Care for Yourself First

I apologize for not posting a new blog entry last week, but between putting in over 25 hours of overtime during the weekend while dealing with a cold and bad cough, I had little energy to spare. Last Monday I also had afternoon and evening classes to teach, so my typical blogging time was usurped by job duties. I had Tuesday off and thought about posting something then, but I ended up asleep on the couch with the dog all day. And I definitely needed that rest.

Often when things get busy, many people will push through illness or exhaustion until the work is done. I’m one of those people, and it’s gotten me into trouble a time or two. Minor sickness can become prolonged if we don’t take care of ourselves when our bodies demand it. (Right now I still have a lingering cough although the rest of my symptoms disappeared days ago.) It can be hard to slow down and take time for ourselves when there are others depending on us to pull our weight, but we need to remember that we won’t be able to do anything if we push past our bodies’ limits.

Having mono during the 2017-2018 winter taught me how to pace myself when life gets busy. Holiday season brings numerous extra activities to my weekly life, but during that previous year, I was forced to pick and choose what I could and could not do. I learned to leave evening meetings early so that I could get a full night’s rest on work nights. I decreased my level of participation in certain holiday concerts and changed the methods of practice I did on my own for the music I could play. These changes helped me stay active and present with the people who are used to having me around to share the work of holiday activities without overwhelming my physical capabilities at the time.

The cold I caught last week started while I was away at my training conference, and I did my best to relax during the week before the two-day festival that my office organizes for our county every spring. Despite those efforts, the weekend still managed to knock me on my ass once everything was wrapped up. I may have slept all day Tuesday, but I didn’t feel like I truly caught up on rest until this weekend. Still, I could have ended up much sicker had I not paced myself the week before.

Now that I’m feeling better, I’m catching up on some reading and making plans for projects that I did not have time to start earlier. As spring comes into full bloom, my work schedule may turn more irregular with classes and non-work related activities, but these things will make my days move quicker and leave me feeling energized. And as long as I take care of myself, I’ll be able to enjoy the days ahead and accomplish the goals I set for myself.

So I encourage you to take care of yourselves too. Don’t push yourself beyond what your body can tolerate when you’re sick, even if it seems like just a minor cold. Don’t let a minor illness turn into a lingering sickness out of stubbornness. It’s okay to put down some of the workload and manage your time for yourself in order to heal or stay healthy. Caring for your needs first will help you to take care of others needs more successfully.


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