As we’re settling back into our routine here at the studio this week, I’ve noticed how sluggish everyone is, myself included.
"The holidays" we all say. "It’s a mixed bag." We nod our heads at each other and laugh. Nervously.
But I believe when we say, “The holidays” what we really mean can be a mixed bag:
- Enjoying the Christmas lights
- Staying up late
- More food than normal
- Less exercise than normal
- Lots of laughter
- Memories of lost loved ones
- Family Tensions
- Quiet moments of solace
- Spending time with the ones you love, and some you don't
- Purging the old
- Letting in the new
- Listening to Christmas music (I’m a sucker for the Charlie Brown christmas by Vince Guaraldi)
I could go on and on. But there are a lot of highs and lows associated with the holidays. Each of these is a contributing factor that has led to the sluggishness we’re feeling now.
None of what I’m saying is groundbreaking, but hang with me for a bit.
BACK TO THE STUDIO
It’s very common to think it’ll be easy to identify the sluggishness as a symptom because the contributing factors listed above are a departure from our regular life and how we normally feel. We’re sure we’ll feel like ourselves again in a few weeks. But, when I get people in the studio for Pilates, often a disconnect occurs.
Many of the people that come to see me have physical
pain. That physical pain has become such an integral
part of who they are that it's become their normal. They
can no longer identify their physical pain as a symptom of
In other words, they can’t see the forest for the trees.
They'll say, I have knee pain. I want to work the knee.
Or, as I said for many years, I have back pain. I can’t do this and I can’t bend that way.
When you say it’s just your knee, or I say I can’t move my back, we’re missing the whole picture.
I'm not suggesting that painful physical symptoms can't be alleviated through bodywork like Pilates. They can. I'm suggesting that what contributes to a "physical" symptom does not only come from physical factors.
This would be one-dimensionalizing your pain and your symptoms.
How many factors are at play in a symptom?
I have an old injury that kept me in chronic pain for years. Pilates helped with that greatly.
But, as I continued to get to know my physical pain, I began to realize that sugar was a contributing factor. So were stress and toxic relationships.
The holidays can be a perfect storm of family traditions, favorite times, and churning up old wounds that may be contributing factors to the symptoms we experience in everyday life.
I'm proposing that we don't just move on from the holidays, good riddance. I'm suggesting that you mine the gold out of these experiences and learn about you and therefore your pain on a more holistic level.
WHAT’S DRIVING THE SYMPTOM?
To get YOU working and feeling better again, just keep telling yourself it is a symptom.
It’s not who you are. You can change it.
I hope you’ll come up with your own list of symptoms. It will empower you and allow you to work on all the reasons you’re having pain.
You won’t be disappointed (as I was for so many years) that this ONE thing wasn’t working. BECAUSE IT’S NOT JUST ONE THING.
AN ODE TO PILATES
I’m so grateful for Pilates. I don’t know where I’d be without it. Seriously!
Pilates is such a journey, if you let it. It will support you through all the changes you will experience throughout your life.
It’s not just exercise. It’s a relationship with movement. And your body.
MY WISH TO YOU
This year please don’t trivialize or ignore your pain by one-dimensionalizing yourself.
Identify your symptoms, work them out so you can get back to the regularly scheduled program of feeling like you.
Happy New Year,