A few years ago, I got to a point where I started becoming aware that I wasn't strong, robust and healthy in many areas of my life. I had always thrived on being busy, social, and full of commitments but this basically led to a physical and emotional check point when I got married. I was tired physically and emotionally, wired from too much caffeine, sick with headaches and stomach upsets from not eating regular meals, emotionally unstable from trying to please other people, disappointed in myself for a whole variety of 'reasons' and just generally feeling a bit lost.
My hair was dry, thin and broke easily from too much hair dye, my nails were brittle, my skin was dry, I was thirsty all the time but just kept drinking more tea and coffee, and I must've been starving my insides for lack of wisdom about eating to sustain myself through the day. When given the option to exercise I would try and get out of it because of headaches, dizziness and feeling sick in my stomach.
I also remember distinctly feeling a lack of focus and drive and it was a struggle to get through a day without crying or being angry, upset or put out, reading too much into everyone's everything! It was very easy to always find someone else to blame for how I felt or how I reacted, but then deep down I knew it was me and I would get so upset at myself that I almost couldn't pull myself out of this deep internal spin I'd started in my head. It was tiring and hard work. Not just for me but imagine my poor husband!!!
So bit by bit, it was through his patience and consistent belief in me that I was able to start healing. He has helped me to kick start this breakthrough in physical and emotion health and has been there every step of the way. Over the past 4 years this has been my journey.
This is what has helped me.
EMOTIONALLY // SPIRITUALLY:
- Stopped journaling (for many people this is the other way round, and I think it's a great exercise, however I found it perpetuated my negative and unhealthy thought/emotional patterns, I still write but in a different way now).
- Started working on my emotional responses and response times.
- Shifted my focus and thinking toward a more 'simple' and 'light' approach to people and situations, not attributing meaning to things that were not there.
- Culled what I was reading or watching, and streamlined the messages I was filling myself with through books, magazines and tv shows.
- Got outside more often for walks or to eat my lunch or have my coffee.
- Started taking notice of how my body felt, emotions were triggered, and how my thoughts were patterned based on how much sleep I had or what I had eaten rather than letting them run the show and just think to myself 'I'm just an emotional person'.
- Focus on not rushing everywhere-even if it's a busy day, focussed on relaxing my shoulders, drinking water on the go and eating. I try and feel relaxed even when I've got a few things to get to. It's a good mind body exercise!
- Avoid shops so I don't want to buy new things all the time.
- Designed my home so I'm happy to be there a lot, created a workspace that is able to stay neat and clean and a sitting area that can stay child free (sort of).
- Plan home & garden to be child friendly so we don't need to go out everyday for toddler activities if we don't want to.
- Got organised in my days: meal plan, write a family calendar & use freezer more.
- Got rid of body/mind guilt around food, exercise and commitments.
- Became ok with slower days, broken sleep & ‘unproductive’.
- Realised lasting change comes from the inside and is led and sustained by the Holy Spirit.
- Took notice of what I was watching, listening to and reading, and made changes if it wasn't helping me think healthy thoughts towards myself or others.
- Wrote down where I would like to be and some goals as to how I can get there; ie: natural energy and not reliant on coffee, balanced and healthy emotional responses, clear mind, present for my children, not striving to do or be more in this stage of life etc.
- Dealt with how I process emotions.
- Started to practice renewing my mind which helped my thought life & emotions get under control.
PHYSICALLY // NUTRITIONALLY:
- Started eating regular meals & snacks, specifically better breakfasts (not just coffee and a muffin) and actually eating lunch.
- Exercised a few times a week in gym classes and built strength with weights classes, but also value good long walks, bike rides and reformer Pilates classes during pregnancy.
- Lowered caffeine to 2-3 cups a day (and then a while later to 1 a day, and now to 3 a week).
- Cut out refined sugar.
- Started valuing sleep and rest times.
- Started using natural cleaning products, hair care, skincare and make up, including deodorant and stopped using hair spray or styling products.
- Cut my hair short regularly, didn't dye it for over 12 months + put away my curling iron and straightener, found a good quality natural shampoo & conditioner. I’ve now been growing my hair out and it is so healthy and strong (thank you pregnancy hormones!)
- Started using essential oils as natural solutions to emotional health and immune support.
- Started taking some supplements & probiotics relevant to my health needs (with the help of my brilliant friend & Naturopath Alissa).
- Dry body brushed and use coconut oil as moisturiser.
- Try and wear perfume only on date nights or special outings.
- Get eyelashes & eyebrows tinted instead of wearing make up every day.
- Drink as much water as I can every day.
- Decluttered my home.
- Minimal to no alcohol.
- Minimise gluten/white flours but still eat whole grains & bread.
- Daily make fresh juice & smoothies to increase my nutrient and fibre intake.
- Eat a proper breakfast.
- Include protein & good fats in every meal, as I have a fast metabolism this has made a huge impact on stabilising my blood sugar levels (and as a result moods) throughout the day.
- Increase fresh fruit veggies every day to unlimited amount.
ASKNG FOR WISDOM:
At various stages of my journey I have stopped and prayed for wisdom regarding the next specific steps to my health and healing. I have found that the Scripture from the Bible (James 1:5) that says "If you need wisdom ask our generous God for it! He will not rebuke you for asking" is true through and through. I also like the version from 'The Message Bible' that says it like this, "If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help and you won't be condescended to when you ask for it". I don't know what I am doing, many times I don't know how to help myself or heal myself but God does, he created me and knows the intricate design of my body, soul and spirit and he loves to help me find wholeness and health when I ask for it! I have never felt stupid once I've asked for his help, but empowered, peaceful and clear on what to do next. Plus I've felt the ability to make the change!