The Importance of Being Lazy

…but not too lazy.

A few days ago I had a long day. I was on the road a good bit of the day, driving in bad weather, and I also spent time lifting items to load them into my car and then unload them at my destination. These particular types of activities made my RA symptoms flair up.

The next day, I got up at about my usual time, but I just didn’t have any motivation. I felt very lazy. Ordinarily, I would have to push through and go about my day regardless, but I didn’t have work on that day, and I didn’t have any appointments, so I just went back to bed. I stayed in bed for about four more hours and ended up only getting up when it was time to take the dogs out and make some lunch.

This ended up being absolutely the right decision for me on that day. I was able to accomplish a pretty good bit in the second half of the day, and I avoided a bigger or more prolonged flair of my symptoms by listening to my body and giving it the extra rest it needed.

The only problem with this is my own perception of how others would view me for staying in bed half the day. We don’t reward people for rest. We tend to judge people harshly for exhibiting signs of laziness. We make fun of them and look down on them.

Yet rest is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies when we need to heal. Most of us walk around with a major case of chronic sleep deprivation all of the time. We keep our bodies in a constant negative cycle of too much pushing through.

I, for one, am simply unable to push through seven days a week. I look at people who seem to be always on the go even on Saturdays and Sundays, and I just don’t know how they do it. If I don’t crash for at least half the day at least one day a week, I don’t function that week. I do have a chronic illness, and that is a factor in my need for regular rest, but I believe a lot of people probably need more rest than they are getting.

Of course, with RA I have to be careful not to overdo the laziness. I do need a certain amount of movement each day to keep my range of motion up. With RA, “you snooze, you lose” really can hold true. If you just go to bed and stay there, you can end up having an even harder time getting up the next day. Everything goes stiff and sore.

Regardless, since I do normally go to a job five days a week, my bigger problem is finding enough time to rest. That’s why I’m committing to the lazy lie in as part of my overall health maintenance plan.

The other day I got up around 7:30 and took the dogs out. I fed the animals and made myself a cup of green tea. I got back in bed with ice packs for the parts that hurt, my tea, and a book. I didn’t go back to sleep, but neither did I try to do anything work related. I just relaxed and let my body rest. Even though this was a day off for me, this felt like an indulgence and maybe even an overindulgence, but it was necessary and very very good.

I’m a person who loves a good challenge. I like to track how many days in a row I can walk 10,000 steps or practice DuoLingo or take photos or drink green smoothies or whatever challenge is making the rounds. I think my next challenge should be to track how many Saturdays in a row I can stay in bed being lazy until noon. Something tells me a good track record on that goal would pay off on my overall health more than just about anything else I’ve tried.