February 18, 2014

6 Lessons I Learned While Resting My Sickness Away. ~ Anjali Mani


This past week I was struck with a horrible case of the flu.

Usually when I start to feel sick, I am able to shake it off within a couple of days. I have my home herbal remedies; I have some aromatherapy oils and drink lots of fluids to help me get through it. When I began to realize that this case of the cold was something more than that, I began to panic.

I can’t get sick.

I have to be well.

I have so much to do. 

But when sickness hits us, it comes with full force. We have two choices. Either we continue fighting it, making ourself miserable with the constant chatter in our head or we embrace it, let the healing power within us work its magic—along with some wonderful medication to get us to feel better. Okay, maybe the medication is not wonderful, and maybe it makes us feel nauseous, weak. But it serves a purpose, and the trick for me this time was to find a way to make it work for me.

But boy did I have an internal journey to get to that point. It first started with my body getting weaker and weaker. Then, I found myself feeling lethargic (Notice the word I use. It’s not tired, It’s lethargic). I emphasize this word because in its weird way, it shows judgment on my part.

I hate feeling sick.

But think about it; who likes it? Nobody does. All I wanted to do was just sleep and sit. I would be staring at the wall for hours or the TV for hours, and I didn’t know what had possessed me.

I began to start playing games with my mind or rather, that feeling of criticism creeped into me.

How can you just lay there?

You have so much to do. Use this time to do that.

Don’t just sit there idly. 

So this feeling of not being productive was consuming me, while I was supposed to be resting and feeling better. I knew what I was doing was wrong. (Notice judgment again!) I knew I needed to allow myself that time to heal and rest because that is exactly what my body needed.

It needed rest, and it was telling me it needed rest. But the mind doesn’t like to rest. The mind wants to move, wants to feel powerful, feel productive, feel as if it is performing. And this is what I found myself doing during the week—a game of sorts between my mind and body. But this time, the game was different. This time I was totally conscious of what my mind wanted, and what my body needed.

I realized that I needed to come to terms with what my mind was pushing me to do. Or rather, just let it vent out so that once all the venting was out, my body would rest. Until I accepted my resistance to rest completely, I could not heal. I needed to allow myself that.

I allowed myself to just sit and watch Indian soaps that made absolutely no sense, but was the only thing that I enjoyed during this week. I gave myself permission to rest—to be in bed and sleep for as long as I could and not feel guilty. If I read a book, I didn’t feel guilty for not wanting to write. And the more I gave myself permission to do so, the more I settled into feeling my sickness and allowing my body to heal.

I began to take notes to myself about thoughts that randomly emerged when I would be laying down, and these are just some simple observations that came through which I will share with you.

We take our bodies for granted.

What if we were bound to our bed due to an illness which can occur at any time? I began to remember the times when I was working at the nursing home, and the residents were dependent on another individual for their physical needs. A sense of gratitude and empathy came over me during this time. I will not take my body for granted, and I will be more understanding.

Breathing is as important as sleeping.

Every time I focused on my breath, it brought me back to center. It made me feel relaxed. I felt more at ease.

Mortality exists.

Our mortality, although can be a morbid topic, can occur at any time. Sometimes it is played out and drawn out.  I think of my grandmothers who are 95 and 93. How much have they witnessed and continue to witness day in and day out?

Other times, it can happen in a flash of a second.

What do we do with our time? Have we made preparations in the event something happens to us?  I kept thinking of my son. What would happen to him? And it was, although uncomfortable, an honest conversation that needed to be had with my husband.

Laughing is as good as medicine.

I had my partner in crime, my husband, sick with me at the same time. And I have to say, it was a blessing because we laughed together even though we were miserable. And it helped our healing process even more.

Be grateful for the support in our lives. Accept help when it comes our way.

My mother came to our rescue during this time, and I don’t know what I would have done without her stubbornness and insistence that our son stay with her. She allowed us to get the proper rest our body needed.

By Saturday I was beginning to feel like my normal self again, although not 100%.

Being sick was a lesson in life for me—rest is as important as work!


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Assistant Editor: Kerrie Shebiel/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: elephant archives



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