chronic pain/illness,  recovery

putting rest at the top of your ‘to-do’ list

Today was spent in my pajamas.


BECAUSE I NEEDED IT!  I needed the rest!

Why are we so apt to feel guilty about a day of rest? We pride ourselves on how much is on our to-do list and how many checkmarks we put next to those items.

But WHY is that “success?”  What about our own self-care?  Shouldn’t making that a priority be at the top of our ‘to-do’ list?

Today my body was screaming at me. It was very obviously telling me that it needed sleep (Narcolepsy is one of my neurological side effects…..boy is THAT fun), it needed comfort food (mac n cheese was my jam today), and it needed a day of very few ‘s!

I’ve been having a rough go of it the last month or so due to some unexpected emotional stress in my life as well as pushing my body to the limit (being in Jackie’s wedding & visiting a friend in Boston this weekend.)  These were all WONDERFUL things but definitely added stress to my body that just shouldn’t be there.

I had an awful flare right after the wedding a few weeks ago, but thanks to my ‘frenemy’ steroids it only lasted about a week, thank God.  It was probably the worst pain I’ve been in since getting sober 4 1/2 years ago and although the urge to drink did not come over me (thank goodness,) I was reminded of why it was that booze became my pain medication in the first place.  And why so many of us chronic pain peeps seek out ways to dull the pain….when it’s that intense and is round the clock with no relief, you get desperate.

And listen peeps….I’m not some delicate flower…I gave birth twice with NO PAIN MEDS.  I’m badass!

Look at my beautiful Hobonichi Techo planner! I’m in LOVE with this thing!

After the flare, I went about my week last week doing my regular stuff-my meetings, socializing, and of course working on “Attitude of Gratitude with Chronic Pain” and working on the book.  I was sooooo very grateful to be back in the swing of things.

But our best friend and former neighbor who moved to Boston a few years ago was turning 50 last weekend, and we were involved in throwing a surprise party for him up there!  I was so grateful that I was better (or so I thought) and good enough to make the almost 5 hour trip.

And I was.  The trip was great, the party was a big success, our friend was moved to tears by the surprise.  Rob and I had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs on our weekend away.  But Sunday (the day after the party,) I woke up in the hotel room and could barely move.

All this party consisted of was socializing, chatting, eating, laughing, and seeing friends we hadn’t seen in awhile.  I wasn’t running, or bungee jumping, or doing backflips.

But oh em gee….the pain was unreal.

So basically what it means is that I did too much too soon.  And as hard as it is to admit that I cannot do the same things that any other 48 year old woman can do, I cannot.

I need rest.  Lots and lots of rest.  Without rest, I could really do damage to myself.  I HAVE done damage to myself.  And I’m no good to anyone, including myself, if I try to push through.  Pushing through is not a term that should be in the vocabulary of anyone with a chronic condition.  It doesn’t work for us!  You can push through with acute conditions, but we with chronic pain/illness…we need to make sure we put rest and self care at the TOP of our to-do list.

Whether it’s a day for our physical health/pain or a mental health day….WE NEED THESE DAYS!
And we should celebrate the nurture instead of feeling like we didn’t accomplish anything.  These days are the ultimate SUCCESS!


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Karin Goldberg

Terrific post, Lauren. I think that nurturing ourselves is the hardest thing for us to do. If we can allow ourselves this courage, this act of rebellion in our “check mark” oriented society then we will have accomplished another way to be in the world. And it will be contagious.