When Knowing Your Limitations Can Set You Free

self care
A new Barry’s Boot Camp just opened up near me and I’ve seen a few friends posting Instagram pics of their awesome workouts. I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of jealousy and maybe a little sadness too. It’s not because I am unmotivated to workout, don’t have the time or the money. The reason is that I live with chronic back and muscle pain. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I have fibromyalgia, but I have lived with chronic back and knee pain for the last 30 years (yikes, does that give my age away?).
My chronic pain stems from an old soccer injury when I was a kid that led to three surgeries. Unfortunately, I never properly rehabilitated my knees and so I used my back muscles to compensate for my weak knees and legs. This ultimately led to bulging spinal discs, sciatica, and multiple sprains and strains. Over time, my muscles developed adhesions which resulted in chronic tight and knotted muscles often pinching the nearby nerves. So, in a nutshell, I struggle with weak muscles and chronic pain.
After baby#3, I wanted to spend this past year getting back in shape and shedding the extra pounds. I felt like maybe it was time to push myself and join one of these fun group exercise classes. I started with Orange Theory and after two classes, I felt defeated. I couldn’t keep up and was in a lot of pain for a few days afterward. I then went on to try a small group boot camp with some personalized modifications. That started out well but sure enough, as I pushed myself, I found myself once again injured. 
After getting semi-personalized training, I realized that THIS is what I need to do. I need to take care of myself and do what my body can handle. I need to have someone who has a background in working with injuries watch my every move so that I don’t re-injure myself as I had been doing. I knew that hiring a personal trainer would be a lot more expensive than group classes, but I had to get over the guilt of spending so much money on personal training. If I am not truly embracing self-care, how can I then care for my three kids without resentment? I had to convince myself that this was truly the best investment.
So, I did the research and found a trainer who was nearby, reasonably priced and has the experience I was looking for. In addition, I found a couple of places where I could get a reasonably priced massage (not a fancy spa, this is truly a therapeutic massage) to knead and stretch out my muscles that are so often achy, tight, and painful. I have changed my mindset from feeling guilty and indulgent to being confident in self-care.
So often we hear motivational quotes such as “the only limits that exist are the ones in your own mind” or “If you want it badly enough there are no limits to what you can achieve.” However, I believe that when you know your limitations you can set yourself free. I am choosing to free myself of the idea that I should be a “Barry’s girl” and, instead, move within my limits and accept where I am right now by working with the body I was given. It’s the beginning of the year and there is no time like now to embrace self-care and let go of what was not working. 
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Wendi is originally from New Jersey but has lived in the Bay Area for over 20 years! Her career as a nurse allowed her to work in many areas such as the neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric emergency room, and management of a pediatric critical care transport team. She then ventured on to become a mompreneur and founded a company called NewboRN Solutions which offered in-home education and services to new and expecting parents. Following the birth to surprise baby girl #3, Wendi and her husband moved from San Francisco to Menlo Park in August of 2017. After having two babies 14 months apart, Wendi chose to improve her work/life balance and currently works one day a week at a healthcare consulting company in San Francisco. In her free time, she enjoys getting back into an exercise routine, adjusting to life as a mom of three, drinking wine with friends and reading cook books/magazines in hoping to find more time to cook healthy and yummy meals that at least one of her children will eat.


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