I woke up feeling extra good this morning. It’s strange because the good mornings i’m familiar with consist of a gym session, good coffee, and knowing my full day’s plan. Something productive. I love having a plan for the day, and dead time always seems like a waste of time so I find things to do in between plans, like work or an errand.
Today I woke up on the last day of a long weekend with an empty day. And it felt amazing.
Just a week ago I got hospitalized. Polymyositis, they diagnosed (you can read up on it). It’s unexpected, it’s disrupting, and requires a certain amount of rehabilitation and maintenance. What this meant for me post hospital confinement:
- Little to no activity at the moment. No lifting anything heavy, no over-exerting movements. Slow, lola moves.
- Avoid stress.
- Avoid public places.
- No alcohol, no smoking, no late nights.
- Sleep, eat, meds, repeat.
I’m home-based for now and can only really go out for mass and short meals. And everyone’s watching my every single move.
When you’re in a hospital, you don’t mind being sick. You’re in a hospital. But once you get home to your normal and realize there’s a change so uncharacteristic of what used to be your everyday, you can’t help but reflect (as cliché as it sounds). Given my personality type (which most people will describe as gala gala), this meant a lot of realizations.
Realizations that were shared to me often, and I sometimes looked down upon or didn’t take in because it sounded so blah, boring and hippie-ish.
Realizations that, should I have chosen to take, might’ve helped me early on.
1. Rest. I heard this in a homily once and it really spoke to me, more so now.
We have become so consumed by the busyness and restlessness of life. We always find ways to be restless and busy or at least try to make it seem like we are. We work so much, to a fault, because we don’t realize the need and importance of rest. And how do we rest? When we turn to God. We must always make time for Him. Yes we work, but don’t ever let work consume you too much, as it is a spice of life, and not life itself. It is suppose to bring out dignity, and not remind us of our worthlessness. If we don’t rest, we don’t make time for God. And without God we will perish.
Stop. Pause. Turn off. It’s okay to do so.
I was (doing the act of) praying, but not really praying. I was resting, but not really fully resting. My mind was everywhere. I was always multitasking. I always had my laptop and would be bothered if I didn’t check an email or an update. I liked the feeling of it because it made me feel more accomplished. But I was gravely wrong.
2. Embrace slowness. On-the-go and productive is good: things get done, you feel accomplished, you see progress. That’s what I enjoyed and that’s what made me feel good. Given my current situation, there’s so much slowness and stillness that i’ve been getting the past few days, and I didn’t realize how beneficial it was until I saw how it positively affected my disposition and outlook on things.
Something was different when I worked (from home). I felt I was able to work better, think clearer, and come up with better outputs than what I had done weeks ago.
I started and ended my days by sitting on my bed, reflecting and praying. I don’t know if that’s considered meditation, but it’s life-changing. Things started to feel so light and clear. And it made me feel happy.
3. Open your heart. Writing this makes me cringe. You hear and read about it a lot. I admit to skimming past these lines when reading self-help related articles. But it’s only when I finally had to take a step back and pause that the meaning of it really hit. There was a lot of heaviness and frustration that I didn’t realize I was feeling and going through; something I tried to find a fix for by being busy and doing. And when I took time to rest and embrace slowness, I realized that there was a lot going on in my head and my heart, a lot of heaviness I was unnecessarily carrying because of pressure and the need to “fix” things and get things done a certain way, because in my head, it has to be like this. But once I lost control, I started to see things in a different light. I started to accept. And things have lightened up one way or another.
4. Water and sleep. So basic, but so easy to forget. I used to target to start my day at 5:30AM and end it around 10:00PM. Sometimes I would end up sleeping at 11:00PM-12MN. I’d regularly carry my 27oz Klean Kanteen to “hydrate.” I felt productive and I thought I was drinking enough water.
Truth is, I was getting an average of 5-6 hours of sleep, and didn’t realize that I only refilled my jug maybe 3-4 times day, which meant I drank only 3-4 liters a day. I also drank a lot of coffee and alcohol.
Now I am heavy on water like never before, and it has done wonders in a short span of time. My sleep has been on and off because of muscle stiffness in the middle of the night, but i’ve been making a more conscious effort to be in bed by 9:30PM. Still a WIP, but the schedule shift has helped me a lot.
Polymyositis is an autoimmune muscle disease that can’t be avoided. It just happens. A lot of people ask me what triggered it, and when you read up on it, there’s really nothing that can prevent it from happening.
Personally, I think the four very basic things I mentioned above may have played a very major role in developing it. These are not things I would’ve thought of or acted on had this not happen to me. A lot would blame it on late nights, stress, alcohol or smoking or doing this and that. But sometimes you have to think of the simpler things that you are not doing, because these might actually be the things that are affecting you overall.
I am feeling much better now but still need to go through some tests and check-ups. All the well wishes, prayers and gifts have been overwhelming, and I am so thankful.
8 thoughts on “simple things learned the hard way”
Yes, Daniela! I like how you have so positively picked up where others may have chosen to feel defeated. You are indeed an athlete of sorts — physically, because you know that the game is on going; mentally, because you write and therefore you read and learn more, emotionally because you have just entered in to another level in your relationship with yourself and spiritually, because you are now on a different conversation with God. Wishing you always the best. Tita Anabelle
Thank you tita!
i dont know you and you dont know me but, ive been praying the rosary for you everyday for the past 51 days. I knew mama mary would answer my prayers so for the last 20ish days ive been thanking her already.
Thank you so much.
Wow, Daniela, this is beautiful and deep.
I admire you for writing this immediately because many of us can learn a lot from it.
Enjoy your great family, read many great books and watch some movies during this rest. We are praying for you.
You take care.
Thank you very much.
I struggle to sleep enough and to drink water. And you’re right saying we care for busyness and restlessness as if they were a proof of productive life. How much do you sleep and drink water now?/
Given that I am off work, I get 6-8 hours of sleep at night and nap within the day. I drink more glasses of water, too.