I can't be sick. I should be working, and taking care of the house, the kids, my to-do list. I will get so behind this is going to be horrible.
I recently read a piece by Liz Gilbert where she invited someone to see themselves as an animal. The wrap-up message was so powerful to me, "It's time for you to adopt yourself. God gave you stewardship over one dear and vulnerable animal: yourself. Can you embrace that responsibility?"
So many of my clients have a hard time being sick.
I know, I know we all have a hard time being sick. :) But I mean the type of hard, where stopping and taking care of themselves is not even an option because it gets in the way of whatever it is that they busy themselves with. Interesting right? We’ll give 200% to our job, our kids, our business and then we almost become slackers when it comes to our most important job, taking care of ourselves. Everything we do, everyone we support, everything, starts from and is fueled by, us. It’s so crucial that we are giving 100% to the care and maintenance of ourselves, taking the time to get quiet, rest, do our thought work, get back in touch with who we are. Yet most of us don’t feel like we have the time to allow for this.
I can’t afford to be sick, I hear. And I say, you actually can’t afford to not take care of yourself when you are sick. Everything can wait, and it will all still be ok. Especially of you let yourself believe this.
Invest in your inner world as well as the outer world.
The pay off on that is SO BIG. When we have a calm mind, feel rested, accept what we can and can’t do right now, and are connected to our real priorities, we are focused, powerful transformational women in the world. Anything is possible.
So how do we stay empower even when we are sick? How to be sick and feel good mentally can be challenging but it is totally possible. Illness can actually be a time of reprieve. Take advantage of this pause on life.
How do I do this? How do I rest when I am sick?
As with everything else, the answer is all in our head :). Thought work is still the most powerful tool I know for breaking through your resistance and stories about why you can’t possibly make time to take care of yourself. It’s hard to challenge thoughts you hold as truths, but it’s the most freeing thing you can do.
A little mental gymnastics trick.
Most of my clients worry themselves when they are sick, with all of the "shoulds" that they "should be doing." They beat themselves up for not being able to do their busy lives. They have a hard time relaxing into allowing themselves to rest, and sometimes this causes the illness to stay longer. Give yourself the gift of having a mental health day. If you are in bed and can't do much, don't resist it. Let yourself be lazy and comfortable, let your thoughts be loving and kind. Give yourself a mental health day, where you purposefully let go of any mind chatter that tells you that you should be doing anything else but resting. If you rest you will feel better. If you rest and worry and agonize the whole time, this precious time for a break could be wasted, and you will not feel as renewed when you get better. Just more stressed about what you have to do now that it has supposedly all piled-up. But this is a thought, and it comes from time-scarcity beliefs. Beliefs that there is not enough time to be sick. Of course there is, you are human and we all experience illness from time to time. It's part of life.
Let other people take care of you.
What, huh? Yep!
You don't have to be superwoman. It's not even ever possible really, and especially when you are sick. I know you want to be superwoman but I promise you the world will go on without you for a little while. Your colleagues can take the reins. You can do the bare minimum in your business to get by and still do a good enough job. Your partner can cook, do the dishes and take care of the kids and dog. Everything can wait. Can you try that thought on?
Be willing to be sick.
Be willing to be with the comfort and discomfort it may bring you to allow yourself to be sick and take care of you. Your gold mine is in aaaaaaaaaaall the thoughts that come up when you’re FINALLY laying at home resting and healing and, deep inside, still insisting that your body hurry up about it already. The compassion you show yourself will help you heal. Remind yourself that taking care of yourself is the most important thing to do. Without you, nothing else you do can be important. Give yourself the gift of time and compassion for yourself when you are not feeling well. This can be a great time to press pause, heal, and take a break.
If you get a cold or the flu or are laid up with a bum foot because you took a nasty fall, carrying a desk up the stairs of a villa in France like me, then for goodness sake be kind to yourself and watch how you are thinking about your circumstances. It can make all the difference in your experience and you can develop some love and gratitude for yourself and for those you love who come through and help you.