One of my amazing friends is feeling a bit poorly at the mo – so she put a shout out on fb for advice on how to kick the lurgie quick-smart. She got lots of great tips and suggestions – lemon and ginger tea, vitamin C, bone broth, echinacea, zinc. But the best piece of advice she got, from several very clever individuals, was to REST! Funnily enough, it’s the one she baulked at the most (being the little go-getter she is!) and so many of the comments from others were around just how hard it is to REST when we’re sick.
It’s quite ironic don’t you think – rest is physically the easiest thing to do, easier than traipsing to the health food store and buying a million vitamins, easier than concocting the perfect immune boosting green smoothie. But in our hectic little world these days we really, really struggle with the concept. “What do you mean I have to stay home from work and go to bed early – GASP!”
It’s hardly surprising though – not when you think about the messages we’re constantly surrounded with about how we don’t need to put up with the symptoms of cold and flu, or headache, or period pain, or allergies, or anything. Not in today’s modern world – we don’t need to let our pesky little fleshy human bodies interfere with our superhuman schedules and commitments.
There’s one television advert I particularly can’t stand at the moment. I bet you know it – its for a well known cold and flu drug, where a woman has a “very important task” to accomplish – taking a birthday cake to a party (!) and rather than give in to her darn cold she’s going to “soldier on” because she’s a “soldier-on kind of person”. Gah! I want to smack that woman in the head. Sweetie, you’re not going to get a medal for taking a birthday cake to a friend’s party when you’ve got the flu! Sorry, but if you’ve got the flu, I don’t want your germ-infested baked goods anyway!!
What I want is for you to listen to your body.
Getting sick and feeling run down is our body’s way of telling us that it’s not coping! It’s as simple as that. Sickness is a warning system that our body’s immune system is impaired, our equilibrium is out and we need to do something to restore, replenish and renew our body. Not disregard, disrespect and disempower it.
Now I know, I know. We all have commitments. Most of us are simply unable to stop 100pc of what we’re doing and confine ourselves to our sickbed for 48 hours. There’s still the school drop off to do, still babies to feed and change, still toddlers to entertain, still meals to cook, still dishwashers to be stacked. But how many of us actually even take it back to that level when we’re sick – just doing the bare necessities and calling in the troops to help us out at that time so that we can hop straight into our own bed once the kids are asleep? Nope, we generally tend to soldier on and still take our little poppets to their playdates, “make the most” of our sick day and do some groceries, or “just drop into the office” for an hour to pick up some files so we can work from home. Or dose up on drugs and keep soldiering on with every single everyday task we normally do – meanwhile whinging that we “just can’t shake this flu”.
We don’t need to soldier on. We need to rest. More specifically, we need to sleep.
When we’re asleep is the time our immune system can REALLY jump into full gear to sort out all those nasty bugs we come into contact with. It’s also the time our growth hormones amp up, allowing our cells to regenerate to strengthen our body.
Just yesterday I was supposed to have lunch with another one of my awesome friends (yes, they’re all awesome!). But half an hour before our lunch date she messaged to say she was just feeling S.H.I.T, so she was going to cancel and stay home and rest. Was I offended? Hell no. Did it destroy our friendship? Hardly. Is she feeling better today? Youbetcha.
So here’s my suggestion. Decide right now that you’re not going to be a “soldier on kind of person”, but rather the kind of person who listens to and respects their body, like my awesome friends. That next time you get the lurgie you’ll give yourself a break and spend the day in bed.
You can bake me that cake when you’re feeling better.
Until next time – live your best life.