Oh, does it feel good to be typing again! I was down for the count for nearly a week with the flu and a severe lung infection. Let me preface this by saying, I hate being sick! I always have and as far as I can tell, I always will. And yes, nobody really enjoys being sick, but being bedridden with a fever and cough that just don’t quit, causes me immense anxiety. I feel useless and unproductive and I am left with nothing but a cocktail of meds and my racing thoughts.
But a dear friend of mine who relentlessly checked in on me throughout the week to ensure I hadn’t gone completely postal, reminded me of this. I was not being unproductive, I was just being productive in other ways. No, I wasn’t at school or at work or training for my upcoming marathon, BUT I was healing my body, which if you ask me, is one of the most useful and trying tasks that someone can undertake. Especially for someone who spent years actively trying to avoid anything that even resembled body kindness. I thanked this friend and then began thinking of all the lessons I learned from those 6 days spent in bed and in the hospital.
So, any of you out there who can relate to this fear of being unproductive and out of commission, listen up!
- Your body is smarter than you will ever be! I don’t care if you are Einstein himself, you are still not as intelligent as your bod. Listen to it. Listen to the little aches and pains, the exhaustion and the congestion. Listen to those signals, they are data points and ultimately how our bodies communicate with us. If I had heard this 10 years ago, I’d like to think the trajectory of my eating disorder would have been completely different and possibly even avoided altogether. I thought I was smarter, that I could apply “logic” and distorted truths to physiology that has been around way longer than myself and my “logic.” I was wrong. So very wrong.
- Sleep is not a matter of vanity; it is a matter of survival. We live in a world where we brag about how little sleep we got the night before and compare who has to drink the most coffee to get through the day. And I swear, I am 110% guilty of buying into this way of living. It’s almost like a badge of honor to know that you can get 2 hours of sleep, chug some coffee, and still be spectacular are your job… well, jobs. But I am here to tell you that this week proved to me that I was wrong. I was so damn wrong…again! Sleep is our reset button. It is when our brains grow and when our muscles relax. So, stop with the “I cannot believe how little sleep I got last night” BS, and go catch some ZZZ’s!
- You are not selfish or lazy for taking days off work or school to recuperate from being sick! You want to beat yourself up, but what good does that do? It just perpetuates this cycle of shame and self-doubt. Truly, the bravest thing you can do (especially if you are in recovery from an eating disorder) is standing up and laying your ass back down. There is shear strength in being able to know and respect your body enough to let it heal. It is blind courage being able to reach out for support and lean on those willing to help. You are not selfish. You are human. And that, my dears, is beautiful.
Written and contributed by Megan Rose.