When the healing journey is going to be a long one, how you handle it will influence whether the journey is easier, better, more effective…or not.
In this post, I’ll share my own story of how I handled healing after a serious ground fall while bouldering. Whether you’re healing an injury, ridding yourself of aches and pains, or seeking strategies to solidify your practice of maintaining your body, these insights are for you…
At 24, I felt awful. I saw myself headed down the same path I saw family members head down. Doctors told me “that’s just how I am”. And that the pill that they’d given me to reduce my symptoms was something I’d “have to take for life”. That there was “nothing I could do.”
Then I met Dr. Turner. Who told me that not only was I not stuck living the rest of my life as I currently was living it, but I could begin changing my current and future situation for the better right now.
I didn’t know enough yet to know if he was right.
But I knew my Self well enough to know that what he was saying resonated with something I deeply felt…but couldn’t identify yet.
That I am not doomed to just fall apart, with no control over what my body becomes.
And so I began learning from him. And slowly my health, my body, my well-being, started flourishing. Surprise, surprise…me taking action to help my body be different…made my body different.
That was the birth of two crucial insights for me:
- Knowing that I have the power to radically change my body anytime I wish.
- Understanding that “my body’s well-being” was vital to my overall well-being, and “keeping my body well” must come first, before all else.
There were times when holding firm on that commitment felt scary though.
There were months when money has been very tight as my business was in a rough patch of growth and paying my team took priority over me taking home a paycheck.
With little money or time to spare, it would have been easy to stop spending time and money on the stuff that keeps me healthy and well.
There were times when I was going through some shit, all of my old stories and fears rearing their heads at once.
With so much distraction, it would have been easy to start believing that “I’d actually been wrong about the whole ‘I have the power to help my body’ thing.”
Holding firm on the Knowing that ‘I have the Power’ and ‘My body is my most valuable thing to care for’, it felt a little like when you’re just peaking over the top of the first drop on a roller coaster…your whole body tensing as if your nerves were making a last ditch effort to get out of your body before the huge drop comes.
And yet, I held on.
That first Realization came twelve years ago, and it’s only solidified with each year that has passed. It’s why it was so simple (though not always ‘easy’) for me to put healing and well-being first as I recovered from the knee injury I sustained during that climbing fall.
So what if you don’t have a magic wand to go back twelve years in your past and start laying that groundwork for yourself? Don’t worry, today’s the perfect day to start changing your own groundwork for healing and thriving in your body.
To stop being someone who is always seeking a band-aid to ‘fix’ the area you’re having trouble with, you’ve got to start seeing your body in a new light.
Try these insights on for size and see how they work for you…
How You Can Handle More (Or Less)
You are a complete system. And your system is constantly adjusting based on inputs its receiving and outputs that are being asked of it.
Whatever your system tolerance is, it’s going to play a role in how quickly you heal, if your aches and pains return, and how your whole body feels and moves.
System load and tolerance are influenced by lots of things. How much and how well you sleep, what your training volume looks like, if you’re doing base-level activity in your life or if you’re wholly inactive, are just a few.
Your system load and tolerance are also highly influenced by less tangible things like ‘how stressed you are’, ‘what you believe about how the world is supposed to be’, and ‘what stories you hold about what should happen to your body as time goes on’.
Start examining your own system load and tolerance, and make adjustments where necessary.
If you notice you always start feeling achy during times of intense work stress, see how you can reduce the work stress, or reduce other stress in your life so that the total ‘load’ is lower.
If that’s not possible, implement techniques to raise your system tolerance. Journaling, meditation, more deep sleep, handing off tasks or responsibilities to someone else, are all useful ways to improve your system’s ‘tolerance’.
You’ve got to either reduce the load, or raise the tolerance, or make both happen.
Refuse To Budge
You can lay all of the “good stuff” (drills, exercises, mobilizations) on top of your issue, but if it’s not being laid down upon a foundation that is rooted in deep understanding of what you need to thrive, you’re only going to get so far.
To get down to the bedrock of your foundation and see what’s holding it up, ask this question of yourself:
What are my non-negotiables?
Your non-negotiables are the things you live by, they are a part of who you are, and your actions are rooted in them. You do not budge on your non-negotiables.
Here’s why knowing your non-negotiables is crucial…
We all are motivated to do whatever it takes to get well when we’re sick with a cold or the flu. We double down on getting enough sleep, eating healthful foods, staying hydrated, and so on.
And maybe we keep those healthy habits up as we return to full health. But in time, we tend to get slack about them. We start skimping on sleep again. We start eating a bit less healthfully. We start getting ‘too busy’ at work to stop for water and movement breaks.
It’s like once we’re out of the red,
we stop pushing to get even more in the black.
For me, twelve years ago, I decided one of my new non-negotiables would be that ‘being an excellent caretaker of my body is my number one priority’.
I can already sense there will be some readers who immediately think “eeek I could never be that selfish”. “Selfish” is ‘to put yourself first’. The only way you serve others well is by being well yourself.
Gimme Gimme, Now Please
We all want to get answers, success, an “end point” right now. Naturally. It’s human nature to decide you want something, and then to want also for space and time to bend so that you get the thing you want right now.
If you’re reading this and you’re injured or in pain, you likely would enjoy if this article would end with a magical pill holographically appearing out of your screen that, when consumed solved your issue right this second.
Since that won’t be happening, I’d like to remind you that your signal/response situation is occurring every minute of the day so long as you’re alive.
Start right now to change your body’s signal/response by exploring how you can implement what I’ve taught in this post.
Thinking new thoughts, moving in new ways, they begin laying down new neural pathways and new cellular adaptations from the first time that you do them.
If you don’t know what to do, then you may value using the lessons I teach in my book, and the accompanying video lesson on a daily movement routine you can do in your own home, to help you get started.
In Part Two of this post, I’ll dig into more of the “how’s” behind how I handled my own healing process. How did I fit it in amidst a busy life? How did I stay accountable? How did I add each change I made into my life?
Till then, remember that each day is a step into your future. The actions you take today will influence what your future looks and feels like.