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Challenge: Rise!

Self-Care; More Than A Trendy Hashtag

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Life change can be gradual or hit you like a ton of bricks. Both come with challenges and a lot of change. After getting married, I thought my biggest life change would be having a baby. My husband and I were thrilled when we found we’d be welcoming a son into the world. For months we baby-proofed, read parenting books and planned for the future. Once my sweet boy arrived, life changed in many ways, but nothing prepared me for the life change that happened over the next two years. This life changes came out of nowhere and changed everything. I learned to listen to my body, focus on my nutrition and realized taking care of my body’s needs made me a stronger mother and a better wife to my husband.

Early into 2017, I found myself at my doctor’s office trying to keep myself from throwing up and falling over. I was desperate to feel better so I could be more present in my son’s life, but I couldn’t muster up the energy to get out of bed somedays. My doctor recommended a few days off and a bit of rest. I knew uncovering answers and finding my own path to wellness would require much more than a day off, bless my doctor’s heart. I knew this mainly because I’m a woman and I have pretty stellar intuition but also because my health had been teetering on the edge for a while.

Just like a lot of us, I went to the doctor looking for a quick fix but in my deepest of hearts I knew my fix wouldn’t be quick or painless. As I’d come to learn, my solution would span the rest of 2017, as I essentially rebuilt my best life and my clearest understanding of myself.

After countless numbers of labs and tests I received the call. The nurse on the other line opened with “I’m not sure how to ask this but are you a heavy drinker?” I smirked to myself because the only heavy drinking I was engaging in was my daily chai tea lattes from my local Starbucks. I answered her politely and told her, “no”.

She then asked me about over-the-counter medications and I instantly paused. Mentally I started listing the medications (or lifelines) which helped me get through my day as a mama, wife, friend, business owner and women who so badly wants to love on and celebrate others. The nurse didn’t have to tell me, I instantly realized those quick fixes caused me to feel so terrible. In a guilty tone, I owned up to all the medications I took on a daily basis. Multiple Excedrin for migraines, UTI medicine every other week for chronic bladder infections, stomach pills for nonstop bathroom breaks, Tums for heartburn, Midol for intense cycles, Nyquil to help me fall asleep and of then soda and caffeine to help me stay awake during the day. My home had become a full-blown pharmacy and my liver was paying the severe consequences of my efforts to band aid my illnesses and the many layers of destruction I had caused.

That call, which uncovered elevated liver enzymes, off the chart blood cell counts, and unfortunately nothing else that could give me immediate concrete answers, prompted what would become my personal mission to fix myself from the inside out. That call, prompted an unexpected and currently ongoing journey of self-advocacy for health and wellness. Not just physical wellness, but mental and emotional wellness too. Quickly I changed my diet and started eating whole foods that served my body well. I started visiting a local naturopath who helped me take my health seriously. I attended weekly sessions with a counselor to process the grief and confusion of a difficult childhood. My husband and I started attending sessions together which we declare is now the cornerstone in our marriage. That call saved my life because you never know how sick you are until you start to feel better.

After a few months of my new lifestyle, I started to move about my life with a zest and sense of energy. Mornings, which were once plagued with exhaustion and a sense of helplessness, had morphed into sacred pockets of time to savor my family and prepare intentionally for my day. Sleep became a nightly priority not a random luxury. Self-care became more than a trendy hashtag on Instagram. It became a part of my every day and a guilt free habit.

Twelve really bittersweet months in 2017 forced me to relearn how to care for myself, find my own unique balance in life, fight for contentment, and best of all, relearn what it means to celebrate the little things. Because the little things are far from small.

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