7 Lessons Learned From My Sick Bed
This past week had me sick in bed in a pile of tissues. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t fun. However in my slug-like state I was a reminded of a few things we forget all too quickly when we’re feeling good rushing about in life. Each time I suffer through another sickness I curse myself and wish I would remember these truths:
- You can’t do it all right now. Stop trying to! We are not super heroes, we are not robots. We are humans and we have these strong yet vulnerable bodies that need to be taken care of. When we pile our calendars and schedule full with overflowing tasks and activities, even if they’re what we love, it pushes us towards overwhelm and eventually burnout. Then you land sick in bed (me right now!). If you want to by-pass the sore throats and extreme exhaustion keep space in your day and your life. Take a day off where you do absolutely no work: no emails, no housework, no hard work. Ironically when you take time to play and rest you actually are more productive when you go back to your work. Check out The Smart Way vs. Sick Day for more on this thought.
- It doesn’t need to be perfect, it never will be. Sometimes the mantra, “This is good enough” comes in handy. Especially when your perfectionist tendencies take over and have you up late tweaking things that were good to go three days ago. When you painstakingly obsess over little details you often miss the bigger picture. Focus on why you are doing whatever you’re doing in the first place. Most of the time we nitpick at our work out of fear that what we’re putting out there isn’t good enough. Trust that it is, trust that it’s enough. You’ll make yourself sick trying to make everything exactly the way you wanted. Pick what’s most important to you, stay true to that, and let the rest go.
- You don’t always have to be improving and achieving. I’m super guilty of this one. As a coach and personal growth junkie, I feel like if I’m not growing I’m dying. The truth is, if I’m not growing I might be resting, or restoring, or laughing, or releasing. If you’re constantly going after goals, climbing to the top, and reaching for more it’s exhausting. Give yourself little pit stops along the way to catch your breath and enjoy where you’re at. Celebrate the work you have done and let yourself live and be in the moment. When we’re always looking ahead to what we want we miss out on a lot of joy that’s going on right here right now.
- Your health is your foundation. When your body isn’t healthy and energized everything else is more challenging. You can’t really do much without a optimally functioning physical body. Nurture it, and love it. It’s the only one you get this lifetime, and it’s yours to use of misuse. Make it a top commitment to take care of yourself by eating food that best meet your dietary needs, getting plenty of water and sleep, and taking time off from strenuous work and activity.
- Give, and also receive. Especially with women I see a pattern of “over-giving” or over-extending ourselves to help and serve others, and forgetting we need the same attention and care ourselves. It’s a beautiful thing to share your gifts and compassion with the world, but don’t do it to the extent that you forget about YOU. Serve yourself first so you can better serve the ones that need your support. How do you fuel yourself up? How can you practice the art of receiving and restoring? Every so often splurge on a treat for yourself: spend time and money of something that lights you up.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Arianna Huffington recently said it in her latest book Thrive, “Sleep your way to the top.” When you’re well rested you are more focused, understanding, and make better choices through out your day. If you’re getting less than 7 hours a night, you’re missing out on both higher levels of energy during the day and precious recovery time while your resting atop your pillow. Set an alarm at the end of the day that goes off an hour before you want to be in bed. At that point stop any work, turn off extra electronics, and start winding down. Take a bath, turn down the lights, and get yourself in the mood to dose off into a deep sleep. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
- Support is all around you, don’t be afraid to ask for it. When you’re struggling it can feel like you’re utterly alone in whatever you’re going through, sickness or otherwise. Reach out to your friends and family, and you’ll be surprised how readily they’ll come to the rescue for you. When you don’t have the energy to do it all, delegate it out. When you can’t add one more thing to your to-do list, say no and recommend someone else who might be great for the task. Almost everything is more fun with a friend, so cozy up with someone in your moment of need and feel the love that surrounds you. Hint: People don’t know you need help unless you ask.