As some of you may have heard about a week and a half ago I got very sick with the flu. It was sudden and felt like it had come out of nowhere. In hindsight I can see how it all unfolded, the late nights, stressful long days at work, no self care, looming deadlines for my blog and all the pressure I was placing on myself to get EVERYTHING done all at once. Sleep became a luxury and I was not nearly nourishing my body enough with healthy organic meals as much as I normally would.
Now we all have excuses as to why we overwork and undernourish our bodies from time to time, but why has this habit become an accepted part of our lives?
Is it that we feel that we don’t work hard enough, give to others enough, create enough meaning in our lives or even simply that we feel we don’t deserve to take time off for ourselves that we feel we have to work hard all the time?
For me personally that has definitely been the case. I had overcommitted, overworked and overdone everything in my life. The last few weeks had been HUGE. Launching my blog and committing time and energy into this space has definitely taken hard work and long hours and I simply exhausted myself. Not to mention working part time, studying, tutoring and spending time with my boyfriend, family and friends had taken its toll on me.
These commitments over the last few weeks had completely snow balled out of control and I was wrecked.
I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out to the point that again I completely disregarded my emotions and battled on!
Thursday morning I woke up absolutely wrecked I was definitely not well enough for work, however due to my shift work job it was too late to call in sick. I dragged myself out of bed and as usual rushed to work.
There I was trying to work and this overwhelming sense of anger came over me.
“Why on earth didn’t I just call in sick?! Jasmin you ALWAYS do this”
Yep it’s true even when I’m sick I generally would always go to work. But this time was different. See I’ve learned a lot about self care and self love in the past 12 months and I knew this was the time to put into practice what I had learned. No longer was it ok for me to go to work unwell and put up with it just for the sake of it.
And then I realised that’s why I had gotten so angry with myself. I was angry because NOW I KNEW BETTER.
Ahh it was a big realisation and lesson learned for me and boy did it feel great.
That was until I had spent 2 days in bed sleeping and doing absolutely nothing. Then I just became annoyed and frustrated all over again.
At that point I became frustrated and very impatient. I kept telling myself “Jasmin you don’t have TIME to be sick!” There it was again, my ego telling me things that I had been conditioned to believe to be true.
But I clearly hadn’t learned my lesson. Clearly there was something else that I had been missing.
A few days passed and I had started to feel somewhat better and thought I could resume my daily tasks but early that afternoon I started having problems breathing and my health deteriorated further. My cough had developed into a chest infection, which after 3 hours sleep that night I reluctantly made my way back to the doctor on Sunday. A prescription for antibiotics later I realised I had no other choice. I had been to the doctors a few days earlier purely for the sake of a doctors certificate for work, but I had walked out with a number of prescriptions which I knew were not of any benefit for me. I felt like they had been an almost knee jerk reaction by the doctor, prescribing the usual medications without really assessing my symptoms.
The reason I have been so wary of taking antibiotics is due to the fact that as a child I grew up taking numerous courses of antibiotics every year for terrible bouts of tonsillitis. The doctors would recommend that I had the removed on several occasions however I was a stubborn child so to the dismay of my doctors I refused to have them removed.
That was until age 22 when I had finally had enough and had them removed. After years of taking antibiotics I had jeopardised my health. My immune system wasn't functioning properly and my liver had been overloaded causing a variety of health issues including candida, leaky gut and hormonal issues.
Let’s just say I haven’t been a fan of modern medicine for quite a few years and after I had my tonsils removed I vowed never to take antibiotics again.
That was until I got so sick this time with the flu and my chest infection that I decided I really didn’t have any other choice. The chest infection was painful and unbearable and I desperately needed sleep. It was only a 3 day course of antibiotics compared to the 10 day course prescriptions I had been so used to taking I decided it wasn't so bad.
It’s been a week and a half now and I am still not feeling 100% and I’ll admit a generally always bounce back a lot quicker than I have this time. I know now that I completely overworked and over committed myself to things that I deep down I knew I just couldn’t handle.
So what have I learned?
Listen to your body
Your body knows best. Spend each day connecting to and listening to your body. If your body is worn out and tired, it will tell you so make sure you listen. Take time out to rest and look after you and try not to worry about what other people may think, often we are much harder and critical of ourselves than anyone else.
Nourish yourself every single day
Be conscious of the food that you are eating every single day. When you view food from the perspective of nourishment rather than eating to stop hunger you will start to make better decisions about what foods you decide to put into your body. Listen to your cravings (as long as they aren’t of the junk food variety) and nourish yourselves with these foods. Cravings are often a sign that your body is lacking certain vitamins and minerals so make sure you listen and nourish yourself with high quality and organic produce.
Trust yourself and know your limits
Only you know what your limits are. If you are sensing feelings of overwhelm and extreme stress, don’t be afraid to cut back in areas of your life that you feel are causing these emotions to come up in the first place. When we come from a place of understanding and trust we can make smarter choices about the things we spend our day doing and live a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Medicine has its place in our healthcare system
As much as I have been skeptical about the use of medicine to treat illness I now understand it does have its place. Sometimes the body needs help to fight infections or illness. I guess the thing that has bothered me in the past is the fact that doctors tend to over prescribe and under inform the patient on the best possible options for treatment. Our healthcare system has now become a vicious cycle of over medicating to the point that patients just blindly take what they have been prescribed without giving it any extra thought and this has certainly become an accepted part of our society. Doctors must ensure patients are being well informed and are given the best possible options for treatment for whatever medical condition or illness they may have. Also most of the time good old fashioned rest and nourishing foods will help heal the body back to health. We have certainly taken away power from our bodies and undermined its incredible healing mechanisms.
Slow down and work smart!
Prioritise, write lists and set yourself allocated days and times to get things done. I have found I also need to schedule ‘me’ time more and not feel guilty about doing so. It’s not always possible to get everything done in one day so prioritise and work through each item on the list day by day. There will always be something on that list, take each day as it comes and set the intention to get things done but don't exhaust yourself some days its just not possible! And remember It’s all about working smarter not harder!
Have you also experienced getting sick and not listening to your body? What implications has this had on your health? And what did you do heal your body back to health?
Please feel free to share your comments below.
Love Jasmin xx