SPLAAAAT! That was the sound of my existence two weeks ago. I’d been juggling different assignments and got to the point where my brain went on strike. I literally couldn’t make any decisions about work-related things. My mind and body united in a resounding, “NOPE!”
By now you all pretty much know I’m a disabled human, and I manage chronic pain from inflammation and neuropathy. I talk about it a lot. I work hard to manage pain levels. I take pride in learning about new mobility aids to help me with endurance and activity.
So, go me, right?
Here’s the thing. I also suffer from chronic fatigue. And I used to remember that way better than I do now. I used to pace myself, take adequate rest breaks, and plan activities that were surrounded by do-nothing days.
Lately, I forgot to do the thing. And by lately, I mean for over a year. This is why I constantly feel like I’m burning out. Rest is essential for someone who deals with fibromyalgia. It’s as important as managing pain, and it feeds into pain management. They work together.
On my week off, I forced myself to stay away from any workload. Then I discovered a whole bunch of other things I do in a day that keep me busy. I stopped those things, too. I couldn’t believe how much I’d been driving my limits every single day! No wonder I crashed so hard. By forcing myself to stop, I not only was able to recuperate, but I also devised a plan for going forward.
Today I’m taking a day off because these past three workdays have been a whirlwind. I slept in this morning. I’m in pain, so I’m nurturing that. Things can resume tomorrow.
I’m a freelancer, so I have the luxury of making my own schedule. I kinda sorta perhaps maybe need to recall that this is my work lifestyle. And not be such a pushy boss to myself.
Even a disability advocate can get caught up and forget to practice what she preaches. Bad Cait. *wags finger at me*
Okay, I am back on track. I will set smart daily goals and be flexible with my schedule. If I have appointments that cannot be moved, I’ll have rest days before and after. I can do this!
Don’t ever tell me that self-care isn’t work. It. So. Is.
Be good to yourselves, folks! It’s so vital.
Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers (Fall of 2019). When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She’s also teamed up with co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (Fall of 2019.)