Week 7 of 26- Stretching Yourself
Posted in Blog on Dec 20, 2017
Author: Betsy Westhafer
Week 7 of 26 – Stretching Yourself
They say that life begins just outside your comfort zone. I believe this is true.
I will admit that putting this blog out there and exposing my health journey to more than just a few of my trusted family and friends was WAY outside my comfort zone. When contemplating doing something that makes us feel nervous or edgy, it’s especially easy to walk away from it if it isn’t something you must do. Taking the path of least resistance is a human default. I don’t HAVE to write this blog. I don’t HAVE to post it on Facebook. I don’t HAVE to make sure it gets sent to my subscribers. But I do. Why? Because I already have proof in the form of emails from my readers that I am providing helpful and valuable information that is enhancing their lives. Finding the why behind anything outside your comfort zone is the key.
Stretching oneself adds color to life. Doing the same old thing day in and day out without the adrenalin rush that comes from trying something new or making yourself vulnerable minimizes the joy that life has to offer.
I use the concept of emotional stretching as a metaphor physical stretching. Physical stretching, as odd as this may seem, really allows me to stretch myself emotionally. So what does that mean?
Several years ago, I ruptured two discs in my back. I spent almost exactly one year in tremendous pain, popping Advil like it was my job, and on some occasions, going to the chiropractor twice in one day. After nine months, the chiropractor said that he just couldn’t “fix me” and suggested that I look into a surgical option. (How often do you hear a chiropractor suggest surgery?) Although I had fought long and hard to avoid that option, I was open to it as I didn’t see another solution and the pain was almost unbearable. It was exactly at that point that I lost my job and my health benefits, so the option of surgery was taken off the table (pun intended).
The chiropractor sent me to an enzyme specialist as a last resort. She was able to determine that the reason I was not healing was because I was not properly absorbing nutrients. After a few weeks on a cocktail of digestive enzymes, I was a new person. And a couple of months later, I was training with a professional dancer, as I had been asked to participate in the Special Wish Foundation’s “Dayton’s Dancing with the Stars.” Talk about a stretch . . . dancing in front of hundreds of people when just a few months before I could hardly walk.
I don’t ever want to return to a place when I was in that much pain for an extended amount of time, so I spend a few minutes of each day stretching my back muscles, my hamstrings and my calves to ensure that I protect myself from future injury. Sometimes when I don’t feel like doing my stretching exercises, I think about the pure joy of dancing to raise money for a worthwhile charity, (personally raising over $6000) and how I would not have been able to do that if I was not physically or emotionally flexible. My stretching routine is a reminder to me of how lucky I was to have found a way out of that situation, and how lucky I remain to be able to take good care of my body, mind and spirit.
Most people know the benefits of exercise, but oftentimes overlook the importance of stretching their muscles to keep the body functioning well. Dr. Gary Huber wrote a great article about stretching which can be found here.
So I highly recommend adding a few minutes of stretching into your daily routine. When your body is functioning optimally, it allows you to feel better and push yourself outside of your comfort zone, where the vibrant colors of life are most radiant.
Wishing you all the best,