Late into my PT sessions, I learned about foam rollers. They’re these cylindrical pipes of solid hard styrofoam that you can roll around on. I have a short one to stretch out my shoulders. When I laid my torso on the long one, I found that my left shoulder was an inch off. What I’ll be trying to do now is stretch out my back, shoulders, and neck several times a week to avoid headaches.
These rollers should help stretch my muscles to make them work better in rowing, too.
It’s similar to how when I’m feeling lazy on accomplishing a goal, I have to ask myself is it because I’m fatigued or dp I just don’t know a step to go toward accomplishing that goal? If it’s fatigue, that’s fine and justifiable, only if we work toward fixing that. Short-term: sitting down and focusing on something. Long-term: going to sleep early. If we’re not fatigued, then it’s probably a matter of finding that pain point, whether it’s the fear of starting a task or even that we’re being impaired without our knowledge.
I would consider foam rollers to be diagnostic tools.
Similar to how we can run basic network or computer diagnostic checks to see if anything is severely abnormal, we can do the same for our bodies and our minds. Physically, I can do checks like seeing if anything is misalignment with my spine or shoulders. I can stretch my back, shoulders, or neck muscles and note if anything felt too sore. Mentally, as well, I can check to see what my overall stress levels are like based on my tolerance for others. If I can tolerate the stress of others, things are in check, otherwise, I should be careful not to take in more stress.
Once I can identify stress points, then I can avoid them.
I recently had a spinal-related headache maybe because I took a bath before bed, laid on my side, perhaps, or in other ways made my back more malleable to getting misalignment. I can try to avoid this by waiting for my body to cool off before going to bed, maybe try getting on the foam rollers for a bit, or even trying the same circumstances again to see if I can recreate that. Ideally not, but when we can find a source of our pains, we can use the tools we have available to fix those pains.
Mental pain, then, might be similar.
If I let the stress of others steamroll over me, I would let their emotions take precedence over mine. I’ve done well enough with moderating my interpretation of other people’s stress, but I’ve also needed to take beta-blockers to calm those reactions. That external medication is teaching me how I react, when calmed, to otherwise stressful situations so I could hopefully wean myself off them and still manage well enough through life’s myriad stresses.
Just like how I might not always have access to foam rollers.
If I can do some minor tweaks of my physicality, I won’t need to spend all the time I did to figure out that my back was misaligned then trying to realign it. I can do that by stretching my spine more frequently. I can try to do the same with my mentality, where I can imagine myself in those stressful situations, and then downshift my reaction to that stress.
It’s been helpful in the past few months.
When I get a rude or disrespectful caller for work, which I find is an overwhelming majority of the time to where when someone is nice it’s a bit of a shock, I’ll take myself out of the equation. The Zombiepaper that is writing this essay or the person taking that call is instead replaced with a neutralized version, where communication is limited to the essential only. I look at it like the foam roller, where what its job is to do is to apply the opposite pressure to whatever muscle is acting up, which should hopefully help it get back to normal.
The best long-term solution would be to rest for as long as needed until my back sorts itself out.
Until then, I just have to keep enduring, because I hate to say it, but my headaches are back. They are manifesting first as shoulder pain but if I don’t fix this issue – if I push through it like I had all those months back because my pain tolerance is apparently more than average – then it can develop until those mindbender headaches I dealt with for so long. This essay will publish in over one month after I am writing this, but, is this job causing these back and head pains?
If so, reader, what would you do?
I can keep managing the pain in this sort of cycle of resting my back and head on my days off, between limited use and the foam roller, since I am lucky to be employed. If I were to quit, I would have enough savings to survive for a while, but there is no next gig available. The contracting market will be less lucrative due to current events and so I’m stuck in this cycle for now. I told my supervisor that I was getting headaches again, so we’ll see how this develops, but at least for now, I can wrap up this essay and go to sleep.
After I spend some time on the foam roller to get that sorted.
Because, after all, there is no easy escape for me from work. If I leave this place, I’ll have to find some place else. This is not a good time to be spineless – to use the phrase to its full potency. If I can learn to tolerate these stresses here, now, then I can have the resources and tools necessary to resolve increasingly more difficult issues in the future.
I would prefer these issues to go away, or at least soften in severity.
|Sources: My fitness, personal, and professional experiences.
– This week’s weight: 213.5
– Last week’s weight: 211.5
– Difference: I’m up two pounds – my pre-pee weight was 215 – but I’m OK with that because I am seeing parts of myself slim down. It feels good to see myself easily fit into Large shirts, for example.
|Inspirations: Besides the obvious?|
|Related: Past weekly column entries.|
|Written On: 2020 April 13 [From 2:34am to “where I can imagine myself in those stressful situations, and then” at 2:52am. From 7:41am to 7:56am. Gdocs.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 April 17 [Adapted from Gdoc, so, second draft; final draft for the Internet.]|