How COVID Forced Me to an Epic Halt Yet My World Kept Spinning
On a Sunday night in March, an overwhelming achiness took over my body. Knowing how my body reacts to illness, I grabbed the thermometer to confirm I was running a fever. Well gross! Who has time for this? I slept the entire following day and felt no better. On Tuesday, I tested positive for COVID. Now what? Wife, mother, business owner, employee, writer – this woman has things to do, and none of them are lying in bed. COVID did not care about my plans. My body screeched to an epic halt. Miraculously, my world kept spinning. Three weeks of fighting COVID taught me a valuable lesson about my role in the world.
Every Family has a CEO
I’m Going out on a limb here, but I believe every family has a CEO. One person coordinates things at the highest level. I am the CEO of my crew. School schedules, extracurricular activities, prescriptions, vitamins, homework, meals – I am the keeper of the plan. Due to work schedules, I am often the doer of many things. You can, in fact, put a lot of miles on your car driving in a five-mile circle. It just involves driving that circle repeatedly.
Work, Work, Work
Outside of the glamorous life of a family CEO, I run a business with my husband, have a part-time HR gig, and write here for Coffee House Writers and a blog of my own, Controlled Chaos. All these roles allow me to work out of my home with massive amounts of flexibility. Laptops are wonderful and move with you from the kitchen to the front porch, to the school pick-up line, or the hallway outside of dance class.
Normally, I am a high-functioning sick person. I don’t run around town spreading my germs, but I am able to keep up with all my responsibilities. Work and family will know I am sick but not usually be inconvenienced by the situation. COVID was different. Everything came to a complete and epic stop. All I could do was lie in bed. Much to the awe and amazement of my children, I did not read or watch TV; I slept or laid with my eyes closed in the silence. It caught me by complete surprise. I stayed in this state for 12 days until my fever finally broke. When the fever broke, I stayed awake and alert long enough to watch TV, but I spent most of my time in bed for another five days.
The World Kept on Turning
Guess what happened when I was forced to stop? The other people in my life took over. Amazing, right. My husband rearranged our work schedule so he could stay home most of the time to care for me and shuttle the kids around. My co-workers made calls and answered emails. They texted questions, so I could give simple answers without opening my laptop. My fabulous editor told me to rest, not write. No guilt, no disappointment, just take care of yourself. My sweet kids would run upstairs after school, stand in my doorway, and tell me about their day. Then tell me to feel better and run off to hang out with Daddy. The world kept turning while I took the time to rest and heal.
So, what did I learn from this experience? First, I hate being sick. I joke that I want nothing more than to stay in bed for three weeks and hide. Not true. I may want a break, but I do not want to be incapacitated for any amount of time. Second, I am surrounded by people who love and care for me. There is no need to run myself into the ground; there are people ready and willing to help. The secret here is to ask. No mind readers here. If I say I have it all under control, people will believe me—time to ask for more help when I want or need a break. I don’t need to be completely incapacitated to require help. The words can flow from my mouth whenever I like, and people will step up to help.
No Need to Do It All
I love my life and all the roles I play. But my epic halt taught me to allow space for my own needs as well. If there is too much on my plate, who can I ask to take a portion? It does not need to be a permanent move, but if it is – no big deal. Rest is also a necessary part of life—time to stop seeing it as an afterthought. Take a moment to assess whether you need some help or rest before the universe decides for you.