November 7, 2020

Categories: Blog - Exercise - Self Care

Written by Brittany Stephens

As many of you know, topical steroid withdrawal is like going uphill and downhill through different phases and cycles- each day truly looks a little different.

So, how do we exercise while going through some physically painful times?

Well, I am not a physician or an athletic therapist, but I have gone through topical steroid withdrawal and I am a certified yoga teacher (RYT 200). I am certified in Hatha, Yin yoga and the Thrive program for cancer survivors. I have been practicing for over 6 years and have assisted in two teacher trainings.

Where to start?

So, where do we begin? It will depend on what stage you are in, and how you are feeling physically and mentally. Whether you exercised before TSW or have never exercised at all, you can find movement that works for you. Start slow, be easy on yourself and know that if today you made it out of bed, that’s ok!

Check in with yourself, are there parts of your body that you can move? If your legs are ok, starting with walks, maybe hands-free yoga classes. If just your upper body is ok, then doing chair yoga or yoga that only works with the upper body.

Find movement that you can do and focus on that, even if it changes day to day. Sometimes a dance party to your favourite songs can help mentally and physically. Moving even just for 5 minutes, and easing your way up to 10, 15, 20 and starting to notice what feels ok in your body can be extremely empowering.

If movement really isn’t something accessible to you, meditation is another “limb” of yoga that you can explore! There are many fun and creative meditations out there- my favourite is a body scan where I can check in with my physical and emotional body.

Check in with yourself, are there parts of your body that you can move? If your legs are ok, starting with walks, maybe hands-free yoga classes. If just your upper body is ok, then doing chair yoga or yoga that only works with the upper body.

Find movement that you can do and focus on that, even if it changes day to day. Sometimes a dance party to your favourite songs can help mentally and physically. Moving even just for 5 minutes, and easing your way up to 10, 15, 20 and starting to notice what feels ok in your body can be extremely empowering.

If movement really isn’t something accessible to you, meditation is another “limb” of yoga that you can explore! There are many fun and creative meditations out there- my favourite is a body scan where I can check in with my physical and emotional body.

What if I can’t get to a class?

Online classes can be a great way to start, so you can pause if you need to scratch, skip a portion if it doesn’t feel right in your body.

The biggest takeaway to remember is listen to your body first and the instructor’s guidance second. Since they cannot see you and don’t know what you are physically or emotionally experiencing, it is so important to listen to yourself first.

In the beginning it might feel like there isn’t much you can do, but all you have to do is start somewhere, experiment, challenge yourself just a little bit and try modifying any exercise or practice for yourself!

Online classes can be a great way to start, so you can pause if you need to scratch, skip a portion if it doesn’t feel right in your body.

The biggest takeaway to remember is listen to your body first and the instructor’s guidance second. Since they cannot see you and don’t know what you are physically or emotionally experiencing, it is so important to listen to yourself first.

In the beginning it might feel like there isn’t much you can do, but all you have to do is start somewhere, experiment, challenge yourself just a little bit and try modifying any exercise or practice for yourself!

I have also began filming yoga classes on YouTube for those with TSW, my hope is to categorize them to upper and lower body classes with varying times so you can start to build on your own practice, try new movements and then find what feels good and move in those ways on your own time. If there isn’t a class/practice that you find meets you where you are- I am more than happy to customize classes virtually so that you find something that works for you.

Brittany Stephens

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