It started after joint replacement surgery. My body complained bitterly if I did not follow the Rest Ice Elevate rule explicitly and often. No problem at home but big challenges while I was out! I quickly realized I had limited amounts of energy, limited focus … limited limited LIMITED. I was faced with all the things I couldn’t get done, how I couldn’t stand for long periods, how I couldn’t get into the garden.
It was depressing until I realized this complete lifestyle shakeup was challenging all my beliefs about how I lived in my body. It caused me to break through some of the old habits of ignoring messages my body was sending me in the form of aches, pains and swelling. With my back against a wall – well, against the sofa – I started to completely rethink how I organized my life.
And the mind-blowing concept I uncovered and embraced?
I could start something, leave it in the middle & pick it up again later, or even the next day without feeling guilty!
In this fashion, I finished knitting a sweater, finished one painting and started three more, made big batches of cultured veggies AND launched Get Cultured Online. I learned to stop before finishing, to relax and release when my BODY not my HEAD, said THAT’S ENOUGH. These projects were completed by focusing on them for only 5 (or up to 30) minutes at a time. I was able to do these small bits because I RESTED and REJUVENATED at the first whisper from my body saying “REST”!
The miracle has been that my ability to create breaks for myself has expanded. Whether it’s a 10-minute sit down with a book, cooking a meal in stages with rests in between, or having 15 minutes to play with my watercolors, I’ve discovered that MORE POSSIBILITIES for self-healing open up when I look at parts of a task instead of the whole.
What happens when that task is self-healing???
Think about that.
What happens when the task we have is not doing the laundry but finding out how to heal ourselves?
What happens when the task is US?
My body rewarded me with greater focus and clarity when I rested. Now I’m far more motivated to rest and rejuvenate than I was before my knee surgery. This months-long healing journey has given me so much more than a fully functional joint, it’s given me a chance to learn how to listen differently to my body as it heals itself. NOTE: We are all, always, healing something.
So, the next time you hear yourself say “There’s no time for forest bathing or a beach walk” … stop and ask instead “What DO I have time for?” Five minutes of admiring the pretty bits in your backyard [you gotta gloss over the weeds] or a short stroll around the block bring you benefits that build over time. Whether you’re a mom with young children, a grandma, a full-time worker bee, or healing from illness or injury, you CAN FIND THE TIME.
Here is a 4 part recipe if finding time seems impossible to you right now:
1. Brainstorm what healing, relaxing, enlivening activities/non-activities work for you – even if it seems too small to matter. Examples: counting the new flowers on the rose bush, reading a chapter in your new library book, watching the birds at the feeder, drinking a glass of cool water outside.
2. Get family/friends to help find those tiny moments hidden in your overwhelming schedule or busy days. Tip: Ask them when they catch you smiling –
3. Plan some of these tiny moments. Do them. Start small, grow. The benefits show up quickly!
4. Tell someone when you participated & celebrate your self-healing! Phone your friend and report in. Engage your sister in this exercise with you. Send me a note, I’d love to hear how this resonates for you!
This list, you may have noticed, is standard procedure for committing to getting things done – only this time the focus is on only those things that help relax, relieve anxiety and reduce symptoms of overwhelm or overdoing. Notice what happens for you as you try the options.
It’s kind of an UNDO list. What can you UNDO to expand your self-healing today?