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I Ignored My Body. Here's How I'm Getting Back to Wellness

So this post is a bit of a confession and a cautionary tale about what can happen when we ignore our body, and how to get back on the path to wellness. This past weekend, while celebrating a very belated honeymoon in Paris with my husband, I ignored my body and now I am paying the price.

They say Paris in the rain in beautiful. Perhaps this is true. But I have no other frame of reference. I have only seen it that way. The days we spent in The City of Lights was rain soaked and freezing. A balaclava would have not gone amiss. Any exposed skin was instantly hit with frigid air as we stepped into the streets and sent chills right to my bones. In summary – it was effing cold man.

My husband and I have very different approaches to travelling. He wants to see everything, walk everywhere and have a giant adventure.  I prefer minimal walking, moderate adventure and handing all of my money over to the most delicious gluten free vegan food joint I find (I’m talking to you Cafe Pinson). In the past, this difference of opinion on how to spend time in a new city has caused an argument or two, and with this being our honeymoon (even if it was a few years late) I tried my best to keep the peace.

Although I have been on a huge healing journey through reconnecting to my body, and have even created an e-course on getting in touch with the inner wisdom within – it doesn’t mean that I always get it right. And in Paris, I got itwrong. I was so concerned about creating amazing shared memories and avoiding any arguments on the trip, that I ended up ignoring my body and making choices that weren’t aligned with true wellness for me.

The bad choices looked like this:

– Grabbing processed gluten free vegan cookies and snack foods full of E numbers and preservatives, even though I know my body does not react well to these types of foods. I didn’t want to detract from sightseeing by going to some far off eatery, so sacrificed good nutrition for the first sans glutenpackets I saw.

– Spending way too much time out in the freezing rain, walking in high heeled boots and covering more ground then I knew my body wanted. Even though I was exhausted I didn’t want to ‘let the team down’ so pushed myself to go beyond my limits.

– Going to bed late after a full day of exploring the city, before another packed day ahead. I’m usually pretty adamant about getting 9 hours sleep but felt like I couldn’t miss the sights of Paris at night.

– Heading out to walk around the Christmas markets at night in Strasbourg, even though my body was giving me red flag ‘Not a good idea lady’ signals. We travelled for 2.5 hours by train just to see this famous and very old market, so I felt obliged to see the stalls and lights. Even though my body was screaming at me, I thought if I waddled around slowly it would be okay.

Turns out it wasn’t.

Both myself and my husband ended up running ourselves so ragged that we both came down with a really bad flu. I think we can all agree that being ill sucks at the best of time – but being sick while travelling, when you just wanting to be at home cuddling your guru dog is a special kind of torture.

As soon as I realised I had got myself sick by ignoring my body’s inner wisdom, I started to beat myself up about it. I should know better. I teach about this stuff. I know how my body reacts to these situations and I pushed it where it didn’t want to go.

But then I realised – I can’t change what happened, the only thing I can change is right here in the present moment. So I committed to listening deeply to my body. I cancelled all my work, coffee dates and Christmas functions for the week. I started feeding my body nourishing foods, drinking kombucha and staying in bed all day. Thankfully my fever has now gone away and I am starting to feel slightly human again. But I will continue to be gentle with myself, take great care and listen to what my body needs for it to fully recover.

I think the big lesson for me here is to TRUST in my body’s wisdom. Although I know my body’s limits – sometimes I feel pressure from special occasions or if I don’t want to let other people down , to ignore that wisdom or second guess it. But here’s the thing, bio-individuality means that we all have different boundaries where it comes to wellness. So it’s pointless to force our body to go beyond our own wellness boundaries, to keep up with others who have completely different bodies with different needs and limits.  I am so grateful for my body for communicating with me when I am pushing too hard, ignoring it or not looking after it. And this past weekend has reinforced for me to keep listening to my body and acting on the signals that it gives me, as it really does know how to keep me healthy, happy and at peace.

Has there been a time where you have ignored signals from your body because of a special occasion or perhaps not wanting to let others down, and ended up paying the price? What did you do to get back to wellness? Let me know in the comments below.

Love and returning to wellness,

Ollie Neveu