This is a picture from a Memorial Day weekend away with my family in Washington DC. The weekend after this trip I broke down from all of the stress in my life. Everyone breaks down differently. For me, it’s a feeling of being overwhelmed with life and losing control. It’s usually followed with uncontrollable crying. I have had less then a handful of breakdowns in my life. Sometimes a breakdown happens after a single stressful event. Like when my dad broke his leg skiing in Canada last year, and laid in the hospital for four days on a morphine drip while he waited for a surgeon to have enough time to perform emergency surgery. This time, I broke under a mountain of small stresses building up over time. I am an oldest child and Asian so not being able to control my life or emotions is not a place I feel comfortable. I am at my most vulnerable and a breakdown is my body’s way of crying out to start making changes in my life and get myself to feeling good.
We all have “baseline stress” in our life where we worry our kids will always be safe, deal with rush hour traffic, scramble to make our deadlines at work. Baseline stress is normal and ok. Occasionally, really stressful events will happen in our lives and our bodies have natural defense mechanisms to manage these circumstances. Over the last few months I’ve piled onto my body lots of small stresses from all the unexpected things that happen when building a house, living with my parents during construction, taking on a high profile project and working more hours, and launching a health coach practice. These were consistent every day stresses that were added to my “baseline stress”, and it was too much and my body broke. Our bodies were not made to be really stressed all the time and it tells us by having trouble sleeping, thinking, digesting. When things are really bad, they break down.
I’m slowly climbing my way back to feeling good. It hasn’t been easy because I’ve developed a lot of bad habits these past months and I need to replace them with good habits of health. Here are the habits I’m creating in my life to put my body back together and feel good:
- At least 7 hours of sleep a night. This is so important for my road to recovery. My body will only get better if I let it rest.
- At least 30 minutes of free time a day. This is me-time where I selfishly do anything that makes me happy. For me, it’s finding places to go on vacation, getting a pedicure, reading, and shopping.
- At least 30 minutes of exercise and movement. It can be a class or a walk around the neighborhood, just make sure it’s something you enjoy.
- 1 time a week have coffee or lunch with a friend. Social connection is so important to good health.
- Eat a nutrient-dense diet. Lots of vegetables, grass-fed and pastured meats, broths, gluten-free, stay away from processed foods, and 2 alcoholic drinks a week.
Broken but going to be ok,