Learning to Listen to my Body

woman doing yoga breathing on beach

This morning, while talking with my coach, I realised that I’ve not been paying attention to my body. Lord knows it’s been trying to grab my attention in some fairly dramatic ways lately but I’ve chosen to ignore it.

Neck and Shoulder Pain

It started by telling me it didn’t like the fact that I was spending hours in front of the computer and not taking enough breaks. I could feel my shoulders and neck stiffening day by day but I carried on regardless, desperate to fit in everything I wanted to achieve.

I was finding that tasks on the computer were taking longer and longer and I was making silly mistakes but still I persevered. Then I started having shooting pains in the arm I use for mouse work. I simply changed the hand I use for the mouse and continued.

Blinding Headache

Until one morning I woke up with a blinding headache and barely able to move my neck. In desperation I took really strong medication and ended up spending most of the day in bed trying to sleep it off. So all the hours I was trying to save by carrying on working regardless were lost anyway.


That was last week. This week I have flu. And even though my body has been aching and I’m wracked with fevers, sneezes and a cough, I have still got out of bed every day and sat in front of my computer and attempted to work.

I seem to have absorbed the Calvinist work ethic that is so prevalent in our society which preaches that work is good, rest is bad. And to be a good person you must soldier on regardless.

How productive have I been?  Not very productive at all. Most of the things on my To Do List are still waiting to be done, but for whatever reason, I could not allow myself to give in.

Take Time to Heal

Talking it through with my coach, I suddenly saw the message loud and clear. My body has been screaming out to me that it needs rest. It needs time to heal. It was doing its best to get me to take some time out.

The Need to Breathe

And when I tuned in to what else it was telling me I realised that through my aching chest and hacking cough, my body was telling me I need to breathe. Consciously breathe, calmly and deeply.

Sitting in front of a computer for hours a day results in very shallow breathing. And shallow breathing means that not enough oxygen is being pumped around my body. Which probably accounts for the feelings of tension in my shoulders and general overwhelm as well as the occasional brain fog.

So my coaching challenge this week is to remember to breathe. To take the time to breathe deeply and consciously, and connect with my body again.

Learning to Listen to my Body

My mind and body have been in battle for too long. It’s time for the negotiations to begin and peace to be agreed. One breath at a time I intend to honour my body and to let my mind know that it can’t always rule.

It’s time for harmony to be restored.

Photo: Thanks to sierragoddess on Flickr.com

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2 Responses to Learning to Listen to my Body

  1. Angie Macdonald May 16, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    I’m with you on this. It’s a tough lesson to learn and something I’m constantly fighting against.

  2. Thedoc Toriscrazy May 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    The irony is that when we take time out to rest and rejuvenate, we can actually achieve more. As one of the many who has suffered from “burnout”, this was a hard lesson for me to learn.

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