What does this mean? Self-care at another level?
You see I thought my self-care was on par with where I was in the way that I lived, worked, slept, shopped and so forth. But I was placed in an unexpected situation at the beginning of the year that threw out my standards of self-care.
I had to revise everything about the way I was living, moving, sleeping, cooking, eating etc. For me, my body gave me a stop moment that stopped many things in my tracks. An unexpected stop, when life was planned and in a momentum.
I just had four weeks annual leave, so I was well rested, ready to return to work despite the anxiety of returning to a high paced, demanding job. A few days before returning, my back went into spasms. It came on suddenly, I merely lifted my drinking bottle from one position to another, and that was it!..
I had once before been in this situation so knew I needed to be super gentle, super careful in how I moved and managed it on my own.
I pretended that it will resolve by the following day, but little did I know that my back had other plans. By the following night, it resulted in excruciating pain. Moving down the left side of my leg, and with each spasm it became angrier and angrier, until I had no choice but to attend emergency department for support.
Now years ago, I would have freaked out, placing demands on the health care professionals and yet whilst I sat patiently in the waiting room, there was no panic or turmoil inside of me. I finally received strong pain killers and after two hours of the best sleep in 24 hours, I was ready to run out the door.
But wait? Not so fast, the leg was numb, it was cold and no longer weight bearable. My body had other plans. I submitted to its calling and a further week was needed to rest and recover.
During this time I had no choice but to learn to rest, rely on my partner to support me. Driving to practitioners was an ordeal, with bumpy roads and having to drive whilst my body had to lean to the right as I drove.
There was no rushing, no running around, there was no time factor. My body was not having a bar of it.
I have learnt so much about my body and having no choice but to listen to its every calling. Soon as I want to rush because I’m going to be late for work, it signals, and boy it isn’t pleasant when it signals.
One morning I remembered waking up and thinking you know what, work doesn’t matter, if they want to fire me, so be it. My body was calling out to take care of it, as tenderly as we care for our newborns. The choice was taken away from me and in that I can only smile and say thank you. What a beautiful offering my Soul had offered me. A clearing of lifetimes of being in drive, do, time, rush and it was saying no more.
Every moment is considered. How I take myself to bed, the pillow I sleep with that turns as I turn. The painkillers, how I shower, clean the shower afterwards, to dressing. Every movement I make impacts my body.
I’ve learnt to let go of being here, there and everywhere. I’ve learnt to say no and be more vocal if things become too demanding at work.
I have learnt to let go of unnecessary things that do not matter - Time being the biggest factor.
My self-care has become so refined, that I love myself to another depth that I’ve never reached and would not have if my back hadn’t stopped me.
The healing continues and my body responds accordingly. This wouldn’t have occurred without the incredible support of a physiotherapist, connective tissue therapy, gentle massage and my willingness to surrender to what my body and Soul was offering.
My back has offered me another way to live and appreciate what it continually offers. My self-care has gone to another level, self-love is now my new marker.
By Shushila Boswell