Slow It Down: Learn To Listen To Your Body

In true Taurean nature, I'm as stubborn as they come. I'm dead-set on doing things my way, and I don't stop doing something until I'm ready to stop. I have a hard time being told what to do, but there's one entity that I find myself having to get more and more used to listening to: my own body.

A couple of weeks ago, I started coming down with the sniffles, which turned into sneezes, which turned into coughs and headaches and nausea. I took a couple of days off from work and did my usual treatment of soup, honey ginger tea and meds courtesy of Shoppers Drug Mart. Started feeling better, so I hauled myself out of bed the third day and said "I think I can do this." I just barely made it through the rest of the work week with the residuals of my illness hanging on for dear life.

Is it any wonder that I'm sitting here now, 10 days after I initially got got sick, JUST AS SICK as when I started. As the kids say today, FML.

During work today, each passing 30 minutes found me feeling worse and worse. Once I started getting side-eyes from my staff who preferred to talk to me from my office door instead of coming in like they usually do, I knew it was bad. We have SARS and Avian Flu to thank for this new way of looking at being sick. One sneeze in public, and people look at you like you just ripped a head off of a baby chicken with your bare teeth. Colds and flu are the new leprosy, so what you do with yourself while sick has become just as much a social issue as a health issue. Where you used to be looked at as a soldier if you managed to come to work while under the weather, that type of dedication is no longer admired (however, you're still expected to get back on track as soon as you get well - that's another story).

All that being said, I went to my doctor today, and among other things, he prescribed that I stay home for the rest of the week and "relax". I had a moment of internal panic, but then common sense settled in and I realized he was right. I need to slow down. Lately, because of various good and not so good things, I've been on the go like crazy. Training for my upcoming 10K run, blogging, networking, taking care of family, being there for friends, house hunting, paying bills, the 9-5...the hustle doesn't stop - until your body won't go any further.

While I recuperate this week, I've got to put some things into perspective. For one, I have to throw away that ridiculous "they sleep, we grind" mentality. Can't grind when you have ZERO energy. Next, I have to learn to say "no." As much as I usually feel like the Black Superwoman, I can't do everything and be everything to everyone. I also have to make better use of my time. Procrastination is my life-long enemy, and I need to do a better job of honing my energies into focused projects. My mind is usually like a water hose that's spewing madly all over the place - I need to turn that into a lazer beam. Lastly (and most importantly), I have to de-stress! Goodness. I don't know how many times I have to tell myself that (and have it screamed at me by others), but now I feel it. I know I can manage everything on my plate, but I just need to come up with a new way of managing.

Let this be a lesson, y'all. Learn to listen to your body, because if you don't, it'll show you who's boss. Right now, I've got to slow it down so that I can go full speed ahead later, and my Taurean stubbornness has to take a backseat. A hard head makes for a soft behind, and what sweet nanny goat wi' run him belly....or something like that. My mom has shouted enough West Indian sayings at me to chide me for running myself into the ground, so now it's time to take heed and take some time to relax.

How good are you at listening to your body? Have you ever reached your crash point? If you've worked out a good life balance, please let a sista know how you went about it! Truth be told, I'm looking forward to doing a lot of writing this week - but I swear, I'll focus on getting well! 

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