Welcome to the ninth day of the 2020 Love Blog Challenge! Today’s prompt is Acceptance. Check out the announcement post for all the prompts and rules this month. You can still join the link-up for yesterday’s topic, Little things.
With over 20 years of living with Crohn’s Disease, I’ve learned a thing or two about acceptance.
Acceptance of experiencing explosive diarrhea or painful vomiting in public restrooms. Sometimes both.
Acceptance of spending most of my life on medication.
But one thing I struggled to accept was my need to rest. My need to sleep more than others. My need to stop and take care of my body when all I wanted to do was go go go.
Oh, sure, I was pretty consistent in college about getting seven hours of sleep most nights. Even in high school, I skipped social invitations on weeknights because I otherwise wouldn’t get enough sleep between my homework and my extracurricular activities.
But there’s a difference between prioritizing sleep on a semi-regular basis, and truly accepting that I physically can’t do everything that able-bodied people can do.
A horrific case of shingles last year changed all of that.
On our way out of town to celebrate our wedding anniversary, Dan and I stopped at Kroger’s The Little Clinic. I was worried about a rash on my neck and increasing pain. The medical professional took one look at me and said it was classic shingles.
That was a fun anniversary weekend, as the pain grew worse and fatigue overwhelmed my body. My sweet and wonderful husband took everything in stride, enjoying books on the hotel balcony while I napped.
Unfortunately, only three things can really clear up shingles.
Anti-viral medication, which luckily I started taking within 48 hours of the rash appearing on my body.
Rest and time. Not a great combination for an impatient woman who likes to lead an active life.
But for that first week, I rested. I slept 11-12 hours every night, and I napped another 1-3 hours every day. I took lukewarm baths filled with anti-itching and pain relief ingredients. No creative work. No household chores. After a week of rest, I finally felt up to doing a few hours of blog work… and I exhausted myself so much that I immediately needed a 3-hour nap.
For the first time in my life, I accepted my need to rest. I accepted that my physical needs are different than most people’s. That doesn’t make me lazy or entitled or worthless.
The pain and the rash cleared up fairly quickly.
But the fatigue?
The fatigue lingered for months.
And even though I was (still am) frustrated by the fatigue, I accept it.
I no longer set alarms in the morning, unless I absolutely need to be up by a certain time. If I really need an afternoon nap, I let myself take a nap.
Having shingles convinced me to stop fighting my need for rest.
But it also taught me what rest really is. Rest isn’t just about a lack of physical movement. Sometimes just working on my computer can wear me out, even when I’m physically comfortable. If I’m too tired to work, but not tired enough to sleep, it’s okay to read a book or watch TV. Rest doesn’t have to be sleep for it to matter.
Guilt still lingers over my levels of productivity, but my guilt has certainly lessened. My psychiatrist helped me see that I was expecting too much from myself, just as a regular person, let alone a person with Crohn’s Disease and depression.
What I do doesn’t define who I am.
My worth as a human being comes from God, not from a capitalistic viewpoint on worker output.
Dealing with shingles absolutely sucked, but I am wiser for it.
Meet Your 2020 Love Blog Challenge Hosts!
Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. On her blog and social media, you’ll discover more than authentic storytelling–she’s brutally honest about pursuing a fulfilling and joyful life even with Crohn’s Disease and depression.
Pam is a former teacher turned work at home mom to two little boys. She blogs about motherhood and all it’s messy moments on her blog Hodge Podge Moments. She also shares play based learning activities at Little Learning Moments.
Laura is a part-time artist hoping to go full time some day. She has a little black bucket list book filled with adventures. She writes with the hope to inspire. She’s known to be quite the workaholic sometimes. She’s an INTJ-A, and she believes a cup of hot tea can solve almost anything. Laura embraces perseverance. She’s spent a lot of time emerged in self-discovery practices over the last several years, and finds she is still learning as she goes. She is here in the blogging world because she believes the buzz about self-care, wellness, and self-love needs to be heard. You can also find her writing over at www.blogfivebiz.com chatting about blogging and business stuff.
What does rest mean to you? How do you take out time to rest?