by Julie Mills-Watson
Have you ever hurt yourself just by doing the simplest things? For example, when you pick up a basket of laundry, have you ever strained your back? When you’ve reached for a glass on the top shelf, have you ever pulled your shoulder? When you get out of your car after driving a long distance, are your first several steps nothing short of painful?
These things did not just “happen”. They usually are a result of years of self-neglect that has led to the moment when your body finally says, “NO MORE”! Often times we then start popping some sort of pill to help us cope with pain and get through the day. Consider this, your body may be talking to you. It is trying to warn you of problems that are manifesting. Rather than talk, it should be shouting because, for most of us, we are just too busy to take care of the bare essentials such as drinking enough water, consuming enough nutrition, and getting enough rest.
By the time most people make it to my office, they are usually hurting in one way or another. Once I ask about their lifestyle, I can usually get to the root of the issue pretty quickly. I tell them that while I’m happy to work with them, they have to do their part as well in taking care of themselves and preventing injuries. Over time our muscles get dry and tight if we do not drink enough water and stretch. They can become like an old rubber band that snaps when you stretch it just a little.
I think you would agree that we have become a society of conveniences. Everything is instant. Even our oatmeal. What we need to understand it that our bodies are not “instant”. They require long-term care. We have to take care of them like we do a car. If you could only own one car for life, how would you care for it? Would you drive it as fast as it would go? How often would you change the fluids? What type of fuel would you use? Our bodies need fuel as well. You wouldn’t put sugar into your gas tank so why would you put it into your body? Our good fuels come in the form of water, veggies, seeds, and nuts? Our bodies digest and absorb these type things naturally. Unfortunately, most of us do not get nearly enough to sustain our health.
We are expected to work long hours and then get home just in time to shuttle kids around or facilitate a meeting of some sort. These are not bad things, but you need to find time for yourself. You do not have to join a health club to find health. You can do stretching routines at home for twenty minutes. You can walk the neighborhood. You can go to bed thirty minutes earlier. You can turn off the TV and accomplish those “honey-do” items which burn calories and, afterwards, still have the time and energy to sit down and read a book with your kids.
I say all of this because I am often so frustrated. I love my clients like members of my own family and want them to be at their very best. It is frustrating to hear that my clients do not have enough time or resources to take good care of themselves. My clients are the MVP in the game of life. They can hurt less, heal quicker and have a better quality of life if they only had a game plan. That is what we all need …. a game plan. This takes thought, planning, and homework. I can work out your kinks, but you have to do your part as well. Twenty minutes in the morning is enough time for you to prepare a healthy lunch for work (instead of eating out), do some stretching, and drink a full glass of water. I promise you, you’ll like how you feel. A good word for all of us – turn off the computers and television and spend that time exercising, cooking, resting, reading, and just…..being.
I feel like I have to start over with a client when he does not do his homework. I have to spend longer on tissues that would be softened if the client had just done the stretching exercises and increased his water intake. Then the client gets frustrated because it is taking longer to release the muscles and reduced the pain.
If you just do a few of the things that are required by every individual to stay healthy, you will be ahead of the game. I am here to guide and help you, but we have to work together. It is up to you to value yourself enough to be responsible for your participation in your health and in the game of life!
Remember, it took time for your body to start hurting, so it will take time for it to heal. There are no short cuts to healing. You have to have manual massage therapy, drink your water, stretch, and exercise. Eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible in order to build your immune function. This is a team effort, so be a MVP and do your part in taking care of your body.