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We never really know what life has in store for us around the corner.
So often, we are caught unawares and it can make us feel stressed and anxious. Neither of which is good for us. Mind and body are intertwined and having a healthy body can support us when our minds are hit with
heavy duty challenges.
Jan Esquer is a doctor, a physical therapist and a sunshine to this world.
For nine years, until she turned 16, her day was all about being a gymnast.
Everything in her life revolved around her working out, participating in competitions and putting in the effort.
There was a point when Jen’s grades were sliding and her parents informed her that this meant she would have to give up her gymnastics.
She said, “You can’t do this to me.” In response she figured out how she could get her grades back up, keep up her workouts and still enjoy time with friends. “It taught me hard work, consistency, integrity and commitment. I’m so grateful for that.”
At 16, she was no longer passionate about being a gymnast. Jen felt she was only continuing the gymnastics for her parents and her coaches. Wanting to be true to herself, Jen wrote her mother a letter informing her that she would not continue. Her mother spoke to her coaches, they had a serious talk with her trying to convince her to continue and she stood her ground.
“I still loved movement and the body. I continued to coach gymnastics and stumbled upon Pilates. I taught it for 6 years in undergrad and then grad school. I loved studying human movement, to be able to modify around pain and still have a workout.
“There was a fascination in watching therapists feel movement in others. They could watch a patient walk and understand what was going on in their body. I wanted to learn more about the body so that I could help others learn to tap into their body. My constant search of ‘why’ the body worked the way it did, led me down the path of physical therapy.
Jen had a very intense relationship with a partner for a bit over 4 years. One day as she was walking down the street she received an email which contained proof that her partner was not faithful.
“When it first happened I felt like I almost couldn’t breathe. Then I told myself, ‘You teach people how to breathe, start breathing correctly.’ I did the breathing and felt myself getting calmer. I was able to get out of the feelings of anxiety and panic.
“I reached out to my friends and they were there for me. One friend in particular responded almost immediately. I needed to find a place to live.
My family and friends were phenomenal. They gave me the space to just be and process the betrayal.
“For about 2 months there were waves of sadness, numbness, crying and anger. I paused to listen to my body. I didn’t move for about 2 weeks. For me, someone who moved all day every day, that was a tremendous shift. I just had to be and experience my emotions. Not to be sidetracked. To work through them..
“ I learned a tremendous amount from that trauma – to trust my gut, to realize that I know myself. If I had been open to listen to my gut and trust myself, I would have seen from the start that this relationship was not good for me. Instead, I was stuck in the potential of the relationship, not wanting to recognize what the reality was.
“The fact that I was able to bounce back in a relatively short time, I attribute to having done a great deal of personal self development before this happened. I knew from my ability to stand up and make a career change when I felt that I no longer was passionate about gymnastics that I could and should trust my intuition, my gut. Be true to myself.
“In that relationship I always had the feeling of not being enough. If I need to be more giving, caring, loving, it means that I am not enough.
“The reason I came public with this is because of the responses I received. So many said, ‘Yes, it happens all the time.’ ‘It happened to me, but I didn’t tell anyone.’ I heard the shame and the loneliness of the women and I wanted to reach out to them and let them know. They are enough, they aren’t alone. We will be there for them.
“It’s hard to walk away, it’s hard to stay. Each situation is different and some women choose to stay because of family or finances or some other reason. Understand there is a process, a grace that you give yourself. What is your reality, your truth. Who am I? How can I find my intuition again? Allow yourself to go through the periods of grief, crying, frustration.
“It’s a huge mind game how one deals with disloyalty. How did you avoid seeing the signs, Who was the person who was showing up in the experience; and then forgiveness of oneself. For not walking away when my
own gut was telling me something was wrong, way before there was proof.
I had been living in the fantasy of the potential of the relationship. Not wanting to see the reality of what was.
“Somewhere along life we learn to stop listening to ourselves. That’s what we need to overcome. When did I stop trusting in myself? I needed to assess and look into it. I grew up in a very structured life. Going to church, going to college, always doing what was expected of me.; I was little miss perfect. I was a people pleaser and I opened myself up to, ‘Okay, how can we make this work?’ I fell into the pattern of pleasing others rather than myself. Not being true to myself.
“We are a magnet and attract people into our lives. Why do we attract certain people? I drew these people into my life because I didn’t have self worth. This experience came my way so that I could relearn to trust myself and know that I am enough.
Jen did work to release her anger and accept herself. She feels that this enabled her to attract a new person into her life, a partner, not a boyfriend.
Dr. Jen believes that people who get their energy out, exercise, move, process faster and have an easier time dealing with a crisis.
If someone is struggling with mental illness or has someone in their life who is then she has the following tips to help lessen the impact.
- Breathe, 5- 10 minutes a day before you go to bed, at your desk, when you’re driving. How? There are two phases. The inhalation phase. When you breathe in your lifting your chest and this is the fight/flight mode. You will release cortisone, adrenaline and make you more sensitive. Muscles are tightened. All these reactions are meant to be short term accessories. If they are used throughout the day, shoulders and neck are stiffened, and this will lead to migraines and headaches.
- Exhalation phase – Tap into that. Focus on expanding the rib cage, not lifting. This will help you relax and aid in digesting food, and calm one down. Exhale slowly as if through a straw, this will stimulate the vagus nerve. Using a tune up ball underneath the ribcage will also stimulate the vagus nerve. Or try to rub the hip area, hip flexor muscles are talking to our vagus nerve. This will stimulate the lymphatic system to get liquids to move better.
- Dry Brush- can order one online and it will get the lymphatic system moving to take out toxins.
- Start to breathe in and out of our nose, not through our mouth, when we are sleeping. It opens up our blood vessels, so we wake up energised and not in a fog.
The message Jen came away with about betrayal is to trust yourself, your gut. You always know. Shine from that and lead from that. It’s the trust that allowed me not to be jaded and trust the world again.
Hope to Dr. Jen is knowing that there is always light no matter what darkness one may be experiencing at the moment. It doesn’t stay dark forever.
Jen can be reached at DocJenFit. She has helped me with numerous issues and she is available to you as well.
Let me hear your thoughts about body and mind issues, about bouncing back from trauma and what has worked for you.