I’m saying goodbye (albeit temporarily) to my three blogs and related digital patient advocacy work. That means all my social media forums, from Twitter to Facebook to Pinterest and LinkedIn, will be flatlined starting August 19.
Why am I committing this cardinal “no-no” in the blogosphere and world of digital citizenship?
Here’s why: My health matters. My family matters. And gosh-darn it, everyone needs a break.
But here’s a little secret: My breaks tend to be forced. Anyone who knows will probably vigorously agree. I just don’t take breaks, not voluntarily anyway. Something major has to happen for me to stop working.
So here’s the backstory.
In June I made a difficult decision to have surgery. That surgery will attempt to preserve my hip joint. The surgery comes with a long recovery and no guarantees. But of course, this hard-nosed PT is going to do everything possible to optimize outcomes.
There are a few hiccups though, in trying to do what’s best for my health.
For those of you who do not know me, I am a mother of three young sons, aged 8 and under. I’m also a doctoral student and a working author trying to finish my first medical textbook and complete research. Oh yea, and I also have a day job seeing patients and teaching post-graduate courses.
All of these hats I wear, combined with this upcoming surgery, beg me to ask something obvious, other than “Why are you trying to stuff 100 pounds of stuff into a 10 pound bag?”
The obvious question is –
Am I asking the right questions? Meaning, am I doing what’s best for myself? for my family? for our future?
Are We Asking the Right Questions to Optimize our Health & Happiness?
Without a sense of balance, your life can feel out of control and unmanageable. As a therapist and teacher, I work with each patient or student to help them realize not just optimal physical health, but to be stronger emotionally, psychologically, energetically, nutritionally, spiritually, and intellectually.
That is why I blog.
My blogs are, at heart, my “pay it forward” way of advocating for others to receive the best health care possible. Our current health care system is difficult to negotiate, and it’s hard to know when you are getting appropriate, or even fair or equitable, care. And I do all that without making a dime. It’s my karma, or service, yoga.
But now I get to be the patient. How will I advocate for my health?
As I see it, the universe, God included, is giving me a big opportunity to take care of myself. To do that I need to ask the right questions about how to be healthy and happy.
My upcoming surgery and recovery includes lots of fun hip precautions and a standard post-op protocol of 4 months of physical therapy. During which I will somehow find the oomph and endurance to teach full time post-graduate coursework in using Yoga as Medicine and still actively work toward completion of my doctorate.
The most important question to ask, in a situation like this, is not “How MUCH do I need to thrive in life?” but “How LITTLE do I need to thrive?”
If I use that question to guide my decision-making about what to keep and eliminate in my life, I believe I can make better decisions during this challenging time.
When I asked myself “How little do I need to thrive?” I came to two conclusions:
- Breaks are healthy. Many bloggers never have a single break in their blog calendar for fear that they’ll lose their status and ranking online. When they do take a break, they, like I have many times, work feverishly months ahead of time to fill any time gaps with guest bloggers and prescheduled posts. But the way I see it, scheduled breaks in online presence, such as blogging, send a positive message. That message allows us to ditch the “look at how I’m so busy and overscheduled, aren’t I great!?!” mentality and say, IT IS OKAY TO TAKE A VACATION. In my case, it has taken surgery and serious illness or family emergencies (in the past) to force me to take a break. That isn’t healthy, nor is it yogic.
- If I am to remain true to my belief system, which includes God and yoga (separate practices that are synergistic to one another), then I am required to put my own proverbial oxygen mask on first. I have to focus on my own health and well-being, which includes my family’s happiness as well. I began to learn that lesson after giving birth to my third child, when I finally allowed myself to take a full year to recover after childbirth. It was one of the most critical (and best) decisions of my life.
The take home message is not that I am having surgery, but that through my surgery, others can see how important it is to take a break when you need it (and that hopefully your break won’t be forced by a surgery or other medical emergency or crisis).
We shouldn’t sacrifice our health or time with our family, especially when our own health is compromised.
I would encourage you to consider asking the same question, “What is most important to you in life”, which should provide the answer to the bigger question, “How little (rather than how much) do you need to thrive in life?” in order to arrive at some tangible conclusions about how you can improve your health and happy factor.
Good luck and best wishes for finding your optimal health and happy place, and remember to give yourself a rest when you need it. I’ll see you on the other side of surgery –
With much grace and peace,