Let’s Talk Stress & Health
Hi Everyone! In this installment of our Real Talk series, I wanted to discuss how our busy lifestyles can negatively affect our general health and well-being.
Lack of Self-Care
Self-care is something many of us women are lacking in today’s chaotic world. The majority of women interpret self-care as selfishness, but that is the furthest thing from the truth!
As women, we are natural caretakers, but it’s also expected from us. From our husbands to children, grandchildren, and even sick family members; we bend our lives around the needs of those close to us and tend to forget about ourselves.
I have been right there with all of you. There are moments where I feel like a dumping ground for all of my family’s problems. While I’m trying to help, give advice, and lend a hand wherever I can, it can be draining. That’s why we need to slow down and remember to take care of ourselves, because if we aren’t around to do everything then all hope is lost for the rest of them!
I know many of us feel like we can do it all, but unfortunately, there aren’t enough hours in the day. We are all superwoman for what we can accomplish, that’s not even a question! Still, we’re not responsible for the whole world without any breaks in-between.
“Self-care is self-respect.”
My Health Scare
I recently had a wake-up call about this very issue. I feel as if I give myself enough time to recharge and incorporate some self-care weekly. Where I do fall short, though, are matters of health in terms of the long haul.
I tend to cancel or reschedule doctors’ appointments for myself. At the time, it never seems of immediate importance. Now if my husband or daughters did this, I would get on the phone and make the appointment myself. So we need to start taking our own advice.
Maybe I unconsciously postpone doctor appointments because I’m scared of hearing bad news. Logically, this is counterproductive.
“The longer you wait to get a check-up, the greater chance you have of actually having a problem. Most times they are problems that you could have prevented if you went sooner. Which is exactly what happened to me.”
Eventually, it caught up to me.
Just recently I was diagnosed with Osteopenia, which in most cases is a precursor to Osteoporosis. My doctor told me that if I hadn’t been working out and strength training, I would’ve already had Osteoporosis.
Gosh, did this shake me up! Because of this, I needed to have immediate parathyroid surgery.
Being laid up for a few months at the beginning of summer was not the way I planned on spending May and June! The scary part was how close I was to Osteoporosis. This is because I was scheduled to get a bone density test over a year ago and kept pushing it off.
I didn’t put myself and my health first.
What Stress Can Do to Your Body
The surgery was much more difficult to recover from than I thought. Even after my surgery, I still wasn’t listening to my body and taking care of myself properly! It sounds a little crazy, but that’s what happened.
I thought I should be feeling better, but I wasn’t. I was exhausted and stressed, feeling overwhelmed because I couldn’t get the things done that needed doing. I wasn’t sleeping well, which didn’t allow for my body to heal.
“Stress is a killer, literally!”
Although I lead a healthy life in terms of working out every week and eating well, I still deal with high blood pressure. It’s been under control for years, but during this time (after my surgery) my pressure was off the charts! Even though I am on medication for this issue, the stress I was putting myself under affected my blood pressure. It became so high that I was losing my balance and I often felt faint from just standing up too quickly.
So I decided to take it easy on myself. I had jumped right back into my usual schedule way too fast and didn’t give my body enough time to fully recuperate. I took time off from the gym and tried not to overbook my days. After taking it slower and giving my body and mind a minute to heal, my blood pressure returned to normal.
I am now just getting back to the gym and my everyday routine. I feel great right now getting back to it all. But going forward I’ll definitely have to be more conscious of what my body is trying to tell me.
Paige Kelly’s Self-Care Tips
My good friend and nutritionist, Paige Kelly, just wrote about this topic in her monthly article for the blog. We all know someone, or we are that someone, whose health is affected by this constant whirlwind life we lead.
Check out her post by clicking here.
She has some great tips on how to slow down and take care of our bodies. Exactly what we have been talking about here.
Society’s Expectations Vs. Reality
Back in the 1970s, there was this idea that women could have it all. There was even this commercial, I think it was for a perfume, and I still remember the words. Here goes:
“I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you’re the man!”
Good God, I’m exhausted!! She probably has to clean the pan, too!
This concept still extends in today’s culture, only tenfold, and without the added sexism. This is an ideal version of life, but it isn’t reality. You will face plenty of roadblocks and bumps along the way, derailing your plans to “have it all.”
Having it all, unfortunately, does not mean that we can DO it all. We might try, but eventually, you will fall short in some area of your life. If something suffers, usually it’s our health that gets neglected first.
Call to Action – Where to Start
So how can we start to care for ourselves? I think a great way is to start saying “NO.” Say NO to overextending ourselves. Say NO to adding one more thing to our to-do list. As a matter of fact, say NO to the damn to-do list.
Take time for yourself to do exactly what you want to do.
- Quiet time is not overrated. Take a nap! Sleep is something that so many of us are lacking, and that wreaks major havoc on our health if we don’t get enough.
- I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Exercising, in any form, is a great stress reliever. So, how about hitting the gym or hitting something in the gym! Boxing classes are everywhere now, and there’s no better stress reliever than punching that bag!
- Take some time out of the day to detox from technology, or take a whole day if you can on the weekend.
- Have a spa night.
- Read a good book.
- Take a walk on a beautiful day and appreciate everything around you.
- Lay in the sun and soak up some Vitamin D, just put your sunscreen on first.
- Most importantly, get your yearly medical check-ups and mammograms. Listen to what your body is telling you. Listen to what your doctor has to say. Also, most importantly, make sure your doctor listens to you. Don’t leave that office until all your questions or concerns have been answered.
So let’s start to think about ourselves first. Take some pressure out of our lives and put some joy in its place. Find that thing that makes you happy and do it. Even if it’s just closing your bedroom door, putting a face mask on and relaxing for an hour.
Let’s all show ourselves some self-love. Take care of yourself before you are forced to. Our families will thank us for it!
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Do you know someone who can’t sit down and take a minute for themselves, or is that person you? Let me know if you can relate in the comment section. I would love to hear some of your stories on this subject!
What do you do for your self-care? If you paused to think about that, then you’re routine might need some work. If you come up with nothing as an answer I hope this post will encourage you to change that!