I didn’t write last week as I was struggling to get over something that I must have picked up on my journey home, very likely on the flight. After a couple of days at the beginning of this week when I started to feel a bit better my crash returned at full force.
As I felt I had things I needed to do, my strategy for dealing with this prolonged crash has been to focus on the essentials, then shut down for the rest of the time, doing my best to find a pleasurable/comfortable way to switch off and rest. Fortunately, during my slightly better days, I’d been to the town library and had the foresight to take out two trashy novels. At first I found it difficult to let go of my paid work. But I realised I needed to reassess my priorities. I reminded myself that I can survive on losing a little income and as a large portion of my paid work can be done in my own time so I was free to let it go. Becoming aware that I was pushing myself to work but not finding the time to do yoga I realised that my priorities were messed up and I should let it go. But I still didn’t find the time to do my yoga. I just didn’t feel well enough. My head just wanted to escape the fact that I felt that bad and distracting myself with the trashy novels seemed the way to go. Unfortunately though I soon realised my shut down/ distraction strategy wasn’t really working that well!
I suddenly faced the fact that I needed to move my body. Yes, I needed a lot of rest but my complete inactivity was hindering the work of my lymphatic system. Finally, I knew I had to do my yoga. Even though I had flu like aches and pains all over my body and when I did move it felt like I was moving through heavy treacle, I managed to convince myself that I need to do something to break this cycle. And just 20 minutes of gentle stretching, worked far better than all the ibuprofen I’d swallowed over the previous few days. My aches and pains just eased away. I can’t say that I felt a great deal more energetic, but I felt at ease. I realised that by shutting down, I’d not been aware of how much tension I was holding in my body. Yoga helped me let it go and give my body the space to work on healing. The second time I did it, I not only experienced complete pain relief but I got a bit of an energy boost too. I made a point of taking note of how much better I felt to boost my motivation to do it again!
The whole experience has reminded me of an important message. What we need to heal isn’t just ‘rest’, quality ‘relaxation’ is far more important. My ‘shut down’ strategy seemed very restful, but it wasn’t nearly relaxing enough and I was ignoring another very important element to healing too: the lymphatic system cannot work without movement; inactivity needs to be paced with gentle movement and stretching.