I am having a rough spring. My allergies are awful, really dreadful. I got sick and couldn't knock it for months. I injured my hip flexor in December and on some days in Jan, Feb, and March it hurt to even stand still much less exercise. And did I mention I am 50? I know 50 is the new 30, but this spring I am feeling like 50 is the new 80.
It was in this frame of mind that I woke up one morning before a staff meeting where our team was deciding on our blog topics for the month of May (which is also Employee Health and Fitness Month). Whole-hearted Living was our agreed upon theme; I just needed to announce my focus. Normally when I am cranky, my go-to strategy is to focus on gratitude. On this day I realized I needed to take it up a notch... I needed to focus on being grateful for the body I woke up in each morning.
This is not an original idea of mine. I have to give credit to a dear friend, Cat Ellen, who uses this sentiment to promote positive body regard in our dance community. (In my free time I teach bellydance and perform nationally and, as of last October, even internationally, with a professional troupe.)
What a novel idea! I am going to be thankful for the body I wake up in... even when I am injured and it hurts to dance, even when my favorite pants are too snug, even when my head is so full of snot I can barely think, even when I look in the mirror and see bags under my eyes. What a difference that minor adjustment in attitude can make. Let me tell you how things changed for me.
I am thankful for the trainer at the gym who helped me get over my fear of lifting weights by teaching me everything I need to know to feel competent. Because of her, I can work on making my upper body strong while I allow my lower body the time and rest I need for my hip flexor to heal. I am thankful for the opportunity to practice "getting back to my routine" when I have to get out of it for illness or injury. I have started back 5 times this spring after having to take short breaks. I never gave up. I have had a wonderful opportunity to test my resolve and, despite some temporary set-backs, I am stronger and more fit than I was in January!
I am thankful for the allergy shots that I can get on campus at the HCC--so convenient. These shots are allowing my body to handle the allergens better than ever before. I am thankful for the local honey I get that may or may not really help my allergies but what a great excuse to buy and eat local honey. I am thankful to have health insurance with robust coverage to help me visit specialists when I can't recover from an illness on my own.
I am thankful for my 50-year-old body. I appreciate the laugh lines from all the good times spent enjoying friends. I am thankful, every time I dance, for the knees that still keep me moving despite being a little thin on cartilage these days. I am thankful for the droopy boobs that remind me of when my 17 y.o. daughter was a nursing infant and the wide hips that I balanced her on for years when she was a toddler.
During this Global Employee Heath and Fitness month, I issue you a challenge. Should you choose to embrace it, I promise it will change your life. Tomorrow when you wake up (and every other day from now on) take a moment to appreciate the body you woke up in today! I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes... "In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act." (Caroline Caldwell) Won't you join me in rebelling?