I’m not good at being ill. I’m fiercely independent at the best of times and when I’m ill, like most, I try and prove I’m fine; my desire to prove I don’t need to depend on others becomes worse. So yeah, I’m really not good at being ill. Luckily, I seem to have a really good immune system and don’t get ill too often.
Last week I was not feeling good. I had a headache, chest pains and stomach pains. It was pretty bad. I managed to get a GP appointment (rare that I can get seen so quickly!) and my vitals were all good; no infection, heart sounded good, stomach felt fine (to the GP). Nothing escalated and I feel better now. All I can assume is that it was stress and exhaustion. I’m a fricking yoga teacher – how can I be stressed right?! (…I just felt every yoga teacher eye roll at that comment.) I’m human, I get stressed, I get overwhelmed, I get anxious. It’s normal, part of life and, I would argue, healthy. Feeling feelings is a good thing, it’s how we respond to those feelings that can be unhealthy. In my situation it would seem I haven’t even been letting myself be aware of the fact I was stressed in the first place.
I pride myself on being pretty good at checking in with myself. Every morning when I journal I make sure I answer the questions: how am I feeling physically, how am I feeling mentally and how am I feeling emotionally. I try to notice any subtle changes and take those into consideration making sure I’m mindful in my approach to living. I didn’t catch this though! My body had decided enough was enough and I didn’t even see it coming. Nobody’s perfect and that’s ok. So, I listened to my body and reacted rather than letting things get worse. I’ve got cover for yoga classes, rearranged 1:1s, not attended events, taken a step back from social media. All the stuff necessary to allow myself time and space to just slow down a bit.
But why is it that it’s so difficult to ask for time off, to cancel on people. I know I don’t like to let people down but why is it so difficult to ensure we don’t let ourselves down! I really struggled to contact studios and let them know I couldn’t teach. I almost said… if it’s too late or you can’t find cover then I can do it. I couldn’t, I knew I couldn’t, I was in physical and emotional pain. Why is it so hard for us to let go of the need to give excuses and reasons? Why do we find it so hard to just say sorry we cannot do something – no reasons, no excuses, no explanations, not even the sorry is truly necessary.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t give a damn about others and act in a selfish manner; what I am saying is that it’s important to ensure we’re ok first and foremost before we give to others. It is ok to cancel or rearrange plans, it’s ok to say no. If you are not showing up for yourself, giving yourself love, how on earth can you show up wholeheartedly for others. As RuPaul would say “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” Love yourself first, show yourself kindness. Let go of the need to control or be independent or make excuses all the time.