all Essays

Why now, More Than Ever, we Need to Reclaim Rest as a Political act

“Convalescence needs time, and the value we place on that ultimately comes down to what our politicians will support,” writes Dr Gavin Francis in his new book, Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence. I’m reading his book in the yellow armchair in my office, one of two armchairs that have become the centre of my world since I contracted M.E. six years ago – a post-viral illness that left me housebound. 

Rest and convalescence both seem like old words, belonging to by-gone eras. But their value, both as tools of recovery and an acknowledgment of our fundamental humanity, has never been more important than it is today. 

In 2015, when a virus first laid me low, I had no idea that trying to push through my symptoms would leave me permanently disabled. But this is now the reality facing millions of people struggling to recover from Covid, with similarly little support.