Sound familiar?

I used to push myself. At the time it seemed like a good idea. Now I know that pushing myself too much just means I’ll eventually hit the wall and I won’t be able to do anything at all.

So instead I took a Recovery Day. I didn’t leave the apartment. I read. I watched tv. I heated up leftovers for meals. That was it.

And today I felt better! I was able to go out and run errands. I’m sitting in a chair and writing this now (not an easy thing!) For me, that’s a super productive day.

Sometimes my Recovery Days are predictable. I can look at my calendar right now and tell you that I’ll be taking a Recovery Day on Sunday, so that’s blocked out on my calendar. I knew I’d probably be taking one yesterday, too, but I wasn’t completely sure until around 10am. I could just feel it, and there was no doubt it’s what I needed.

I used to take Recovery Days 3-5 days per week. If I left the house for an hour, the next day would be a Recovery Day. These days I’m feeling better and I only need them 1-2 times per week – yay! Of course, even now I have bad weeks, too. Sometimes a Recovery Day means spending all day in pajamas and doing nothing but watching tv. Sometimes it’s multiple days of that. Yesterday I felt better and was able to read a novel for a while. All that really matters, though, is that I gave my body the rest that it needed, in the form that it needed.

I know I’m lucky. I don’t have children or anyone else to take care of. I’m not working (though that’s not exactly a good thing.) So I’m able to spend an entire day indoors. I’m able to rest when I need to. But there are other things I should do on my Recovery Days that I can’t. I accommodate myself the best that I can. That’s all any of us can do.

You might have noticed that I’ve been capitalizing Recovery Day. That’s because it’s IMPORTANT! I think we don’t give ourselves enough credit for how hard these days are. We let culture pressure us into thinking we’re not doing enough when in reality we’re doing so much. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to get through these days. I’d rather go to the gym for 4 hours than need some of these Recovery Days. But I don’t have a choice, and I accept that (but it took me many years to finally accept it.)

How do you feel about your Recovery Days? Are you willing to rest when your body needs it? What do you do? How do you handle it? Please let me know in the comments so we can learn from each other!

Even “healthy” people need time to recover

September 6, 2015

We get so used to dealing with pain every day, it’s easy to forget what a huge effect an acute incident can have on our health.

It’s easy to see “healthy” people and assume they heal quickly and easily from every malady. I get a “cold” that knocks me on my ass for a full week, with fever, chills, congestion, and plenty of other symptoms. The friend who gave me the cold goes about their regular routine while dealing with the sniffles for a few days. So when I react poorly to a new condition, I always assume someone “healthier” would have healed quickly.

That’s why I was giving myself a hard time this week. The incident involved my own clumsiness, a chef’s knife, a visit to the emergency room, and stitches. The day of the incident was horrible. The pain was horrific. The fear was deep. The next day was much better, but still painful. The day after that I assumed I’d be fine, so I was shocked when I wasn’t. I’m used to dealing with pain, so what was the problem?

A friend reminded me that “healthy” people need time to recover from something like this, so I should give myself time, too. My uncle reminded me of having to care for my aunt (his wife) last year when she had a biopsy in a location similar to where I was cut and spent 3 weeks recovering. And her operation was planned, whereas mine was clearly more physically traumatic. Story after story reminded me that “healthy” people take a while to recover from these things, so I should give myself a break, too.

After 3 days at home, I went out briefly yesterday. It was exhausting, but it felt good to be out and around people. Today, though, I’m resting again. I’m exhausted. I’m in pain. And I know I need a break.

I don’t have to worry about rushing to a job. I have enough food to last me a few more days. Sure, I have things to do. I’d like to cook and do laundry and read and work on a few projects, but I’m giving myself a break. Because if a “healthy” person needs time to recover from something like this, then I need even longer.

How do you handle acute injuries? Do you give yourself recovery time, too?

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