This past week, I have felt like my body is falling apart.
Even after a successful race last Saturday, there’s some residual swelling in my knee, my upper-hamstring injury still nags, and my quads are screaming at me for letting them get so weak. On top of that, allergies have been plaguing me, as they did in the fall, the first time I moved to a new environment.
On Monday night, I was a wreck. I had an hour-long meltdown after dinner, crying to my husband about my aches and wondering if I’ll ever be 100% healthy again. It doesn’t seem so dramatic when you consider that I’ve spent the last 9 months out-of-sorts in one way or another. What I’ve learned in those 9 months, though, are ways to assuage the pain, physical and emotional. In addition to taking a week off from running to cross train and continue to strengthen my body, here are some things I do to treat myself:
- Get a massage. While you could pay a professional to dig excruciatingly deep into sore muscles, you can also recruit a spouse, partner, friend, gym buddy, or pet to do this. I’m completely spoiled by my husband, who massages my muscles whenever I ask, even if that means multiple times in a day. While Catniss does paw at my face while I’m sleeping, when I ask her to focus her attention on my quads she usually just stares blankly at me. So, perhaps pets aren’t recommended after all.
- Take bee pollen for allergies. Ok, so this only applies if you’re suffering from allergies, and isn’t recommended for everyone. However, I have personally found that taking a small amount of bee pollen every day does help combat my seasonal allergies. Last Sunday I was streaming out the nose, and today I have no congestion whatsoever. If you’re curious, you might want to talk to your doctor first before trying bee pollen.
- Exfoliate skin with leftover coffee grounds. I know it sounds kind of weird, but I started doing this leading up to my wedding. Coffee is a natural exfoliant, and a great way to reuse an everyday item. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a fancy product too! I just bring the grounds with me into the shower, where I use them to scrub myself before washing them down the drown.
- Use coconut oil on skin & hair. After you’ve scrubbed your skin smooth, why not moisturize? Coconut oil is another natural product, and soaks skin in delicious, rich moisture. After showering, I like to rub in just enough oil to my skin to make it soft; you don’t want it coming off on your clothes. I also like to use it in my hair every once in a while. I’ll rub some in my hands, and comb it through my hair. Some people only do the tips, but I go for the whole shebang. I leave it in for about an hour – just enough time to go to yoga class, pray people don’t think I’m a grease ball, and hope that everyone likes the tropical scent. Then, I wash it out – sometimes it takes two rinses, but it’s well worth it.
- Eat some chocolate. While a square of Ghiradeli can hit the spot – the darker, the better – I also like to use chocolate in my breakfasts, snacks or desserts. My mother and I are both proponents of Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens, a ridiculously amazing blend of super foods that come in a rich chocolate powder. One of my favorite comfort foods is peanut butter cup oatmeal – after cooking the oats, I stir in Barlean’s and add a spoonful (or more) of peanut butter.
- Pray. Every night before bed, Nick and I pray, and he is always so good to ask for my healing. We pray that my injuries will heal, and that we’ll always be able to run, something that we love to do together. I’ve learned, though, that it’s also important to pray for patience while healing. Sometimes it’s hard for me to be on God’s time, but I have to trust that it’s best. For others with physical or emotional pain, know that many churches offer healing services, or like my parish, anointing of the sick, during Lent.
For future reference, yours and my own, here are more suggestions for when you’re feeling down: Read a book, spend time outside, call a friend, go out for coffee, practice yoga, cook your comfort food, volunteer your time, take a vacation, look at pictures of cute animals, find funny articles online, do a crossword, take a nap…whatever is your cup of tea.
Photos taken from my Instagram, where you can find many more pictures of chocolate creations and my cat.