The back view of a couch in a living room, showing legs draped over the side, feet kicking off high heels and a relaxing cup of coffee on the side table.

You're Allowed to Rest, Even When You Feel Fine!

If you’re like me, having a good day makes it is very difficult to sit back and relax. Instead, I try to catch up on all of my activities, chores, and work projects that I haven’t been able to do if I have been in a flare. I think one of the big threads that hold a lot of chronic illness warriors to our mental illness is the fact we feel immense guilt about not being able to complete the tasks we feel we "should," or help our family in ways that we sometimes can.

I always try to catch up, and then I burn out

As I come out of a flare or a bad day and have a little bit more energy than normal, I will do absolutely everything to catch up on what I’ve missed. I will also try to prepare for the coming days, which often leads me to be completely burned out for another few days.

In reality, this pattern is only causing me to be in more pain and less productive than if I was to just take it easy for a few days or do some of the chores or tasks that I needed to do and not all of them.

The next time that you have a good day, here are some things to think about before you go all out.

Rest is essential, we are not machines!

Rest is essential. Rest is okay, and you are allowed to rest even if you’re feeling fine. Just because we're chronically ill does not mean that we can’t enjoy a day of relaxing when we are bedridden for days weeks or even months. That is not relaxing. That’s the time that we are taking to heal ourselves and keep our bodies safe. If we feel good and want to lay on the couch that’s totally fine. We are not working machines.

It’s okay if our lives look a little bit different from others or maybe run at a different pace than others. We are doing our best and that is more than enough.

Internalized ableism is a real thing. The reason that we often try to "catch up” is because of the ableism that we feel. Who are we really catching up with? Will the world stop if we don’t finish three loads of laundry instead of just one?

We don’t need to catch up to anyone, we just need to do our best to get the essentials done, and if we can do more that’s great. If not, we don’t need to catch up. The next time that you feel like you’re having a good day but want to relax think about these things, throw your feet up for a little while. You deserve it!

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