So, last week, Hubby and I decided to take a vacation to recharge and reconnect. We had booked our usual isolated cabin, ironically called the love shack, and planned on spending three days just the two of us hanging out, enjoying nature and using the private hot tub. However, as is usually the case with us, the day before we were scheduled to leave, Hubby tested positive for COVID. Damn. There goes that plan.
But, instead of getting mad and annoyed and bitter, I considered the alternative. Yes, he had COVID but he was physically doing okay and we would still have the week off together and would now spend the time at home with a staycation. We snuggled in with all our hobbies, lots of good food and planned on hanging for the week. A few days later, I noticed a rash on my neck and following a quick appointment to the clinic, I was diagnosed with Shingles, again. Shingles, which usually shows up when my body is extremely stressed and run down. Double Damn. There goes that plan.
Except it didn’t. It shifted my plan, and my obvious need to rest. And for most of us, we can talk about how we need to rest, but usually don’t actually make time for it. Well, with both of us down for the count, unable to go anywhere due to spreading our grossness around, we were forced to just relax. Rest. And listen to our bodies. I write this at the end of this week and even with the change in plans, the ongoing illness and still feeling the remnants of stress, I actually rested. Listened to my body. Heard it. And said okay, fair enough.
So, for the last 9 days, I did exactly what I felt like doing. I napped for at least two-three hours each day. Sometimes twice a day and I did so without feeling any guilt about it. That was new for me. Yes, there was probably other things that I could be doing, but I didn’t let that change my mind. I felt tired so I slept.
I completed three and a half puzzles while binge watching some of my favorite old tv shows. It was nostalgic and relaxing and gave both my mind and stress a way to keep occupied while still feeling a sense of purpose. I did puzzles that were beautiful and summery and were a good way to focus on moving past my winter blues and to the lighter and sunnier days ahead.
I cross stitched and colored and did some scratch art. I worked on my book and read and spent some time online with my family. Laid on my bed with headphones on and just listened to some of my favorite songs. Read some funny jokes and watched silly videos. And then I also didn’t write or read or talk to anyone for days on end beside Hubby. I ate when I was hungry. Slept when I was tired. And did not put any pressure on myself to meet any standard or expectation to use my time “effectively.” I didn’t check my work emails. I didn’t pay any bills. I didn’t do any of my blogs. And I did not leave the house at all, besides to stand on my front deck in the sun for an hour or so.
And it is something that I, and most of the people I know, never get the chance to do. There is this pressure to keep yourself busy and that napping or doing any of the other hobbies I listed above is considered lazy. Am I lazy sometimes? Absolutely. Was I lazy this week? No. There has been months on end where I have been stressed with work, stressed about our fertility treatments, stressed out about the water issues in our house and stressed about the world and the war that is currently happening. My friends and loved ones, including Hubby, have been telling me to slow down, to take some time and to take care of myself before I burn the hell out. I didn’t listen, like usual. So, my body said, here you go, I am going to give you shingles. Now you have to bitch!
And, I did. I did all the things I love to do and did not feel bad about it. I took time that I never take for myself and allowed me to savor those moments as cliché as they sound. I spent quality time with Hubby without having to worry about anything or anyone else. I didn’t shower for days on end because I didn’t want to. And I read those books that have been sitting on my shelf for a year. And most important of all, I was reminded.
Reminded that I need to start listening to my body, not just when it is in crisis. Reminded that Hubby and I need to make time for each other regardless of life and its responsibilities. Reminded that I have a ton of hobbies that help me unwind, spend time with my thoughts and give me a sense of purpose. And I was reminded that all of us, not just me, need to take more time, make that time, to listen, to love and to just be sometimes. It is pretty damn powerful.