One valuable teacher is extended illness. There is nothing like being really sick to bring you face to face with your inner self. Extended illness is not dealt with by taking a few pills, and taking a day or two off. It pulls at the fabric of your patience in many ways... stretching it, making it stronger, or weaker, depending on your character. Sickness also exposes your flaws, weaknesses and dependencies.
What can you do as the 'student' of this teacher?
1. Recognize that this too, shall pass. Even if it is a chronic illness, know that you will have good days, and bad ones. Keeping this in mind often can help when your frustration rises.
2. Take care of yourself. Take your medicine, eat what you are supposed to [and, more importantly, *don't* eat stuff that you aren't], drink plenty of water, etc. You can't heal [or it will take a good deal longer] if you aren't giving your body what it needs.
3. Don't stress over what's not getting done while you are ill. It will be there when you are back at full strength, or someone else will get it done, if it's important. If you don't take care of yourself first, you may not be here ... and then you know for sure that you won't get it done. :-)
4. Ignore the people who wish/want you to 'snap out of it'. Odds are, they have never been the recipient of the gift of extended sickness. Shrug it off, and file it under, "they just don't understand". This is another good exercise of your patience, tolerance, and restraint. Remember, many people feel helpless knowing that there is nothing that they can do, except perhaps be company for you while you recuperate and grow stronger.
5. When you begin to feel better, do not overcompensate for the time that you were down by rushing around trying to 'catch up'. Listen to your body. It will tell you if you are pushing yourself too hard, in the form of physical symptoms [dizziness, weakness, fatigue]. Not listening is a good way to relapse, and have to start over with your healing. What better way to learn the lesson than to repeat it? :-)
And the best part is, once you have internalized these habits, they will improve your day to day life by lengthening your patience, and strengthening your self-care skills.
What have you learned about yourself when you were sick? How did you deal with it?
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