I was on my morning run this week and I was not even half way and I was shattered. Tired to the bone and it felt like every muscle in my body was screaming at me to stop. “Keep going, push through this!” my mind yelled back. But my body was not having a bar of it. Even though I have been back running a few weeks, even though last week I felt like I was slowly finding form, this day, I felt like I have never run a step in my life. I thought to myself, would it kill me if I did walk for a bit? My mind raced with “don’t be so lazy, you can do this, you have done it before, what IS your problem body?!”
I stopped, and I walked. Maybe only 100mtrs on the condition that I started again.
It was all my body needed – a wee pause, a break in the program, some light relief to allow me to keep going. My stubbornness to continue was not serving me. Listening to my body did.
I realised it is often how I operate in life (and I am guessing I am not alone on this one). We push and struggle and continue no matter what. Lets face it, you have to. I was also trying desperately to continue at my usual pace in life when in fact I had so many things going on (see last weeks post) that the best thing I could do was be gentle with myself. Allow myself that lie in, that chocolate just cos or even a glass of wine to relax.
Being tough on yourself is useful when you have the can’t be bothereds and a case of the lazies. But when you have both hands full juggling whilst balancing a plate on your nose, perhaps it is ok to say, maybe I will sleep instead of run, perhaps I will enjoy a tea with a friend rather than do my errands and maybe I will not fold the pile of washing today but instead relax in a bath.
It is ok to let go of the “shoulds” and go easy on yourself. But like I did on my run, I gave myself a framework, a period of time where I could ease off with clear guidelines on when I would be back in the game. If you are finding it hard to sit and meditate (like most of us do when shit hits the fan) give yourself a break, do 5 minutes instead of 15, have a day off – but make an agreement with yourself on when you will get back to your normal routine.
Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do to get through whatever it is that is going on for you right now.