If you want to know the answer to a question, there’s instant access to all the information you could possibly need within your smart phone. Want to buy something? Order it on Prime and get it the next day, no need to wait. Can’t possibly wait a week for that next episode? Well with Netflix you can binge watch an entire series! Craving some ‘summer’ berries out of season? The supermarkets have them stocked all year. You see where I’m going with this, we can get almost everything we want, when we want it.
As a result of the fast-moving, instant access world we live in, we have developed into an impatient bunch. Being busy, rushed off your feet and exhausted seems nowadays to earn you some strange badge of honour. In contrast, our bodies, like everything else in nature, evolved slowly, over a reeeally long time. The human body has been the same for about 200,000 years! The world we live in has changed a lot in 200,000 years. Our bodies must therefore live in an entirely different world to the one they evolved to live in. They haven’t got the memo from us that we no longer have patience or time.
I think this conflict between our impatient attitudes and our body’s need for time and rest becomes most obvious when you get run down, sick or injured. Imagine you are recovering from injury or illness, perhaps you fell, broke a bone and needed surgery or you are recovering from a bad bout of the flu, or maybe you got overwhelmed with anxiety and had a panic attack. In all three of these scenarios it is easy, because of our impatient nature, to vastly underestimate the time needed to fully recover.
It’s very tempting, to get frustrated that you aren’t making quicker process. You might find yourself becoming resentful of the fact that you can’t work, socialise or carry out everyday tasks that ‘should’ be easy for you. To avoid this frustration, focus on these 3 things:
- Self-compassion. Being patient with your body and allowing it the time it needs to recover, revitalise and reenergise comes from a place of kindness. As I have said before, talk to yourself as you would a friend. Would you call a sick friend useless or stupid or judge them? Of course not, so don’t allow anything less for yourself.
- An understanding that physiological processes like healing from an injury or illness takes time. Whether we like it or not, healing can and will take more time than we expect it to, the healing process hasn’t sped up just because the pace of our lives has.
- Trust in your body. It is always doing its best for you, so listen to it. When it tells you to slow down, do so and please do not feel guilty for being ‘lazy’ or ‘unproductive’. If you feel tired, rest now, it’s better to do so than to ignore the signal, stay busy and get sick. Our body doesn’t care that you ‘must’ get back to work, that you ‘have’ to exercise every day or that you can’t possibly miss the upcoming social engagement. Trust that it is prioritising getting you well again as soon as it can.