What does the phrase no days off mean to you? I’ve considered these words a lot lately, and in doing so their meaning shifted.
I think most would agree that no days off refers to doing something [or not doing something, I guess] every single day regardless of circumstances. While this idea of the single-minded pursuit of a goal is admirable in theory, that rigidity doesn’t work for me anymore. Is there any behavior I should complete every single day regardless of how I’m feeling? I mean, as much as I love keeping up with my physical therapy if I’m zipped into the AlterG and my hip twinges I am not doing anyone any favors by completing that run. I need to just abort the mission and try again the next day.
But does that mean I’m taking that day off? Absolutely not. Maybe I didn’t complete the workout I envisioned, but perhaps I had a great meditation that morning or pushed myself to do something socially. Maybe I ate a lot of great foods my body needed. I can’t consider a day when I worked hard to manage my pain in other ways as a day off.
To me, no days off means that I do what I can to keep my symptoms at bay. It means that whether it’s the Fourth of July, a stressful week at work, or even my birthday I’m going to maintain pain management as a top priority. I might let certain things slide, but I’m not going to abandon each behavior as if I won’t experience negative repercussions later. While it can be hard on any given day to manage a chronic illness, it’s especially difficult for holidays, special occasions, and even when we are anxious or sad.
With that in mind, I needed a clearly-defined plan concerning how I was going to approach my Fourth of July, and I needed to figure it out before my day even began. I decided to stick to my sugar detox, because sugar makes me feel so lousy and I’m pretty sure that injesting any at this point would seriously impact the work I’ve done and the progress I’ve yet to make. No thanks, that’s not worth it. I did, however, eat as much I wanted of other foods. I also made sure to do my physical therapy exercises, although I rushed through them a bit so I could join in festivities. After I arrived home I indulged a little more, watching a movie on the floor with Celie and staying up later than usual, eventually falling asleep to the sweet sounds of The Office streaming on Netflix [which I know is not good Sleep Hygiene].
Looking back on the day I don’t feel cheated because I didn’t drink or didn’t go out and watch the fireworks. On the contrary, I actually feel like I had a nice break from my usual day-to-day everything. I got to spend time in the sun with people I love, and today I feel motivated to eat well, get in a good physical therapy session, and keep the television off for the evening.
Even better, though, is that because I didn’t go crazy yesterday I don’t feel completely drained today. I was a little creakier this morning, but it’s nothing that a single day of back-to-normal won’t solve. And at least I own that creakiness with a clear understanding of why it’s there and what I need to do get through it.
[Y’all, it is so hard to not insert some sort of Fourth of July pun about being an independent woman I can hardly stand it].