… The more significant difficulties appear, and the more complicated certain situations are, the quicker I say to myself (even today): I’d instead rest, get a bar of chocolate or a cup of tea until I’m strong enough until I am “ready” to deal with these difficulties. However, I found it to be essential to keep an eye on this process of getting “ready” so that it won’t remain everything I will eventually achieve. Otherwise, I’ll postpone certain things and accomplish much less of what I wanted.
When you grant yourself rest and get time for some self-awareness such as there is in an exercise situation, of course, many of the things that are floating around in your head become more apparent and more obvious (feelings, worries, questions, things to be regulated, needs). Sometimes the mind is more peaceful, and sometimes it’s like we’re in a hive – some things are louder, more urgent while others are just humming in the background. At that time, that was why I thought I first would have had to create the perfect situation for exercising in which everything would be done and trouble-free. If everything had been done, then I would have the necessary peace and time. Then everything would be great. But over time, I realized that this perfect situation came only extremely rare, and so I got used to keeping an open eye for the time when everything would be trouble-free. Each tea cooking was brought forward, so it wouldn’t bother me afterwards. I thought that only if everything was quiet and every work was done, I would not be fit enough to practice my HÜ-exercises.
But the pain brought me back to my desire for healing; it wouldn’t wait for the tea to finish.
So I started practising during my everyday life. Still and despite every obstacle. Persistent at the borders of my time and day, despite the fatigue, the pain, and limitations due to the RA. I learned to divide my attention and practised during everyday chaos. The silent timeframe was the exception, but it went on without it. Sometimes things go wrong, the soup burnt or my child would paint something pretty on the walls – with the family-pack face cream. No problem I’m still training, I can’t get on with everything at the same time, I told myself at such moments and continued to practise.
To postpone specific actions has its reasons. We want to take care of ourselves first, until we are fit again, especially if the work ahead of us seems too much or too difficult. One way of ‘postponing’ is to overburden oneself with everything else, leaving too little time and energy for things that are uncomfortable because they are unfamiliar or unsettling but necessary.
However, we can successfully deal with postponing, respectively procrastinating when we only know-how. We can divide our work into feasible and manageable steps. If that turns out to be harder than assumed, I take pen and paper and write my problem down (depending on the need several times, from different views), or I start a helpful conversation. Even and especially then when I can’t figure a solution to my current problem and or can’t even name it. If I do that, I can do something, and then I eat my chocolate just for that. I reward myself and increase my enjoyment of my actions and the fact that I have moved on. In the other case, I would associate my feelings of insecurity, helplessness, failure and sadness with chocolate which is related to the sense of comfort.
This way, I became an expert at finding gaps and possibilities. And that was the way to my success. Above all, I always needed to exactly know what I wanted: healing of my inflammatory joint disease. Even though my body wasn’t playing along so well, with my thoughts, I was free to do whatever I wanted. In a life that – thanks to RA- was like an exhausting march uphill with no end in sight to me, I devised exercises that I could do in my situation. I thought that I now needed stamina and more attentive care to help myself. I had to divide my strength well on the way and also note my breathing, that I needed hope; an idea for life after the healing or even better several more; and precise ideas of how I would be able to move: easy and free.
Therefore I would practice while I was washing my hands, eating, ironing my shoes, watering the flowers…and didn‘t wait for an improvement in advance, enough relief and care first, or for others to do something before I could start exercising. I practised no matter what.
Next post: Overcome the problem-mix-trap.
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HeilÜben founder, coach, and trainer
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