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  • Mary-Sue Cowell

I was Tired so I had a Nap. Period.

I am currently off work after surviving a cancer diagnosis, surgeries and treatment. An inexplicable side effect of this experience is fatigue. I say inexplicable because there is not one thing or a series of things that makes this worse or better on any given day. It just seems to be a state of being I find myself in during this season of my life. Doctors have identified it, there are programs to support you through it and I even work with an Occupational Therapist to support me with strategies and build up my stamina.

We all experience being fatigued, worn out, and or tired. It happens and sometimes it is worse than others but my question is where and why do we have guilt around slowing down and giving our body what it needs: REST and SELF CARE.

My current situation is cancer related and more invasive than fatigue or exhaustion I have felt in the past. However, I still struggle with winding down and giving my body the rest it needs. I do it but not before I make a list of what has to get done when I get up or going over in my mind all the things that "should" get done. Why do I need to make this list, where in our world did it become ok to be busy all the time and at our own expense.

I know you are out there... have you said this to yourself or others? "I don't have time to be sick. I have too much to do to take time to rest or have a nice bath. My list is too long." Or when we hear or see on social media that someone has taken time to do something nice for themselves, a pedicure, a workout, a walk whatever their self care might look like and we say, "Well that must be nice, I just don't have the time." Did we ever stop to think that everyone has things to get done and busy lives and maybe this person carves out time to do those things because they recognize the importance of doing this for themselves which in turn allows them to be the best they can be for themselves and those around them.

This life is hard and there will always be too much to get done, we have to take care of our relationships, dirty clothes, dusting and vacuuming, animals and the list goes on and on. There comes a point where our bodies say, "ENOUGH!" We might break down emotionally, or physically become ill and then we are forced to take the REST and SELF CARE we needed a week or two ago not because we want to but we are forced to. What if we (I) tried to do the SELF CARE along the way before my body intervenes on its own. I did this today. I felt tired and stopped and thought to myself what do I need? My immediate thought was a nap. I was in the car so that wasn't possible in that moment so I told myself that when I got home I could lay down and sleep because that is what I needed. I got home after my appointment and saw the dishes on the counter looked at the overflowing laundry basket and laid down in my bed (I actually got under the covers) and I slept. Period. No guilt, no list, no apology, I just had a nap that my body needed.

After I got up I was able to do a load of laundry put the dishes away and I thought to myself, somehow all of the little things get done even when I take time for myself. I may have to look at the dishes on the counter for longer but participating in SELF CARE and REST when needed allow me to look at those things and tackle them as opposed to sighing and uttering a cuss word.

My health is important, my life is important and I am going to TRY and take a deep breath more often and tune into what my body and spirit need. I will have some healthy self care strategies I can implement regularly before my body has to say, "THAT'S ENOUGH!"

I hope you will too. Period.

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