In my early 20’s I came down with a horrible cough that wouldn’t go away, and my very experienced doctor, who had been practicing for 57 years before he finally retired, swabbed my throat and then disappeared to a dark room just beyond my view. There, he prepared a slide and viewed it under a microscope to arrive at my diagnosis – a rare, old-school approach to medicine these days, I’d say.
It turned out that I had strep throat, and I can still remember his wise words reminding me that “if only people would stay home and rest, rather than trying to work through their ailments, medication wouldn’t be such a necessity.”
And then he wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic.
But I’ve long since remembered his words, and I do my best to slow down and rest when my body tells me that’s what it needs. Listening to my body has become an integral part of my self-care practice, and yesterday it told me loud and clear…though I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.
Immediately after donating blood earlier in the morning, I became light-headed, sweaty and faint. (Apparently my body prefers having more blood to less blood.) I got to know the phlebotomists on the bloodmobile quite well, as I spent the next several minutes lying on my back with my legs elevated. With ice packs stuck to my neck and chest, I chatted it up with some of the other donors about fly fishing and other random topics. And while I always enjoy meeting new people, that isn’t exactly how I imagined spending my morning.
Finally, I felt well enough to stand and drive home, but I still wasn’t feeling myself. I felt weak, and I knew that my plans for the day were shot. I was worthless.
I experienced a similar reaction earlier in the year, after donating for the first time in more than a decade. That time I chalked my light-headedness up to not drinking or eating enough beforehand, so this time around, if anything, I was over-prepared.
But for whatever reason, my body apparently doesn’t like to share when it comes to blood, and I was forced to spend the remainder of my day rehydrating and resting.
Resting doesn’t come easily for me either. I have several projects in progress, and I don’t like to sit still. Nevertheless, I’ve learned that listening to my body is one of the most important things I can do for my health.
Taking time to fully recover from life’s stressors, whether physical and emotional, is vital to our health.
Do you give yourself adequate time to rest?