It’s 3:12 PM on a Friday afternoon as I sit down to craft this message. I’ve been ‘off’ since the moment I woke up. Yes, I had plans for the day, goals, and hopes. I’ve done my best to ‘stay busy’ as I hover between that spot of struggling to barely function and that place of not feeling well. Maybe you know that place. Perhaps you know both places.
When in that place of struggling to barely function, I might need my husband’s help to dress, put shoes on or even get in and out of a chair or to the restroom. I might be counting the time by seconds, leaning against a wall because it is too painful to sit or to lay down, knowing that as each second passes, I am one step closer to feeling well again. Of being independent. Of getting back to my work, my life’s purpose.
Well, truth be told, at those times, I’m not processing that much information. I’m getting through those times, sometimes one second at a time. But as I repeat “one, one, one” to myself, I know those thoughts of hope and optimism are there – in the back of my mind, even if I can’t express them.
A Quick Break for Gratitude
Thankfully, these days are quite rare anymore. But my path to freedom from these days has been… what is it they say? A long and windy road.
So that brings me to today. A day of not feeling well. Slight head movements, arm movements and even eye movements add to the nausea, cognitive slowness, and even to sensations through my head and face.
My husband can see the distance in my eyes, as I do my best to focus, to engage without looking left or right. Without nodding up or down. These movements are a big ‘no’ today.
This used to be my life. And that is why I am sharing this. I’m not going to post pictures of myself. I don’t feel well and yes, you can see the pain, the tiredness, the distance in my eyes. But I do want to share that sometimes, when it comes to chronic health challenges, chronic pain and injuries, living well is finding a balance. A balance of on days and off days. Of how much to work and how much to rest. A balance of growing your business or holding steady. A balance of setting different priorities in life.
These are the decisions in life that will directly impact the quality of your life, the success of your business and your overall well-being. Work too much, push your body too hard, and you might push yourself out of work. Work too little, and you’ll likely be craving more engagement, more purpose, and more work. It’s a balance.
To find that balance, you need to acknowledge and accept that it’s okay to have ‘off’ days. You don’t have to feel ‘great’ every day. What you do need to do is be honest with yourself as to where you really are. Do you have an ‘off’ day 2-3 times a week, once a week, a few times a month or only on occasion? It is absolutely critical to be honest with yourself. Otherwise you are building your life and business not only around uncertainty, but also on a false foundation. Trust me, that never goes well!
Second, proactively building in periods of rest and downtime will result in less downtime. Again, trust me. I’ve seen it many times with both myself and clients. Reduce the number of hours you plan to work each day and the celebrate that you’ll be working more hours per week. Why? Because you reduce what I call the cycle of setbacks. The cycle of setbacks is when you work and push through and then aren’t able to show up fully, with as much effectiveness and/or productivity the next day. Or in some cases, you aren’t able to show up at all the next day.
When you have these days you’re not feeling well, here are three things to keep in mind and practice.
- Self-Compassion. Be kind to yourself. Learning to manage health challenges, injuries and/or to heal from them takes time. And no matter how good you get at it; you’re not going to get it perfect every day.
- Gratitude. I wear a bracelet that is engraved with “Simone Lives.” This is my simple reminder to be grateful for every day. To remember that every day is a gift, even those challenging days. Again, my body is not perfect, but I am grateful for all that I can do.
- Impermanence. It won’t last. Back to my story of counting “one, one, one” – I am reminding myself that the pain will pass. If I can count to sixty, I do; otherwise, I count to ten. And if that’s not possible, I count to one. Because I can make it through one more second.
I want to close with this. As individuals with health challenges, it is up to us to decide how much to share or not to share. I share a portion, but few are truly aware of the number, depth and variance of health challenges I’ve had. That’s how I want it. However, to better serve I do share some information, some stories.
Stigma Still Exists
There is still much stigma around ‘imperfect’ health and that is why I am so passionate about talking about our limitations, bringing to light that many of us have health challenges that we attempt to hide, push through or deny. And that does not serve us. It does not serve our loved ones. It does not serve our work.
But again, you can find that balance. Sharing part of your story without sharing all of it. Of showing up with energy and vitality on your better days and working behind the scenes on the others. I am very diligent in the days leading up to live presentations, podcast appearances, and trainings. I have created my lifestyle, my business and my programs to serve others while taking care of my needs.
This is a deeply personal skillset. And it is one YOU can learn.
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