Thursday, 30 June 2016

On sickness, pressure and mental energy reserves.

Recently I was pretty unwell. I had a bad case of flu and because i'm asthmatic that means i'm usually out of it for at least a month while I recover. This is the same if I get a chest infection or really any kind of upper respiratory condition. I don't like feeling sick and unfit etc but the thing that gets to me most is the disruption to the things I enjoy doing like making music and playing sports. I'm usually bed-bound and it really gets to me being stuck there unable to do anything. It starts as frustration but usually ends with me punishing myself for not powering through and doing stuff. Quite simply this is a ridiculous thing to feel bad about, there is 100% nothing I can do and I just have to accept it. The moral of the story here is that feeling like that about yourself actually makes you worse, and less likely to get things done. When you are unable to do things, for whatever reason, rest and give yourself that time off to recover. It's not a bad thing, you aren't being a slacker, you are listening to your body. I'm over feeling sick now but I still honestly feel absolutely shattered and have some of the symptoms hanging around purely because i'm so tired. As such i've been easing myself back into my normal schedule of work and creativity and trying not to put too much pressure on. If I can't manage it on a given day, then I can't manage it on that day. I will go for a walk, spend time with a friend or just sit drinking a coffee quietly.

I think a nice way to frame this whole thing is to do with energy reserves. We all, as humans, have a well of energy from which we can draw. This can be in the form of mental energy or physical energy but the basis remains the same, it gives us the fuel to do something. The problem is that we have to replenish that well with things like those I mentioned before, things we enjoy that aren't too taxing and give us peace and/or a sense of ease. When we are sick, this well is pretty empty a lot of the time because our body is constantly fighting against the illness, draining us. Some days the well is dry even at the beginning of the day and that's okay, it's just something we have to accept. The key, for me, is understanding how much we have in the well that day, how much that will allow us to do and then work with that. Trying to fit in totally unrealistic amounts will just leave us physically and emotionally drained. Trying to sustain that state is virtually impossible and certainly runs counter to our body's natural state.

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