The Beautiful Power of 6 Weeks of Recovery

The Beautiful Power of 6 Weeks of Recovery -

On August 1st, 2017 something horrible happened. I woke up with severe spasms under and around my left arm. Holding my elbow up in the air was the only way I could talk without crying. I felt like sharks were gnawing on me, and then the numbness set in…


All the restorative yoga that I teach, all the perfectly aligned fitness workouts that I’ve filmed… but doing all the right things can’t save us from every injury and it seems that sleeping wrong was all it took to leave me spazzy, crying and incapacitated. 

After a solid six weeks of rest, recovery and radical self-care after the initial onset of spasms and tingling, I was 60% back to “normal.”

That 6 weeks is magical

It’s classic: That 6-week recovery mandate that is given to injured athletes and recovering postpartum women.

We’re told to “take it easy” – not because we are weak or broken for good, but because our bodies have been through something that requires restoration and rest.

But how often do we ignore it until we can’t anymore because our bodies force us to rest?

After my first baby, I only waited a few weeks before resuming planks and crunches because that’s all I knew for core strengthening at the time, even as a “fitness pro” who had a degree and umpteen certifications.

I didn’t know that resuming too early, with too much pressure, with muscles that were still in a healing phase and not yet ready to handle micro-tearing and hypertrophy (because they were already torn and swollen, really) would set me back and merely prolong the minimum 6 weeks of rehab that are essential to every woman who’s just experienced the epic marathon of labor and birth.

But it’s always needed.

The Beautiful Power of 6 Weeks of Recovery -
^^^ A camera roll capture from one of the hardest days of my life… Yeah, I hadn’t slept wrong. As you’ll read below, a whiplash injury from childhood had resulted in a herniated disc which had finally reached a point where it hit enough nerves to sideline me. I underwent surgery to replace the disc on November 3, 2017

The longer you put off recovery, the older you’ll be and the harder that 6 weeks becomes.

In terms of my core…

I finally found time to truly take care of it when my 2nd child was over age 2 years old. That’s when I discovered ab rehab with The Tummy Team.

In terms of my neck-arm-shoulder issue…

Thanks to traveling 600 miles from home, driving an RV, and singing in a family wedding — I was almost 3 weeks into pushing through excruciating nerve pain and numbness down my left arm before I was home and fully able to rest and get the help I needed.

Some of you might be worried that I was really been dealing with a heart attack since the symptoms were in my left arm. Yes, heart disease is the #1 killer of women with suicide among young mothers a close second, but that was thankfully ruled out. You’d be amazed how such pain can affect O-sat numbers though… My pulse-ox was a 95 when I was first seen by a rural urgent care clinic!

I thought I took care of my neck.

I’ve done all the things for all my life as part of routine self-care and maintenance: chiropractic, neck alignment work, stretches, low-impact exercise… but the docs are saying, “Can you imagine if you hadn’t done all that?”

^^^ Here I am with my goofy crew, setting up to film some very light material (interviews and some short, unloaded routines) just 4 weeks after surgery.

I’ve been called a walking miracle.

Thanks to an MRI, my team of care professionals discovered that I was actually dealing with a herniated disc.

We found out it’s been this way for a while without my knowing, because the early symptoms felt like a “rib out” or “sore shoulder muscles.” I dealt with those symptoms by stretching and seeking chiropractic care which helped.

We know that all my self-care enabled me to keep an awesome range of motion when most people with this injury lose their ability to move. When I lost my arm’s ability to move, I again sought therapy and got my range of motion back before even getting a diagnosis! 

We know that this happened when I was a child {I remember my second grade year was epically full of falls and trauma} and if I hadn’t kept these symptoms at bay, and if they had reared this level of ugliness 10 years ago, forcing me into surgery back then, I’d have all sorts of hardware in my neck that would have dramatically altered my life’s course… Fit2B might not even exist!

We know this would likely have been a fusion surgery even 7 years ago, but thanks to my health and fitness I became an excellent candidate for a new 1-hour outpatient procedure to replace the disc with a mobile unit “Mobi-C” minus any screws!

We know that my neck exercises + the physical therapy I’ve pursued + the deep squatting I do (as opposed to always bending over) have kept my neck muscles healthier and stronger than anyone else they’ve seen with my level of herniation, according to my doctor. 

Kids Kross Over Routine with "midline exercises" - The Beautiful Power of 6 Weeks of Recovery.
^^^ On the set of the Kids Kross Over routine that teaches midline exercises, just 4 weeks post-op. The motions of this were gentle enough that I could take my brace off and stay aligned. These motions felt sooo good, and many “crossed over” with exercises my PT prescribed.

We do our best and we take care of ourselves, and then our bodies force us to do even better.

I was forced to baby my neck for another 6 weeks after surgery, but there was a lot I could still do around it, and I was honestly excited.

I felt excited to practice the basics of alignment again.

I was excited to rebuild my neck strength in a new way.

I was excited to pass on what I’ll learn from this experience.

I was excited to avoid housework by pointing at my neck brace and shrugging 🙂

Is it time for you to take the recovery time?

Is it time to take 6 weeks to rest, nourish, rebuild, recover, tune in, process, discover, do restorative poses, and let others take care of you just for a while?

Is it time to give back to our bodies after we (and maybe the baby growing inside) have asked so much of this shell that houses our vibrant souls?

It can be glorious.

I mean, aside from having the best excuse EVER to elevate my feet and binge-watch Netflix, I’ve fallen more in love with my family and discovered a depth to certain friendships I didn’t know existed. My tribe has shown up, and I feel loved.

If you are feeling run down, friend…
If you have just had a baby, mama…
If you’re hurting so bad you can barely move, sister…
You need to consider 6 weeks of rest and rehab.

Oh, it won’t be easy. You’ll have to advocate for your care, call around for the right PT or Physio, get to those appointments, do your exercise homework, drink all the water and take all the pills, maybe hire a sitter or “mommy’s helper” or just let go of your own judgements about letting the TV occupy the kids for this short season.

You’re worth it. If your child or friend was the one needing this, you’d do everything in your power. Right now, though, you’re the one missing some power. You’re the one who needs to ALLOW OTHERS TO HELP and allow yourself this.

Let’s do this together, friend. Let’s take care of ourselves and keep ourselves moving so we don’t lose our range of motion, so we are good candidates for less invasive procedures as we age, so we can do more for those around us in this wild, crazy world.

Back to You

Tell me: If you know what I’m talking about, and if you’ve ever experienced the 6 weeks of magical rest and know how it helped you, please leave a comment below

Click HERE to learn more about the Neck Exercise series that helped me so much in my recovery!

6 thoughts on “The Beautiful Power of 6 Weeks of Recovery

  1. Lori Leighty Mason says:

    My husband and I took on a challenge to run three half marathons to complete a Mad-Halfer series. Three weeks before the first race, I took a bad fall during a training run and severely sprained my ankle. I rested and fretted about the first race because I could no longer train for it. I hobbled and cried through that race because I didn’t want to waste my money and lose my Mad-Halfer medal. Silly, I know. More rest and therapy and doctor assuring me that this kind of injury just takes time. Today marks the 6th week from fall. I’m mostly pain free. Probably would be had I rested and not attempted 13 miles. When you lose the ability to do something you enjoy, it’s hard to be still. I found myself in bad moods and depressed and even angry at myself for “allowing myself to fall”. So when your blog post is titled “the beautiful power of 6 weeks….” it tugged at my heart. Thanks for reminding me that it’s ok to rest. And to take care of me.

    • Beth Learn says:

      I’m so glad you took the time to recover. I know I’ll come out the other side of this even more firm and solid in my core’s foundation. Then I’ll build on that to get stronger than ever. It’s an awesome perspective shift.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I’m REALLY curious now about sleeping positions. I was rear ended five months ago and still after adjustments and rehab exercises and reading and learning about alignment and trigger point massage, still not better. And I’ve been having this sneaking suspicion that my sleep positions might be part of the key to recovery. I just don’t know where to start or who to get good information from. Your post made me cry, all these appointments I’ve been keeping up with for five months to take care of myself – yup, it’s been HARD. And I’m not sure I’m getting anywhere.

    • Beth Learn says:

      I’d definitely recommend an MRI if you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. I wish I’d had one years ago. Sleeping positions are huge, but it’s so hard to train ourselves. Pain is a good motivator, isn’t it?

  3. Alicia says:

    I have not experienced any major injuries, but I have had lots of babies. With my first baby, my midwife REALLY emphasized rest for the first few weeks and a slow return to normal activity over 6 weeks. My recovery was amazing! I did not have the same care/support/oversight with my 2nd baby. I caved to family and friend pressure to be up and about and going to weddings, the zoo, etc within the first three weeks. That recovery took forever! I really didn’t feel better for about 8-10 weeks! I learned my lesson, and have taken it super easy during the postpartum period each time since then. Your advice in this post is on point!

  4. Pingback: What I {Really, Truly} Read in 2017 + Plans for 2018 | Fit2B Studio

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