Yesterday I was going to drive up to Incline Village and connect with my good friend from coaching class. I was super excited and looking forward to spending time with her. But, of course there’s a but…back up to yesterday morning and that’s where my dilemma began.
Got up Friday, had a great swim, at home getting ready for work. bent over in the shower to shave my legs, as I do every day, and…wait a minute…I felt a twinge in my back. For those of you this happens to, you know what I’m talking about. That twinge where you know if you’re not careful, your back is going out. I say going out, I actually don’t know if that’s what happens. What I do know is that it’s like the muscles and nerves in my lower back tie themselves up in a knot and make me barely able to walk upright. Plus the bonus of pain. I stopped. Carefully I stood up and thought I’d be ok, narrowly escaped that time.
But I wasn’t. As the morning went on, it got worse and worse. I was worried how it would be in the morning when I was going to sit in the car for two hours. I used heat that night, stretched it and prayed I’d wake up recovered. Nice try. I woke up and thought I’d been beaten up in my sleep. I met a friend for coffee early and could barely sit without pain. In my mind, I still wanted to go to Incline, body be damned. This is where I started to have awareness.
Arguably, my back was (and still is) pretty bad off. On the flip side, I wanted to see my friend, I’d committed to coming up and seeing my friend. When I say I’m going to do something, it’s important to me to follow through and do it. I tend to think I’m not responsible if I don’t follow through. It’s a feeling I struggle with, it goes against my value of being responsible. Particularly when someone else is involved, it’s tough. In the past, I’ve let that overshadow my own wisdom, or what my body is telling me. With my body, I feel like I should just “suck it buttercup,” and move forward. And by and large, I’ve done that. I survived but I’m fairly sure my body did not thank me.
Yesterday something different happened. There I was, doing mental somersaults trying to decide if I should stay home and rest my back, or drive to see my friend, which in all likelihood would aggravate my back. I realized that I was really the only one holding myself to that high standard and feeling like I would be irresponsible and a bad friend if I didn’t follow through. I was putting my idea of being responsible above my own self-care. So, still struggling, I reached out to my friend, she actually encouraged me to stay home, and I did. She completely understood.
I know this happens to me fairly often, but I wonder how often it happens to you? You ignore your inner wisdom, or the way your body is telling you to slow down because you need to be “responsible”, whatever that means for you. I really only took a baby step yesterday but if this is a struggle you have, could you take a baby step too? Make a commitment to yourself, and find someone who can help hold you accountable. You’ll find that making self-care a priority is not only worth it, but it will make you stronger and more able to follow through with those things and people that are important in your life.