Rest is important. Yet we live in a world where the masses worship at the alter of busyness. We try to appear productive, so others will perceive us to be important.
In a society where worth is tied closely to output, rest is often placed on the back burner, sometimes forgotten entirely. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of this.
For the last nine months, I have allowed myself 12 to 16 hours of sleep each day because “my body needs it.” Yet, I often deny my body’s pleads for more. When left undisturbed, I sleep for 21+ hours at a time.
Clearly, my body needs rest.
Instead of sleeping, I insist that I have things to do. I can’t afford to sleep all day. What about laundry, dinner, and errands? Though my boyfriend has graciously taken on all of the day-to-day chores, I can hear my ego rattling on about how I need to contribute–to assert my importance, to prove my value.
Prior to developing cocci, I would wake naturally and feel fully rested after six hours. Sixteen hours feels execssive and extravagent, no matter how I reframe it.
The last several days, I have been been plagued by the worst headache of my life. The dreaded “LP headache” has presented itself in a way that suggests a cerebrospinal fluid leak. Every small movement makes my head feels as if it’s under attack–the sharp blow of cannons paired with the flooding pressure of a sinking ship. And yet, I still insist on chopping, loading, and folding.
I just got off the phone with my infectious disease doctor. She told me to lie flat and rest for the next week to help resolve the headaches. This is, perhaps, the largest horse-pill I’ve ever had to swallow.
For too long, I have been denying my body the rest it needs: from its initial silent tug on my shirt sleeve a few years ago, up until its overly-dramatic temper tantrum at my feet these last several months.
Our bodies are imbued with the wisdom of generations; if our physicality insist on, counter-culturally, spending 90% of each day sleeping, perhaps it would serve us to listen.
Busyness achieves nothing, particularly when cognition and focus are impaired. I am facing this reality head-on every single day. And I am realizing that perhaps three hours of semi-rested wakefulness hold more value than struggling to fight through eight hours of extreme fatigue.
I am seeing now that one focused and intentional activity contains the same feel-good potential as a “normal” day filled with several accomplishments.
The half-dozen doctors I’m working are all shocked that my body has not responded to the high-dose anti-fungal medication. I was too, until I started paying closer attention to my body. I am endlessly tired, yet continually striving for optimal output. I’ve put aside my maternal instincts, forcing my body to stay awake and perform mundane tasks. It’s no wonder its acting out.
My body needs rest, and must set my ego aside in order to give myself permission to rest and recover. It’s time to apply for short-term disability and gift my body consistency, rather than sleeping in my office and limiting time off to the worst of days.
Rest is important, and it really is time I begin treating it as such.