Saturday, November 22, 2014

Listening to Our Bodies

Autumn. I can't help but thrill at this time of year.

Sometimes I think my Instagram feed in Autumn is nothing but my feet in leaves!

Southern summers are long and hot. Wonderful in their own way, yes, but there is something so rewarding about being outdoors in Autumn in the Carolinas. We natives often say that Autumn is our reward for enduring the sweltering heat of summer!

And enduring is the theme of today's post. There has been so much going on around here lately that I've fallen behind once again (there goes that reasonable goal of one post a week!) but it is a good kind of busy. I had two college classes come to a close last week, another article published, and a myriad of other things to do and responsibilities to fulfill. All in addition to caring for our home, being a solo parent and working a full-time job and freelancing! So life has been joyous, though a wee bit hectic - the classes I was taking, while necessary and meaningful, meant my free time was not my own, a circumstance I despise to find myself in.

And as soon as they were body reacted. Constochondritis was the diagnosis. I eschewed the steroid route for treatment that would have, in the kind doctor's words, had me 'up and running again' in just a few hours, and opted instead for a mild over-the-counter medication to relieve the inflammation and a couple of days of much-needed rest. Though the costochondritis was painful, I knew that it's sudden appearance was my body's way telling me rest was what it wanted, what it needed after such a busy couple of months. The last thing I should have strove for was to be 'up and running again'  in a few hours.

I needed to just simply sit.



Our work ethic here in America often goes completely against what we know in our hearts is best for our bodies and minds. I, too, used to pride myself on not missing a beat, or a day of work, when ill (cringe). That was the old me. Now I know better.  On the way home from the doctor, I picked up a DVD series I'd been itching to watch from our local library...

Thank you Audrey Eclectic for turning me on to this amazing series!
...and then headed straight home, where I stayed, for two days. Resting. Sitting. Being.

Healing. Slowly, naturally, not an accelerated pace so that I could be up and running again as soon as possible, but at the pace my body required for balance and well-being.

Because I was not contagious, I allowed my son to remain at home with me, where he learned valuable life lessons in what it means to take care of another person when they are ill. He also learned to whipstitch...

...and to make stacked-felt Christmas ornaments for holiday gifting! (Aren't those little trees just too adorable? I have to resist the urge to keep them all! More on our homemade holiday plans in future post!)

And I learned that I'm always learning, and that I need to balance my life a bit more. No more taking two college courses at is simply too much at this time in my life, and that's okay. This is all part of what my series on Setting Reasonable Goals is about!  In the afternoons, when I was feeling a bit better (and a wee bit restless from so much sitting), there was time outside...

Healing time in nature, enjoying the waning Autumn sunshine. Slow walking with much stopping and discovering surprises along the way...

A real hollow log! What lives here, we wondered!
I tend to over-estimate what I can endure, but my body reminds me when it is time to slow down. Sometimes the reminder is harsh, as it was with this illness. I'm grateful now for two months' break before my next college course; the coming holiday season; and that I have a job which allows me to  take a couple days sick leave to rest and heal when I need it. Listening to my body and responding to it's needs, rather than masking pain with medication, truly works for me and promotes better health for me both physically and mentally!

I look forward to bringing you the next installment of Reasonable Goal Setting soon, featuring an interview by ZenHabits own Leo Babauta! A long-time lover of ZenHabits, I'm thrilled to be featuring Leo in this blog series and to talk with him about the pending release of the ZenHabits book, which you can learn more about here! I'm also thrilled that it Saturday, so I'll close with a happy weekend wish to you and a bit of advice...listen to your body, rest if you should, take it easy if you can. Don't push the levels of your endurance. Get out in nature.
Just take time to be, not do...

With love,

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