Being a Good Patient

Being a Good Patient

pexels-photo_appleI have been home sick the last two days, and I am going a bit stir crazy. I realize now that I am a terrible patient. I immediately try to negotiate with the doctor about how much time I realistically need to rest, and feel many guilt pangs for not being able to work on my projects as planned. Not a single person has been unsupportive to my being under the weather, well, except for me. How is it that if my husband is feeling ill, I immediately encourage him to call in sick, but I do not afford myself the same luxury? It actually pains me to not physically go into work, even though if I were there right now, I would just be a contagion risk. I realized this morning while figuring out what the heck I was going to do for another day home sick, besides going back to my doctor, that my restlessness is just a symptom of a bigger issue. Feeling a lack of a control for someone who is a planner like me is downright miserable. It is not that my days are jam-packed from morning to night; that would not be a very balanced life. But my days are certainly scheduled. Scheduled in a way that allows me to be productive, yet affords me the right mix of activities that are just for me (going to the gym in the morning, writing in my journal with a cup of tea before bed). The predictability that flows from having a schedule feels like the light at the end of the tunnel when I have had a particularly challenging day at work but know that I get to go home and do something I enjoy rather than just collapse aimlessly on my couch for the next few hours before I have to go do it all over again. A drastic change in my schedule, therefore, feels like being in a state of limbo. How much do I exert myself? Do I complete my daily chores, or just continue resting (i.e. binge watching Toddlers and Tiaras?). I don’t have all of the answers but I have sort of come to the realization that “forced” days off can really function as a reset button. Instead of approaching it as a lost day of YouTube cat video watching in your pajamas, ask yourself if you are happy with the way your life is going. Think about things big and small that are impacting you positively and negatively and what kinds of changes you can make that would make it easier for you to live truly meaningfully. Write down short-term and long-term goals, and what are some immediate action steps you can take to begin achieving them. On your next “normal” day, start implementing the action steps from your day off. Computers for all they do, have a system restore, and I would like to think that we deserve a little guilt-free reset ourselves here and there. I’m already feeling like a better patient to myself, and that is probably the best kind of medicine for a healthy and balanced life.

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