Lessons From my Hospital Bed – 3

Self care
17 May 2023

How many of us in the UK can remember the advert, “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play?”

The reason this advert comes to mind is the equal value placed on these three things, work, rest and play.

I’ve written about rest before – many times – and about my struggles with it. In a way it follows on from the work ethic I wrote about last week. I can cope with the effort of work. Play takes energy, whether that energy is physical or mental. Rest, I struggle with.

On the farm, Sunday was a day of “rest.” We all went to church. There was a big roast dinner and then there was the interminable afternoon of sitting quietly in the big living room while the adults snoozed, and we watched whichever cowboy film was the Sunday Matinee. Sunday tea saw sandwiches and the luxury of tinned fruit and evaporated milk. It’s true there was still the milking to do, morning and evening, but for the rest, it was rest.

It might have been a day of rest for the men who worked the farm, but it was a day of hard work for my mother as she prepared that enormous Sunday Roast. Fitting in a church service was a juggling act and trying to keep three active children quiet for an afternoon, when we weren’t allowed to play, was more hard work. So, my mother never got a chance to rest, and for we children, “rest” was synonymous with torment.

Eight days in hospital, in my single room, was an exercise in rest. And it was hard work. To begin with it wasn’t too difficult, because I felt too ill to do anything but sleep and just lie there. After a couple of days, I felt well enough to watch a few crafting videos on YouTube, and then my family brought in pens and paper so I could do a little writing. But, still, I couldn’t do anything. It was frustrating.

Once I was home it was still frustrating because I’m still too weak and shaky to do much. My consultant’s words to me last Wednesday were, “Remember you are still very ill, and be kind to yourself.”

Being kind to myself means embracing the discipline of rest. It means listening to my body when it starts to shake – and then lying down for a while. Being kind to myself means planning only a third of what I want to do for the day so it’s achievable without disappointment and more frustration.

What I have learned through this is that resting takes just as much effort as working and playing. Working takes effort. Playing takes effort. Resting takes just as much effort.

Resting is hard work.

Do you find resting easy or difficult? What benefits do you find in resting? And do you have any tips and advice for the rest of us? Because we do all need to rest.


A Moodscope member

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Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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