Today I got called out for wearing the weight of the world on my shoulders. It’d been a lot nicer had I been called out for great form on ring rows, but no. When the strength and conditioning coach repeatedly adjusts my shoulder placement, (during multiple classes) I usually curse my structural imbalances. However, it turns out my skeletal make-up may not singularly be to blame.
Multiple times in the past year, by multiple friends and acquaintances, I’ve been told to “give myself a break.” I continued to hear it over and over through a life transition. To me, there were no excuses not to be as great as I could be at all times, or excuses to lower my progress expectations in work, fitness or relationships. Because they were just that, excuses.
I think I’ve always struggled with a little bit of high functioning anxiety, meaning I could be exploding internally over missing an order of a table cloth and clips for a trade show booth in the middle of an open office concept, but no one would know. I’m calm, chill and overall easy going, they say. My top strength in the StrengthFinder test is harmony, for crying out loud.
But what my body is starting to say about that, is LIES.
For the first time ever, within this past year I saw a sports massage therapist. It was painful. My body was in knots, especially around my jaw and neck area. Turns out I clench my jaw a lot. Recommendation from that appointment: I need to yell more.
Stress continued to show up in a lot of the common areas, lack of sleep, weird appetite, tired workouts and less than successful runs. But everyone is struggling with this, everyone is “stressed out” ALL THE TIME. Right? Right…?
Yet I realized even more so today, it’s one thing to tell people I’m stressed out, but it’s another for someone to tell or ask me if I am stressed based on the constant positioning of my body. It actually hits really hard, because then it means I really am or was stressed, I wasn’t just saying it because things felt out of place.
It also really means, I’ve been hurting my body and that just sucks. I’m less stressed out than I have been in the last 12-14 months, but the wear is still there.
Have I increased my massage appointments? Definitely. I know about meditation and gentle yoga, but what makes those mindful practices stick? What makes them a routine? Looking for other good ways to give the anxious mind (and shoulders!) a rest.
***This is not an official medical diagnosis, but it’s worth noting the habits that are making your body less than what it can be. (Like sitting at a desk all day hovered over a keyboard – also a factor, but can also cause stress.)