Women’s health: why we need to stop ignoring our bodies!

I want to kick off my first Rach’s Wrap with a quick story about women’s health.

Not long ago, I had a female client who came to see me because she was having some trouble with her back.

As always, when I meet a client for the first time, I sat down and had a chat with her.

I wanted to make sure I really had an understanding of what was going on with her and what she needed, before I pointed her to the sauna, massage table or another treatment.

Of course, after working for a million years in this field, my hands can do a lot of the diagnosing.

They can feel things you may not have even noticed about yourself. But what my hands can’t do is read your mind — they can’t know how you’ve hurt yourself, or why you were pushing your body so hard, or what emotional influences might be in your life that are turning a niggle into ongoing tension.

So, I chatted to this lady and through the course of the conversation, I learned she had been experiencing this pain for quite some time. And I mean, really, for a long period of time.

I remember seeing how ‘over’ this tension she was, and I asked her, “Why didn’t you get in touch with someone like me when you first started experiencing the pain, or at least a month after it started, when you knew this wasn’t something that was just going to ‘go away on its own’?”

Her answer was so common of women, it didn’t surprise me at all, “I just didn’t have time.”

As humans, we have a lot of obligations and commitments. As women — especially as mothers — that long list of things you need to look after for other people can just seem endless.

So often, you’re trying to work in some kind of professional capacity, raise kids, keep house and carry all the worries and emotional baggage that goes along with being female and being a mum in this day and age.

What this means is, when it comes to women’s health — to looking after ourselves — we just ‘don’t have time’.

There are so many reasons we should start making time for ourselves, or at the very least to look after ourselves, but I thought I’d just pop three down here for you to think about.

As women, I really encourage you to have a read of these reasons, think about the reality and if you can already see these things happening to you, start making strategies for better taking care of yourself.

1. Give yourself an opportunity to truly enjoy your kids

The fact of the matter is, if you are in pain or your body just isn’t playing along and keeping up its end of the bargain, you genuinely don’t have the opportunity to enjoy your kids as much as you should.

And before you know it, they are all grown up and gone — cue ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ playing in the background.

Whenever I see those meal plan and weight loss ads on TV, where a mum stares down the camera and says, “I just wanted to be able to run around after my kids and play with them,” I always think about the women I meet who have put off treatment for so long they have missed out on valuable, quality experiences with their kids.

What is it with women’s health?!

I think as mums we feel like our kids always have to come first, but to truly put them first, sometimes we have to think about ourselves.

Sometimes, we have to deal with something that’s affecting us, rather than just picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and throwing on a cartoon character band aid.

Think about an injury or challenge you might be carrying; it might be physical like my client’s bad back, or it could be emotional. Really analyse how that might be affecting your time with your kids.

Are you as mobile as your could be? Is your stamina affected? Are you tired? Do you wince a lot?

Are. You. Happy?

2. In women’s health, physical pain is emotional baggage

As women, we carry a lot of the emotional baggage in our relationships. It’s just another service we provide!

What we need to make sure we are doing, is not adding extra weight to that baggage when we don’t have to.

One of the most interesting thing about humans is how our physical and emotional selves are connected. How a headache can make us irritable, a lack of sun on our skin can make us depressed, walking in the rain can fill us with joy.

It’s important to always consider this connection if you are carrying an injury and ask yourself, how is my physical well-being affecting my emotional well-being?

I see clients regularly who have an injury or who are carrying acute or chronic pain, and when we get chatting, they realise how much this issue is affecting how they feel. Some of them feel less motivated, more irritated or quick to anger, for some anxiety creeps in and for others, an injury that hinders mobility can leave them feeling down.

Looking after your physical self is looking after your emotional self.

3. Small niggles can turn into big problems

This last one is also an important point, and it’s something I see regularly! People get injured or start to have a little niggle and they put off treatment… then they put it off some more… and some more… until finally someone else tells them they need to do something.

Like anything, not dealing with a small issue now, can mean it becomes a large issue that is much more difficult to fix later on. This is particularly true of injuries.

If you think about just the basics of your body, if you get an injury — let’s say in your ankle — and you continue to hit the tread mill, run around with the kids, rush to the train for work, you are continuously asking more of that injured area than you should be.

Over time, that injury will get worse and worse, and other parts of your body may also suffer as they compensate for that less functional area.

If you have a physical complaint that seems minor, now is the time to deal with it!

Check out our specialist line of women’s health and well-being services.

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