What I Learned When My Body Forced Me to Pause

In the middle of the week, I woke up in the morning and immediately felt an itch in my throat. Oh no, I thought. Now was not the time to get sick. In fact, it’s never a good time to be sick, especially when it’s about to be week eight of the quarter system and you have just enough time to get it together before finals week. Up until that point, I was doing pretty well. I hadn’t gotten a cold or fever all school year, not even during the usual rainy winter! I was also very busy (when am I not?), to the point where I was getting four hours of sleep at most because there was always so much to do but so little time. From balancing classes, studying for exams and doing homework, an internship, club events, church events, having a social life, and working out; I was the definition of exhausted. Apparently, it only took a few days of drastic weather change for my body to tell me, “please … stop.” I became bed-ridden with a mild fever, sore throat, and congestion, so I had to cancel most of my fun plans for the weekend and even missed a whole entire day of class. This resulted in major FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and anxiety over what I missed in class. All I could really physically do was a list of three things: force myself to eat soup, binge-watch Game of Thrones in preparation for the finale, and sleep. Overall, I was miserable, because usually, my daily motto is “go, go, go” and rarely do I ever take naps. My body was clearly tired of me treating her that way.  

We often forget how great it feels to not be sick until we are sick. We habitually take our strong healthy bodies for granted, even running it down to the point where we deprive it of much-needed rest (all-nighters, anyone?). And when we do “sleep,” it ends up being more of a nap instead of the recommended minimum of 7 hours by the CDC, which consequently lowers our immune system and causes more long-term detrimental effects than we realize. Sometimes we take it to heart a little too much that we’re at the prime of our lives, ready to seize every opportunity and show up all the time. It’s a grounding fact for some of us to face, but we can’t all be Captain Marvel! 

It really took getting sick for me to realize how much we, as young college students, need to take care of ourselves. It’s okay to set boundaries for what you’re able to handle. Your mind and body need to rest in order to be at its best. So as finals are around the corner, I hope you make it a point to truly take care of yourself. Put on that face mask, snack on some fruits and veggies, take your vitamins, and most importantly … get some sleep!