You wake up in the morning, feeling like you’ve been hit by a semi, but there is so much to do today. You want, need, to lay in bed, but who will get the kids ready for school? Who will pick up the house? Who will get the groceries and take care of the pets?
Today, not you. But while you’re laying in bed healing your body, you can’t sleep because you feel like everyone picking up your slack is angry at you. You’re not actually getting rest because you imagine them heavy sighing and silently cursing you while they do all the things you usually take care of. We all do it and it’s not a healthy way to live.
The first thing you should do is have a sit down conversation with the people you depend on. The ones who hold up your end of things when you’re down and out. Get their honest feelings and opinions about it because everyone should have a voice. You need to let them know what you are and are not capable of when you need a rest day.
Personally, on my very bad days, I can get up to get the kids off the bus and I can make dinner. Other than that I am fairly useless. My husband and I have a very good understanding between us of what I need when my body is screaming for rest. He doesn’t like to see me in pain any more than I like being in pain. We understand that pushing myself will make that pain worse so I stay in bed and let my body heal. We talked about this when it started getting bad so now we both know what to expect on those days.
Communication really is key. It can feel embarrassing, overwhelming, like you’re accepting defeat, but if you were throwing up with the stomach flu would they question you staying in bed? Chances are they’d lock you in there and bring you crackers and ginger ale. Being sick isn’t always acute and this sickness may be a forever thing so it needs to be talked about. Clearing the air early on will save you a lot of stress down the road and help to establish each others needs and boundaries.
Even when I am in tears from pain, I go get my kids off the bus. I need that for me. I usually need a nap after but seeing them after school is our thing and they depend on that piece of normalcy when, usually, it’s the only normalcy we have. They can climb into bed with me and work on homework, read, watch a movie together, or just talk about their day. Then after I’ve rested I get up and make dinner because that’s important to me. My husband works long days and the least I can do for him is have dinner for him when he gets home. And bonus, it makes me feel like I’ve done something normal and human that day so we both win.
Don’t think people aren’t willing to offer you help. Sometimes, all it takes is a little education on something they don’t entirely understand. Knowing how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally on your bad days will give them a better indicator and a little direction as to what you need from them on those days. I lived with the guilt for way longer than I care to admit but once I started taking my husband to appointments he understood what I was dealing with. When I pushed myself to do more than my body could handle we were both miserable and it was no way to live. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t wait until your body gives out from needing rest so desperately that you’re feeling too guilty to allow it. You are worth so much more than the guilt you carry leads you to believe.