Tips from a chronic pain recovery therapist
Can I be honest with you? Sometimes, I feel tired and burned out.
If you’ve been reading my emails or blog or following me on Instagram or listening to my new podcast, you might have noticed that I love creating content to share with you.
And one of the things I talk about in my content is how my own mind-body healing journey has unlocked my creative energy. Which is totally true!
But you know what else is true? Sometimes I push myself too hard for too long and I forget how to turn it all off, tune out and truly unwind.
I’m great at taking breaks from the act of work itself (and I have tricks that help me economize effort, like batching and repurposing content) but I’m not so great at giving my mind a break. The gears are always turning. I jokingly-yet-not-so-jokingly refer to myself as an intensity junky. And sometimes… I burn out! Maybe you can relate.
Here’s the tricky thing: stress amplifies itself. A stressed-out brain thinks, “I need to solve all the problems so that I can finally relax.” But the truth is that it’s the other way around: if you set yourself up to truly relax, many of those problems fade away — and the ones that remain become easier to address. Moreover, life opens up to be about more than just solving problems.
I got a great reminder of this a couple of weeks ago when my partner and I went on a long-belated honeymoon trip!
We took a vacation that was purely about relaxation and natural beauty. I’d been excited about this for months leading up to it. But I was also a little worried. I’d been feeling pretty burned out in the lead-up to the trip. And as someone who experiences stress in my body, I’d had a cluster of symptom flare-ups — including pelvic pain symptoms — that I was hoping would subside in time for our trip. I also wasn’t sure if I’d be able to quiet down my monkey mind and truly relax.
But once we got there…
The warm sun engulfed my face.
The gentle ocean waves kissed my feet.
The natural beauty of the scenery filled my eyes with wonder.
The smells, the tastes and the sounds took over my senses.
And my mind let go. And my body did too.
It was a reassuring reminder: My mind and body aren’t broken, and neither are yours. They just need things that they often don’t get enough of. Like rest, beauty, playfulness, wonder and delight.
So, when I got home after our trip, I wanted to bring some of those vacation vibes back home with me. Of course, every day can’t feel like a vacation and we don’t always have the time or access to recreate the kind of experience I just described. But I asked myself, how can I bring just a little bit more of that energy into my everyday life?
To start off with, I decided to try out a mindset shift. Whenever I notice myself defaulting to the mindset of “gotta get stuff done,” I redirect myself toward a different thought: “For the next 30 days, your primary job is to have fun.”
The idea is not to pressure myself into playing hopscotch every day or spend loads of money on massages or anything like that. It’s just a way to gently invite my attention away from problem-solving and toward curiosity and playfulness. To look around myself and notice the dappled light hitting the side of a building, to let my mind wander to fun memories, to let myself off the hook from figuring anything out — and to stop feeling guilty about it.
Telling myself that, “for the next 30 days, your job is to have fun” is a way of inviting my productivity-obsessed mind to latch onto something more… playful.
You know what else helps me shift gears? Hanging out with other people who encourage each other to make time for fun! So, I thought it might be fun to do that together! Would you like to join me?
Send me a message and let me know what felt fun for you today!
With warmth, support and encouragement to make time for fun 🙂
➡️ If you need support with chronic pain and anxiety, take my FREE QUIZ called “Why the *bleep* am I still in pain?!” so I can help you get some clarity.
And follow me on instagram for healing tips, inspiration and encouragement.
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