Tuning In

So, I’ve been on this quest for wellness for a few months now and one thing has become really apparent to me. I don’t listen to my body. In fact not only do I not listen but I try to shut my body up on a regular basis. Teeth clenching? Ignore it. Shoulders tightening? Ouch. Ignore it. Stomach upset? Distressing, but still I do my best to ignore it. Rapid heartbeat, insomnia, anxiety. The same.

I’ve had a heck of a lot on the go for a while now. Managing a renovation at my full time job, going to school part time, being the social media coordinator for two charities, blogging and trying to keep up with my incorrigible, barky, Terrier terrorist, The Nickster. And this weekend, I finally felt the full exhaustion of my crazy schedule. My shoulders were a wall of pain, I had lost a small chunk of my back tooth from grinding and my eyes had scary, dark circles under them. All signs that it’s time for a change.

I realized that I can have the healthiest diet in the world but if I don’t learn how to manage stress and tune into the messages my body is giving me on a regular basis, I may as well give up, call it a day and go have a big mac and a chocolate shake.

So, today I am going to start maybe the most important endeavour of all when it comes to staying healthy. Really listening to my body. If something doesn’t feel right, walk away. If someone is treating me badly, speak up. If everyone at my office is running around in a tizzy, don’t pick up their frenzied energy. Life is too short. And, trust me, nobody is going to end up on their death bed thinking “Thank God I worked so hard! Thank God I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off on a regular basis. Thank God I got so upset over all of the little things”.

Today is my day one of learning how to relax and just go with the flow. The tricks I have up my sleeve include deep yoga breathing, shaking my arms out when I feel tension creeping into my shoulders, getting up and going for a walk if I’ve been at my computer too long, not taking on anyone else’s frenzied energy, more yoga breathing and last but not least, trusting in the universe.

Running late, as usual, I took a cab to work this morning and the cab driver had nothing but a string of complaints about our bike lane lovin’ mayor, Gregor Roberston, the traffic, the crazy drivers, the endless rain and on and on. I firmly believe that how we speak about our current situation helps to shape our future and this guy was both manifesting a lot of frustration for himself and ruining my chances of a peaceful ride into work. So, after listening to him for a couple of minutes I tapped him on the shoulder and said “I’m on a mission to stay as relaxed and positive as I possibly can so instead of complaining about what’s wrong with the world, let’s enjoy the gorgeous view to our left. It never gets old”. And then I took a deep yoga breath. My cab driver didn’t utter another word.

I really hope he did take a minute to enjoy the gorgeous Vancouver view while we were stuck in traffic.

It does help to put it all into perspective.

photo by everett potter

photo by everett potter

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7 thoughts on “Tuning In

  1. What a great challenge you’ve set out on — and, I suspect, your toughest. So worth it though. Best of luck to you, Laurel, on your mission to lead a happier and more stress-free life. It’s what we should all strive for.

  2. This is a very important post and I think the perspective you share is one that should be out there more . . . . indeed I often tell my husband that for all the time and energy we spend on “healthy” foods and the latest this or that in furtherance of longevity and “health,” that we forget the importance of what I call “happy (brain) chemicals.” A burger and a shake may = happy chemicals, whereas a strictly raw/vegan/paleo (pick your label) diet and lifestyle may = stress, and I believe the happy chemicals can go a long long way towards health and happiness. There is so much wisdom in this post, great job.

  3. About two years ago I began a quest to be healthier, which included listening to my body and being mindful. In two years I’ve lost weight and solved some of my health issues, but I still find that I don’t really listen to my body; I don’t get enough sleep and anxiety has become a problem. I really love the tricks you have on hand to tune in to yourself- I need to develop a few of my own! I hope you post more about your journey and how it’s going.


  4. It’s only in the last week or so that I’ve come to realize that I am *finally* more attuned to the messages my body is sending me. It’s a great spot to be in, because once you’re conscious of them, you have the power to choose how you respond to those messages. I was on auto-pilot for a very long time, and those messages didn’t even register for me.
    It sounds like you’re hearing/noticing them all, and now it’s a matter of you choosing what’s best for you. You’re worth it, Laurel. Choose wisely!
    xoxo nancy

  5. Pingback: clarity, peace and joy | my year[s] of sweat!

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