Listen to your body!

Sleeping child

Marion Foreman describes what can happen if you don’t listen to your body

Marion ForemanI don’t usually disclose much information about myself in my blogs – but this week I would like to share something with you – I have been really tired. ‘So what’, I hear you say, ‘I’m tired too!’ I want to talk about being exhausted and not listening to your body.

As some of you will have guessed, I train pretty hard – 20 to 30 minutes cardio and some great resistance work 5 or 6 times a week. In our gym most days, lifting weights and building muscle which gives me great definition and tone and burns calories for me all day. I eat well, no ready meals, cook from raw, and push slow release carbs and protein. An appropriate amount of good fats and my 5 (or so) fruit and veg a day. And of course, a sneaky bit of chocolate now and again! I’m not a big drinker, but I’ll have a G&T when I fancy one, not usually more than once a week.

So, all sounds good – so why did I absolutely crash? It’s the other part of the equation: stress and sleep. We know that stress is fairly unavoidable but what helps us to stay healthy is how we deal with stress and the amount of sleep we get. So, despite helping many of my clients to get their work / life / downtime balance correct – I had let that ball drop myself.

Why am I telling you all this? I am sharing because I don’t want this to happen to you. I was getting indoors and lying down. I don’t mean getting in, taking off my jacket, chucking off my shoes and making a cup of tea and sitting down to read the newspaper, I mean getting in, walking straight to the sofa and lying down and falling asleep. My phone is peppered with alarms as I struggled to allow 5 or 10 minutes sleep. ‘Get a grip’, I told myself every day, several times a day, until that grip slipped right away and I stayed in bed. Two days I stayed in bed. I have got up quicker after childbirth, after a hysterectomy, after anything than I got up after this! I had to listen to my body as by now it was absolutely shouting at me.

Sleeping childWe need sleep – so obvious, so many studies tell us this. So, what makes us think that we can rise, in Margaret Thatcher style, after 4 hours and push our exhausted bodies and minds into another day?  That’s another whole story – but we are not invincible. We won’t lose weight, work well or love well if we are exhausted.

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What have I done to change things? Stopped the 70 hour working weeks, re-evaluated my gym programme so it’s targeted and timed, re-prioritised and gone to bed – not pushed myself to ‘just get this finished’. I have listened to my body and been kind to myself – I have held myself accountable for my well-being!

 


About Marion Foreman

I fall neatly into the ‘women who weren’t born yesterday’ category. I grew up in a turmoil of Guardian fuelled feminism. I went from ‘little woman’ to independent person in a decade. I began my nurse training in the early 70s in the midst of a male dominated university town. I convinced myself that my views must be wrong as the ultra clever men didn’t agree with me. It wasn’t until I did my degree with the OU that I realised that I had a voice – and a legitimate voice at that. Four children and three husbands later I have found my place in the world. A place that simply says that I am who I am, that I can choose my own path in life and choose those who walk with me. I have learnt that equality means making and taking opportunities, not feeling compelled to ‘do it all’.

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