Friday, March 1, 2013

More on values: Taking care of physical health

Do you ever feel like you’re falling apart? Not mentally, but physically? In small ways, but ways that affect how you feel each day?
I’m feeling like that. And I’m also thinking about values.

First, the falling apart part:
*My right foot is hurting. For weeks—actually, months—it’s been hurting on the side of the foot. I don’t remember injuring it. I just noticed it hurting when I was walking at the Y before Christmas.
I figured it would just get better. Then it got a little worse, and I thought I might have a stress fracture, which I’ve had before.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I twisted the foot sideways as I was trying to move fast while wearing clogs, and since then, I’ve been in a lot of pain.
*My allergies have been kicking up lately. My eyes itch, I alternate between being stopped up and having a runny nose. My sinuses get tight. The dry winter air doesn’t help.
*I’ve had some bouts of trouble with irritable bowel syndrome.
*I’ve started with a bad cough.

Nothing life threatening, nothing serious. But enough wrong that I feel run down.
I haven’t been able to walk for exercise because of my foot. I’ve been sleeping more (too much) and lying around too much. I’ve been accomplishing less.

But I have some confessions:
*I still haven’t gone to the doctor about my foot. I keep thinking it will feel better “soon.” But soon has come and gone. It probably needs a doctor’s exam.
*I haven’t been eating the best of diets. I eat foods that know will have a good chance of bothering my digestive system and my energy level.
*I haven’t been diligent about using my long-acting asthma inhaler.

I’ve made vows before to take better care of myself. I have set goals that I never accomplished. But I’m not trying to go on a guilt trip in public by telling you these things. I’m leading up to my point about values.
I’ve been thinking about my values and how I use my time. I even wrote a post about it called “What do happy people do?”
There’s a connection between my feeling of physically falling apart and my values.

When I don’t properly take care of my physical health, I don’t feel like doing the things and giving my full attention to the things that matter the most to me.
Feeling as good as possible physically will help me give myself more fully to that which is most important.

And these are the things that matter the most to me:
*My husband
*My cats
*Writing
*My relationship with God

I don’t need to have reasons to exercise like, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to be fit enough to run a 5K.” Those reasons are great, and it’s helpful to set goals.
But all the reason I really need to exercise is to know that it will help me feel physically (and mentally) better and I’ll be better able to pay attention to what matters the most.
Likewise, I don’t need to have a reason like, “I want to lose weight” to eat better. All the reason I need to eat better is to, again, know that it will help me feel more like paying attention to what matters the most.
And the same for tending to any injuries and illnesses.

I now have my reason—my value—for taking better care of myself physically. All I need to do is follow through.

What are your reasons for taking good care of yourself physically? What’s your method for following through?

29 comments:

  1. Great post, Tina. As for myself I find that walking is very good exercise, but I do it for pleasure, this way I don't feel or think to myself, "Oh, I must take a walk today" like it was a duty or something. For example, when I take walks, I go to nature parks with my camera. As I walk and enjoy the fresh air, I look for things that I can photograph. I find that being in nature is very therapeutic. As far as eating goes, ever since I had my incident with the diverticulitis last August my appetite and taste for food has not been the same. I do my best to eat well but there are days where I well, won't. As far as healthy eating goes, we can make it a fun thing to do. We can experiment and make a salad with different veggies, for example. I never use the bottled dressings, I make my own. I will use either apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, that is it. I find by making it a point to enjoy exercise and healthy eating by doing it for pleasure rather than a tedious task, somehow it becomes easier to do. Hope this helps, and I really appreciate your posts!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I think it's wonderful that you walk and eat healthy for the pleasure of it. It's so much harder to do something because we know we "should" do it, I think.

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  2. Yes a combination of seemingly little things physically can definitely make you feel run down. It's more of the combination of them than them on their own. I have IBS bouts and it's definitely not fun.

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    1. Keith, yes, the combination of things makes it seem overwhelming. Sorry you have IBS, too. You're right--not fun.

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  3. I have had similar falling aparts lately. Vertigo and a gall bladder attack in the past month. Not fun. I haven't been physically able to eork out in two weeks. Depressing. Hopefully march will be better for both of us.

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    1. Lisa, poor thing! I had my gall bladder taken out about 12 years ago, and I know gall bladder attacks are very painful. Hope you will be back on track soon and able to work out and feel better!

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  4. My reasons for taking care of myself are twofold: 1. I can manage my bipolar disorder better when I do, the payoff is good and 2. I just feel better when I do and I spend so much time not feeling good because of mental illness that it is nice to feel good some of the time. That is what motivates me.

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    1. Wendy, those sound like great motivations, and I love that you're so clear about them. Thank you for sharing them.

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  5. For years I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and in order to get well I had to completely change my lifestyle. It still took years to get well, so I don't take physical health for granted and work at it daily...after all, no one knows what causes this disease, and I assume it can come back at any time if I'm not diligent...and it is a horrible, horrible way to live.

    May I suggest Chair Yoga while your foot is injured? There are a lot of DVDs available. Though Chair Yoga is aimed more at seniors, it's effective for anyone with mobility issues, whether permanent or temporary. It can also be empowering, to have a way to work on physical fitness (and the mental benefits it provides) despite having an injury. And get that darned foot checked out, darlin'!

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    1. Nadine, I'm sorry you had Chronic Fatigue, and I hope it doesn't come back. I understand your concern and can see why you don't take your physical health for granted. I like the suggestion for Chair Yoga. Even some of the floor exercises would probably be OK to do.

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  6. Oh I do hope you take care of that foot and the rest of the things that are getting you down. It is true if you sop taking care of yourself for whatever reason you will pay for that. I am almost 60 now and I find if I have to make excuses to do something I probably need another hobby as this one is not working. I found snowshoeing as you know and I used to HATE the winter and sat around and ate bad stuff and did not take care for myself. I was miserable and blaming the weather never my own attitude. I was always sick with something. Now except for that pesky Fibro and a few down days I am relatively healthy and my mind is clear and most important I am happy.
    Find something you love to do and it will not seem like a workout but joy. Hope you feel better soon. Sorry about the long comment sometimes I don't know when to shut up:) B

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    1. Thank you, Buttons. You're right--finding something to do for the enjoyment doesn't seem like a workout. I love your stories about snowshoeing. If we had more snow around here, I would try it. A fun winter activity would help many get through the season, I think!

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  7. It's always so hard to make our own health a priority. Sometimes I wonder if we aren't secretly punishing or sabotaging ourselves. I finally had a number of visits and procedures done that I had been putting off for years. It was very difficult to do it, but now I feel better for having managed to do it at all.

    Wish I had any advice on how to motivate oneself to do better about exercise. I'm still not doing that as I should, and usually forgetting my inhaler when I do :)

    I spent 9 months with hurting feet, knowing it was probably plantar fasciitis. I did some stretches but it wasn't enough. And now I'm in physical therapy for it. Perhaps if I hadn't waited so long to get it officially diagnosed, it wouldn't have gotten quite this bad. So there might be a little incentive for you :)
    Adventures in Anxiety Land

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    1. Thank you. I'm sorry about your foot and hope you get some relief soon. I probably have let it go on for too long.

      I think part of my problem is that I just don't take my own health seriously enough. So I tend to put things off, too.

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  8. Ugh-I have no follow through!!!!! That's my big problem. When you figure it out Tina, let me know. Ha ha ha

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  9. I hope your foot feels better. I struggle some with plantar fasciitis so I get foot pain. Not good.

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    1. Sunny, thank you. I am working on follow through, but it is so hard! I know what I need/want to do, but doing it is another thing. I hope a different attitude will help.

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  10. My reason, is similar to yours - that I am worth a healthy life. I am personally in it to lose weight though, and because my heart problems will likely catch up to me, if I don't. But those reasons did not matter one bit to me prior to finding a bit of value in myself.

    I'm glad you wrote this post - I know that it will help others realize that they have value, and that they deserve to be well.

    Thinking of you ...

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. I'm glad that you know that you have value--it's so important to remember that. I can see how, if you don't believe you deserve to be well, that things like health problems wouldn't be good motivators.

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  11. Tina, I just love your honesty. And again, by you sharing reminds me how similar our thoughts are in this online community. I really hope your foot feels better and yes, I certainly feel at times as if im falling apart physically, slowly. One of the things we have on our side is awareness on how important it is to be healthy, Tina, I believe we are going to follow through on appt's and doctors. Writing about it is a sure step in the right direction.

    Madison:-)

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    1. Thank you, Madison. I hope that by being aware now of the importance of my health, I will follow through better.

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  12. Thanks for this post, Tina, and I think so many people (including myself) will see themselves in it. I'm usually on track with a healthy lifestyle, but once in a while will get in a funk and it's so hard to pull out of it and get back to my eating healthy and exercising routine. What works for me is simple. As much as I feel I don't want to do something (like exercise) I force myself to do it, and nine times out of ten, that effort will bring me back to my usual self. I do hope you get your foot looked at. It's been hurting way too long!

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    1. Thank you, Janet. I like the way you pull yourself out of a funk. It takes effort, but it's worth it, I'm sure.

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  13. My motivation is that I want to feel good and I want to be able to do the things I want to do! I used to say to my husband, if I didn't have to do these diets, I would probably eat junk, too. I love junk! Exercise is harder. I need outside help with that!

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    1. Kristina, to feel good and do be able to do what you want to do seem like great motivations! I really do feel better when I eat healthy foods. But sometimes I give in to my cravings for sugar.

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  14. Wow...you've had a LOT of physical stuff going on, and that can really adversely affect depression! Hoping you're feeling better soon...I'm glad you're going to see a doctor for your foot. Praying for you!

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    1. Thank you, Jean. Sometimes the little things add up. I hope things will settle down soon!

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  15. Hi Tina, I've been experiencing similar things with diet and eating what makes me feel good and later paying for it and I didn't do yoga last week. I think we have to give ourselves some slack for falling off the wagon every now and then and then make the effort to get back on again. Your post inspired me to do what I know makes me feel good in the long run (i.e. eating well and exercising). That's my focus now! Hope you feel better and good luck with getting back on the wagon again!

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    1. Thank you, Katherine. You're right--we can't be perfect, and we should give ourselves a break if we fall off the wagon. Good luck to you as you get back on the wagon!

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