Knowing When To Stop (Anything)!

I’ve had a nasty sciatic pain going down my right leg for almost four months now (!) At first I thought I’d pulled a muscle, then I thought I’d overdone a workout, then I thought I had a slipped disc, then I thought I needed hip surgery, then I thought I just needed to loosen up the joints in that side, then I thought I probably had a tumor, then I thought I was becoming a hypochondriac. But in all these months it never occurred to me until yesterday that my real problem was knowing when to stop doing what I was doing – exercising just about seven days a week to “loosen it up”. In the name of “working it out”, in all this time I’ve continued doing strenuous weighted workouts usually three days a week, and intense speedwalks the other four days of the week. Occasionally when I’m very tired, I give myself a big break by walking in a slightly less maniacal way when I do the cardio, so anyone “with” me is still visible in the background. It’s the joke of my family and friends (my Nazi walk), but I love the rush I get from my muscles communing with nature in this way. It’s not a competitive thing, as I’ve never entered a race, and usually prefer doing it alone without even timing myself. It’s always been one form of self-care for me……..UNTIL the big sciatic puzzle.


Yesterday it occurred to me that to keep doing what you’ve been doing, expecting different results, is what someone defined as insanity! So I finally got a referral to an orthopedist for an evaluation, and here I am today, actually taking a day off, relaxing, and goofing off! So, what’s the point of all this? I think knowing when to stop is not my unique problem. Clients and friends don’t seem to know when to stop

  • engaging with a hostile loved one
  • cleaning
  • talking
  • eating
  • working
  • nagging
  • playing
  • helping
  • drinking
  • shopping
  • watching TV – especially “Mad Men,””Dancing With The Stars,”or “CSI”

Look for yourself on this list, and see if you too are in the “insane” cycle. If so, try something new.

Think of me, sitting here, relaxing, relinquishing my dearly beloved Nazi walk! Anything is possible.


Susan Lager

About Susan Lager

ABOUT ME Susan Lager, LICSW, BCD I grew up in New Rochelle, a suburb of NYC, lived in Manhattan for ten years during college and graduate school, and escaped the madness for the wilds of Maine to be with Thom, the sweet man I'm still married to after 34 years. (We have an awesome 29 year old son named Alec who will run the free world someday). I knew I'd survive the relocation from New York when I discovered the scenic, historic little city of Portsmouth, on the coast of New Hampshire, with its winding streets, great restaurants, and music everywhere. I was especially thrilled to attend the Portsmouth Psychotherapy Institute, an offshoot of the B.I.P., where I did post-graduate training, and then went into private practice creating The Couples Center PLLC, doing psychotherapy, with individuals, couples and groups. In 2010 I opened a division of the practice called COUPLESPEAK™, providing live and online coaching, training programs, workshops, and written materials for people in different kinds of partnerships. I'm still passionate about the work, which is NEVER boring! My clients are courageous pioneers, and they've taught me lots I'll pass on......
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