Listening to My Body
Last updated: October 2018
If you’ve ever tried to start a new exercise regime, then you have likely heard the advice, “Listen to your body.” But when you have psoriatic arthritis, sometimes this can be very difficult to do because if I always listen to my body, I’d probably never get out of bed, ever. Sometimes listening to my body is good for me, other times, not so much. So then how do we know when we should actually listen to our bodies?
I firmly believe some people (like myself) are very sensitive to the signals their body is trying to send. If something is even the slightest “off” with how I’m feeling, I know it. While others could walk around all day with their body shouting at them and never notice until it was too late.
Benefits of listening to my body
There are some benefits to listening to my body. I was aware, pretty early on when my feet and hands didn’t feel right. I knew something was going on and I was able to try and take steps to fix the problem. I know pretty clearly when a flare is coming on. My body shouts at me when I’ve eaten the wrong foods or when it is feeling stressed.
Listening to my body when I have the luxury of choosing to do activities or not can be very helpful. What hurts? Why does it hurt? How much energy do I have? All of these questions can be answered if I listen closely to what my body is trying to tell me. Listening to my body can keep me from doing something that I would certainly regret, like landing myself in flare jail.
Drawbacks of listening to my body
Unfortunately, when you live with a chronic illness like psoriatic arthritis, listening to your body isn’t necessarily always a good thing. Sometimes it feels like my body is shouting at me. It feels like it NEVER shuts up. Worst of all, listening to my body affects my emotions, self-esteem, and even my relationships.
Unending dialogue with my body keeps me up at night and distracts me from thinking straight during the day. If I listen too much to my body, I miss out on meaningful events with my friends and family. Or I don’t get the benefits of simple stretching or gentle exercise that my body needs and deserves. Sometimes I have to actually consciously choose to ignore what my body is telling me just so that I can simply live my life. I have to allow my brain to overrule the rest of the signals my body is sending.
Finding the middle ground
When it comes down to it, listening to my body is all about trying to find a middle ground. Yes, it is extremely important to pay attention to the signals our bodies are trying to send. But at the same time, of your body is constantly shouting at you like my body is, it can be very difficult to keep your mind in “real life” and focused on the valuable parts of actually living it.
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