Labor day for many marks the end of summer. In the old days people stopped wearing white after labor day and depending on where you live, the kids were just getting ready for school. It’s a big sale day in the retail industry so that part of the workforce is still getting up and doing their thing. For many, it’s a day of rest. The last neighborhood barbecue and a look toward, as crazy as it may seem, Halloween and the holidays.
What is it about labor day that relates to living with a chronic or other life-altering illness? It’s the “labor” part that is relevant. It feels like a full-time job keeping on top of one’s health and for many that’s not enjoyment because it doesn’t feel optional. Silly, of course it’s optional. If you don’t want to look after you’re health then you’re open to getting sick…easy enough.
The truth is that labor implies a huge effort, but what if the labor was as simple as mindfulness? As someone with a chronic illness that flares when I get a cold, sore throat, or other type of infection I’m very conscious of staying out of germs way (not in an obsessive-compulsive way), I’m just cautious.
I work with two other people in an office. The woman came down with a huge chest cold but we don’t share phones or computer equipment and she sits on the other side of the room. My counterpart came in a few days later complaining of a sinus cold/infection. I immediately began to think about what extra steps I could take to help ward off the evil germs.
The next morning I picked up some Emergen-C (this isn’t a commercial or an endorsement, just my experience)…the immune defense formula. I take it twice a day and along with eating healthy and getting enough rest and taking the usual hand-washing precautions I’m hoping to avoid the germfest. It’s work because it’s one more thing to consider. It’s one more thing to make sure I don’t forget to do, so I put it with my pills. It’s just one more thing and in a world where you feel like your dance card is filled it can be overwhelming. It’s just one more step…that’s what I tell myself and the return-on-investment, (ROI), as they say in the business world is huge.
So on this labor day go have the juiciest hamburger you can muster, the tastiest salads and the best cobbler, but don’t forget to become mindful of those things that will make your journey to wellness less work and more fun!