This week’s Body Love Tip came to me as I was personally experiencing this exact feeling. So I’m sharing with you exactly what I did to avoid defeat, and why I feel this is the only real strategy when faced with it:
My body and my blog go hand-in-hand
My blog’s been pretty quiet this month. This article’s title is a clue as to why. One might say that the activity on my blog and the state of my body are highly correlated!
After having a wonderful year, and crushing a couple of personal & physical goals in 2016 (I finished writing my first book and ran my first marathon), I’ve spent the better part of the whole past month battling a nasty cold, followed by an even nastier flu. Neither one was a run-of-the-mill virus that passed within a few short days. Both seem to have been super bugs, built for long-standing battles.
Yet, never one to back down from a good fight with an invader, I tackled both with my best resources: superior nutrition, supplements, plenty of rest, tons of H2O, fresh air, gentle activity, and aromatherapy coming out of my *ss (figuratively speaking of course).
It took me two and a half weeks to win the first battle, and as I started to resume my regular physical, personal and professional activities (though admittedly with less “oomph”), I came face-to-face with the second as my daughter brought home the flu that promptly took down our household (not to mention over 50% of her classmates).
But even though the worst of it has now passed, brain fog and lethargy continue to dominate my days. And today, I found myself admitting defeat.
As I looked in the mirror this morning through tired eyes (despite 8+ hours of sleep each night), and I nursed my monstrosity of a cold sore (on my nose of all places! This “battle wound” has made even the slightest tissue-blow an ordeal), I asked myself, exhausted, What more can I possibly do?!
Then one word came to me, loud and clear:
Surrender? What? Never. I’ll keep pushing and fighting until I win. I’m determined to get better.
But then I realized that this “surrender” thing might well be the key to fully recovering – and to possibly even thriving beyond where I was physically before. Because I realized that as long as I’m still struggling, I can’t win over the long-term. I might win the little battles, but eventually there will be one big nasty one that takes me down hard, like what is happening right now.
I’ve experienced this before – not often, but it’s happened. When I was so low down that I couldn’t see any way back up, I surrendered, and then I found a way.
Surrendering is NOT quitting (esp. on your body)
To be clear, this is not the same thing as giving up. To surrender simply means to stop resisting. Stop pushing and fighting, and instead listen to the demands of your body, mind and soul. Because when they’re defeating you, it’s not just for the sake of taking you down, they simply want your attention.
This week, it occurred to me that, although my body has been getting the self-care it needs, my mind and soul have been arguably neglected. With my big personal goals last year, I pushed my physical and mental limits, and yet I only restored myself physically. It all happened sort of gradually, but I realize that over time, I invested less and less of my energy into the things that refueled my mind and spirit:
I stopped meditating, I journaled less, I did very little creatively, I let my social calendar go dry, I was less active with my daughter, I caught up on way too many Netflix series (no energy for much else at the end of a mentally and physically exhausting day), and I became slack on my home Feng Shui (clutter was quickly building up in my home office, which is in the very centre of my home – not coincidentally, in Feng Shui, this the bagua (energy centre) of Health). I justified it all as a short-term sacrifice, knowing that after I reached my goals, I would address it and get those things back on track.
But now I’m paying the price.
It’s been an important lesson for me to learn because I see a pattern in my life of these kinds of short-term productivity “bursts” at the expense of my overall wellbeing. Though I definitely don’t regret anything that I accomplished last year, I can see the value in managing my expectations for future endeavours, to allow for more balance and proper recovery on all levels. Because at the end of the day, the process still took an extra month of my time – only in illness and regaining my health, not in productivity.
Despite the brain fog, I felt compelled to share this on my blog this week because as it hit me, I realized that there are probably many people out there who may be having these feelings of “defeat” about their bodies. And not necessarily in the form of illness.
This is the time of year when New Year’s resolutions begin to wane. And since most resolutions are geared towards improving health and/or body weight, when the body’s not responding to efforts the way we think they should, it can get frustrating and cause many to quit trying, out of defeat.
If that’s the case for you, I invite you to lean in and listen a little more closely – not only to what your body is demanding, but also to what your mind and soul need. We are not one-dimensional beings, and therefore we cannot simply focus on one aspect of our wellbeing (usually the physical) and expect positive, long-term results.
We need to address the whole picture, and treat the body, mind and soul as our allies. Don’t quit; simply surrender to their needs. That’s the only true path to victory.
And now, my meditation practice resumes. 🙂
Did you like this tip?
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