My origins lay in the snowy and somewhat incomprehensible to the western mind land of Russia.
They have a saying there, describing a strong woman: “she’ll stop a horse in its tracks, she’ll walk into a burning house”. I know so many women like this, and they aren’t only Russian. These ladies are incredible achievers, always raising the bar.
They run the house, manage big corporate teams or their own business, oversee big budgets, organise unforgettable experiences for themselves, their partners, friends and kids, etc., etc. They are the mighty women who I admire for their ambitions, persistence and resilience.
Being a health coach I also know the other less visible side of them: an underlying sense of guilt and dissatisfaction of how they look and feel; probably the only thing that they haven’t got a complete grasp on yet.
Putting interests of others before their own well-being, they miss the point when they start damaging their health. Feeling “always tired but wired”, having fragile sleep, being dependent on coffee, feeling muscle tension, having digestion issues like bloating or constipation, accumulating extra weight, having skin issues, irritability and mood swings…
They don’t know that all these symptoms are actually the SOS signals, which a body sends to say, that it needs an urgent care, that the system’s off and is about to break down. But none of our schools teach us to listen, understand and act upon the body signals, right?
Instead, we learn to suppress these signals with pills, self-discipline and alcohol …
So if you are living suppressing your physical discomforts for the sake of business and family priorities, you are cheating yourself and driving yourself into a trap: short-term you might be getting results, long-term you are putting at danger yourself, and hence everything and everyone else dependent on you.
The truth is, when it comes to health, it’s your body, that’s calling the shots, not you/your brain. Suppressing or ignoring physical /psychological discomforts works only for a while.
The real long-term health solution is communication with your body.
Just like you communicate with your partners. If you want a relationship to work, start listening, hearing and acting. If you want health and longevity, start listening, hearing and acting upon your body signals.
No need to wait for doctor’s permission to sleep those 8 hours, to trim your “to do” lists, to slow down and heal yourself.
You can do any of the following: write up your gratitude list, journal on your top 3 goals, trim your “to do” list by getting rid of all non-strategic tasks, connect to your body and feel where the pains are, to do a soft stretching /or HIIT workout, breathe, meditate, feed the body a detoxifying or/and nourishing food, listen to an inspiring podcast /music, take a minute to sing /dance in front of a mirror, do a dry scrub, take a bath with essential oils, have a good laugh — each of this activities takes from 1 to 7 minutes and together with 8-hour sleep will have a profound positive effect on how you feel, boosting your energy and improving your mood.
Taking a few minutes for yourself daily will not rob your children and your projects of your time, but will ensure your are fully present, focused and full of energy for each of your commitments.
It’s not by chance that in case of in flight emergency, the security requirement is that you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and only then you worry about the kids.
If you aren’t on top form, you are simply not able to give your best to all that is dear to your heart.
So start putting your well-being first, before anyone or anything else, and stop feeling guilty about it.
Originally published at medium.com