Listening to my body is becoming easier as time goes on.
I never understood the expression of listening to your body until recently and it is harder than it sounds. I thought I’d know when I was overdoing it and when I was working too hard. When someone tells us we are overdoing it we immediately think ‘but I’m not run down or feeling ill’ however, I have come to realise that overdoing it doesn’t specifically mean you need to be ill or run down it means that your body isn’t able to keep up anymore or you are not your 100% best majority of the time.
I have learnt as time has gone on that listening to your body is a fairly difficult thing to do and you really need to be in tune with your body. It has taken me 21 years to get comfortable in my body and learn what my body needs and when. Whether this is more sleep, exercise or to just chill some days I have slowly learnt what I need and when.
For a long time I have struggled with my relationship with body image and food and listening to my body wasn’t possible. I felt shaky, lightheaded and faint a lot of the time but never listened to it in a way that it was my body’s way of telling me to slow down and change the way I was treating my body. Especially being a Personal Trainer I needed to look after me before I told others how to look after themselves otherwise who is going to listen to me?
It’s definitely a hard thing to do, working out what your body needs and when and being in tune with it to be able to tell these things. I wasn’t sleeping well, I didn’t give my body enough fuel to be able to focus properly and get blog posts written or try and focus on training and coursework in order to complete my qualification. I decided that enough was enough and after talking to a few people needed to have some focus in life and know where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.
This focus has come from many things one of which is planning to walk the entire South West Coast Path in the next 2 years. This is 630 miles of hard walking and wild camping, it is estimated to take between 8 and 12 weeks to complete so optimum health is needed to be able to get through 12 weeks of hiking and backpacking. I know that to be able to walk this I need to be trained in walking and be eating the right foods and be fit and healthy otherwise there would be no point whatsoever in starting the walk.
I’ve learnt to listen to my body in various ways. Between May 2018 and August 2019 I had a very bad relationship with food, I have learnt that listening to my body meant I needed to fuel it in the right way and I certainly wasn’t doing that! A lot of my family are coeliac and therefore have to eat a gluten free diet. Even when I lived at home I never really ate fully gluten free. I would binge on biscuits, sweets and foods that weren’t gluten free then the rest of the time I would eat properly. August this year it finally clicked that if I ate gluten free I may feel better and although I am yet to feel the changes completely (it takes 6 weeks for the gluten to come out of your body) I do feel healthier and I am now clear of brain fog and I am able to focus a lot more on work.
I have also had to learn how to sleep without noise and films or TV playing. Due to being home alone at night 5 nights a week I felt ‘safer’ having a film on or sleeping with the TV on. This is because subconsciously I thought if someone tried to get in they would hear the tv or film playing and know someone is in the house or flat whereas I had convinced myself that otherwise someone would get in. By doing this I would wake up multiple times in the night due to the light or noise and therefore I wouldn’t get the quality of sleep that I would need to feel refreshed. It has bee a few days but I already feel that much more refreshed in the mornings and feel that I am able to get on with work a lot sooner rather than going back to sleep or feeling groggy until I am motivated enough to get on with doing some work.
I saw on an Instagram story about time blocking your day in order to not put so much pressure on yourself to get some work done. This has helped in the few days that I have done it. You time block everything from waking up and getting ready to whenever you are eating, your chill time and going to bed. In between these you time block whatever you are wanting to do in the day. This stops the ‘to do’ lists getting half done due to some tasks taking longer than others. I will write another blog post purely about time blocking!
I have found that by giving my body between an hour and an hour and a half every evening to chill and wind down I am more tired and able to fall asleep quicker whilst also being able to have better quality sleep each night. In addition to this I have also just started to wake up a lot earlier compared to before as well as ding a quick 20 minute yoga session either in the mornings or in the evenings depending on the time and when I am able to fit it in. This has helped me to stop for a minute to focus on something other than Tesco’s, Personal Training work or blog posts. This also means that I am able to take time for myself rather than helping others.
Who knew that when you are in tune and listening to your body you are able to function so much better!