Why I am Obsessed With Body Communication and Why You Should Be Too.
The other day, I had a meltdown about not getting to leave the house.
Yes, meltdown, full on crying, face wet, red eyes, dripping tears. In the midst of it all I realized my body was communicating on high and had been for a while.
The only problem is I had not been listening.
I had been too busy with daily chores, getting my kiddos through distance learning, tending to my marriage and nurturing my growing business.
It seems as though there aren’t any breaks in my life at the moment.
Without breaks, I am unable to practice true self-care and connect with my body while resting and reflecting. I know I need this type of self-care to thrive.
As someone that grew up with some significant grief and loss in my formative years I learned how to stay busy to avoid feelings and ignoring any connection with body communication.
While I am really great at pushing myself to set and achieve goals, I became someone who goes too hard for far too long and ends up sick. We are talking about a mono-type illness that has me too sick to move, and usually right before monumental life events. Prior to my high school graduation, college graduation and wedding, my body was pleading with me to slow down.
It would be an understatement to say that I learned the hard way about the importance of taking care of myself and the role that body communication plays in the grand scheme of it all.
My great awakening came when I was trying to build my business. What is already hard, building a business from ground up, was made more difficult by negative messaging I was receiving.
“As a therapist you can’t make money through a private practice unless you are greedy.” “You will find yourself driven by the money and your initial desire to help people will fall by the wayside.”
So what did I do?
I set myself up in a physically and emotionally unsustainable situation that centered around working hard, long hours, sometimes for little to no money to prove that I was not in it for myself. I set unnecessary, arbitrary deadlines and got upset with myself when I didn’t meet them. I would get up early, stay up late, work through lunch and easily give up any designated, personal white space break times on my calendar for something “more important." The “more important” commitments are usually what would cause the burnout and I realized something needed to change and it had to start with me, true self-care and body communication.
In an ideal world, body communication starts with daily check-ins. When I have been in a space of avoidance, and the tears start flowing and the feelings of overwhelm start to mount, I know I need to stop and take stock. I’ve learned not to push anything away. I listen to what my body is communicating to me.
More often than not, the message is “slow down and take space.”
When I listen to my body communication I move through life differently.
Before I open my office door, I pause to center myself and remind myself that I am entering another space meant to support my work with my clients.
I recognize that I need time to decompress after a call with a client who might be struggling with anxiety or depression. Sometimes my body lets me know that I need a quick walk outside before reentering my family dynamic. By leaving my work in my home office space, I ensure that my family doesn’t have to manage the fallout from any residual client work.
I stop and listen to what my body is saying when my workday is done and it is time to renter home life. I sit with the knowledge that I am not quite ready to enter the chaos that comes with two hungry kids who are tired from distance learning. I take a few moments and some deep breaths until I feel more ready.
Body communication and honoring my relationship with myself is key to showing up in all my other relationships in life.
One easy way for me to tap into body communication is with breath work.
I take a deep, slow belly breath while counting to four.
My exhale is a slow release with a count to eight.
I repeat this breath pattern at least three to five times and scan my body starting with my feet moving upwards.
Try this breath work the next time you are feeling overwhelmed. Better yet, see if you can integrate it into your daily routine so that you are practicing body communication before your body has to scream its needs to you.
Next month, I am sharing body communication tips with my #dropeverythingandbreathe month long, daily challenge on my Instagram page @happywithbaby, see you there!
Written in a manner that is easy to read and understand. What little technical jargon that's used is fully explained. Every couple starting family should have a copy on their bookshelf. Not only is it informative, it's entertaining.
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