“I am open and receptive to healing and expansion.”
This been my mantra for the past week or so. In case you missed it, I’ve had to do a lot of healing in the past week.
As it turns out, my body needed to express some emotion to me. My first semester of grad school was rough, but add to it a change in jobs, full-time work, starting a blog, creating jewelry, and teaching fitness classes, and it was a miracle that I kept it all together.
Aside from a few melt-downs (and once threatening to quit everything altogether), I’d say I handled the transition fairly well emotionally. Physically, though, I probably should have paid a bit more attention. I became scattered, cranky and tired, put on about ten pounds in a single semester, and – as I only now realize – started having back pain the week of finals.
I went from all to nothing [literally – while on furlough I had no responsibilities] very suddenly. And while on break, I made immense internal shifts, including deciding–and following through–to create a new path for myself.
While I feel like my over-stimulated mind could keep up with all the changes, I think it’s quite obvious that this was all a bit too much for my body.
[In case you’re wondering, on a physical level it seems as though my lowest vertabrae – L5 – had gotten compressed from too much impact on the spine (running/turbokickboxing/plyometrics). Everything from my sacrum to my lower back was scrunched, causing intense pain. To help the healing process, I got a couple of adjustments with my incredible friend and chiropractor, Tracey Wright, and also received massage.]
I am so grateful to feel functional again today for the first time in a week! I’m not at 100% again yet, but definitely better.
The whole experience has taught me so much more than I realized I wanted – or needed – to know, until now:
- Pain isn’t bad. It just is. We’re the ones who give it positive or negative connotations. It’s simply expression, needing to be honored.
- My body has incredible healing capabilities. I rarely stop to think about everything my body does. It creates healthy cells constantly, omits tears and mucus to constantly wash out the old and bring in new, it heals bones when they’re broken, and realigns things so that they work optimally again.
- It feels good to take a break. This was the longest I’ve gone without exercise since as far back as I can remember being healthy. And I think it was needed.
- Just because I miss a week of exercise doesn’t mean I’m not healthy. I was worried about what my students (and fellow fitness instructors) would think of me when they saw that I was out of commission. It turns out I actually gained respect in their eyes by honoring my body.
- I have a healthy appetite. Okay, that might sound weird, but hear me out: I eat a lot. Well, normally (when I’m crazy active) I do. I thought I would definitely gain weight while not exercising. But my appetite shrunk when I was no longer burning 600+ calories in an afternoon session (imagine that!), compensating for the calories I haven’t been burning. And I haven’t gained any weight – in fact I’ve lost weight (most likely a loss of muscle).
- I am immensely grateful for my body. It’s true that ‘you never know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’. For me, this was a big lesson in taking my abilities for granted. My body allows me to do incredible things!
- I want to learn to appreciate being still as much as I appreciate being in motion. The first few days I was alright, making sure to honor my body and take it easy, but by yesterday I was antsy and filled with trapped energy.
As I end my first week back at work and prepare for my second semester of schoolin’ (we start Monday), I realize the enormity of this experience: without my health, I am nothing (so I deserve to take damn good care of myself).
Tonight the Wellness Center I teach TurboKick for is putting on an Open House event and I will have my first physical activity in a week (SO excited!). I’m going to take it all very very slowly and demonstrate ways to modify moves :). I won’t be running or doing any plyometrics until I feel 100% better because I would hate for this to become a more serious injury. Instead, I’ll be easing back into my exercise routine as I ease back into grad school next week… taking it one day at a time.
Have you ever had an injury? How do you feel about rest days (or rest weeks)?