fitness · rest

Rest, recovery, and impatience

Hi readers—I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling two things right now: 1) I’m about to bust to get outside, really outside, to parks and beaches and country roads, riding with friends (just one or two), and chatting (at a safe distance) in the backyard with a couple of friends and cool beverages. This is what happens when you get warm sunny days in a row in New England… But: 2) I know that, in Massachusetts and in the US in general, we are nowhere near being able to cruise around town and country safely.

Our nations have to recover from what’s probably just the first wave of infection and illness from the coronavirus. Our friends and family and neighbors need to recover from illness. Our health workers need to take a breath and start to recover from the strain, trauma and exhaustion of caring for very sick and dying people. Our manufacturing and distribution systems need to recover from runs on all sorts of goods, the costs of lost business, the stress of retooling on a dime to produce pandemic-required goods. This takes time.

But who wants to wait around, not doing the things we used to think were normal and mundane, but which we now feel are special and necessary to our lives? Not us. Not me.

But we gotta. It’s not up for discussion. In order to get better and really recover, we have to follow the rules and guidelines and recommendations and doctors’ orders and do what they say. Yes, we’re impatient. No, this isn’t fun. But if we don’t do it, we will relapse, and it will take even longer to recover the second time.

I had pneumonia in the winter of 2018, and I’ve been reminded of a blog post I wrote about resting and recovering, and how hard that was. I’m reblogging it here as a reminder that, despite how clear and unambiguous and no-nonsense I sound above, I don’t like this any more than you do. But we gotta do it. And it’s won’t last forever. It really won’t. We’ll get better. And then we can spring around and organize jaunts and garden parties and BBQs and hang out at the beach all day long. I’m game!


R&R– rest and relaxation.  These words are designed to provoke an “aaahhhhh” from all of us.  We work hard all the time, juggling work, family, friends, money, home, etc.  Like so:

A woman in a suit juggling animated laptop, alarm clock, baby bottle, cell phone and home.
A woman in a suit juggling animated laptop, alarm clock, baby bottle, cell phone and home.

What do we yearn for?  R&R.  Rest and relaxation.  Just saying it can make us breathe easier.  Try it now, and to help even more, look at this picture:

Two wooden chaise lounges on a white sandy beach.
Two wooden chaise lounges on a white sandy beach.

For me lately, though, R&R has meant rest and recovery.  Maybe this sounds good too– after all, recovery is a hopeful word and optimistic process.  I posted about having gotten pneumonia at the beginning of January.  I rested a ton– there was really no choice, as I was flattened– but then started my teaching semester.  I tried to take it easy and rest for a while.  But then I was ready to resume my regular schedule of (among other things) exercise, training for cycling, occasionally vigorous yoga, and cross country skiing when the conditions cooperated.

Well, no.  That just hasn’t happened.  I’ve found myself repeating the following cycle:

  1. becoming bored and frustrated with not doing much physically and doing less socially;
  2. forcing myself to do a regular schedule one day with teaching, errands, maybe a yoga class or other physical activity, or an evening social event;
  3. feeling completely exhausted from that one so-called regular day;
  4. noticing my cough coming back and blaming myself and the world for feeling sick still/again;
  5. canceling whatever social or physical activities I had optimistically planned for the next few days;
  6. resigning myself to resting a while longer.

Last week this happened.  It was a relatively warm day last week, and I decided to ride my Brompton to an appointment that was a 20-minute ride away.  Easy-peasy.  Uh, no.  5 minutes in I started coughing.  I should’ve turned around.  But I stuck it out.  When I got to my meeting, I coughed for the next 25 minutes.  My friend said, maybe you should take an Uber/Lyft home.  I agreed.  But did I?  No.  I thought, it’s only 20 minutes– I’ll ride slowly.  Bad idea!  I felt horrible and had to cancel more events I had planned.

Today is a beautiful unseasonably warm day in February here in Boston.  I’m feeling really antsy and ready to get out there on my bike.  I had tentatively planned to cycle with my friend Pata.  However I’m going to wait just a bit longer.  I’m still coughing, so this time I’ll do a nice walk.  It’s not as fun for me as cycling, but I need a little more recovery time.

Argh.  Sigh.  Hmmmphf.

Sign saying patience is a virtue. It's just not one of MY virtues. A woman is sitting in a long dress on a couch next to it.

7 thoughts on “Rest, recovery, and impatience

  1. Your blog post is fabulous given a nice picture in mind of the reader about the post and thanks for this amazing insight. I will surely focus on these tips from now on.

  2. A serious question I don’t understand about the US: Why think you’re at the recovery stage? Aren’t you still in the middle of things? The numbers don’t look like the first stage is over. I’m not sure why people are talking about a second wave as if the first wave is gone.

    1. It feels to me more like not rest and recovery, more like leaving the hospital and going back to work while you still have pneumonia. In the US at least.

      1. Yes, or worse; when you’re not done with dialysis. We NEED to stay tethered to things that keep us in place. If we don’t, more will surely get sick and die.

    2. You’re right– we’re not at the recovery stage in the US. In MA, we’re not even properly past the surge yet. Some states/regions may not get a full first wave, but may well be hit hard by a second one (if history is any guide). I used my old blog post to write metaphorically about what it feels like to think things are better (mainly in MA because the weather is nice and we happen to have enough hospital beds and ventilators and medical staff). They’re really not better at all. We can’t let up now. If we do, things will get worse fast. I’ve been casting about for stay-home messages that will sink in. I decided to try out this one, even though it’s not an apt comparison.

  3. Hope you recover from the cough/cold, Catherine.

    For me, it’s more about being able to socialize in an easier way instead of always with slight wariness…apart.

    Strangely I haven’t gained weight..even though I’ve been cycling 50% less compared same time of year, in previous years. It must because of inability to hang out at cafes for snack, etc.

    1. Hi Jean– I’m not sick right now; I reblogged a post from 2018 when I had pneumonia, and those feelings of impatience felt similar to the feelings I’m having and experiencing now around COVID-19. I’m perfectly well, and staying home despite a bounty of nice weather and stir-craziness. I wish you and yours safety and wellness through this.

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