Learning to appreciate our bodies

I’ve had an interesting week, coming down with covid.  The most intense stage only lasted about 36 hours, but the exhaustion and the pain and burning in my head were certainly different from anything I’ve experienced before.

This is the first time I’ve been unwell for years, and it really made me appreciate how my understanding of my own health and wellbeing has changed over time.

In the past I might have been injured or unwell and I would resent my body for being weak, disappointed that it let me down in the first place and then frustrated that it wasn’t recovering immediately.

photo: David Mao on Unsplash

But over the decades I’ve come to understand how hard my body works, round the clock every day, to try and maintain a healthy state.

We’re all like this – our bodies want us to be well, and they strive for health and balance.

This is something that took me a while to appreciate.  (Example: hangovers.  I don’t know how many years it was until the penny finally dropped that excessive alcohol does not agree with me.  A hangover meant my poor body was working frantically behind the scenes to get rid of it and restore my health!)

No matter how much we bombard them with toxins, deprive them of nutrition or rest, neglect to move them enough or berate them for being “imperfect”, our bodies just keep on working day and night to process everything and do their best to re-establish the balance.

Forever our silent servants, never asking for thanks.

Me and my body as a team

So this week’s illness was different for me – I felt like me and my body were in this together as a team, fighting it off. I religiously take health supplements and it felt really good to know I was doing my part to give my body the support it needed while it was working so hard to keep me healthy.

I feel like I’ve recovered now, but I’ve had wise advice from friends and family not to rush back to intense exercise too soon.  So I’ll heed that advice and keep listening to what my body is ready for.  Self-isolation is giving me lots of time for mindfulness and yoga, a gentle way to recover, and we’re so lucky to have a garden for sunshine and fresh air.

Control the controlables

With my business in wellbeing and coaching, I think it’s really important to acknowledge that illness happens in life, along with all sorts of other uncontrollable things too.  No-one should feel a need to try and be “perfect”, and when things come along and disrupt us we go back to focusing on what we can control:

  • our mindset
  • what we put in our bodies
  • our movement and rest
  • what actions we take
  • our energy

Being in alignment isn’t just about how we interact with the outside world. It’s about aligning ourselves within ourselves too – loving the bodies we’re in and recognising them for the true, faithful servants they really are.