Thursday, June 02, 2011

Lessons from an illness

This is Sammy, the cat who recently adopted us.
I think I need to take lessons from him on how to really relax. :)

Looking at my last post a month later, it seems I focused only on the negative aspects of acute bronchitis. And while it was indeed frustrating to be so sick and so unable to paint, or really do anything much, for over a month, I did find something positive to hold onto from the experience. And I don't mean the cough that sometimes still plagues me.

What I learned during that time was the importance of being able to stop doing and just BE.

I rested, I got enough sleep at night, I drank a lot of tea, and I let myself not care that I wasn't getting anything done and just focused on self-care. I even gave up caffeine because it made me cough, and made it hard to get the rest I needed.

As a result when I did finally start to get well, I felt better than I had in years!

I don't consider myself to be a workaholic or anything like that, but I usually feel like I'm not doing enough, because all around me our high-paced high-paced modern society tells me that I really should be moving faster and doing more at once than I usually do. And even though I don't agree with that, I still can find myself feeling guilty when I'm not running full tilt. But because I was sick, and didn't really have a choice, I could LET myself act on my real beliefs. I could give myself time to be self-aware and take care of myself. I could LET myself not be pushed around by this culture of do, do, do.

These past few weeks I've been catching up on a lot of the things I couldn't do during that time. I'm back in the studio working on a couple of commissions, taking a marketing course, getting back to my Yoga classes, and steadily catching up on the neglected house and yardwork (since my husband was sick at the same time, we were lucky when we were able to get the dishes done, and much less mow the grass). And I can feel my lessons from illness fading.

So I'm writing this post to remind me of these lessons, and to keep them with me so I remember to make time for downtime before it's forced upon me. Downtime would probably be a lot more fun if I wasn't coughing up a lung. ;)

And what about you? Do you let the pace of our modern society guilt you into doing too much and not letting your self BE? Does it take an illness to let you feel like you can give yourself the gift of self-care?