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Rest: Practicing What I Preach about Self-Care

August 28, 2022

Rest: Practicing What I Preach about Self-Care

For months I’ve been going. Going. Going. I was exhausted. I knew I needed a rest. Not just sleep (which I was getting), but a break from the constantness of life. I guess I still haven’t learned the lessons from Rosie about self-care that I wrote about in this article several years ago.

I spoke with my supervisor and decided to take not one—but two—weeks off. After all, that’s the advice I give to my coworkers. Research shows that it takes several days to get settled down and into rest mode. So I booked a room at a state park for the first two nights. Since I work from home so often, “home” isn’t always a conducive place to rest. It reminds me of all I need to do… or “should” do. 

On the Thursday before I was supposed to leave, for the second night in a row, I had a low-grade fever. Exhaustion + low-grade fever = UTI. Darn spinal cord injury! I ran up to immediate care to get a urine culture started (I didn’t want to wait until morning because I’d have to take off from work when I was already taking off the following two weeks). But I didn’t get the culture results before I was supposed to leave, so I canceled my reservation. I didn’t want to be by myself if I ended up getting worse. So, I stayed home. I was disappointed, but it was a blessing.

The weather was perfect for two whole weeks. I spent most of my time on my patio (and out of sight from my computer). 

I read. I ate. I slept 9 hours a night. I read. Slept. Ate. I read 4 books and listened to 2.

I didn’t check my work email. No email! In 20 years of working, I’ve never gone a week without peeking at my work email. And you know what? It wasn’t that difficult. (Catching up the following week took focused effort, but it was so very worth it.)

Thanks to a friend, I enjoyed Thai food, a wonderful salmon dinner, and pizza. My back/shoulders/neck were so knotted up that I was desperate enough to get a massage (a huge indulgence).

Post-massage hair and glow

As an introvert, I enjoyed the alone time, but I also had some great people time. At a class picnic, I enjoyed an unexpected adventure up 5 stories of steps up to the top of a silo with a magnificent 360-degree view. (Watch this video.) I rowed 3 times. I met a friend for dinner and went to a field hockey game.  

Still smiling after 4 miles of rowing

While it wasn’t a vacation in the sense of “getting away,” it was a much-needed break and time of rest.

I’m refreshed and ready to get back to work. And life.

Tips for a Time of Rest:

When you need a break, know and implement a few things:

  • What is restful for you? My experience might sound torturous to the extroverts out there. Know what is restful for you.
  • Plan ahead. I tried to have food on hand, medical supplies ordered, and be completely caught up at work and an auto-response on for my work email so people wouldn’t expect a response.
  • KISS it. Keep It Simple, Sis. (Ha, I didn’t want to use “stupid.”) There’s nothing fancy or expensive about a nap, good books, or easy meals.

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A gifted athlete. An unthinkable accident. Will a wheelchair crush her adventurous spirit?

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Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith

After a spinal cord injury at 16, I discovered that a wheelchair could take me places I never dared to imagined.

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