I’ve taught myself a lot of lessons over the past few weeks. I have been given a new life to live, and I am still learning how to adjust to that life in my new body, but with the same mindset. I was always running around going from one place to the next. Planning the next event or activity that would occupy my time.
Time Is Not Ticking, But My Heart Sure Is
It wasn’t until life caught up with me that I realized I needed to slow down physically and mentally. I shouldn’t be feeling my heart beating out of my chest, and trying to catch my breath just going grocery shopping. Why am I in such a rush? I don’t need to run through the grocery store and hurry up to my car. I can take my time walking through the aisles…even though that will make me spend more money!
There is no timeline to healing. Unfortunately grief is forever, and will come and go at the most unexpected times. I can’t make it go away any faster, it is here to stay. Healing isn’t linear, and racing through a rough patch doesn’t make it disappear any faster.
I tell myself to slow down all of the time, but do I actually listen? Absolutely not.
It isn’t until I get into my car huffing and puffing frantically checking my heart rate on my Apple watch that I realize how unnecessarily fast I just moved. My body went from treading water in the deep end to being a beached whale.
There is no in between anymore. It’s an all or nothing effort. If I try to do several basic things around the house in a row, I find myself having to sit right back down 20 minutes later. If I do too many events in a day, I will be napping all throughout the next day. One day I will finally listen to my stubborn self.
Wake Up Call
It wasn’t until I went to pulmonary rehab when it really hit me. I was getting all of my baseline tests done including vitals, and a walking test. My heart rate reached its maximum predicted rate during a simple walking test. Now, it is good that I am able to get it that high, but at the same time should it have even gotten that high based on my activity level and stayed there? I know the answers to these questions, I know what these numbers mean.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, took several exercise physiology classes, and have a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. You could say I know a thing or two about heart rates and exercise. However, it sometimes takes an outsider perspective to really hit the nail on the head and tell you what you already know, but need to hear loud and clear over the megaphone.
I am still in denial about my physical abilities and limitations. I don’t like to think that I have many, or any really. It just all seems so impossible, how could this possibly happen to me? How can I not even walk for 15 minutes without needing to take a break?
I got up to leave the evaluation, and was basically running out of the door. The respiratory therapist told me to SLOW DOWN. Right? Like why was I running out of there? I just said how the 6 minute walk test wore me out, and I was about to trek it to the parking lot. For what reason? I just have that mindset that I need to hurry up and get where I am going.
Hey You – SLOW DOWN
Well I am here as your outsider’s perspective. Giving you the advice you already know, but need to hear loud and clear over the megaphone. SLOW DOWN! Not only in your car on I-12, but in your thoughts and in your life. Walk slower. Smell the flowers. Life isn’t going to move any faster for us. Even at the times we so desperately wish it would. We all have the same 24 hours in a day.
SLOW DOWN and notice others around you. Give someone a compliment, hold open the door, bring your grocery cart back to the holder.
SLOW DOWN and appreciate your health. Appreciate how hard your body works for you every single day, even the days you put yourself last.
SLOW DOWN and do what actually makes YOU happy.
SLOW DOWN and put yourself first. Your job is replaceable, your family and health is not.
Have patience and enjoy your surroundings. Appreciate your world around you, every deep breath you take in, and each new day you are given. SLOW DOWN and realize all that you have been given. SLOW DOWN and live and experience every moment of every day.
Tomorrow is never promised. Take care of yourself, and do what makes you happy today.