What I Learnt from Being Stuck in Bed for Four Days.

Grab a cuppa – this is a long one! ūüôā

About a week ago, I was more ill than I have been for ages. (That is an occupational hazard of teaching though Рa lot of sickness bugs get shared around the school!) I had some kind of bad cold/flu that knocked me sideways for most of the week. I fell ill on the Saturday afternoon, and by that night I was feverish, coughing, and generally just feeling pretty awful. I stayed in bed all of Sunday and then, quite reluctantly, dragged myself to work on Monday. That was a bad idea.

I struggled through Monday at school, feeling lethargic and low in energy. I was coughing and wheezing through all my lessons, trying desperately to seem upbeat and positive. By the end of the day, I felt 10 times worse and my line manager promptly sent me home under strict instructions to get better.

So, I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at home. In bed. Feeling utterly useless.

And here’s what I realised – although I knew that I needed to rest, and I would be advising anyone in the same boat as me to do exactly that, I felt¬†incredibly guilty for taking two whole days out of work and out of my routine just to rest. I tried to go ahead with a personal training session but was luckily told by my trainer not to turn up at the gym, I felt awful for ‘making’ Chris prepare dinners and sort out the house, when actually it was totally his choice. I really didn’t know how to handle being this ill or, more accurately, how to hand over the control of my life to other people. I felt lazy and was itching to get back to school so that my colleagues wouldn’t think the same.¬†(Spoiler: They are lovely, caring people who would never say that about anyone who was ill.)

So why all the worry? Why did I find it so hard just to rest and recover?

I suppose I’m just so used to being¬†busy.
My job means that I’m on the go all day, often taking work home with me as well. I work at weekends, go to the gym when I can, wake up early to fit more into my day and spend my evenings wedding planning. I love being busy and it’s just become part of who I am. However, the shock to my system when I was forced to give all this up for a few days was unbelievable. I couldn’t adjust to suddenly feeling helpless and out of control. All I had was a cold, why on earth couldn’t I just get out the house and get stuff done?

Then I realised – I needed the rest.

My body needed to rest. It was unwell and it was never going to get better if I forced it through a school day, a workout and a few hours of admin. I needed to sleep, relax and recover.

Once I found peace with that, I coped a lot better.

I’m interested to know if any of you have been in the same situation – I’m sure that any of you who, unlike me, are self-employed or work from home, have certainly felt this guilt when you can’t do anything. But it is so important to give your body what it needs. Whether that is good food, lots of water, some exercise, or just complete rest. I got back to work on Thursday and now feel pretty much back to normal. If I hadn’t let my body recover for a few days, I’m certain that right now I’d feel just as awful as I did last weekend. If not worse.

Next time you’re ill and stuck in bed, try to see the upside. If you can, read a book. Or watch Netflix, or listen to a podcast. Enjoy whatever hobbies or relaxing activities you never normally have the time for, but can do with very little energy. Have a bath, curl up with your pet, eat comfort foods and drink Lucozade. When you decide to see this as a self-care opportunity rather that forced bed-rest, your mentality shifts to one of positivity and health, rather than negativity and sickness. (Remember, self-care doesn’t have to be really indulgent, sometimes it’s 100% necessary to just include low energy options to make you feel better.)

I hated being forced to rest, until I saw that it was exactly what I needed and that I could draw some positives from it if I really tried. I hope that in the future you can do the same ūüôā

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8 Low Energy Self-Care Ideas

In one of my recent posts, I discussed how I think that ‘traditional’ or ‘mainstream’ self-care suggestions aren’t always accessible. A long evening that starts with a bubble bath, moves on to a manicure and ends with a big nourishing salad eaten in peace sounds idyllic, but also isn’t something I have the energy or resources to do on a day when my depression or anxiety is biting me in the backside.

So what can we do to take care of ourselves when we’re having a bad mental health day, we’re low on time, or we just don’t want to go down the traditional pampering route?

Here are 8 ideas for simple activities or tasks that are 100% examples of self-care, should help you feel better, and don’t require you to have a ton of energy, time, or money:

  1. Get out of bed. Just roll out from under the duvet, slide your feet into a comfy pair of slippers if you have them, and stand up. That’s all you need to do to start a day where you feel better. Bonus points for making your bed, so you’re less tempted to climb back in.
  2. Wash your face.¬†Whether it’s a splash of cold water, the old reliable face wipe, or a full five-step skincare routine, this will make you feel more awake and just a bit more human. And on that note…shower-1502736_1280.jpg
  3. Have a shower.¬†Even if you all you can manage is to stand (or sit) underneath the water for 5 minutes, that’s okay. Again, human feelings will commence shortly.
  4. Put on comfy (but ‘outside acceptable’) clothes.¬†You know the ones I mean. Not pyjamas, but in many ways, even better. You could pop to the shops if you needed to, but you’re just as comfy as you need to be for a day at home.
  5. Make yourself a drink.¬†Hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, your favourite cup of coffee, a fancy mocktail, a green juice, or simply a tall, cold, glass of water. Get yourself a drink that will hydrate you, calm you, comfort you and refresh you. My only advice? Stick to non-alcoholic if you’re trying to look after yourself.
  6. Talk to someone.¬†Pick up the phone and call your mum. Text a friend. Talk to your cat. Do whatever you can to just share your brain with¬†someone. You don’t have to tell them what’s bothering you, just ask them about their day and get out of your own mind for a little while.mobile-phone-791644_1280
  7. Watch something comforting.¬†For me, it’s usually¬†The Simpsons, Friends¬†or QI.¬†You can always see what I’m currently watching here.
  8. Eat something colourful. Whether you take colourful to mean a big bowl of fruit or a handful of jellybeans, do what makes your soul feel good. You could even try baking something yourself, if you have the energy.

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Hopefully these are simple enough that they can help you on a low-mood, low-energy day. What are your go-to activities to make you feel better?

And if it is a bubble bath and a manicure – go for it!

 

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