A Guide to Gut Checks.

This week on the blog, Jess Robson, a freelance writer (and born-again-spinner) shares some insight into what it takes for her to stay true to her goals with sometimes too many (her words) things on the go. For this multi-trade lady, it's all about her belly. ------------------------------------

I am recovering from a chronic disease. I am on the mend from  'peoplepleaseitis'— a condition that studies (ahem - reflection on my childhood diaries) indicate I attained in my youth. Onset by the need to please others, belong and be liked, the condition worsened as I loaded my schedule with more, and more, and more. Doing more in an attempt to help and please others, I began to listen less to what my body was trying to tell me. I functioned more to feel less, until the signs and signals from my bod got too loud to ignore.

Throughout all the 'busyness' I created for myself, I was accompanied by a very angry body. I had tummy troubles, had chronic pain and soreness and attracted injuries and even a hernia (for real). It was last year on a trip to Iceland where, being there for a yoga retreat with Ryan Leier, I slowed down; physically and mentally. Each day was about being on our mats, nourishing our bodies and being with the people and the environment around us. I switched off, tuned in and broke through. For once in 26 years, I stopped and I listened - to my gut. And, for once in a long time, it was silent.

I took it as a hint: that doing less can mean living more, listening is the key and there's much to learned from my body. So, upon returning to Vancouver, I (very slowly) started to check in with myself. Those check-ins—on walks along the beach, after a big workout, reflecting on wins and opportunities at work—weren't just about what my brain was telling me, but what my body was saying; how I physically felt and what it meant in relation to what I was doing. And holy heck, did I have some adjustments to make to  what I was up to.

The things that my inner (gut) guide tells me to do more of (that I am making more time for)?

  • CREATE - make things. Write stuff. Get it on paper. Then share it.
  • SLEEP - more than four hours a night. Seven, to be exact. And sometimes get up without an alarm clock.
  • CONNECT - talk to my people. Phone, FaceTime, email, text, handwritten letters. Nourish relationships.
  • SWEAT - move to find my center. Yoga. Run. Swim. Spin.

Getting reconnected to the things that make me the happiest internally led me back to things I missed - like my yoga mat, some long distance friends and, you bet, classes at Cadence. Getting a great sweat on AND connecting with my people? Heck yes.

I'm trying on the 'listening to my body' thing and it's working thus far. If I'm tired, I sleep. If I'm hungry, I eat. If my chest is tight, I look for what I could be anxious about (then book myself in for a Spin class to sweat it out). See you on the bikes, Cadence...I'll be the one letting the 'icks' out and the goodness in.