Things I’ve learnt // Listen to your body, it knows

Things I've learnt: listen to your body, it knows


So you may have noticed things have been a little quiet around here over the past couple of weeks. Well lovely Collective, I came down with tonsillitis and just had to STOP.

But before you applaud me for my self-awareness and my ultimate self-care amazingness, let me tell you how that shit shook down, because it’s a lesson for us all.

I’ve been doing so much work on my inner peace, mental stability, positivity, gratitude, self-love and all the rest but as a busy working mum, sometimes the thing we forget is our health, and the very obvious signs that something is up and we need to do something about it. So I’ll tell you a story.

The warning signs

I missed so many. SO MANY. As my mother always says ‘oooh she’s not good without sleep!’ to anyone who will listen (and yes still, at 37 years old) but it’s completely true so she’s well within her rights. Baby Grumpling will always be my nickname when I’m tired. My husband knows it, I know it, and anyone who knows me knows it.

Lucky then that Frankie has been a brilliant sleeper most of her life. SO LUCKY. Until teeth. BASTARD TEETH. Teeth that came SO late that we just had way too long in blissful ignorance, Frankie didn’t cut her first tooth until after she was 1. We survived those but this next lot are giving her SERIOUS grief. She doesn’t respond to teething rings or cold flannels or any other perfectly good suggestion and not only does she scream in pain, she gets terrible colds that keep her up all night.

That keep us up all night.

Over and over again. A run of bad nights that we haven’t had since the newborn days. And you know, I have to go to WORK like that. Dressed nicely. With makeup on. On a train. After successfully delivering her to childcare.

I was obviously going to break eventually. My throat started to feel a little sore. PISH AND TISH I said. I HAVE FAR TOO MUCH TO DO TO WORRY ABOUT A BIT OF A TICKLE.

The distraction

Right as the storm was brewing over Labour Day weekend (another classic sign for me – about to go on a break? GET SICK!), I fell over in a stupid slapstick way at a friends’ house and split my elbow open. It really hurt and continued to really hurt as it was un-stitchable. This was an excellent distraction from my deteriorating health. I barely noticed the extra heaviness to my legs or the sickly feeling spreading through me.

I went out determinedly the next day to buy F’s first proper shoes. Because THAT my friends was the plan for that day.

The denial

By that afternoon after a few hours walking around an airless shopping centre I did finally admit I felt like shit to Janis. “I actually think I might be getting sick” was all I would venture. I spent the afternoon on the sofa, which in my book meant by the next day I would be cured

By Monday I had to admit that napping when F napped and staying in my onesie all day being looked after by Janis was appealing. The mere fact that I slept during the day is another DINGALING of a warning sign for me.

So of course, by Tuesday I was scheduled to be 100% better.

I worked from home – I KNEW I was too sick to haul arse to the city but I felt perfectly capable of putting a quiet day’s work in, in my PJs.

My throat was like swallowing broken glass by this point, almost unbearable. But I had Frankie to worry about and a deadline to meet so I had some Manuka honey in my lemon water and some paracetamol and carried on…

The surrender

I didn’t sleep that night from the pain. I couldn’t actually remember the last time I felt this bad and it was really confusing me

Wednesday is my non-working day (thank goodness) so I took myself off to my dr who took one look at me wincing every time I swallowed, saw the pus (sorry) in my throat and declared severe tonsillitis, prescribing a penicillin injection (in the bum, giant needle, horrible painful stuff) and a course of (evil but good) antibiotics

Thing is though, I don’t have any tonsils.

Apparently you can still get tonsillitis, on the remaining scraps of tissue, if you are run down enough.

WELL DONE ME. I mean, proper fucking job Hannah. Literally getting yourself into such a state that you inflame what’s left of your tonsils.

So that was the point I took it all seriously. I, in the manner of Victorian aristocracy, took to my bed.

Because now I’m a mum.

It’s the ONE thing that made me see sense. I know how bad tonsillitis can get and I wanted to be better for my family. I was signed off work and ACTUALLY stuck to it (no working from home). I stayed in bed and rested and slept. I ate chicken soup and drank orange juice. I let Janis see to Frankie for a couple of nights (we always share it, but I did NOTHING for those few nights, in fact I barely woke up, mental). I watched trash telly and read gossip on my iPad. I let my social media and blogging go completely.

I had to. I had to make peace with it and just let it all go, focusing every scrap of energy I had on healing.

The lesson

There are so many facets to self-care. I am working so hard on loving myself and being positive and grateful but as a million miles an hour kind of person, it is really easy for me to ignore when my health isn’t quite on point.

And that doesn’t help anyone.

I know now that a bout of bad nights need to be counteracted with being gentle and slow on my days off, cancelling the busy plans and allowing us time for rest.

I know now that I need to listen harder to my body’s signs – probably me falling over was all a part of this too – question harder, stop and take a moment to say ‘am I ok?’

I know now that I need to be prepared to let work go and look after myself first. You aren’t a hero dragging yourself to work, and people can cope without you…

I know now that I need to listen to Janis when he tells me to stop and rest.

I know now that this Easter Break is a time to relax and catch up on me time.

I know now that I really don’t want a massive needle in my bum again.


So tell me…how do you unwittingly sabotage yourself? Do you recognise yourself in the story above and if so, how can you make sure you don’t do the same thing next time…? Because I’ll be joining you in making sure we are committed to listening to ourselves and our bodies. Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.


  1. Omg Hannah I love this post! It had me giggling the whole way through (because I can relate). And the lessons learnt are #sotrue

    • Hehe YEP. xx

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