Saturday, September 12, 2015

Random Musings: Knowing (and respecting) your limits

Today is a glorious spring day. Warm with a light breeze - just the perfect day to get out and go crazy in the garden.

A few month ago, however, I had a car accident. It wasn't very serious, the car was fairly easily repaired and I didn't even think I'd hurt myself other than bumping my shoulder but it turned out that "bump" was a partial dislocation - and didn't I know it a week later when the pain kicked in. Anyone who has had a shoulder injury knows that they are slow to heal. It has been a long road of chiropractic visits, massage and rehab but I'm pretty much back to normal.

Lets just pause on the term "pretty much" for a second.

Right now I'm still doing my rehab exercises. Day to day activities are fine but for an office dweller like me, that doesn't involve much manual work. So much as I'm dying to spend the whole day overhauling the garden, I just can't. A couple of hours and the tired feeling kicks in and I have to stop. Not because I want to, but because I have to or I risk setting back my recovery.

It is awful that moment when what you mind wants you to do and your body can do, don't match.

I recently caught up with an old colleague and somehow our conversation turned to exactly this topic. She told me that recently she had been at the gym doing intervals after a huge and exhausting week. Her mind was saying "go, go , go" and her body was valiantly trying but couldn't keep up and she found herself in tears. She said it was like the dichotomy between what her mind wanted to be able to do and what her body was capable of just broke her soul for that moment. She wasn't upset, or even really distressed but the tears were just the way her body was trying to tell her that she had to stop.

I know precisely what she meant. I've found myself in tears for exactly this reason - most mortifyingly in the middle of a dance class - on a number of occasions. I have to ask myself, is finishing the garden, doing that extra set of intervals, taking that extra dance class worth it when our bodies are clearly saying no?

I don't think that we give rest the importance it deserves. In our busy world there is always something else we could be doing and taking time to let our bodies recover seems to go missing in that equation. So I'm doing my best to buck the trend. I'm listening to my body when it says it is time to go to bed, even if it means I miss the end of a TV show. I'm recognising the evenings when I just need to stay home on the couch. And I'm stopping work in the garden, even when there is more to do.

Because there is always tomorrow and isn't tomorrow better when you feel well enough to enjoy it?

Do you know your limits? And more importantly do you respect them?

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