Ever feel like your body is trying to tell you something? Not even subtle, like, “wake up b*tch and start taking better care of me”? That’s the message I’m getting after battling my gazillionth virus so far this year. Pretty sure my immune system has been on all-out strike, which wouldn’t be as bad if I weren’t a Type 1 diabetic, which means my immune system already has a history of being confused about who the real enemy is (MUST…KILL…HEALTHY…BETA-CELLS…). Even a #basic cold virus turns #notsobasic when my blood sugars fly out of control and land me in the hospital hooked up to an IV. That was last week, and I’m all like OK OK BODY, I’M LISTENING.
How often do we sideline self-care in the name of our work/kids/BFFs/spouses/pets/chores or anything else that we deem more important than our own health? Raise your hand if you feel me. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been focusing on growing my company and networking group, finding new clients, writing my blog, stressing over whether I’m spending enough time with the kids, moving my family into a new home, counseling friends on life changes, and generally just trying to keep my head above water. All worthy causes BUT somewhere along the way I completely lost focus on my own self-care. I stopped exercising (aside from those two weeks of lugging boxes around, which I guess kinda counts), started living off of protein bars and egg sandwiches, spent endless hours hunched over a screen, and wrapped up each exhausting day with a full glass of wine. Which again, as a diabetic, equals crazy blood sugar fluctuations all.damn.night.long. So lack of sleep became another issue on top of all the rest.
I’d venture to say these are pretty crappy choices for ANYONE, even if they don’t have autoimmune issues. A few years ago I was straight KILLIN IT; running up to 10 miles each week, doing yoga on weekends, eating a vegetarian diet…but still drinking far too much alcohol because, #corporatelife. Yet still, I almost never got sick. Last year when I quit my corporate gig I promised myself I’d be taking daily walks, hitting the gym more often, going back to my acupuncturist, and cooking meals at home. I swore I’d make more time for those things because as a new business owner, I was FINALLY in charge of my own schedule.
LOLOLOLOLOL. What a hilarious fairytale I told myself.
As a new business owner, my schedule was Alice-in-Wonderland-style MADNESS. It doesn’t need more explanation than that. I eventually got it under control, but the damage had been done. I’d been out of a healthy routine for so long that I couldn’t even remember what one was supposed to look like. Then came the first of several eye-openers. The networking group I founded, CreateUP, did a trial run of an empowerment photoshoot in which I decided to strip down to my underwear in defiance of my former corporate attire and image. Now TBH, I’m not normally very self-conscious or body-obsessed. I actually lost over70 pounds after college and am proud of the fact that I’ve kept it off for a full decade. But I didn’t like what I saw in those photoshoot images…sagging skin where there used to be muscle, boney arms with little definition, red splotches and wrinkles on my face, puffiness around my belly from constant insulin injections, stained teeth from too much coffee and red wine. A HOT MESS. Luckily David Moyle is a wickedly talented photographer and photoshopper who was able to disguise some of these issues, but trust me, they’re there.
And while I noticed, it wasn’t enough for me to make any big changes. But then the onslaught of viruses happened. My hormone cycle went haywire. Migraines knocked me on my ass. Anxiety skyrocketed. I remember seeing a quote at one point that really hit home: “A man with his health has a million dreams. A man without his health has but one.” What would happen to my dreams if I had to battle greater health issues? Sure, I had my proverbial cross to bear with the Type 1 Diabetes, which I can chalk up to just shitty luck. As for the rest, I had total control and yet continued to take it for granted by making dumb choices.
Well this blonde will be dumb no more.
Today I’m making some new choices. To make self-care a priority again. To kick my immune system in the ass and tell it to get the FUCK back to work; this is not a parttime job. To see my best self in the mirror, and BE my best self for those who need me. To defiantly thrive with my health as if it’s my business. Want to show your support? Don’t go sending me crap on fad diets, supplements, essential oils, magic drinks and shakes, botox discounts, or promos on new surgical procedures. I prefer to kick it old school. Bring me your outdoor activity invites, bikes for sale, fun fitness classes, charity runs, favorite SoCal farmers markets, cardo playlists, and quick & healthy recipes that even my picky husband will eat.
Even better? JOIN ME. It’s not a cult (at least not yet); just a movement that should be equal parts fun and purposeful. If you’re down with it, share your mental & physical wellness tips over the next few months and hashtag the shit outta #selfcaresummer. I’m working on some promos as added incentive, and will post regular updates on my own progress. In the meantime, if you need to find me, just follow the trail of Kleenex…