This is going to be a little bit of a different post than what you guys are used to, and a little bit more vulnerable, but if I can speak to one person with this post, then it will be worth it!
I think it is important to share our vulnerabilities because as people, that is one way that we can connect with one another. We all go through struggles, life is not simple. Life is complicated, and messy and does not always go the way you planned it, but knowing someone has gone through, or is going through something similar to what you are experiencing or facing… it makes you feel like you are not alone. It makes you feel like you can get past it and it makes you feel connected. We all need connection in our lives.
I talk a lot about focusing on your goals, putting yourself first, and that if you want changes to happen, you need to be committed to what you want to achieve, and committed to the lifestyle. But I also know and acknowledge that sometimes, life dishes you things you were not expecting- and what determines how you move forward from it, is how you deal with it.
Earlier this year, when I was really starting to get a handle on my nutrition again. I was seeing the scale go down and I was feeling really good about the consistency in my workouts and the growth in my blog network, I was thrown quite the curve ball.
My Naturopathic Doctor (ND) explained to me I could be experiencing some delayed postpartum. She told me that women are more often seeing postpartum appear later on, when they previously had not been affected by it. It can be brought on by stress and also in my case, hormonal imbalance. I felt numb in most aspects of my life. Everything was stressful and I was in a constant state of anxiousness, sometimes I could barely drive. I felt like my only safe place was with my daughter and nothing else could make me feel settled(which is usually not the case for postpartum, but I rarely do anything like the mold 😉 ). I could hardly go to work everyday, much less had any interest in the work I was doing, I always felt on the verge of tears (in fact I sobbed almost the entire time of my friend’s birthday lunch.. yeah I know.. happy birthday to her right lol). Every single thing in my life was getting to be too much for me to handle, even the things that were good for me.
My ND gave me a really neat analogy to try and make sense of it all. She called it ‘The Anti-Santa’- essentially it goes like this: Santa has a very full sack at the beginning of the night, and it weighs heavily on him even though it is full of toys and things of joy, but as the night goes on, he empties it and he slowly begins to feel lighter, like he can breathe again. So, the Anti Santa concept assumes that we all have a hypothetical sack on our backs and everything that we take on- good or bad- adds to the weight of that sack, which can start to be too much to carry.
What was in my sack: working full time hours at a new job that I am still learning, parenting a toddler, being a present partner and wife, being a friend, taking care of things while my husband worked late nights away from home for our family, walking the dog, keeping up with chores, cooking, eating well, working out, writing, supporting other people towards their goals.. pretty full.
I am very self aware, and usually when I feel a little bit of stress, I am able to bring myself back, but I was finding it harder and harder to bring myself back to center and I felt like I was losing control- it was scary for me. Feeling so helpless and not able to control thoughts and emotions. Thankfully as I was reaching the brink, it was right before I had a one week holiday planned. We had booked a cottage and we were going to be away from real life for the week. So what did I do: along with some temporary herbal medicine to regulate my hormones, I emptied my sac; totally, except for the bare minimum things that I needed to get through the day and just focused on taking care of my mental health. The week away was extremely helpful for me, I relaxed, had very little expectations, did things as I wanted too and truly decompressed, but on our last day I was worried to go back to real life, sacred of losing that serenity I was creating in my life again.
When we returned, I was mindful to not put any extra expectations on myself, I went to work and came home and took it easy every night, I didn’t really tell too many people and I just decompressed everyday. I was not working out, I was not worrying about what I was eating, I was just existing with my family. And I slowly started to feel better. And when I did, I slowly started working out again. Eventually all those stressful things did not feel stressful anymore and I felt like myself again.
Guys, life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Our fitness and health journeys are not always going to be easy, and you will have things that will throw you off track BIG TIME, but here’s what I learned. This is a lifestyle, it’s not just a phase. Putting your health first, eating well, being consistently active, getting enough sleep, doing things that make you happy should always be what you come back to.
Hugs and Kisses,