Are you the kind of person that makes sure everyone and everything around you is supported and stable?
Do you absorb their burdens, emotions, and stress as your own?
I used to come home from work every day with a tension headache, low back pain and just plum worn out.
I’d grab for my daily dose of ibuprofen and collapse on the couch to try and regain enough energy to make dinner.
And I was only working 25 hrs/week.
I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t seem to handle my seemingly easy load.
One day it hit me.
I wasn’t just physically exhausted.
I was emotionally and mentally depleted too.
As helpers we tend to pour our whole selves into everything we do.
We care deeply.
We do everything we can to help solve other people’s problems.
Hmm do you see the problem here?
Why is it that we think it is up to us to solve everyone else’s problems?
No wonder we are weary.
No wonder we are getting burned out.
No wonder our bodies are starting to break down from the weight of it all.
One of the most common breakdowns I see in the clinic for women over 40 is plantar fascitis.
There are a lot of great resources out there to help you heal your plantar fascitis but can I share a secret no one is talking about ?
You can heal your feet by healing your soul.
What do you mean Kate?
Your plantar fascia works best when everything is aligned.
Your body is the same way.
A few years ago I experienced first hand the dreaded ‘itis’ that I had treated in the clinic for years.
I got out of bed one morning, and I knew as soon as my foot hit the ground…
and then, “ugh my body is falling apart …”
Luckily I had all the tools to know what to do , but as soon as I would get it calmed down, it would resurface.
At that time I didn’t know why I couldn’t seem to rid myself of it, and was losing faith in myself and my profession.
After a season of getting into a depressive funk over the condition of my aging body, I hit a breaking point.
My physical pain had become the least of my concerns and I decided it was time to focus on a the pain that was under the surface.
Want to know how I healed my feet?
I focussed on my soul.
I started writing again.
I gave myself permission to do what I loved and began processing my pain.
I began laying down the burdens of resentment and bitterness.
I started getting perspective.
I realized that I was waiting on others to lighten my load when I was the one that kept filling up my back pack.
As my fingers typed, something woke up inside of me.
Instead of prying myself out of bed and limping my way to the bathroom, I started waking up at 5 am with a spring in my step again.
I discovered one of the most important things we can do to improve our physical health is to decrease the load we are carrying.
Michael J. Lincoln Ph.D. , a clinical psychologist who pioneered the successful healing of deep emotional wounds in both children and their families through integrative behavioral and psychoanalytical approaches said the following…
“In effect, when we are afflicted with a physical disorder, what we are being told in no uncertain terms is that this ..
dysfunctional way of being must go.
The meaning of bodily break-downs, can in effect be succinctly summarized in three words:
CHANGE THAT PATTERN!
The basic reality here is that awareness HEALS.”
He goes on to say, “the key factor in the maintenance of bodily health is the immune system, which is connected by the brain via neural connections, chemical reactions, neurotransmitters, lymphocytes, neurohormones, endorphins and the like… what is going on in the consciousness is continuously affecting our body and vice versa.”
” In many ways the body and the mind imitate and imprint each other. “
“Our consciousness and subconsciousness – what is happening in our minds and our souls determines what signals are sent to our brains and our bodies. “
“Plantar fascitis and other physical ailments act as the final warning sign regarding things we are caught up in that are causing significant stress and unwanted outcomes. “
We keep praying and seeking guidance but God has given us an internal GPS that is shouting the messages loud and clear.
” You are out of balance. Something is not aligned.”
It’s time for us to grow in awareness of how God designed us and learn to use the tools he has given us to walk in wellness.
One of the reasons I was feeling unsettled as a PT was that I knew we needed to go deeper. There is more to it than what is going on in the physical realm. It’s not enough to give you a surface solution to a deeper problem. We are WHOLE beings and if we only re- position the structural alignment but never uncover what created the tension and faulty patterning to begin with, the problem will resurface.
We all have 3 basic needs : love , safety and belonging and if these are not met there is no homeostasis. We are moving from a place of imbalance.
To ‘feel supported‘ falls into this category.
Often Christian women will take on the role of supporter of everyone else’s well being and after a while the role of being “shock absorber” for everyone else leads to a breakdown. Physically ,emotional, mentally.
If we can learn to release the burden of supporting everyone else and begin listening to the cries of our body begging us to start attending to our own well being then we can begin to HEAL not only our aching feet but our aching souls.
It’s time to do the work of unloading.
Moving away from stress and stepping into the things that oxygenate our lives.
There’s not much out there on the emotional component to our physical aches and pain , but I found an article by Maureen Minehaw Jones where she states,
” When someone becomes the support system for everyone except herself , it can greatly affect this ligament. Individuals who have Plantar Fascitis are prone to absorb the slings and arrows of the world around them.”
What is happening in your life that you are trying to absorb?
Are you reaching out for the help and support you need or trying to handle it all yourself?
Maybe this is an opportunity for you to slow down and take care of yourself.
Maybe it started because you finally decided to go exercise after neglecting yourself for too long, but sometimes in our effort to get a quick fix so we can get back to doing what we do , we just create more stress.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Quick fixes don’t work.
We have to make slow shifts in our daily habits and that starts with releasing the weight we are carrying.
One of the things I hear over and over from other healthcare professionals and women caregivers is..
“I want to decrease the burden of responsibility.”
” I am tired of running myself ragged.”
” I feel pulled in so many directions”
” I want to be more light hearted and not carry the weight of the world on me. “
” How they feel effects how I feel.”
” Their stress is my stress.”
“I’m trying to learn balance but I still feel responsible.”
“Letting go is hard, but I know I need to.”
“I put the pressure on myself.”
Do you see the parallel between the mind and body here?
It seems like maybe Dr Lincoln was onto something with his imprint theory.
Here are a 3 ways you can start lightening your load today.
1. Grab a journal and a pen, or open up a Word Doc. Set a timer for 30 min. Start doing a brain dump on everything that feels heavy in your life right now. Ask yourself..
- Where am I too full?
- What do I need to let go of?
- What am I needing right now?
2. Go spend an hour doing something that energizes your soul.
3. Let someone else support you for a change.
Schedule a 1 hour Complimentary Discovery Call with me where I help you discover how to lighten your load and release the things that have you feeling weighted down.
Let’s get a spring in your step again!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”