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Let’s all be honest. We push ourselves- a lot. Whether it’s because we have to work, have deadlines, or just don’t want to let anyone down – we test our limits. And it’s especially problematic when we’re in a flare up, or are injured, or sick. 

This week, Andrea explores the concept of pushing it – and if we can do it in a way that doesn’t hurt our health. Navigating her recent injury, Andrea talks about the combination of mindset and specific action that helped her get things done, while looking after her body and not prolonging the injury. 

This episode is a must-listen if you need to slow down because of your health, but often find yourself in the push-too-far-and-then-make-things-worse cycle.

  • Why pushing yourself is harmful to your health if you’re living with a chronic illness.
  • How people pleasing leads us to pushing ourselves.
  • What if you still need to get things done when you’re sick?

Andrea W. Hanson

Picture of Andrea Hanson wearing a red sweater

Andrea W. Hanson is a motivational speaker and the author of two books about having a positive mindset while living with a diagnosis; “Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis” and “Stop Carrying The Weight of Your MS”.

She’s also a master certified life & mindset coach who’s lived with multiple sclerosis for over two decades. Her podcast, “Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis™” features conversations with people who are creating extraordinary lives while living with chronic illness.

Andrea teaches people how to tune out the noise of their inner critic and listen to their authentic voice so they can feel confident in their ability to make changes and create the life they want.

Her upcoming online course teaches the Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis™ blueprint to help people living with a chronic illness to create self-care, deeper confidence, and helps them get back to feeling like themselves again. Get more information and join the waitlist at

Andrea loves to hike in the mountains with her Blue Heeler — and sometimes other humans, too. She’s happiest when traveling with her husband and exploring new things — or simply sitting poolside with a good book.

Connect with Andrea Hanson:

Love the Podcast? Get these books by Andrea Hanson

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

“It is refreshing to have a book that fosters hope and promotes self-healing. This book is an excellent resource for those looking for ways to be proactive….and ways to find hope.”

“It is a true guide on how to listen to our bodies, connect to them, nurture ourselves and understand the power of our mindset.”

“I will be recommending Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis widely to all my patients when dealing with a diagnosis or setback!”

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis – The Book!

Stop Carrying the Weight of Your MS

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Andrea Hanson

Welcome to the live your life, not your diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hanson, author, motivational speaker. And master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told. I would never reach my goals. But I did. And I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people, living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds. To you inspire you To achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw. Uncensored and judgment free. Listener discretion is advised
[00:00:43] Andrea: Hey there. Thank you for joining me. This is Andrea Hanson, and this week I'm sharing about a slippery slope that we all get caught on from time to time, and that I was caught on this past month. That happens when we need to slow down due to a flare up or an injury. , but we're still able to get some things done in our day.
So there's this fine line between what we can do and doing too much. And if you're like me, , you can routinely push yourself a little too far, trying to get a few more things done, and it can create a bigger problem than what we even started with.
Now we all know the joyful part of having a chronic illness is that we can get sidelined by health issues, they can come out of the blue, they can escalate quickly and sometimes seem to leave you with no choice other than to just stop everything.
And it's so frustrating, right? It's annoying and sometimes it's like emotionally painful. So I recently got sidelined due to health reasons, and I lost a good month of my normal product. Things piled up. I watched my to-do list getting longer and longer. Things I had to do, got pushed to the next day, and then the next day and the next.
It was painful, and because I was injured and the nature of my injury, I was not willing to prolong the healing by pushing myself too far. Now that alone, right there just says so much, Because let's be honest, we push things. Right. Maybe just a bit, and I'd love to tell you that I'm a 100% Zen life coach who always honors her limits and never pushes it, but that is not how it goes
That would be a total lie. I'm a life coach and I'm very aware that life happens. Sometimes we push things a bit and test those limits, whether it's because of necessity or curiosity, and that's okay. , but how hard we push ourselves is something that we really need to keep and watchful eye on. Sometimes we push ourselves without realizing it because suddenly our limits are way lower than they had been just a few days ago.
Sometimes pushing our limits becomes our new baseline of productivity, and we have to keep doing it again and again to keep getting stuff done. We need to become acutely aware of how and when. and how hard we push ourselves because it's so nuanced and it can have real world implications. So as I kept a watchful eye on myself with this new injury, knowing how I tend to push myself, I found kind of a helpful balance between taking care of myself and still being productive.
So this week I am sharing what I found.
Now when we get sick or injured, our number one goal is to not hurt our recovery rate, right? We want to look after ourselves. I would love to tell you that no matter how minor the setback is with your health, you should stop everything and rest completely. But I know that isn't going to happen. It's not realistic, Because we don't live in a bubble. chances our people depend on you. And let's face it, there are things that just need to get done. Sometimes it can feel like looking after yourself is just a luxury that you don't have. So that's the big question, How do we look after ourselves, especially when our health is taking center stage, which it can without completely ghosting on everybody and anything that depends on us.
This is especially hard when we're living with a chronic illness, but still need to work. Often what happens when we have a health setback is it's like a pendulum that swings really far in either direction. So on one side we can totally check.
and do nothing but rest because something is going on with our health that is very, very serious and gives us zero choice. And I'm going to talk about that in a second. But on the other side, we have something going on with our health, but we can still work, we can still do things, we can still get stuff done in our day.
and that's when we push our limits, Often farther than we should to get things done. And we can guilt ourselves, we can worry about what maybe our bosses or partners think. and when we do that, we cross that line and can make our health worse.
. And look, I want to be clear. If you need to totally check out and focus on you. Do it. I am not at all advocating, pushing yourself when you just need to rest or even spend some time in the hospital, right?
You need to take care of you, and I'm going to cover some mindset tools here in a second to help you do that, but, A lot of times we're on the other side of that pendulum needing to take some time to heal, but we're not totally debilitated and it's tempting to try to operate as normally as possible . But this does two things.
Number one, it allows us to strengthen that belief that our value is based on our productivity and output. Number two, it prolongs the healing process because we're often focused on getting something done and ignoring our. And that can turn something that would be relatively mild into a much bigger problem than it would've been in the first place.
Neither of these things are great , right? So me, for me, this past month, in an effort to not repeat this cycle of pushing myself too far and making things worse, I applied a combination of mindset and specific action. Now I've gotta be honest about something. I've only pretty recently figured this out, for a long time unless something literally put me in bed, which has happened many times.
I was the queen of pushing my limits. And I kind of still am in some, in some regards, . And so let's be honest, pushing yourself beyond your means gets you points. , It's rewarded by some people. It means dedication, loyalty, even a good work ethic.
But it can also mean you staying awake and working on that project when you need to turn off your brain for a while. It can mean driving and doing errands when you just need to rest instead.
And getting those points from others can trigger that people pleasing Gene that we have to make people appreciate what we do while putting ourselves and our needs last.
So let's stop doing that. Here are the four things that I did to walk that line between giving my body what it needs and still getting some things done. Now as I go through these things, think about each one of them and how much you use them or don't use them. , when you're thinking about how much you can get done while maybe you have some kind of a health situation that you have to pay attention to as well.
Number one, honesty. First and foremost, we need to be honest with ourselves, Simply put how bad is. Do we need to stop everything and sleep for a few days? Like I said, this is not about pushing your limits. This is the opposite. So we need to have an honest assessment of what's going on with our health.
Using me as an example. So my injury was a concussion, which I don't know if you've had a concussion. They are not fun at all. My brain literally felt like battered and bruised. It was so sad, , and I needed to take a few days off in the beginning and have as little stimulation as possible in my world. And it sucked. But my gut was telling me that I needed to take this seriously. Plus there's not much you can do when you have a, a concussion and just a chronic headache all the time.
So when I took this assessment, I didn't think of any other thing than my body and what I was experiencing right then. And that's the most important thing about being honest, is not letting anything else creep in. . I didn't let what I thought other people may think of me or deadlines or anything like that, get in the way. Of doing an honest assessment of where my health really was, This was between me and my body, and that's it. Number two, permission. Once I had an idea of what my first few days were going to look like, meaning taking time off, I let go of any goal.
Around working or getting things done. My number one goal was to heal my concussion, and I gave myself permission to release myself from worrying about what I had to do. And this permission means not deciding how good your day is based on how much work you get.
It means not putting others before you, no matter how pleased they would be. Giving ourselves permission is such a powerful tool. It doesn't sound like it, but the second you give yourself permission not to worry about things, it's pretty amazing, and this is a really great place to apply it.
Number three, focus. During this time, I was always evaluating how I felt and what helped and hurt the situation. So for my concussion, I wasn't in bed after that first . Couple of days, and I actually think it's because of those first couple of days that I was able to not be in bed so much. It didn't really affect my energy level. So because of that, I had to keep an eye on what I did that helped versus hurt the situation.
So, for example, looking at the screen, especially my laptop, Bad really bad in like the first, I don't know, two weeks or so. I really had to know my limits with screen time. I found it helped to set a timer, like literally I could look at it for 15 minutes at a time, and that's it. On like really low resolution.
I found that it helped to wear my sunglasses at all. even inside because I've got a lot of windows, um, in our house and the sun was reflecting off the snow and it was just super bright. So sunglasses, , but outside all of that that I was doing to control the stimulus, my energy was fine. So I took my work offline. I did a lot of pen to paper, and I would just reassess things, ? I looked at how much time can I do on the laptop before I can start feeling it, and maybe it went from 15 minutes to 20 minutes. That's how small steps were for me, but at all times. I was still being honest and giving myself permission to dial it back if I needed to, and it's super important because this is the time where I would normally push it, Technically, I could pop a pill, I could feel better, and I could just push on. , but that would prolong the healing, That's not going to help my brain heal anything. It's just going to help my symptoms, and that's ultimately not what I'm after. So I had to really focus and evaluate all the time where I was and keep a check on what I can do.
I was very, very focused and I was keeping time. I was doing all sorts of things to make sure I wasn't pushing.
Number four, kindness. There were days where I pushed it a little bit. , sometimes I didn't realize how much time I was spending on the computer until later when my head would really hurt at the end of the day,
and I would say, okay, too much time. Let's dial it back. But the important part is when I noticed that I had been spending too much time on the computer, maybe I had been pushing it. I just let myself off the hook, I didn't blame myself for making the situation worse. I didn't beat myself up about it.
I didn't do anything other than just assessing it as data and thinking, okay, you know what? My brain, my brain hurts a little bit more today. I probably did too much screen time. Let's dial that back tomorrow. And that was it. No mean words or anything. , I was kind, and I let myself make mistakes as I figured it out because a lot of times when we're in a situation like this, it's something pretty new.
There's something different to it. It's not the same thing every single time. We don't have the same limits every single time. Every time we have a flare, every time maybe we have an injury, it's always a little bit d. . And so being kind and letting ourselves make mistakes while we figure out where our limits are is essential.
Now, this is what helped me get things done while I let myself heal. And I think it's important to see what I didn't do what didn't I do. I didn't worry about what others thought. I didn't look for affirmations from other people to get things done. I didn't try to do everything that I did. I didn't assume what other people were thinking about me or just try to push through things without listening to my body.
Like I said, I didn't pop a pill to make symptoms go away and just push through it cuz things had to get done, didn't do any of that, These are the things that lead us to push ourselves beyond our limits, and it can be an especially slippery slope when we're in a situation of an illness or a flare up where we're not quite sure of what our limits are.
Now look, often these setbacks are temporary, even if it's just a few months, or, you know, three, six months, and learning to adjust and take care of ourselves is a. That we as people living with a chronic illness need to develop. Sometimes when our health takes an extreme turn, we have no choice, but a lot of the times we're in this gray area of still being able to do things, but still kneely needing to dial it back.
Knowing how to do this is a skill that's going to help us even out those big swings in our health, and even do things like shorten the amount of time that we're out of commission.
So when do you notice, when you push yourself a little too far, get curious about it. Ask yourself why you're doing. . Is it people pleasing? Is it being an overdrive? Is it a fear of what would happen if you didn't push yourself and get things done and see what you can apply from here? Honesty, permission, focus, or kindness that can help you focus on your healing just a little bit more.
Now I wish you the best, especially if you're having an issue right now that's causing you to really look at this, and I hope that this helps you go a little bit easier on yourself. Thank you for joining me. And I hope you have a great day, and I will talk to you next week. If you like the show, don't be shy. Please give us a five-star rating and review. Follow us on apple podcast, Amazon music or wherever you're listening right now. To see complete show notes and resources mentioned in this episode
visit Thank you for joining me And until next time take care

About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast

Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.

I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.

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