My pain flared up this weekend

 I was out in Portland to see Bruce Springsteen. We left on Thursday and returned yesterday afternoon. It was a magical experience. But what wasn’t magical, was the flare up of aches and pains over the weekend. I could have easily said “oh man, my body is breaking down” or “I shouldn’t have done that”; but instead, I thought about the context and situation as to why I was experiencing pain over the weekend. I then went through my journey over the past few days and tried to make sense of what may have happened. Here’s what I discovered:

1) I wore my winter coat for the first time in 4 years since I moved out to California. It was snowing like crazy in Portland, so I needed to stay warm. This bulky jacket also took up a ton of space when sitting on the plane. Even though it was a 90 minute ride, sitting in an awkward position because of the clothes can lead to a flare up. This is considered a postural deformity… Another way to look at it is taking your finger and gently bend it backwards. It may not hurt for the first 30 seconds, but after 5, 10, 15 minutes or more, that is going to be a little painful. The solution to this: Find another position that makes you feel better. I took my jacket off and placed it on my lap, and it felt so much better. Although this may seem like the obvious solution, but when you are already uncomfortable sitting on an airplane, this isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

2) Sitting on an airplane for an extended period of time. Portland is only 90 minute flight from San Francisco. But with a 2 hour delay and a 60 minute trip to/from the airport, all this time sitting adds up. We were cramped, and my body did not like it that much. Solution: Got up every 30 minutes throughout the flight (that is at least 3 times); and got a ton of steps in the airport to keep my body loose.

3) Wore winter boots for the first time in 4 years. These Sorrel winter boots are amazing. They keep your feet dry, warm, and stable on ice. They are usually built to go from A to B; but I wore them for hours and walked miles throughout the icy streets of Portland, and also wore them for the 3 hour concert. Let’s say that my knees, hips, ankles and back were feeling it. The solution: sit down whenever you get the chance; for me, whenever there was a slow song, I sat down so I can give my legs and hips a break (I know, this is blasphemy, but you do what you got to do).

4) Slept in a bed that wasn’t mine. Everyone has a personal preference on mattress. You don’t have much control over the sleeping surface when you are traveling. I prefer a firmer mattress and this was on the softer side. Solution: grab as many pillows as I could and prop them up so that I could sleep in the most comfortable position as possible.

The last piece is giving yourself some grace. This means providing yourself some room to experience something completely new and out of your control. Not everything in life we can influence ourselves. The only thing that we have 100% control over is how we deal with the challenges we face on a daily basis. Just know that things will return back to normal when you return home.

Being in a new city will always bring up their own challenges. Take it all in one at a time and discover ways to make yourself feel the best as possible. 

After having a good night sleep and morning stretch, I feel pretty much back to normal.


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