How we feel about our own bodies is something that tends to fluctuate drastically over time. From being proud of the new physical achievements we made as a child, to all the embarrassments and insecurities of our transformational teen years, to a relationship which can veer wildly between satisfaction and disappointment as an adult, and even the changing relationship we have with our physical selves as we go through changes like motherhood, it’s easy to occasionally feel like we are at war with our own bodies. This can intensify even further if a challenge arises – something like serious illness, or a persistent injury. From a bad back that leaves us physically limited and feeling old before our time, to having to undergo chemotherapy or sensorineural hearing loss treatment, there are lots of occurrences which can leave us feeling like our own bodies have betrayed us. So what can you do when you feel let down and trapped by your own physical self?
Focus On What You Can Do
There is a glass-half-full element to this, but it’s true that, whatever physical battles you’re facing, there will be quite a few things that feel beyond your control. In fact, that is precisely the frustrating part about dealing with sickness and injury – the sense that you don’t have a choice over what is happening to you. Regain a sense of empowerment by consciously choosing to acknowledge your current limitations, and then refocusing on things that you can control. This could start in a small way. It might begin with setting a goal to walk for 20 minutes a day. Or you may want to begin a morning yoga routine. It could be about aiming for a healthier diet to support your body’s recovery. There are things that you can do in order to help yourself, so make the choice to put your energy into those.
Help Other People
Another trick to pull you out of focusing so intensely on your own body is to bring other people into the equation. Find some way that you can reach out and help someone else, who may also be struggling. This could be contacting that elderly relative who is feeling a little isolated, or perhaps offering to mentor someone in your field of work. Getting into giving instead of looking inwards often makes us feel far better about ourselves, because it puts the focus on another person.
Often it can be the simplest things which give us joy. In a bad health situation, or if you are dealing with chronic pain or something devastating like handling a miscarriage, it can feel as if all the joy has been taken out of daily life. Small things can seem trivial in this context, but actually they have an important role to play in the context of reminding us that there is pleasure to be had. Being able to get outside into the country and feel nature, enjoying a transcendental piece of music, eating a really delicious meal or laughing with a friend are all very simple things that connect us back to happiness and remind us that there are brighter days ahead.