by Kathi Szabo

My back has been giving me trouble lately.

The first time I ever through my back out, I was in my early 30’s and just sent the kids off to school.  I had never experienced my body not being able to stand up completely straight. But a day of rest and a bit of ibuprofen and I was good for another 10 years.

The next time my back went out, I was in my 40’s and married to Mark who had me go to his chiropractor. I had never been, and I wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of someone aligning my spine. But I went and again I was good for a number of years.

Since then my back has given me issues here and there, but nothing of consistency. Until 2023. I’m not sure if it’s approaching the milestone of being 60 years old, or if it’s the physical labor of owning a small farmette, but it’s definitely been bothering me more of late. In fact a few weeks ago I was in a state that I couldn’t even roll over at night. I can’t say that it was unbelievable pain, but my body literally, refused to move! It was scary. But with the heating pad and ibuprofen for a few days, it went away, only to return this week. And all I was doing was making the bed.

Need To Fix It Quick!

This time I don’t have a lot of time to get it back to normal. You see we leave for Greece in less than a week and our itinerary is filled with me leading yoga practices, hiking through the remote areas of the island, and snorkeling in the Aegean Sea! PLUS, we need to get our plants in the ground before leaving! We’re talking about 100 plants!

So yesterday, instead of being patient, I made appointments to help me. I asked a new friend here in Michigan for a massage therapist and a chiropractor. Luckily, the individuals she recommended both have availability before we leave!

First stop was the massage therapist. I used to feel uncomfortable going for a massage. I think it was all due to my limiting belief in being judged. But I never really got used to going.  However, I LOVE massages. When Mark and I first started dating, he used to give me foot massages. I could fall asleep to him massaging my feet.

Now that my mindset is in a completely different place, I go willingly for this massage appointment! I ask for a full body massage, but could she focus on my sciatica as I believe that is where my issue lies. The massage is WONDERFUL! I feel so calm and relaxed afterward, but my back is still not feeling good. I came home feeling a bit disappointed but went about my day.

By the afternoon, my back was feeling better.  Not good, but it was better. I could bend down easier, and my movements were more extended, but it was still not to a point where I could embrace working outside or even think about teaching a yoga class. But, the massage did help.

And bonus self-care, it also put me in a much more calm and peaceful state of mind.

The chiropractor appointment is not until next week, a few days before we leave. I’m hoping that will help even more. But there is no guarantee. We will have to wait and see.

Why did I wait?

The question I’m asking myself is why did I wait? Massage and Chiropractic care are actually great Self-Care activities that can be done regularly. Why wasn’t a self-proclaimed Self-Care Advocate, not taking care of herself?

If you have experienced my talk on Radical Self-Care, I talk a lot about incorporating self-care into your daily rituals. It’s important to do small things for yourself every single day. And for a long time, that worked for me. My small little self-loving activities have kept my mind, body and spirit in a healthy state.

But I am getting older. My body in particular needs more regular self-care activities that will promote a long, healthy, pain-free life. I want to live to well over a hundred, but I want that life to be filled with activity, adventure, and without pain.

This means I need to start incorporating more physical self-care like regular massages, regular chiropractic visits.

Self- Care, like everything in our lives, will change as we age. What was working last year, may need to be reevaluated this year or next year. What was once a sporadic, occasional self-care activity, may need to become a priority.

Listen to Your Inner Wisdom

My sciatica giving me issues is my body’s way of telling me to slow it down and change my routine. Just like years ago, when it was difficult for me to move immediately after getting out of bed, my inner voice told me to start my morning doing small movements while still in bed. Now I do it religiously every morning so when my feet hit the floor, I’m ready to move. My joints are warmed up.

My back is telling me now to start making regularly scheduled appointments for massage. Maybe, depending on how my chiropractic appointment goes, that also becomes a more regular practice.

Our bodies are not us, but as we age, they need more care. Just like your home or your car, things need to be serviced regularly and sometimes more frequently as they get older. Our bodies are the same. Our physical self-care at 20 and our physical self-care at 50, will not look the same. It will evolve as we age and we must use our inner wisdom to notice when we need to change.

Maybe you’ve been going to a Pilates class for years. It’s always helped you feel strong and healthy. But lately after class, your muscles no longer feel strong, but they feel tired. Maybe some pain is starting to be notice during or after class. Listen to your inner wisdom. It may be time to change instructors or change to a more gentle class. Maybe change to Yoga. Experiment and notice how you feel and then listen to your gut. You will know when and if you need to change.

None of us really want our bodies to age.

I’d love to have the mindset I have now, with the body I had 30 years ago! But that is not the reality we have today. Although we can replace much of our physical body, we still have not found the fountain of youth that stops the aging process completely.

But we can age with mindfulness. Noticing when the body needs additional or different type of care. And then making that a priority. Allowing us to live longer, but healthier. To live longer, with less pain. To live longer in a body that allows us to experience each day without pain.

Take care of your body so your mind and spirit can continue to live your soul purpose.