Listening to your body

I realized on Monday that I forgot all about Weekend Links and Updates. The past two weeks have been crazy, and last weekend was the craziest. I think my brain was so exhausted by Sunday that it went into survival mode. I’m sad I missed it, as I had lots to share, but next weekend I’ll be back!

This weekend I was visiting with friends at a wedding and I was talking about an experience I’d had in which my ability to listen to my body had surprised the doctor I was with. My friend remarked that she wished she had that intuitiveness, to which I replied, “No, you don’t really want to have to go through what I have to gain it.”

Being able to listen to what my body is telling me isn’t something that happened overnight, or something I was born with. But dealing with two concussions over four years forced me to pay attention to myself in a way I had never done before.

While I think this ability comes more naturally to some personalities, it certainly didn’t for me! I was willing to push myself through almost anything. It took a lot to stop me from pretending I was okay. It was only with my concussions that I started listening closely. I couldn’t pretend anymore. I couldn’t fake it.

Listening to your body is important if you deal with any sort of ongoing health issue.

It is possible to learn how to listen to your body, but it’s not always natural or intuitive. It takes time and practice. BUT, if you can learn how to do it, it’s a valuable tool that can help you recover faster and give you more peace of mind.

So how do you learn to listen to your body?

The easiest way to start, I think, is to ask yourself how you feel when you wake up. I know that seems simple, but it makes all the difference. I suspect that most people don’t give a thought to how their body is feeling in the morning unless they wake up with unexpected pain. So as you start to wake up, sit up, or drink your coffee, just take a moment to check in. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Does anything feel out of place?
Do I feel worse or better than yesterday?
Is there an obvious reason why? If not, try and think about it off and on for the rest of the day. Sometimes it takes me a day or two to see a pattern.
Am I feeling rested? Do I need to make time for a nap today?
Do I need to take it easy today? If so, what can I cut out that’s not essential?
Am I happy? Sad? Depressed? Stressed? Sometimes just acknowledging what you are feeling can make it seem better. And you can give a heads up to the people you’ll be seeing.
Why do I feel this way? This is a little harder, but go for it!

Listening to your body is really all about trying to find what patterns and habits are helpful or harmful to your body, and trying to put a stop to anything that is within your control that is negatively affecting you. It’s a valuable tool to have and one that will hopefully lead to quicker healing or at least more consistent health.

Next week I will share some of the benefits of listening to your body.