I didn’t think it was going to work, but it did

Hello! This is the latest in my summer-long series, taking you on my journey of recovering from overwhelm and burnout and learning ways to sustainably keep going. Click here for the first installment, “Feeling guilty.”

First of all, how are you today?
I hope you are hanging in there!
I’m still having good success with the subject of last week’s newsletter, feeling better now that I’m not “obsessively checking” the Internet.
I even noticed that my tendon disorder is better – my arms and hands bother me less – when I am not scrolling, pinching, tapping, or swiping.
(Click here to read last week’s newsletter, “The first thing that’s helping me overcome burnout and overwhelm”)

However, I do have a sore knee.
This started with a strengthening workout – my first in about three weeks. I should have remembered that I can’t jump in at full strength, after not working out for three weeks. But I didn’t remember.

I was midway into a hamstring exercise, when suddenly my knee was screaming.

Longtime listeners to the podcast (and readers of this newsletter) may remember that, due to my tendon disorder, my tendons develop scar tissue far faster than a typical person’s tendons. (As my rheumatologist told me, “this is how you are “one in a million!””)
So there is a very real danger that once tendons get irritated, if I don’t immediately start doing the right things, that scar tissue will begin forming.
Rehabilitating scarred tendons is incredibly painful and takes a very long time.

So I’ve learned that, to overcome it, here’s what I must do:
1. Immediately, stop doing whatever irritated the tendon in the first place.
2. Use ice or heat, whichever seems more appealing, on the affected area.
3. Do some really deep massage on the muscles around the tendon.
4. Rest.

I’ve been dealing with this tendon disorder for nine years now, and through trial and error I’ve learned that those four steps truly work!

That’s the good news…

But guess which one of those is the hardest to keep doing?

If you guessed “rest,” you would be right.

The most difficult part of getting better, for me, is that I must rest for way, way longer than I would like.

That meant this week, I couldn’t take any walks. This was a killer, as Ben and I have been walking each weekday morning, super early, and I hated missing that.

It also meant limiting trips up and down the stairs here in our home.

It meant asking for help with preparing dinner, and not cleaning it up at all.

There’s another piece of “resting,” that I’ve learned throughout the years is a necessity, and that has to do with my mindset.
It’s so easy to get swamped by fear. Especially if, as in my case, the first round of tendon disorder took two and half years to clear up, with much of that spent using a wheelchair anytime I left the house.

I always wonder, what if I return to that horrible place?
What if this is the time that those four steps that I outlined don’t work, for some reason?
What if I can’t take care of my family, what if all that I’ve been working towards falls apart?

It can also become extremely easy to “blame” affected tendons.
I used to tell my legs horrible things, stemming from my anger and fear and pain.

But part of “rest” for me has become about accepting that fear and working towards a more positive outcome. And crucially, it’s about telling myself good things.
At least once per day, I thank the affected tendons for all they’ve been able to do. I tell them that I’ll do everything I can to help them feel better.

As always, I fear that it won’t work.

And – again, as always – it did work.

I’ve now taken several walks with Ben, I’m up to pretty well full speed at home, up and down the stairs, truly self-ambulatory once more… It feels great!

I didn’t think it was going to work this time, but it did.

Rest has other benefits too. It’s been instrumental in helping me feel that I can sustainably keep going.

And it’s along these lines – sustainably keeping going – that I want to ask you:
How might you be able to rest? Today, and this week; and this summer; and in the pandemic?

It’s crucial.
And you may not think it’s going to work.

But I bet it will.

Always remember that I’m here for you.
We will get through this together!

Many hugs,
Karen
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What’s up on the podcast this week:
Answering listeners’ awesome questions: getting kids to wear clothes, being “back to square one with sharing,” talking with kids about death, and what to do when your kids fight and taunt each other “just for the fun of it.”
weturnedoutokay.com/338

What’s up in the WTOO Book Club this week:
Handling every temper tantrum.
If you’re signed up for the WTOO Book Club, the zoom link will wing its way into your inbox tomorrow (Wednesday) evening, and the meeting will start at 9:30 PM EST.
If you’re not in the book club but you want to be, join at the following link:
weturnedoutokay.com/bookclub

What’s up in the Ninja Parenting Community this week:
We help this mom figure out what to do when her four-year-old does not want to wear clothes:
https://weturnedoutokay.com/forums/topic/finding-a-balance/

(NPC registration is currently closed for the summer; I’ll have an update soon on when we’re reopening the doors to new members : )

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