Have you ever worked really hard to change a habit? You think you are on the other side ...and then all the sudden realize you are headed straight back to the depths of the habit you were trying to change? No? Just me? Ok, well I am going to share anyway. 😊
I just had this happen, in a big way. I have been doing my best to take care of my health - physically, mentally and emotionally and for me that means not taking on the world anymore. It means saying no and doing less. Doing only the things that really matter for me and my family. It means telling my husband and my kids and often times others, “no I’m sorry that is just not possible right now - I need to take it easy”.
All of this is part of stress management and for me it is an integral part of managing my Autoimmune Disease. I have felt great for the last year or so and in the last few months my marriage has been able to begin to recover from several years of just simple lack of care and lack of priority. Let me dive a little deeper into that. I hadn’t made space for myself or what I needed in order to be well. I was taking on everything for everyone and I didn’t know how to tell anyone I couldn’t make that happen. I also didn’t realize I was allowed to give myself grace and say, “I can’t make that happen”. As a wife and mother, we think we MUST put our families first - it is what is expected. For some folks though that is what is slowly killing us. If we don’t find balance, we can find ourselves in a place of exhaustion that our body cannot physically recover from without it shutting down. I know I am headed into that place when I can no longer think straight to even make the list of things that need to be done.When I am at that state of overwhelm it is a huge sign that I am headed to an unhealthy place. Learning your own signs AND listening to them is a sign of healing and making that new habit. IT IS OK to put YOURSELF first!!!
So, I have shared what I can’t do and now I want to share what I DO to help myself stay in the healthy place:
1. Sleep - I make myself go to bed, the “things” will still be there in the morning and I do my best to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.
2. Eat - I am a much better and healthier human when I eat 3 good meals a day.
3. Have a plan - for meals, for who is taking the kids where and when, what my husband and I will be doing as a couple every week.
4. Use my tools - Essential Oils are a HUGE part of my routine and my wellness. I apply oils frequently and keep them all around me, I follow my gut as to what I need and I don’t over think it. For example, Northern Lights Black Spruce is something that makes my stress level much lower when I use it frequently. The Envision, Gratitude and GeneYus blends are things that help me stay balanced and on top of my game, as well as several other blends I mix together myself.
5. Make time for myself - if I am exhausted and feel depleted, I have nothing left for anyone else. I have given myself permission to fill my cup with friends and my Bible Study group weekly. Without that time, I recognize that I am not fully functioning. Find what fills YOUR cup.
6. Cooking/ Baking - this is something I love and that serves a dual purpose. It provides me an outlet of enjoyment and it feeds my family. We all have to eat! Meal planning and prepping can also be a family activity. My kids love to help in the kitchen and it is a great lesson for them.
So many of these things are individual preferences but you get the idea. If you aren’t taking care of YOU, you will eventually not be able to take care of anyone else. Why do we think it is only ok to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first on the plane? This is a metaphor for our lives... you cannot take care of anyone else if you are depleted, exhausted and unwell. YOU must come first; this isn’t a frivolous luxury but a necessity for your family. I take it as my personal responsibility to set a good example for my children. It is important to make sure we are well as individuals. You are responsible for you.
Curious about how to find the essential oils I talked about? I can hook you up! You are going to want to start here, want more details shoot me an email or text!
Have you heard of the Switch Witch? She is a favorite in our house! We love to dress up and go Trick or Treat, see all of the fun decorations and be out and about… but we don’t really don’t feel like the candy is great for our household. Sugar, food dyes, and just lots of processed STUFF and let's be honest… aren’t you usually still finding Halloween candy around the house 6 months later? A few years ago, a friend mentioned that her family was visited by the Switch Witch the day after Halloween, I was intrigued and started asking more questions. So here is the gist… the kids go Trick or Treating, they bring home all of the goodies – they pick a treat they would like to eat, they enjoy it and then leave the rest out for the Switch Witch to come over night. Now, lets be realistic… the Switch Witch doesn’t always make all of her stops the night after Halloween, sometimes she comes during the day while they are at school or even the next night but she comes within a day or two. When the Switch Witch comes, she takes all of the candy and leaves a small toy. At our house that typically means a Lego set of some kind.
Now, I know you are thinking that seems crazy and why not just let them have the candy? For us, our kids don’t really eat much candy and they prefer the treats that they get (pretty regularly) that are less processed, less sugar and don’t contain food dyes. They enjoy the treat they get on Halloween night but also really look forward to the Switch Witch, they usually start saving the things they get from random places at the beginning of October and they have quite a collection for her by Halloween. Another thing to consider… sugar has been shown to lower the immune system. I ask you to take a moment to think about when the majority of illnesses occur – typically around the late fall (Halloween) through right around Easter. So, what things are we typically eating through this time period? Lots of sweets with all of the holidays AND not getting much outside time or sun light as it is winter.
We choose to make a different choice, that works really well for our family. Our kids get to go out and have lots of fun and be kids but we as a family also don’t have the sugary, processed temptations lying around the house staring at us for months! So, is the Switch Witch going to be visiting your house?
How often do you just feel stressed and strung out? Do you feel like you are ALWAYS on edge? This is something that unfortunately is pretty commonplace in our culture, and it is one of the things that slowly wrecks our health. When we are constantly in this stressed out, high cortisol place our body thinks it is fighting for its life. Imagine being chased by a bear ALL the time… that is what your body thinks is happening. Unfortunately, bodies were meant to only sustain that level of stress while actually BEING chased by a bear, not every.day.all.day. Our system gets to a point where it just can’t manage this anymore and it begins to break down. We see higher inflammation in our bodies and we struggle to manage the little things because, at this point, EVERYTHING is overwhelming to our bodies. Instead of diving deeper into the science of this, I promise there are tons of articles out there and books on this exact topic… lets look at how we can do little things to help reduce and manage our stress and stop letting the bear chase us all the time! Here are 8 ideas to help you take a breather and slow it down.
Before you tell me “I don’t have time to slow down” because I know that’s what you are thinking. Let me just say this – I didn’t think I had time either and then my body didn’t give me a choice. Instead of giving me the gentle cues that enough was enough it forced me to plant myself in bed for weeks at a time. It is our responsibility to MAKE time to slow down because once our bodies force us to slow down the consequences can be MUCH greater than little Jimmy not making it to soccer practice on time or the family eating leftovers for dinner… which believe it or not is actually a favorite in our house – it is a chance to get your favorite meal from the week again! So, without further ado… lets dive into ways to slow down
As you can see, there are LOTS of different ways to take a step back and stop allowing the bear to chase you. It is so important for not only your mental health but also your physical and emotional health to find this slower pace that allows you to find peace daily. Trust me, I still have my stressful days but for the most part I do what I can each day and have let go of the idea that everything must get done TODAY. It is a hard lesson to learn but one that I don’t personally want to learn again. I hope you find this information helpful and maybe are even intrigued to try something new! Be Well!
Karly is a Wife, Mom, Entrepreneur, FNTP and Non-Toxic Living Specialist and Lover of Food - living in a small suburb of Austin, TX.