Last week I wrote my blog post a day early, trying to get ahead of the game a little and prepare for my crazy busy work week. This week I’m writing it a few hours late, wrapped in a blanket, with paracetamol and tissues to hand.
It hasn’t happened for quite a long time – I think it’s been at least eight or nine months – but I’ve come down with a horrible cold. It started last week – I was rushing to and from my crazy work week, and I hadn’t quite caught up with the change in weather. Which meant the change in weather caught up with me. A summer top combined with a cold windy autumn day, tiredness and stress equalled a runny nose and a sore throat. I half-heartedly listened – I wrapped up a little warmer and took some cough sweets. Then I carried on with my week – long hours at work, then a couple of evenings out.
On Saturday morning, my body shouted a little louder and I spent the day shivering in bed, with a full on cold, hacking cough and feeling feverishly phlegmy. I also lit a candle for my Simba – it was exactly three months since I’d lost him. I was no better on Sunday but I was determined not to miss out on Discover Dogs – after three months without my boy I was desperate for some furry cuddles. So I wrapped up warm, dosed myself up with cold medicine and ignored my body’s plea for more rest. I cried like a baby as I met and cuddled Blaze and some of the other Southern Golden Retriever Display Team pooches who were there for the day. Their owners were amazingly kind and understanding, not at all fazed by my tears, all of them having lost a beloved pet themselves. By the time I got home on Sunday evening I was absolutely done in, emotionally and physically and all I wanted to do was sleep for a day or three.
But we still had some final reporting numbers that needed to be in this week, so I ignored the message from my body that I needed to rest and I dragged myself in to work, against my better judgement, and armed with yet more tissues and paracetamol. Yesterday, more than one person at the office told me, in the kindest way possible, that I looked awful. As well as wanting me to get better, I think there may have been a desire to get the maniacal coughing, spluttering and general germiness out of the office and away from them. But still I wasn’t listening. I needed to get through the reporting and I wanted to get back to working on my book too. I’d already missed a week because of quarter end at the day job. I was all set to splutter my way through my session yesterday evening with my lovely book coach, Deborah Taylor but as soon as she heard my voice, she kindly but firmly moved the session to another day.
With nothing left to do, I was finally left with silence broken only by the sound of my deep croaky coughs. And that’s when I finally allowed my body to be heard. So today’s blog post is a bit of a confession. I always promised myself I wasn’t going to be one of those people who carried on working regardless of their health. And until this week, I haven’t been that person. I don’t know why it was different this week – maybe there was an element of not wanting to be ill at home, feeling alone without Simba. Maybe there was an element of not wanting to be seen as being weak at work, seen as giving in to a little cold. Whatever. It didn’t work though. Because I now feel worse than I did last week, and it’s taking me longer to get better.
So I’m reaffirming my original promise to myself, with you as my witness – I promise not to ignore my body when it tells me it needs rest. I promise to listen to it. I promise to learn from my mistakes and my experiences.