Recovery and Productivity
I tend to enjoy being productive, and this productivity is not limited to employment-related productivity. I enjoy knowing that I have meal preparations completed, that my carpet is clean, that I have written something meaningful, and that I have gotten in a good workout. I even consider spending quality time with my daughters to be a productive activity.
So, it is truly difficult when physical and/or mental illness causes me to take a break from being productive. In my case, long periods of low productivity tend to turn into symptoms of depression-and this further erodes my self-esteem.
Currently, I am recovering from bronchitis, and I have been concerned about some blood test results that show my body is breaking down blood clots. My doctor is reviewing my lab results and emergency room visit notes but seems unconcerned about any sort of urgency so I am trying to take that as a good sign that something is not more seriously wrong. I have been pretty stressed out lately and lying around resting and being unproductive was not helping my mental health at all.
Normally, I would meditate, but the deep breathing exercise in meditation was too hard for me earlier when my bronchioles were more inflamed. I did, however, use distraction to help me stop focusing on everything that was going wrong, or could go wrong-and this practice was successful much of the time-it also felt productive to distract myself skillfully rather than ratcheting up my anxiety and depression.
Productivity Can Be Simple
While lying around and recuperating, I looked for simple ways to be productive. If I could only just vacuum one room before feeling exhausted, I would do that. If watching a favorite television show like the old Star Trek series on Amazon Prime was all I had energy to do, then I thought about how rest was helping my body dampen inflammation and break down clots.
I watched Shrek and Shrek 2 with my daughters and considered that productive because it was something I did with them when they were little. Both girls enjoyed the movies, and I felt happy to have time to do that with them.
Being productive does not have to be work-related, and it can be beneficial to your health. Sometimes you just have to reframe what productivity means to you in that moment in time-which derives from using mindfulness as a skill.
Even though I am still recovering, I know that I will keep making progress toward my overall goals-and that makes me feel happy and accomplished.