(Judgement free zone, people)
The fall/winter holidays are always a stressful time, am I right? Sure they're great and if anyone loves all the hustle and bustle of it all it's me. I love decorating, planning, surprising people with gifts, thinking about what will make my kids face light up on Christmas morning, cutting down a Christmas tree, and helping my kids learn about giving and Jesus' birth. But for some reason this past holiday season our family was slammed (like, sledgehammer slammed) with sickness. One thing after another, with no end in sight. My girls had coughs for like 80 years, which turned into a trip to the hospital and RSV & croup and long term nebluzer treatments. As if that wasn't enough, Christmas eve I started breaking out in random hives all over my body and feeling funny. Woke up in the middle of the night with my eyes swollen shut and a trip to urgent care on Christmas day with a diagnosis of pink eye. What fun! The weeks to follow would bring strep throat, ear infections, random viruses and, sorry if this is TMI, (but hey, I told you it would be personal) but the absolute WORST (and only) UTI I have ever had in my life. I think between January-March I may have spent $1,000 in medical bills for my girls and myself, and approximately 20 trips to the pediatrician or my doctor or the hospital or urgent care. In between this time, I didn't realize it but my body was so run down from stress (stress? why would I be stressed?) that without knowing it I was making my body worse and continuing my downward spiral of sickness.
Long story short, all of this not only had my body run down but it opened the doorway to anxiety. I have always been an anxious person somewhat, with some things making it worse than others. But I've also always been the kind of person who wants to handle it herself, and asking for help is something that has not always come easily for me. Over the past few months, my struggle with anxiety affected every aspect of my life in a severely negative way...from my relationship with my husband, the way I parented my girls, and just functioning as a normal human being. Because I was so anxious, my body was manifesting all of these new and weird symptoms (major chest pain at random times, migraines, feeling lightheaded, tingling feet and face) that I had never had before, and ofcourse not knowing what it was made my anxiety all that much worse. I had days where I just cried because I felt totally insane. Am I really having these symptoms or is it in my head? Am I dying? Am I having a heart attack? All while feeling like no one fully understood what I was going through. Which if you have struggled with anxiety in the past, you know that it can feel incredibly isolating and scary.
Being totally run down & struggling with such bad anxiety, I did a ton (a ton) of research on what would help me gain control over this crazy thing. I forced myself to reach out to friends and family and let them know what was going on. Turns out a lot more people were in the same shoes as I was, and while it may not have been identical situations, allowing myself to share my struggles ended up opening up conversations with friends struggling with the same thing...and I never would have known it otherwise. Amazing what happens when we choose to be vulnerable with each other :)
I made some radical changes in my health the past few months, and while I can't say things are perfect by any means, I can see how these changes have affected my life positively and set me on a road to gain more control over my body-physically and emotionally. Everyone is different, but things that have helped me tremendously especially with anxiety have been:
-Exercise...yoga is AMAZING. It was eye opening to sit in a class and realize I didn't know the last time I had just focused on my own breathing and relaxed in complete silence for 10 whole minutes.
-Diet...before all of the craziness went down, my diet was terrible. Carbs, ice cream, coffee, wine, repeat. I wouldn't take the time to meal prep or think that maybe instead of that 6th cup of coffee I should go to bed an hour or two earlier. It's not easy, but being strict with my diet has helped me feel more steady as a person and less caffeine has helped me not be so anxious.
-Sleep....I always felt like I could be most productive at night when my girls were in bed. And while that may be true, all nighters are not for this 29 year old body anymore because I end up paying for it later (and insert the tired, coffee, anxiety cycle here).
-Essential Oils. I have to admit you guys, I'm always a skeptic when it comes to certain things and when my mom had first mentioned oils to me I wasn't completely on board. She started giving me a few here and there to try and I honestly was amazed at how much they were helping me. No, they are not a "cure all" or a magic pill that will heal you of all disease and problem forever and ever amen, but I can personally testify that they have helped me. With physical things (lavender & frankincense for pink eye you guys, I'm telling you), and even more with emotional things (Joy & Stress Away all day every day). They have been so beneficial to me and my family in our every day life and I love not only using them on my body but swapping out all of my toxic cleaners and replacing them with essential oil cleaners that I know are safe around my kiddos and won't add to any issues I have going on inside my body already.
Lastly, I'm giving out just a few of my favorite basic black hair scarves! If you attend the class tomorrow night, you'll be automatically entered to win one and on top of that anyone who joins my team THIS MONTH will get one shipped right to their house on the spot. I really love these hair scarves, they're so basic and versatile and great for everyday wear.
Thank you guys so much for taking the time to stop by and listen to me ramble on about my issues :) I appreciate realness & authenticity in others and hope others see that in me also. I really appreciate the dedication and support that so many of you have given me and I know for a while things were pretty quiet around here! Hopefully not only will this shed some light on that but will spark a fire into healthy living for you too if you're on a similar path! xo