I need to share something with you. If you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time, you know that self-care is important to me. But I’m human, and sometimes I struggle. I’ve been thinking about this over the past couple days as I’ve been trying to take care of myself and realized that it really came down to poor self-care.
Growing up, I struggled with feeling sick. I was always experiencing a combination of so many different random things that really didn’t make sense together. I’m sure my parents felt like, between one symptom or another, they were bringing me to the doctor’s office all the time. I was achy, my stomach hurt, I would bruise if I looked at something that was hard, or, of course, there were all those times I would pass out. In addition to all of this (or maybe because of all of this) I would also say I had become a bit of a hypochondriac. I caught whatever everyone around me had. Finally, about four and a half years ago, after advocating with my doctor some, I realized I had a gluten sensitivity. I stopped eating gluten (prior to going to the GI specialist, so by the time I went I would have needed to eat gluten again for 2 weeks to a month to get tested for celiac, so I decided to just continue with what was working) and my life changed. Yes, I still got tired, but the fog I lived in that felt like I was constantly on cold medicine had lifted. My PMDD symptoms had dissipated, I still got headaches occasionally, but not daily, and much more. I remember telling my mom after my blood test results came back that I was gluten sensitive and she said “you really were sick growing up!”
Fast forward to this summer. I recently made some positive changes for myself, which included doing the whole 30 challenge, which is a clean eating challenge. In this challenge, I ate completely “clean” for a month and then slowly reintroduced foods to see if there were other sensitivities that I maybe wasn’t aware of. Well, when I was reintroducing food, I was on vacation, and decided that I would eat gluten occasionally because “I’m introducing everything else, so why not?!” While I noticed some small inconveniences, I decided that I could have gluten here and there and it not be too problematic in my life.
Oh man. I didn’t realize what I was doing to myself. Ladies, this is where self-care comes in. I got lazy. I knew what the best lifestyle was for me. I knew what I needed to do. But, gosh darn it, I had a taste of the good life and I didn’t want to turn back. We do that sometimes, don’t we? We know what’s best for us, but we have other things going on, or we have to take care of everyone else, or we just want to do something fun for a change.
I had slowly been letting myself have a little bit here and there, and as I was doing that, I started feeling more “off” but not enough that I was ready to admit it was because of my diet. Then I was at a get together and had two pieces of pieces (and, if I’m being honest, a couple of crackers) and I was paying for it. Things came to a crashing halt as I felt physically ill, found myself with some nasty dizzy spells, and emotionally I was a wreck. I found myself walking into a concert on the verge of a panic attack, having to do deep breathing, rather than enjoying myself. It was finally then, when I felt the surge of hormones going through my body, that I remembered what I felt like growing up. It wasn’t worth it. What, in the short term, felt like it was worth it, just wasn’t. For me it was the taste of “real” pizza (something I’d been missing for years), but it looks different for every person.
This post isn’t about going gluten free, or even about healthy eating. It’s about figuring out what self-care needs to look like in your life, and sticking to it. It’s about recognizing when we’re moving out of our self-care routine and turning back. It’s about having grace on ourselves and adjusting as needed. Most of us can write this story. I know too many women who ended up sick and/or in the hospital due to pushing too hard for too long and not taking care of themselves.
Ladies, life can be tiring. It can be hectic. It can be oh-so-overwhelming. Sometimes self-care, whether it be something additional or something for our lifestyle, just seems like something added to our list. It’s not. Believe me it’s not.
Are you finding yourself warn down? Too tired to do the things that, in the past, have helped you to feel like “you” or give you energy to keep going? If so, you might find these simple steps helpful:
- Recognize what is and isn’t working. It’s time to do a self-care audit on yourself. Be honest with yourself. What have you stopped doing? what have you started doing?
- Re-evaluate what the next steps are. Make a plan of what you need and stick to it. Do you need to exercise? Maybe part of your plan needs to be to have an accountability partner. Do you need to wake up early to have quiet it time to yourself? Maybe you need to get a new alarm clock or move your phone further away from where you sleep.
- Review the outcomes. You need to continue to be alert to evaluate how things work out for you. What is working? what isn’t? Did you think that you needed to go running but now your knees are giving you problems? Maybe you need to find a new way to exercise or to clear your mind.
You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself. You owe it to your spouses, your kids, to the woman that you want to be and can be.
Sometimes you need extra encouragement for self-care! Don’t forget to sign-up for my mailing list for pintable’s, support, and some upcoming email challenges to help give you that push you need!
Your turn to share: What is one area of self-care that you need to reign back in? What are things that, short term, seem like a pain but, in the long-run, have a positive impact ew your life?