There’s a plague going around the high school, and it’s not pretty. Everyone seems to have the sniffles, a cough, a sore throat, or a headache. Last weekend, I was struck with the plague, feeling fluey and fatigued. As an extremely active person, sitting in bed all day is not my cup of tea. So, as I sat in bed drinking a cup of theraflu, irritated and impatient, I wondered how I might have avoided the plague. I wash my hands, sleep enough, exercise and eat well. And yes, it’s not easy to stay healthy when sick germs are everywhere in school. But, is there more to the picture?
When my mom came in to take my temperature, I couldn’t help but shed some tears of frustration. She asked what hurt– throat, stomach, head– and I explained that I just felt somehow overcome with exhaustion. “Does your mind hurt?” she asked. Hm. That’s a new one. Pondering the question, I paused. That’s when I realized that I could hardly think straight. There were a million thoughts buzzing through my head every second. It was like my brain had been clogged up. Suddenly enlightened as to my condition, I responded “Yes. My mind hurts.”
Being sick is typically associated with physical disturbances because our body feels rotten. So when we fall sick, we focus on resting our body. But what about our minds? They need rest too! As my mom told me that day, don’t think about the past, the future, or even the present; don’t think about anything at all! Meditation can be helpful in doing so, but it all begins with giving ourselves permission to let go. Allow the brain to forget everything for the moment. Simply rest. My experience last weekend showed me that a rested mind is key to staying healthy. The moment I decided to let go, I felt so much better. I stopped resisting my bedridden condition, realizing that I owed it to my mind to take a pause. Like any muscle in our body, our mind has limitations and can only work so hard. So, like one would to a strained, overworked muscle, allow the mind to rest.