Today marks six weeks since my snowboarding accident and boy has it been a long six weeks. Having not been able to weight bear (because of my broken pelvis), the days and nights sort of roll into one as I wake up and move my broken body from the bed to the couch, to the kitchen a few times a day and back to bed again. Although most days feel like groundhog day, It hasn’t all been bad, the boring days have been broken up with visits from friends and family, going out for lunch, dinners and trips to the beach to watch my dog Dusti run around. These boring days have made the not so boring days super exceptional, and have given me time to be still, heal and reflect.
In a society where instant gratification is king, we often lack the patience to wait for… well anything really. If we want something usually we can get it asap at the click of a button. I know how much my own patience has dwindled over the years, I get frustrated if I have to wait in a long queue or if the internet doesn’t load at lightening speed. I really struggle with having to wait and being unstimulated or bored even for a minute. I struggle to sit still to the point where I sometimes question whether or not I have adult ADHD. Having this injury has taught me that not everything can be bought or acquired quickly, there’s no repair shop for broken bones (unfortunately). Broken bones and other injuries take time to heal and there’s no quick fix. I’ve just had to accept this and ride it out allowing my body the time it needs to heal, by sitting still, no matter how boring or frustrating that is for me and finding joy in other things.
A a result of this injury, I’ve been forced to be more present and have used this time as an opportunity to dig deeper into what it really mean to “be present”. I’ve mentioned before that participating extreme sports allows me to be present because when I’m snowboarding or wakeboarding for example, I’m not thinking about anything else other than what I’m doing, not about what happened yesterday or what’s going to happen tomorrow, just purely what I’m doing in that moment. Not being able to do these sports has forced me to seek out other ways to be present like reading, writing, sewing, colouring in, and guided meditation, all things that I would never have prioritised prior to being injured. It’s a nice feeling just to “be” and not feel like i’m wasting my time when I could be doing other things which is usually what I tell myself when I take time out.
While couch bound I also had time to watch and reflect on the Netflix documentary ‘Heal’ – this doccumentry gives insight into our body’s amazing ability to heal itself both emotionally and physically. The documentary explains that most disease comes from having an abundance of something in the body, usually heat, largely caused by stress. This heat spreads through the body like a fire causing minor symptoms to start with, symptoms such as heart burn which has been somewhat normalised in our society and quickly fixed with a dose of medication. Many symptoms are ignored until the fire has spread so much and manifests itself as a much more serious health condition. This highlighted to me the enormous stress the majority of us face on a daily basis as we try to fit a million things into our day while working long hours. As a Child Protection Worker, a notoriously stressful job, not a day goes by without someone commenting how stressed out/overworked they are not to mention tired. I can only imagine the strain this puts on the body. We are expected to do so much with so little time and often due to work, care-giving duties and other commitments, we don’t prioritise ourselves, our wellbeing or our health at all, we just roll from day to day existing on fuel from adrenaline and caffeine. This got me thinking, If we weren’t so busy and were more present in our lives, would we hear our bodies screaming out when something wasn’t right and fix it before we became really unwell?
How can we commit to listening to our bodies in a world that demands so much? I don’t know the answer to this, however I think if we start by taking time out for ourselves however that looks and not feeling guilty about it would be a good place to start. If you’re a reader, take time to read that book, don’t leave it sitting on the shelf for a year because you’re too busy (I have done that so many times). If you need a day off work because you’re feeling off or just need a mental health day, take it! without feeling guilty, the workplace will not implode and will go on without you. If you’ve committed to something like a gym/yoga class, don’t bail on your commitment to yourself, show up, be present and give it your full attention. If we make these small steps each day to do be present and do things for ourselves our stress levels will be lower and we might just hear our bodies telling us when our health and wellbeing is not right. I urge everyone reading this to commit to playing, laughing, having fun and being present 100% without hesitation, after all that’s what life is all about and that’s where the ultimate joy is found.