I am sitting here with an ice pack on my back, unable to walk or drive very far due to back pain. I am feeling fat having stuffed my face with pizza, prosecco and of course there was a free tub of chocolate ice-cream, so why not? I was celebrating at home as I couldn’t go out (see my previous blog for the celebration reasons). If I had been feeling better I would have likely gone out, eaten a lot less and healthier too, and probably danced some of it off as well. As I wake up this morning feeling poorly and fed up I realise I have been failing in the self care department.
I am a therapist, I know what I am supposed to do; I am good at the fruit and veg smoothies and I like exercise since I realised that doesn’t just have to be an hour at the gym. My weight is stable and I usually workout 3-4 times a week; I cycle, box, swim, do circuits, and run. I mix it up as I have the attention span of a gold fish and a body that injures easily with poor joints. I like pamper days and nights out but these have been far too few lately. I like quiet long weekends in the countryside but they have not been so many as work creeps in. I used to have an odd hour on the sofa with an episode of a selected boxset, or an hour with the knitting or a book.
So what has happened then? I have been listening to my clients but probably not so closely to myself. I had a fabulous new website done in November, the word just keeps spreading, and the work has been pouring in. My business coach told me to be the “go to” person and I have clearly achieved this, but maybe the cost is starting to tell!
I am self employed, and I effectively have several jobs in one. I am a recovering workaholic too, I chose private practice for a better quality of life and yet I am back feeling too busy and I have failed to notice the hours creeping up as I fit in just one more client who wants help. I had a cold recently so I self care by not going to the gym and meaning to rest instead, but its undone by the fact that rather than rest I squeeze in another client to reduce my waiting list. I have given on one hand and taken away with the other. Woops!
I was raised to work my fingers to the bone, I had to get up and clean the house from top to bottom before I went to school each day. Young programming is hard to change, “don’t be lazy”, “don’t waste time”; it has to be constantly overridden.
I have ignored the warning signs: firstly a cold that I carried on in spite of, then came the mystery impetigo treated with antibiotics (it was just a blister that turned into a skin rash nothing to worry about). The antibiotics however set off a case of thrush; very common after antibiotics as they strip away the good bacteria too. Again perhaps denying my immune system wasn’t quite up to the job!
Then my back gives up and I was doing nothing, I wasn’t boxing or throwing kettle bells around, so why the injury? I think it was my body’s way of screaming at me to slow the hell down. I have not been listening, as the waiting list was getting longer and I have been working harder and harder to keep up, slippage has happened. The problem is when you love your job it doesn’t always feel like work yet it is! Let me repeat that to myself: IT IS WORK and you can’t do it all the time!
Three contract offers came my way, none that I had asked for, but my reputation is spreading and I was flattered. I have become that “go to” person my coach was talking about! But a full bank account is no bloody good when you’re stuck on the sofa with back pain unable to go shopping for a new bike or another dress that I don't really need!
I was working out how to fit it in all this new workin and then the penny dropped: maybe I don’t! Maybe I say NO!! “No”, that word we all struggle with, I have to say NO, NO, NO, NO and NOOO! “No” because I want to bounce again, have dinner with my friends, ride my bike, take up a random lesson because I love learning random stuff. I am the queen of fads and frocks and I want to get back to my lovely life that’s on pause due to the blasted back injury, oh and the slippage!
Having spent a long time building up a practice where every client counts and where I worked four jobs in the early days, I have failed to realise I am in a different place now. I don’t need to work so hard and I am not the 16 year old that doesn’t have a home or a pound for the electricity meter. I decided long ago that poverty wasn’t for me and worked hard to pay the mortgage off making this all the more ludicrous! We are sometimes driven by old stuff not the current stuff. I can take my foot off the gas and life won’t dissolve around me. I shall re-read that! Go on you read it again too it won’t hurt!
I have failed to register that there may always be a waiting list and demand that I can’t fill and I just have to accept it. I was better placed when I worked in schools because they closed for half terms and holidays. Now I have to pace myself and schedule the time off. When you don’t have many clients then the days off are easy, not so when the waiting list is there and growing. I am forever talking to my clients about this stuff and now I have to remind myself to slow it down.
When I am downing a chocolate protein shake with a banana in it, I kid myself this a suitable lunch because its not crisps or cake, it dawns on me that I am not practicing what I preach. I have fallen off the workaholic recovery wagon! This is not lunch, this is madness! When did I start skipping meals because I am too busy?
This is starting to look like my old life, although lunch would have been an assortment of crap at a desk! Too busy to work or breathe with a bully for a boss but I am my own boss now. I work from home and set my own hours, so being too busy to go the gym or eat is nonsense. I used to start at 11am when working late so that I could work out 3 or 4 times a week. But now I am fitting clients in as I am not going to the gym and I have been kidding myself that it’s just a crazy week and next week will be better, but it has not been and it has to stop!
I worked so hard to achieve this life so it is time to slow down and enjoy it – I need to stop old habits creeping back in. I used to have my canine monitor Max, my German Shepherd who sadly died last summer. He always had a lunch time walk and reminded me it was time to go out and play and walk. The sleepy sausageRiver encourages me to sit still as she climbs in my lap but I have neglected my walks and breaks. I miss my Maxy so much, he was good for me.
The weights creeping up a little bit due to sitting here on the sofa and comfort eating with the back pain so I am going to get back on track in a different way. I am going to give myself a treat; the occasional fruit and vegetable smoothies are all very well but I could do much better. I have ordered a juicer today and hubs has bought loads of fruit and veg so I can really give myself a boost of nutrition. I know when I am back bouncing I won't want to eat the crap!
I have also closed the appointment book; its one in one out now, when someone leaves someone can join me. And I am listening to my physio, as soon as the back is healed I am going back to my exercise. I am gutted that the light nights are here and I can’t get out on my bike or go for a run because of the back pain. It’s currently raining like crazy with gale force winds so today the sofa won’t be so hard to stomach.
It’s all very well kidding ourselves that we are self caring, it’s not easy to notice when we are failing; we can slide without noticing. But that’s okay, we are human and as long as we notice, hopefully early on, we can do something about it. No mad diets, no mad insanity exercise plans, we just need balance and mine has slipped.
The bank account is healthy so I have booked a short break in my beloved Florence, Italy, and scheduled in some weekends with my friends. I am turning another new leaf, but thankfully the trees are full of them as we keep turning them over in our effort to stay sane and well in this crazy world. I will get my bounce back.
Time to make some small changes and get Mel back on tip top form, don’t get me wrong I have not fallen apart completely, I have not put on five stone or am sitting here in tears. I am just not bouncing anywhere near enough at the moment. I am usually like Tigger, but I have turned into Winnie the Pooh with my hand in the honey Jar and on my way to becoming an Eeyore!
This is a small blip, long ago I used to live on beer and fish fingers, drinking too much eating too much, but since then I have shed four stone and have kept it off. So this is not an “I am rubbish”, it’s just a “this is where I am at”. We get where we are going in our own good time, when we know where that is.
Are you doing enough to look after yourself? I invite you to do a little extra for yourself and a little less work if you are prone to overworking like me.
There is no “call to action” on this blog as we have no spaces for appointments this week. I need some time to play with the new juicer and pause between clients and go see the physio and of course do more knitting and reading. Thankfully I know what will get me back bouncing less work and more play will save the day!
With love and best wishes
Usually Bouncing Mel