Happy new year, 2017! Time to dust off the sports shoes, crack open the healthy eating cookbooks, book that dentist appointment and think about getting help solving that long term health issue.

 

Weather it is chronic pain, injury prevention, poor core stability or perhaps bladder and bowel weakness, we often put our own health problems on the back burner, only to see them appear on that new year’s resolution list to somehow make you get onto it this year. So why do we wait so long when it comes to our own health issues? Why does it take a ‘resolution’ to finally get help? And is ‘now’ as perfect a time as any to finally get the help you need, and get back to a healthier, more happy you!

 

Why it takes a resolution.

According to psychologists, there are a number of reasons as to why we don’t attend to our own health care needs over other, more menial tasks.

 

One of the reasons that stood out to me was that as an individual and a society we lack self-compassion. I see this over and over again in my clinic, among my friends and family, and actually… when I think about it… within myself. We seem to have this default setting that makes us become extremely hard on ourselves, unforgiving and lacking compassion. We strive for the next goal, pull ourselves in for the next challenge, place way too much on our plates, and when we succeed, we rarely celebrate it. When we fail, we take it hard, and we often view it as a failure of our self, rather than a failure of our circumstances. Now I am not saying that striving for success, goal setting and challenging yourself is necessarily a bad thing- it can be a very good thing. It is what leads to growth both as a society and as individuals. But do we place excessive expectations on ourselves, set up unrealistic goals and favour competitiveness against ourselves and others? This is what can lead to suffering.

 

Now… amplify this lack of self compassion with the high paced, technological world we live in. We spend many moments task managing, running between places and taking on new jobs before the first has finished. With our mobile office conveniently packed into our smartphones, we have the ability to take our work and emails everywhere we go, often checking job lists or emails before we close our eyes at night or first thing when we wake up.

 

When do we have time for us? Or indeed, do we think we deserve time for us?

 

Embracing self compassion.

Taking time to embrace self compassion, mindfulness and ‘time for you’ can seem on the surface to be counter-productive to the endless list of jobs that you need to get done, but in actual fact, self compassion and mindfulness has the ability to greatly enhance our productivity.

 

For those of you who are new to mindfulness… mindfulness is simply bringing awareness to the present moment, weather that be the breath, the sounds, your thoughts, your sensations or just the world around you, without judgement, without competition, and simply resting in that awareness.

Mindfulness has a profound ability to strengthen the connection between the mind and body, and gives us time and space to gain clarity, calmness and peace. This is a wondrous place to inspire creativity, inspiration, self-compassion, drive, recovery, kindness and eventually, happiness.

 

This year…

So within 2017’s new year’s resolution, I urge everyone to take some time to recalibrate. Bring some awareness to your life and some peace to your heart and ask yourself if you lack or embrace self-compassionate. Some may even ask the question: “Would you ever speak to anyone else the way you speak to yourself?”

 

If we can embrace self compassion, perhaps we can embrace a more positive, peaceful and creative you. This leads to good health outcomes for your mind and heart, and perhaps will finally give you the prompt to get help for that long standing health concern. This might be the best new year’s resolution of all…

 

Coming up…

In my next blog I am going to open up the ‘chronic pain can of worms’, and start a conversation that asks… Is it all in my head? Until then…

 

Be kind to yourself,

Julia Berger
Physiotherapist