I had all sorts of plans for this week, many of them related to being part of what Arthritis Research UK is doing for their National Arthritis Week. None of it happened. Because I’m really tired.

I’m so tired I’m close to curling up and crying.

lifeuncertainmemeIt’s my own fault. September was a wild ride of going back to work, being part of #RABlog Week, and somehow finishing the first draft of Book 2 in the Your Life with RA series.

I don’t know how I did it, either.

However, I have become extremely familiar with the consequences. For the past three weeks, I have been exhausted. I wake up not feeling rested, wanting nothing more than to stay in bed. I drag myself through the day until naptime, then keel over into a dead sleep. Then there’s dinner, an evening with some more stuff that needs to be done, a bit of drooling in front of the TV, and then at last to bed. Except I’m so tired that my mind’s a whirring mess and I can’t sleep. So I take muscle relaxants which help me sleep, but increases the daytime zombiefication. And all the time, I fall further and further behind.

It’s a crash. It’s a really big crash. And because Fall has arrived in all its splendor and unpredictable weather patterns, it’s combined with a flare of both my RA and my Fibro. I miss summer already.

Oh, look. It turns out I am writing about the realities of living with RA after all.

And it’s October and there’s so much to do. Did you know there are only 10 Fridays left until Christmas?

A friend of mine (she knows who she is) occasionally puts an auto reply on her email indicating that because of her health, she is taking time to do self-care, and will get to the email when she can.

When I saw that for the first time, I was gobsmacked. You can do that? You can actually do that?!

Why don’t I do that?

Because I suck at it. When I was a child, my parents taught me to eat real food before dessert. In the convoluted workings of the accursed Protestant work ethic, somehow, taking care of myself in the face of The List gets translated to qualifying as dessert.

Yes. I do know that’s crazy. But tell me this, can you do it?

I’m pretty sure we all need a wife.

And then you get to the point where it becomes blatantly obvious that you have no choice. You have to take care of yourself or you will pay much bigger consequences. And as I’m writing this, it’s just occurred to me that I’ve been here before. Many times. This is my body begging me to be nice to it and I haven’t been.

I’ve been so tired I couldn’t hear it escalating from the nice asking, to begging, to… well, screaming that if I don’t bloody stop, it’s going to make me sit still.

So, since I don’t want to get sick, this is me making it official. I’m going to take a week off from the work ethic and the guilt.

I’m going to eat dessert first.

While I do that, I could use some help (or a smack upside the head). I need some suggestions – how do you practice self-care?

 

Lene writes the award-winning blog The Seated View. She’s the author of Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain and 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain.