Rest, recovery, and impatience

A woman standing on a sand dune with blue sky in the background. photo by Clay Banks for Unsplash.

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.

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.

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.

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