When we’re feeling well, it’s difficult to devote time to ourselves, but when we get sick – it’s necessary. Every year in the United States alone we get billions of colds, flues, and other common ailments. For most people, these sicknesses cause a lot of aggravation, but not much else. For those of us with mental health issues, something as basic as the common cold can increase anxiety.
As I lay in bed sick today, I felt compelled to write this because as crappy as I feel, I’m still hard on myself and not able to let go of control. I have several negative thoughts, like others with anxiety probably have as well.
Take a break from blowing your nose to learn some of the negative thoughts I’ve had, and how I battle them while feeling under the weather:
If I’m not constantly being productive, I’m wasting time – and I’m not good enough for the outside world.
Feeling like there’s too much to do? Don’t get trapped in the cycle of thought that tells you you’re not worthy of putting your feet up and doing nothing, especially when it’s necessary to your health.
I get myself stuck in this cycle of ruminating, but it helps to remember that we are all worthy of rest and relaxation, taking a load off doesn’t make you any less productive. It makes you smart for listening to your body. Let go of having to control and rest.
Is this more than just the flu? Maybe it’s something more serious?
As you lay there with the sniffles, runny nose, cough, body aches, and fever your mind can wander. Because you’re actually sick, you start to see the sickness as something more threatening than it is. With anxiety, trivial things can be inflamed by obsessive thought, causing me – or any of you – to entertain the notion that your simple flu is at the level of cancer or another deathly disorder.
I don’t have time for self care.
I can find myself ignoring self care because I think I have too much to get done. Laundry, cleaning, taking care of my dog, working, the list goes on. None of those things (sans making sure my pooch is happy) are as important as you and your mental – and physical – health.
Take the time that your body needs to recover. Whether that means taking a sick day, not going out on a weekend, or spending the entire day Netflix bingeing in your yoga pants – do it, guilt-free.
I’m not good enough to be taken care of.
With my anxiety and insecurity, everything always comes back to not feeling good enough. It seeps into every facet of my life from family and work to relationships and friendships, so it’s no surprise it presents itself when I’m feeling sick.
It is not reality that I’m not good enough to be taken care of. Whether that means a family member or loved one bringing you soup or laying with you for a little while, they are making the decision to take that time for you. Trust it.
And, on that note, it’s back to bed I go. If any of you are feeling under the weather, I hope you remind yourself that you are worthy of rest and your health is important.
What anxious thoughts do you have while sick? How do you cope with them?