My dog broke her leg about 8 weeks ago. This meant that she had to adjust to life with only 3 legs, at least temporarily. This also meant that it took her a little while to learn how to walk, climb stairs and do all of her normal activities. She was in pain the first couple of weeks and every time she accidentally moved or bumped that leg, she whimpered. Until she figured out how to move around pain free, we were carrying her up and down the stairs. There’s no way to get in or out of my house without going up or down a couple of stairs. That means we had to carry her outside every time she needed to relieve herself. All of this carrying her around for most of a month, left my back a bit unhappy.
My back can affirm that yes she does indeed weigh 45 pounds. My back also tells me right now that it’s not as strong as it used to be and that carrying around a 45 pound dog is pushing my luck a bit. After about a month, it started to complain. I didn’t listen right away and eventually it complained so loud that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I had pulled a muscle in my back and it was time to do some self-care.
This leads me to the lesson that I learned about my own body. My core muscles aren’t as strong as they used to be. When I was teaching Pilates, my core stayed strong and my back felt great no matter what I did. Now that I’m not teaching Pilates anymore, my core isn’t in tip top shape. Lifting a 45 pound dog repeatedly isn’t as easy as it used to be.
I tell people to listen to their bodies all of the time, but I’m sometimes as guilty as everyone else. I’ve been ignoring signs that my back wasn’t as strong as it used to be. If I had been listening months ago, I could have been working on my core to strengthen it again. I didn’t have to wait until it was a full on injury.
Befriending your body isn’t just about noticing what’s happening. It’s also about listening to what it’s trying to tell you. I would say that I’ve noticed my back wasn’t as strong, but I chose to not listen to this message. I was more of an acquaintance than a friend to my own body. As a friend I would have heard the message before it got this far.
I’ve spent many years as a mom to two wonderful kids. Now with my kids out of the house, I’m mom to two dogs and a cat that are still here. My excuse used to be that I was paying more attention to the kids than to myself. I didn’t really have time for self-care. Or so I thought. Now, I don’t have that excuse and I’m still not taking care of myself because my focus is elsewhere.
As an empty nester, I do have more time to do what my own body needs. Exercise is important to staying healthy in both mind and body.
So, my lesson is that it’s time to be more of a friend to my body instead of an acquaintance. I know I can do it. I also know that I’ll slip up again. That’s what makes me human. For now, I’ll be working a bit more on my core and hoping that my dog’s leg heals faster.
I want to give a shout out to Joanie, my massage therapist at The Spa at Arya Place, for taking great care of me and helping me to be able to move with much less pain and heal faster so I can get back to my life! That was a huge part of my self-care with my hurt back.
Are you an empty nester that’s ready to befriend your own body? What would that mean for you? Leave a comment and help inspire others to take more care of themselves.