Why respecting your body is so important
In 2016 I decided it would be a good idea to try and go to two different universities while working. I literally had alarms on my phone telling me when I could nap during the day because I’d arrive home at midnight every day and then have to be up by five in the morning to start all over again. For a year I had the craziest hours, the worst possible diet, no time to exercise whatsoever other than the few days I was feeling strong enough to walk from class to work. I was treating my body and mind as if I was a robot, designed to work, study and eat.
When 2017 began I was absolutely exhausted, more insomniac than I’ve ever been, crying, depressed and I kept catching colds and feeling ill all the freaking time. Until one moment when I noticed every time I mentioned my current state to someone, they’d quip: “Of course you’re feeling awful, I don’t know how the hell you survived last year.” Friends, if you start hearing the exact same words from every single person you know, I say you should listen to them. I didn’t. And I also didn’t listen to my body, as many signs as it kept giving me that I was ready to break down. Needless to say, 2017 was a pretty rough year for me health wise, right?
So let’s see why I should have listened to my body and why sometimes slowing down and doing nothing is the complete opposite of being lazy.
1. Your body tells you every single thing you need to know.
Your falling hair, breaking nails, back and joint pain are not the Devil’s work. It is not karma biting you in the ass for being a bad person in a previous life. Well, it could be, but that’s probably only one of the reasons. I remember looking at myself in the mirror in 2016 and all I could see was how big the dark circles around my eyes were and how much weight I kept gaining. My hair would fall like crazy and I thought it was just normal, every day hair loss for someone with as much hair as I have (it is a lot). Those were all signs of a terrible nutrition and lack of sleep and rest and we can all agree I didn’t need to get to a point where I’d get in shock, or have a severe nervous breakdown to notice I was overworking myself if I had taken the small signs seriously, right? If you sleep eight hours one night and wake up feeling amazing the next day, listen to it – you need eight hours of sleep to be reinvigorate, that’s your needed sleep time. Pay attention to every small sign your body gives, even the good ones!
2. If you keep falling ill over and over again, something’s wrong.
I also wouldn’t stop getting sick in 2016 (and 2017). I’d be coming down with a flu every two weeks, I had constant headaches and muscle pain, always sneezing, getting rashes and even a horrible case of dandruff. Oversharing? Oh well.. I also found out I had a herniated disc on my lombar region and completely ignored the diagnosis. Smart, as always. For the longest time I thought it was just because I forgot to take Vitamin C tablets before breakfast. Needless to say, that was not the case. Getting constantly sick might be the biggest sign your body is giving that you’re treating it badly and while we may think colds and flu are okay and will go away soon, they mean your immune system is bugged, BAD, and that little man doesn’t take care of colds only, it is responsible for keeping every single possible illness away from you. If you kick it in the head too many times, occasionally something far worse will come along and your body won’t have the energy to defend itself. Colds, flu and allergic reactions will be the least of your problems.
3. Sometimes all we need is a little break.
I know society nowadays keeps flashing us with pictures of extremely fit people preaching exercise and healthy diets and blah blah blah. Listen to them – to a certain extent. Yes, a bad diet and the lack of exercise were pretty much my doom in 2016. But then in 2017 I thought I had to quit cold-turkey half the things I was eating and go to the gym five days a week (and then work out at home the other two days). That routine IS NOT FOR EVERY BODY. It definitely wasn’t for mine! I was still weak, still trying to heal, with a hurt back and extremely overweight. All that craziness did to me was make me worse and send me to the hospital two times last year with a cracked back, once with tonsillitis and once with a migraine so bad I thought I was having a stroke. I’m a fucking 24 years old, guys, this kind of shit should not be happening! So take breaks. I’ll repeat: TAKE FREAKING BREAKS. Sometimes when you go through a lot for a long period of time, all you need is one week of sleeping, chilling, doing nothing before you can start – SLOWLY – getting back on your feet and moving. Take breaks, guys. Take many breaks.
4. Your body will also tell you in a much lighter tone when it is time to take a break.
So you’ve taken your breaks, you’re starting to get back on your feet, building up an exercise routine. You started a new project, things are going great, you’re on fire! And then one day your back hurts a little bit. You ignore it, you’re on fire anyways. And the next day your back hurts again. You ignore it once more. DO NOT IGNORE IT THE THIRD TIME. Your body is telling you to give yourself a break, man. Look at how awesome your body is, it even tells you when to chill! If you don’t feel well or at least 80% ready to do something, don’t do it. Listen to your freaking body, weirdo. It will not set revenge upon you if you choose not to workout with a hurt back, or if you choose to stay home instead of going on an adventure when you’re sneezing like crazy or your head is pounding. It will thank you and love you and be much stronger the next day!
5. Sometimes you and your body are just not feeling it – and that’s okay!
I had pretty hectic days this week and couldn’t find the time to write a second weekly post for you guys. And then yesterday when I did have the time I didn’t want to write anything. And that was okay! I was exhausted, couldn’t focus, was struggling with some personal matters and just wanted to spend some quality time with my mother. So I respected my body and mind’s current state and also you guys by choosing not to write some shit ass post just for the sake of doing so and making a commitment to myself to write today, once I woke up rested and feeling better!
You are not being lazy when you choose to listen to your body, your mind and your heart and decide not to do something. You’re being lazy when you know you can do it, when you’re feeling well and you have absolutely no obstacles in front of you (and in these obstacles I include mental illness, yes, because sometimes your body is good and your mind is pure crap at the same time) and you still choose not to do something.
6. People will tell you you’re wrong – don’t listen to them, listen to yourself.
Like I said on item 3 above, every one has their own limits, different bodies, life backgrounds and differently functioning brains. My friend (and spiritual/life coach) Mari used to do crossfit six times a week, now she’s going only three times a week after her body demanded she slowed down for a while. My friend Julia used to run miles four to five times a week, now she does pilates at home. My brother plays basket ball two times a week. And I do yoga at least three times a week, sometimes four… Sometimes even five or seven. You see what I mean? Everyone knows what’s best for them, their bodies tell them when to move, when to stop, when to sleep. This whole post is about listening to your body and of course, sometimes your friends, but mostly your body. Why would Mari’s body know what’s best for mine? Why would my body know what’s best for Julia? Do not let others dictate your relationship with yourself and your body, ever, because they will not be the ones dealing with the stress and possible pain in the future.
7. Our bodies are amazing little cocoons for our souls.
If you find a good balance with it, if you work on your relationship with it, your little body will take the greatest care of you and tell you with clear words when something is not right or when something is absolutely perfect. No matter how big, small, tall or short, lean or round, your body rules! Be friends with it, take care of it. In this life it will be the only body you’ll have. Worship that little – or not so little – fucker!
So, you know… A little bit of silence can tell you great things. Take a deep breath now and listen to what your body is telling you.
And then come here and tell me what it was, deal?
Unless it’s a secret, I wouldn’t want to ruin your body’s trust in you.
Stay true, kitten, stay awesome.