By the time I arrived in Mallorca on Tuesday March 3, 2020, days before the Coronavirus pandemic exploded in Europe, I was unarguably exhausted. After having made the decision to move overseas and embark on a new stage in my personal journey, I had spent the past 6 months in a whirlwind of working like crazy, attending various doctors appointments, visiting with friends/family, processing endless paperwork and packing up my entire life.
I had joked that the first thing I would do when I got here was sleep for a week. But, someone like me doesn’t just slow down the second they arrive somewhere new. There was so much to do: unpacking, stocking up the apartment, networking, settling in…
However, within days my lower back was in a great deal of pain and I was sure it was due to all the heavy lifting I’d been doing in the weeks leading up to and including, the big move. Coincidentally, at the same time I was introduced to an Osteopath (Joe) by a friend & decided to make an appointment. Having tried nearly every possible means to rebuild my body post bike racing over the past 2 years, this was oddly my first ever visit to an Osteopath and I had absolutely no idea what I was in store for.
Without wanting to deter anyone from seeing an Osteopath admittedly, the 30 minute session was one of the most painful experiences of my life. It included an intake discussion, excruciating manual scar tissue break up, joint manipulation & bone realignment. Joe concluded with an assessment that should have come as no surprise to me. The constant physical, emotional and mental stress I’d been putting myself through for years had accumulated to such a point that my body was totally depleted and in need of some major “work” however, not the kind of work I was used to.
My treatment course included the following: REST— lots of it, joint and cartilage supplements, and tools for learning how to breath properly again. No cycling, no working out, no stress…only slow, gentle walks in nature. As Joe’s specialty is working with cyclists and therefore well acquainted with our stubborn nature, he insisted that if I did not want to spend all summer in his office, that I needed to slow down now. No more excuses.
Ironically, lockdown in Spain was announced two days later and before I knew it, I literally had nothing to do & no where to be. I was alone and walks were no longer an option. So, I slept. Twelve hours the first day, then again the second. I took naps all the time. I opened up the windows and let in fresh air. When I was awake, I sat for long stretches in silence. I listened to music just for me. I disconnected from the outside world and unplugged. And for the first time in years, I began dreaming or at least remembering my dreams. Long dreams, the kind I woke up drenched in sweat from the length and intensity. Before I knew it,14 days had passed, the majority of which I had pretty much slept through.
Gradually the deep desire to move my body, which had been strangely absent for months, returned and I had to accept that this forced break from life, which initially felt like punishment, was in fact exactly what I my body needed.
During this strange, unsettling, and stressful period it is tempting to focus on and become overwhelmed by, the negative. However, what if instead of dwelling on all that we can’t do/control right now we use lockdown time to regenerate and actualize our potential to emerge from this experience rested and primed for all the adventures that await when this ends? I challenge you to embrace being the most unproductively productive you’ve every been. You may be surprised by what you cultivate.