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My Human Experience and Creating Less Choices

A year of postpartum has flown by and I don't understand how time has moved so slowly and so quickly all at once. I wanted to share with you my own PT-related journey to show you that no one can avoid the human experience. I am a human who happens to be a physical therapist :). Since having a c-section, I have learned a lot about how limiting this procedure can be to someone's mobility and strength. Rehabilitation has included massaging the scar and the underlying tissue by myself and colleagues, acupuncture, hip extension range of motion and strength, ribcage mobility, breathing, and core strength. That's all fine and dandy but as soon as I could run again, I made that my main focus and the other areas that still needed addressing fell by the wayside. I just missed running so much and if there was only enough time to do one thing, I would lace up my shoes and head out the door. Not a great idea. Sounds familiar?

The other week, I was home with my son who wasn't feeling well and wanted to be held all day. With my lingering deep abdominal weakness and a 25 pound big ole' baby, I walked right into an acute bout of low back pain. My back was killing me. I just lied on the floor for a while when my husband came home, doing small repetitive movements with my pelvis, pulling knees to chest, and gently firing my deep core. True to pain science, my son crawled on top of my hair while I was on the floor and it felt excruciating. When we are in pain, we feel pain more. I was in rough shape but I got through it with some self TLC and maybe some cussing...

The other night, I was texting with a dear friend about my frustrations of still having a 3 finger-width diastasis recti abdominis. That is where the rectus abdominis muscle ("six pack" muscle) is split down the middle (the linea alba). If I am not engaging the deep abdominals correctly, there is a valley that sinks right around my belly button. It's a big indicator that my abdomen is not containing the correct pressure and tension to help stabilize and support my back and pelvis. My friend responded, "I think there are programs for that but I'm sure you already know what to do." And then it hit me; I do know what to do so that isn't my issue! My issue is, I'm not motivated to do it. I might work on it a few times a week but not enough to build actual strength. If I have free time, addressing core strength and all the rest wasn't on the top of my list. I have so many other things I can choose to do instead. So, I joined an online program and holy cow it has made a huge difference for me. It's called the Chelsea Method, a postpartum online app designed by a pelvic floor physical therapist. It is amazing how much content she has put into this. I can't recommend it enough. It is also amazing how knowing that I have to do this program every day takes the decision work out for me. There is no choosing whether or not to address my weaknesses; I just do it every day. Period.

Taking away choices can actually be a good thing. It sets us up for more success if and when we go on autopilot or in those moments when we have to dig deep to rely on willpower. Time management improves with less choices. How many of us can relate to making better use of with our time if we have a soft schedule to follow? I'm much more likely to show up to an exercise class if I sign up for the series or register for a single class the day before. That way when tomorrow comes, I don't have to choose whether or not to go. Don't forget scheduled rest is included as a good use of our time ;). If we are striving to make better food choices, what if we didn't even bring those "naughty" foods home from the store? If we want to spend less time on social media, what if we left our phones in a drawer or deleted the app so the choice is no longer there? What are some choices you can eliminate to nurture the path towards your goals?

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