Lessons from the Plague
My entire household has come down with some sort of plague. Whilst I was in and out of fever dreams, I kept thinking of ways to incorporate it into helpful bits of information for my blog or FB page. But, as is common with plagues, I was not able to retain much of it. We are still in the midst of this obnoxious virus, but I will try to piece together what I can.
1) Being sick is the perfect time to practice self care and reparenting. When you feel illness coming on, make sure you have a small stock-pile of jello, chicken soup, ginger ale, saltines, and tylenol. Set a damp washcloth by your bed for when you become feverish. Watch all your favorite shows from when you were a kid and were home sick in bed. Add an extra pillow. Sometimes we are our own best caregivers because we know exactly what we want and need. I will admit, this tidbit of advice is most easily practiced when one is mild to moderately ill. When it becomes more than that, self care often involves asking someone else to assist you.
2) Asking for help is so important and yet damn near impossible. Especially if you never saw it modeled for you or were never raised to do so. It can be helpful to set up the people who you will be asking, by letting them know something like, "I think I am going to die, or at least feel like it for a good bit...so I may ask you to do some things for me..." these people might look at you like you’re crazy for hesitating to ask them for help, but odds are, they will want to help. And while they will not understand why you would even question asking, explaining it to them is for another day.
It will not be easy to ask. It will feel weird and you will want to take it back as soon as the words come out of your mouth. But, as with all things, practice makes it easier. Start with something small, like a glass of water. Do not rely on how pitiful you look for someone to read your mind and offer to get you what you need. Remember item #1: *we know exactly what we need*. And it is to communicate that to our people.
3) We need a Dial-A-Mom. Like a doula for the captains of the household when they fall ill. Dial-A-Mom would provide reassuring and soothing statements, check in to make sure we are applying cool compresses, maybe sing us to sleep. For an extra fee, Dial-A-Mom would bring over clear liquids, apply said compresses, and do a load of laundry or dishes.
The thing is, some of us already have moms, friends, or relations nearby that might do these things. Some of us do not. And some of us have moms, friends, or relations that might do these things but are so full of angst or their own stuff that it would be counterproductive. Dial-A-Mom negates all that. She validates and intuites. There is no guilt for asking for help, or worrying what she will think of our house, or wondering if she will raise our stress level. Dial-A-Mom just knows. She doesn’t judge.
If you are fortunate enough to have your own Dial-A-Mom, tell them thank you. If not, consider being your own Dial-A-Mom in the way you treat yourself and look at your world. Consider being a little gentler, applying a little more grace, giving yourself a little more compassion, and being a little more understanding of your circumstances. Give yourself a hug and a warm blanket. And be sure to drink plenty of fluids ;-)
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Cindy Goeller is a licensed therapist who loves listening to others, eating Maryland steamed crabs, and exploring the Finger Lakes of New York. When she is not in session with her clients, she can be found writing, baking, or spending time with her family.