Time for an unplanned blog post! This was definitely last minute and, therefore, may be a little all over the place. The idea was sparked after being at a fitness event last night and having to listen to my own body. Read on!
Sometimes, especially when we are pursuing a goal, it is hard to listen to our bodies. Over the years of dance and theatre, I had become a professional at ignoring discomfort. However, that lead to a lot of overuse injuries and a torn tendon in my ankle that never healed properly. Now, a discomfort in my knee (a joint that you have to be very careful with) had me stopping short. Do I push through and get my workouts in? I am in preparation for a pageant and I need to be active. But at what cost? I know the possibility of doing serious damage to my knee that can sideline me for weeks. This is not the first time I have had this kind of discomfort and the last time pushing through sidelined me for a few weeks. That is something I couldn’t afford. So instead of being headstrong, I talked to my trainer. As a fitness professional and someone who also has occasional knee problems, he told me to ice it and take the next two days off. So now we are here: writing this blog post with some ice under my kneecap, two ibuprofen taken and a day of no working out. Is it hard? Yes. I don’t like being sidelined at all. But did I make the right decision? Again, the answer is yes.
So what is the purpose of this story? More often than not, we ignore the signs our body gives us and I don’t just mean physically. We also have a habit of ignoring the mental signs that we are getting from our body. Physically, it is easy to ignore discomfort or pain and push through. This can lead to some serious injuries that could have been taken care of at the early stages. I stress this for athletes or extremely active individuals in particular. I was a dancer back before overuse injuries were commonly discussed by physicians. So years of serious dancing later, I now have ankles that are prone to injuries because the lack the strength due to consistent overuse. In addition to muscles and joint injuries, our bodies are very good at telling us if there is something else wrong. A great example is with a disease such as hypothyroidism. There are some prominent symptoms that more often than not are discounted as something else (such as hair loss and exhaustion). If you feel your body is trying to tell you something, listen to it.
Now let’s talk about when our body tries to tell us about mental distress. When we start to feel anxious, stressed or depressed, our body tried to find ways to tell us. For each person it is different, but there are some common symptoms. Sleeping too much or too little with no reasoning or having panic attacks are two signs of mental distress that shouldn’t be ignored. If you have having mental health issues that your body is trying to tell you about, don’t ignore them. You would go to a doctor for any other symptoms and mental ones should be no different.
As for myself: I hope to be back to myself by tomorrow after some rest and I hope to continue to learn to listen to my body (and my mind) and take better care of myself physically and mentally.