Go, go, go, collapse. Sound familiar? I’m in the cycle now on the collapse end and wondering how I got here once again. Or maybe I know. Kind of. Empaths have broad shoulders. We can bear a lot and we can carry a lot for ourselves and for others. But everyone has a breaking point, the point when your body tells you, “No, not today you’re not.” Sickness grabs your attention like no other.
I used to curse being sick because it stopped me from doing the things that I needed to do. The things that HAD to get done. The things that no one else was going to do. Guess what? The world keeps on turning and disaster does not strike when you are laid up in bed for a few days.
A wise man told me that sickness is your body’s way of forcing you to slow down. Previously, I considered sickness as an impediment to getting things done. He was telling me that sickness has a purpose all its own, and that I needed to listen to it. It was forcing my hand.
So I have accepted that when I get sick, my body is telling me that I am taking on too much and that I need a break. I need to take care of myself and let others take care of me. This sounds obvious, but not so to an empath. We are often the caregivers for others, and we feel that we are failing if we need to take time off. We will helpfully plow along until we literally can’t. It’s an oft repeated line that bears repeating here – “You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself.”
When you are sick you need to change the expectations for yourself until you are better. Rest is the best medicine, so take it, and take a lot of it. Give yourself the same caring advice that you would give a sick friend. Although it is hard for an empath to do, ask for help. Others (including those who love you) are not going to just know what to do and step in. Tell them what you need and ask for help.
Rest and recover. That’s my current mantra. And when I am impatient with myself, I warn myself of the mantra’s polar opposite. No rest, no recover. Listen to your body.