I realized recently that one of the reasons parenting is so hard is that when my kids are around I can’t hear myself think.

My 4 year old keeps asking questions, often she really doesn’t know the answer, but just as often she does. So it’s a constant stream of: Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy where’s my blanket? Mommy, did Lightning McQueen go to California? Mommy, can we go to California? Mommy, can we go wash the car? Mommy, can we have a dog? Mommy, how old am I? Mommy,… I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

My 2 year-old is just noisy, as you would expect from a boy his age. Banging, whining, banging, laughing, banging, crying… Then you add, planning meals, going to the grocery store (with its share  of Mommy, I want this, I want that, can you buy me this?), birthday parties, grandparents visiting, working, marketing, thinking about my clients (yes I do think about you between sessions).

And then my husband comes home and turns on the baseball game or music and my head explodes. I do like baseball and music and my husband and my kids for that matter!

But when I don’t have time to think about myself for a few minutes during my days off (working is a lot more relaxing) I get tenser and tenser throughout the day. And I don’t have time to check in with my body to think about how I feel.

I’m lucky. For me, this craziness is only at home.

For a lot of people this craziness is at home and at work.

But how does that affect your body?

I know for me, my shoulders get tense, my diaphragm tightens, it’s harder to breathe, my face hardens, I walk more on the outside of my feet.

My safety valve is running. As soon as I park at the trail head and the smell of Forest Park hits me, I feel better. And when I start running, too fast inevitably because I’m stressed, I check in.

I check in with my body,

more or less slowly I release all those tensions as I run and I get into my rhythm. It doesn’t matter if I’m going on a 40 minute run or on a 2 and half hour run the ritual is the same.

Then I check in with my mind and my thoughts. That’s when I put together all the bits and pieces of thoughts I’ve had throughout my day or week that haven’t been able to be fully formed or processed. What I don’t think about is grocery lists and dinner menus, kids clothing or cleaning schedule. It is my time to day dream. I don’t run with music either. It distracts me from resourcing, it’s still too much input. This is my time for mindfulness. For just being and breathing.

Work is the opposite of my crazy home life. My job is to think about bodies, how they move, react, feel, interact. I release tension and ease pain in other people’s bodies and indirectly in my own body. If I’m working on your diaphragm, unconsciously I will release mine.

Because of my profession I am often checking in with my body, it’s a necessity and it’s just good practice to be healthy.

How often do you check in with your body?

Do you only start paying attention when you’re in pain?

When you exercise, do you actually pay attention to your body or do you think about your grocery list or the next thing you have to do today?

Do you pay attention to your body or do you go through the movements mechanically?

Are you training and voluntarily ignoring signals? That’s fine, I’m not saying this is bad; but then when do you check in?  If it’s not during exercise, and it doesn’t have to be, do you have a time when all you do is check in with your body?

A time when you think about how you move? About how it feels when you move or don’t move? How your body parts interact? How it feels to be inside this body or to be this body?

If you don’t have that time yet you should.

You should create it to think about your body before it hurts, you will do yourself a big favor, and avoid pain.

Rolfing is another way to get that time. Rolfing will help you feel your body. Feel how the parts move, how they relate to each others, or how they don’t but they should…

Rolfing is that time when you check in with your body.

Either because it already hurts, because it used to hurt and you don’t want it to come back, or because you don’t want it to hurt later. Sometimes it’s easier to check in with somebody else.

Think about the consequences of not checking in? All those messages your body is sending you are left unanswered. I guarantee that someday your body will make itself heard, loud, and you’re not going to like it…

So please check in now.