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When the body talks, Listen!

Woman sit in the forest, leaning against a cliff, enjoying the sounds of the nature.

Do you listen to your body? Or is your head filled up with all the noice and to do-lists so you don’t think you have time to listen to your body? You maybe hear or feel something is wrong, but you ignore it? Because you don’t have time for that right now… If not now, then when?

10 years ago I didn’t listen to my body. I worked as a spa-manager at a hotell in a ski resort. I also had my own company with massage treatments once a week. After a couple of months I’ve got a dermoid cyst in my ovary. I needed antibiotics to get rid of the infection before I went through the surgery. Five days after the surgery I got diarrhea, of course I thought I had an infection from the surgery.

I was wrong.

It was a parasite, cryptosporidium, in the drinking water in Östersund. Nearly 30.000 people got sick. My immune system wasn’t so strong due to antibiotics and surgery, so my body was the perfect home for those parasites. I had problem with diarrhea for a month, I could only drink fluid replacement and soup, one spoon every 10 minutes. It was horrible! We had to boil our water or buy water at the store.

I tried to work, because you can’t be away from work for too long when you work within tourism. It is a really crappy industry in that way, particularly when you have a manager position. After a month I got better and went to work full time again. It was Christmas time and the working hours was crazy. Many of my employees got the flu, and so did I. My immune system couldn’t handle it at all. Another month of sickness went by before I got well again.

I remember I was so tired, but I still tried to do my job as a spa manager and taking care of my own customers. Suddenly my back was hurting in a way it had never done before. None of my pain killers helped me. I also couldn’t control my right leg. I walked like Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). This was a pain I had never felt before. I tried to do anything I know that used to work for me, but nothing helped. At one point I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to the hospital and got three morphine injections. It helped for a while, but I still had sever pain. The diagnosis was three herniated discs.

I hadn’t listen to my body. At all!

I had tried to please all the people around me, my boss, my employees, customers, friends etc. instead of taking care of my self. The price I got to pay was extremely high, with rehab for a year and a half and a total mental, physical and economical collapse. I had to put my own company on hold and the spa manager job was gone. I felt very lonely in this situation, most of my friends are very active outdoors and suddenly, when I couldn’t do any of the outdoor activities my social life was also pretty much on hold.

10 years later

So 10 years have passed by and a lots of things happened during these years. Good and bad. This last year have been upside down for the whole world due to the pandemic. During the last couple of months I have been working really hard. First I released my ebook “The invisible pain – my faithful companion” in December, then I launched my membership “Become the CEO of long term pain“. Also working with my massage clients and some extra hours in a store. Just to survive financially. But the last couple of weeks my body started to scream to me.

Really loud! I listened.

Have you tried to sit in the nature and listen to the natures sound
and what your body really tries to say to you?
Photo: Lumeah Photography

I felt extremely tired all the time, irritated and hopelessness.

So I went on sick leave. I realized that this is not going to end up well if I don’t stop now. My mastermind group gave me restrictions to only work 1 hour a day. The first week I didn’t even open up my computer. I went out in the woods, to my favorite cliff where I could look out over the sea. Sat there, boiled my coffee on my gas stove and wrote my thoughts in a notebook. The writing has always been a good therapy for me. It makes it easier to straighten out the thoughts in my head.

I had a few massage clients last Friday, I wanted to see how my body reacted to do that kind of work again. My body gave me an instant reply.
On Saturday I got a really annoying cough.
No fever, no soar throat or anything else.
“Only” a really hard cough.
I tested negative for covid-19, so it’s probably a cold.

Ok body, I hear you!

I still need more recharging time. I need to be honest to myself about what is really working for me, what kind of jobs I want to and can do and what kind of jobs I need to cut down.

Due to my long term pain I live with a constant exhaustion, my body is always in stress due to the pain. It constantly tries to heal itself, although the acute injuries are healed a long time ago, but the pain is still there and the brain can’t separate these two types of pain from each other. That is why I need more recovery time than a “normal” person. That is one of the reasons I want and need to have my own business, so I can control my everyday life with enough recovery time and physical activity everyday.

So I turned down the offer to continue as a Chairman of the board of my tenant owners association and I turned down a couple of other offers as well. Things that mostly take energy and time and not gives me that much energy (or money) back. It is not always easy to say no, but it is important. For your own health and wealth.

When you say no to one thing, you open up to say yes to other things.

Make sure you always goes back and listen to your body and your own valued direction. What is right for someone else doesn’t have to be right for you, it takes courage to know and go to action for the things that is right for you. But you know what? You are going to grow a lot when you do that!

Are you listening to your body now?

Take care of you!
With love, Cattis

Can you see it?

One woman in pink blouse dancing in a luxurious environment, one older woman on a bench reading a book with the cane leaning on her knee

When you look at these pictures, can you see something special?

Can you tell the difference between these two women? Besides the age.
Yes, that’s right, you see a happy and powerful woman, dancing in a luxurious environment (that’s me). And yes, you see a peaceful lady, reading a book at a bench in a park, with her cane leaning on her knee. But there is something else. Still doesn’t see it?

Can you really not see that I am in pain?

No, of course you can’t see it. The invisible pain, you can’t see it just by looking at a person. This constant pain that I am always having, every single day for 30 years, 24/7. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I had a “snap-on-plaster” to a leg, just to make people around me aware that I might need a seat on the bus or just not run in to me. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, but I want people to be careful and respectful, because if someone push into my back can be devastating for me.

I made the pain to my faithful companion, but it took me many years before I was able to do that, to stop that inside war in my body where I had the pain as my hateful enemy.

I talked to a lot of physiotherapists and naprapats that I know, because I want to collaborate with them. I have a lot of knowledge about living with long term pain, they have lots of patients. But they tell me they don’t have that kind of patients. What?! Are you sure? You know that you have long term pain when you had the pain for at least three months, and it doesn’t even have to be pain 24/7. I think many people think of people with chronic pain as an older lady with a cane and having trouble to walk. I guess you could look at the picture above and some of you might say that the older woman has pain. Maybe she doesn’t have pain, she maybe has a problem with the balance and need the cane for balance.

I think actually no one of them thought of me as a person who lives with long term pain until I started to talk about it in public. Most of us who lives with long term pain doesn’t mention it very often. When someone asks me how I’m doing, I’m not telling them that I have pain, unless I have a really bad day having trouble to walk. The pain is a part of us but we don’t want to be defined by the pain.
I don’t know anyone who likes to talk about their pain, it is something that most people don’t want to be associated with. And for women it is even harder to get the right diagnose and to be taken seriously. I hope it’s getting better, but as everything else regarding women’s health we’re not there yet.

About 20% of the population lives with long term pain, not everyone is diagnosed with this and therefore not counted in the statistics so I think there is quite a large number of hidden statistics that we don’t see.

No one wants to live with pain and the impact it has on our physical and mental health, but we shouldn’t have to be ashamed and neglected by doctors, physiotherapists, families, friends and employers! I am tired of hearing people talk about us as whining old ladies!

I want to break the stigma about long term pain. Stop the shaming and let’s talk about it!
Join me in my free live webinar about how to be the CEO of long term pain. Register here!

See you soon,
Cattis

The real story behind her business show

A new week just started. Do you have the plan sorted out or are you just smashing it on volley? 
(Can you tell I’m watching Australian Open at the moment?)

Last Saturday I had the pleasure to be interviewed by Angelique at Social media love and The real story behind her business show. It was so much fun and I am so glad she asked me to join her live show!

This is actually one (of many) benefits from social media. We’ve followed each other for a while and a few weeks ago she asked me if I would like to participate in her live streamed show! Of course I said yes!  It is really an honor to be interviewed in a Canadian live streamed show! 

You can watch the interview at Youtube or you can listen to the podcast, whatever you prefer:

🎥 Watch it on Youtube

🎙 Listen to podcast

All the best,
Cattis

2020 The craziest year

Woman in cerise tied front blouse with a glass of champagne in one hand and raises the other hand in a happy hello

I know for sure that I am not alone of thinking this about 2020. It has really been a crazy year in many ways.

In late December 2019 it felt like a new beginning with a new decade. I set up high goals, my biggest one was to have lectures and public speeches at big international arenas.

I got booked for public speeches in Sweden, and of course that was good enough to start with during spring. I aimed to go international during the autumn.

In January I signed a contract as a health management consultant with Oxy Group AB. It felt so good, we had meetings during the fall and I was so honored to be part of this amazing start up with other consultants who also work within health management. The team is really wonderful and there is so much knowledge we can combine together to provide the best services for business who really wants health and leadership changes for real.

I had a goal to become a writer for a magazine and in February I signed a contract as an expert writer within human sustainability for Motivation.se, a Swedish leadership site. A huge milestone for me who always dreamed of writing professionally.

2020 – the year when anything could happen!

That was exactly how it felt. Anything could happen! But I was convinced that it was mostly good things that would happen. It felt like the world was ready to work more within healthy leadership and organizations and I was ready to get out in the world with my knowledge.

Then March happened…

During two days in late March all of my pre booked speeches got cancelled. Since I have worked mostly online the past three years I tried to convince them to have it online instead. But they were not ready for that at the time. It was chaos and panic and no one knew what was about to happen (I guess all of us are glad we didn’t knew what was expecting us this year…).
I saw the income for the whole spring running out of my hands. I tried to launch a membership that I worked with earlier and it was good at the moment, we met online every morning in the beginning to just check in how everybody was feeling during the craziest time. But it wasn’t really a good launch and I realized it wasn’t what I was going to do. But at least it was a solution at the time.

The clinic

Suddenly I got an invitation from a naprapat to start as a massage therapist at his clinic, Hel Friskvård, in Saltsjöbaden. I said yes! I came to an empty calendar but I started to contact previous patients and people started to come to me for massage. This really saved me. And I am so thankful that I have my education as a massage therapist and been working with that for about 22 years. Actually, I decided in December 2019 that I would stop working with massage since it’s really tough for my back injuries and I knew that I wanted to work more online and with speeches. But I’m not the one who can’t change from one minute to another if the situation demands it. That is what a strong mental resilience is about, the ability to adapt to the situation and finding solutions instead of problems.

Most of the people who lives in the surroundings of Saltsjöbaden work at their home office since March/April and as we all know, home offices aren’t the best for ergonomics, so a lot of people actually needs my help with sore neck and shoulders.

The interview

I was contacted by a journalist from one of Swedens biggest newspapers, Svenska Dagbladet. She wanted to do an interview with me about my life with long term pain. A double sided article was published a Sunday in late July.

After that article I got several emails and phone calls from people who also lives with long term pain. I got coaching clients from that article. Clients who I helped handling the pain with strategies, mindset and pep talks.
Can you imagine my happiness when one client contacted me to tell me that he was almost pain free and that without surgery. Thanks to my coaching and naprapat treatments he got control of his pain. I cried of thankfulness when I got that message from him!

Thankful that my own journey with 30 years and 4 different back injuries – 30 years of constant pain, could help someone else to shorten their pain journey.

Tjejmarathon – Run for Panzi

In the early spring I also set up a goal to run Tjejmarathon, 15 km on an extreme trail running course. The race was in October so I had plenty of time for training.

Except.

I did what I tell my coaching clients not to do. I didn’t write this goal up. So in confusion that covid-19 caused I forgot about my goal. That is actually what happens when you think you can have it all in your head, when something more acute/interesting/funnier/important etc. happens, the brain will not prioritize to think of that goal. Sometimes it’s worthy to try my clients way of doing things to remind myself of the importance of every step in the mental training to reach the goals!

Anyhow, I totally forgot about this goal until five weeks before the race. I had been training, but not specifically to run that kind of race. But I set up a training plan and held it strictly during those five weeks.

You know what?! I finished the race! I did it! I ran 15 km on an extreme trail running course. I did walk at some times, some of the uphills is quite steep so it’s actually better to walk up than to run and waste too much energy.
My goal was to finish. I didn’t have a time or place goal. I was only really, really happy to be able to make it.

The absolutely best part with Tjejmarathon is that is a charity race where most part of race fee goes to The Panzi Hospital, where Dr Denis Mukwege help girls and women who are victims of sexual violence.

The international dream

I couldn’t let go of the thought to work more internationally. I needed the challenge to use my English more and I also knew that it is a bigger audience if I work in English than only in Swedish.

In October I had a meeting with business developer Kristina Sundbaum. I have a lot of ideas in my head, but it’s not always that easy to get a straight up plan for myself. I guess it’s quite common as an entrepreneur to have this popcorn brain.

After that meeting I got a document from her with a plan what to do and when and questions for me to answer to getting forward.

This was exactly what I needed. Suddenly all the steps fell in place and I decided to write my first ebook. And I wrote it in English. My vision about taking my knowledge international was within reach.

In December I launched my ebook with a digital book release live streamed to Youtube. So the goal of having an international public and a big stage was accomplished, just in another way that I first planned. I had my friend and business colleague Ann-Sofie Forsmark (also founder of Oxy Group and Tjejmarathon) as moderator and I couldn’t have asked for a better book release.
And I am so thankful and happy for all the positive reviews I’ve got about the book.

2021 just around the corner

With only one day left of this year it feels good that there is a new year coming up. A year where we can get vaccin for the covid-19 and hopefully we can start to have a social life again to see family and friends. To just give someone a hug. Although I love to work online, but no screen can replace a physical hug from someone you care about.

But I am pretty sure that we will never go back totally to how life was before the pandemic. Lot’s of people have discovered that it is quite nice to work from home, at least a couple of days a week. Other people have discovered how much they really miss to be at their office every day.

We also learned that online courses, webinars, meetings etc. is really cool! I mean, we can actually learn things and get to know people from all of the world without travelling there. I’ve been in this digital world for a few years and I have several online friends who I still haven’t met IRL, but they have become some of my closest friends and really helped me during this challenging time. So yes, there is absolutely possible to build a strong and deep friendship through the screen.

It turned out that anything actually could happen in 2020. But I ‘m pretty sure no one had a pandemic in their year goals or business plan for this year.

I have huge plans and goals for 2021! Do you want to follow me on the upcoming journey? Make sure you have signed up for my newsletter!

Hey 2021 I’m ready for you – are you ready for me?!

With love,
Cattis

Woman in cerise tied front blouse with a glass of champagne in one hand and raises the other hand in a happy hello

Happy New Year!