Updated: Oct 10, 2019
Cyclist working hard. Are you working hard instead of smart with your autoimmune disease?
Have you even had one of those palm-to-the-forehead moments when you realize you've been doing things the hard way?
Before my diagnosis I sought out the hard way. I wanted to do things the hard way! I love me a challenge! I love to feel my heart pounding in my chest and my lungs breathing, my legs pedaling a bike uphill as hard as I can. That was fun... until it kept me from doing things. Things like getting out of bed and making meals.
It took me a while to get away from the "all-or-nothing" mentality of either I'm getting it done or I'm not. It took experiencing the physical fact that 15 minutes of interval training was really giving me the physical benefits of a 60-90 minute workout to take a step back to really analyze where else in my life I may be working way harder than I need to. During a time when I didn't need to vigilantly budget my energy expenditure I probably would have chosen the 60-90 minute workout just for fun, but these days I am much more strategic in how I plan my time and energy. In the same way I try to train smarter rather than harder, I try to live smarter as well.
Last week I mentioned my morning routine. In years past, I would have turned up my nose at meditation and yoga, gratitude journaling, and the like. Like warming up before a lifting session, I have trouble taking the time to do these things when I am thinking, "I want to get stuff done!" How many times have I pulled a muscle or caused way more soreness than a workout should have because I didn't take the time to stretch, roll out, or warm up? When I pull a muscle I put myself out for 6 weeks sometimes! Because I didn't want to take 10 or 20 minutes to do the foundational work.
Compare this to riding a bicycle. Let's imaging you are hauling down the road. You are working up a sweat, you are getting somewhere, you are going places and obviously working hard to get there. Then your friend, or your life coach, pulls up beside you in the car and asks if you want to get in. In order to do that you need to do a couple of things.
You need to ask yourself why you are really pedaling that bike. If it is to look busy and productive, to have physical proof that you are doing something and worthwhile, to prove something....let's look at that.
But sometimes it is just a matter of not wanting to stop the bike and forward progress in order to get in the car.
Will you take a moment to look at the things in your life that you are neglecting in order to get things done? Are you putting out one fire in time to realize another just consumed your house? It's time to take care of the basics...bust it down to the basics...to help your body so it can get the things done it really wants to do. Your body doesn't want to sit in bed in an adrenal fatigue state, but it needs to heal to get up and go without causing more harm.
In my life I've had to choose where to focus in order to have the most benefit. In the beginning I chose to put my focus and energy into nutrition (food allergies out, nutrient-dense foods in). Then it was sleep. As unproductive as these felt, they were such heavy hitters as far as giving me more energy for healing and living.
Your challenge for this week:
What can you add to your life, take out of your life, and modify to give yourself the energy to heal? It is done in small, consistent steps, but you will be moving forward at a much greater pace when you can feel better.
I'm wishing you the best. I know it can feel overwhelming. You've got this.
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