It’s time to come clean….
I haven’t been completely honest with you or honest at all…
Stick with me… This is a long post. The 2nd half will be much more interesting, but I felt it was important to give you some background, so you can see how I got to where I am at.
This is really hard for me to share. I don’t often get personal on my blog or social media or really anywhere. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. Not the detail-oriented kind that we usually think of, but the socially prescribed type. This refers to those of us that believe others want us to be perfect, so we have to live up to those expectations.
I constantly feel an internal pressure to be a perfect example for others and to never make choices that are less than perfect. This has really proven to be true in my job as a blogger and health coach. Unfortunately, this self-induced pressure has caused me to feel less connected to my work lately. Since I haven’t been doing things perfectly behind the scenes, I struggle with what I want to share with you here and on Instagram.
I am lucky enough to have an amazing, small circle of female entrepreneurs that I share everything with – all of my challenges and all of my wins.
On New Year’s Day, one of them posted in our group asking us to share what our word is for 2016. I actually hadn’t given much thought to this yet, but I instantly said “self-care”. This is basically something I’ve ignored for the last couple of years. Ever since becoming a mom, I almost never make time for myself. If I have any free time, I spend it working. It just jumped out at me, in that moment. I realized that I can’t keep going like this.
Then a few days later, I started ranting about how I’m not sure what to do with my blog. I haven’t been posting on Instagram lately because I feel burned out and exhausted. Something that once felt so fun and natural to me, has started to feel like work.
I started my blog in 2009. After nearly a decade of struggling with my health, I felt amazing! I had so much energy and I felt so vibrant. I couldn’t wait to share that with all of you and inspire you to do the same.
This was all good and dandy for the first 4 years. Paleo changed my life, I had an incredibly healthy pregnancy, gaving birth to a thriving sweet girl.
Looking back at my life 6 years ago, when I first started eating Paleo….
All I did was Crossfit, cook, go to work, hang out with friends and relax. It was pretty awesome! I did have some underlying health issues that I was working through with a practitioner. I was the most ideal patient. I did every single thing he told me to do and I recovered incredibly quickly.
He told me to get weekly acupuncture – check! He told me to drink broth daily – check! He gave me a gazillion supplements to take 3x a day – check. He also told me that I had one of the best adrenal test results he had ever seen! Of course I did! I slept 9 to 10 hours a night. It was incredible!
But then something happened …
My life went from revolving around health and fitness to….
The first few months were pretty amazing. Indyanna was my first baby. I took 4 months off of work. She was a good sleeper (don’t get too jealous, it definitely didn’t stay that way for long ;)). I checked out of work. I didn’t check my email once during my maternity leave. I slept all the time and just snuggled my sweet girl. Complete bliss.
Then it was time to go back to work…And reality set in. I tried to get back to my healthy lifestyle over and over, but I couldn’t commit. I didn’t understand why, as it once felt so easy for me.
Workouts – out the window. Who has energy for that when you’ve been up with a baby all night and at the office all day?
Healthy, well balanced meals – I wish! We still ate Paleo-ish, organic and all that jazz. But most meals consisted of slow cooker chicken, rice and salad. No more fancy Osso Buco or Pork Chops with Pomegranate Sauce.
Necessary supplements – at best, I remember to take them twice a week.
After about a year, something else started to happen. All the health issues that I had so easily overcome in the past, came back with a vengeance. Ok… maybe that’s an over-exaggeration. But they did come back, which I never expected would happen.
I kept wondering why is this happening? Why don’t I feel well and vibrant anymore? I am still eating so healthy.
I think what triggered my health issues again was stress and lack of sleep. The stress wasn’t sudden, so it was a little difficult to recognize at first. I actually didn’t even realize it was happening until it was a little too late.
I had felt so good all throughout my pregnancy and even through the first year of parenting. I think my years of great sleep and proper nutrition are what allowed me to feel so well. Since I still had so much energy, I just kept doing all the same things as I had been doing before I became a mom. I didn’t cut back on anything after I became a parent. I didn’t think I had to. I thought my Paleo super powers would get me through. 😉
I wanted to keep up with my current career while I built my career as a blogger and a health coach. Throughout, all that I wanted to be the perfect parent – one that made all of Indyanna’s food from scratch, was present with her, made sure she got all of her rest. I’ll be honest… I was a major control freak! So, I didn’t ask for any help.
So how did I make this all work? I got no sleep! Yes, I sacrificed sleep! I felt like such a hypocrite. All the things I told you to do – prioritize sleep, don’t work at night, make time to unwind – I wasn’t doing! Oh… but that uninterrupted time when baby went to bed and wouldn’t be up for at least another 5 to 6 hours was impossible to resist. That late night time became my “me time”. I told myself it’s ok… I feel fine. And then guess what happened?!?
One day… I woke up and I didn’t feel so fine anymore. I actually felt like a wreck. Maybe even worse than before I went Paleo. Maybe it didn’t happen overnight, but it sure felt like it. All that lack of sleep and my self induced pressure to “keep up with crunchies” added up and I frankly felt like crap. I actually ended up with Stage 4 Adrenal Fatigue.
But I never told you that. Not because I was embarrassed. Many people in my personal life knew.
I had started my blog with an intention, a purpose, and it was to show others how to use real food to feel their best. I felt like that’s what people expected of me. With my perfectionist nature, I didn’t want to let you down and tell you I had run myself ragged. I thought if I did that, I wouldn’t be able to inspire you to keep making healthier choices.
So instead, when my lunch was a few pieces of sliced turkey, some carrot sticks and whatever other random food I could find in my fridge because I had no time to meal plan or even cook a meal, I would take 10 minutes to style that measly lunch, stick a flower next to it and make you all think that my life is full of unicorns and fairies. I thought that pretty picture is what would inspire you.
I still do believe that there’s so much value in nourishing ourselves with healthy food. Food was my #1 priority for a long time, and maybe even my only priority. I really used to think if you just ate healthy; it would all fall into place. That had been my reality for so long. Although all the research showed that sleep and stress were equal contributors to our health, it was hard for me to wholeheartedly believe that until I experienced it.
Now I’ve experienced it and I understand that the four quadrants of health – sleep, stress, nutrition and exercise all play an important role in our lives. Sometimes we have to prioritize one or two over the other. Right now, my priority is to reduce stress.
For me that means not always making perfect Paleo choices, but making choices that are perfect for a mom doing her best.
[bctt tweet=”Not always making perfect Paleo choices, but making choices that are perfect for a mom doing her best.”]
I’ll share more about what those exact choices look like for me in a separate post because I think we can agree that this one is plenty long. 🙂
Back to my tight knit group of fabulous women… when I shared much of the above with them, they said why don’t you share this with your readers? This is what all of us mamas want to see, not the perfect life we believe everyone else on social media lives. Share with us about your year of self-care and also share your struggles with us too. Show us when it just can’t happen or it doesn’t happen as perfectly as you had envisioned. Also, show us the little and big things you are doing to take care of yourself.
I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me to just be authentic with all of you incredible people. I am so glad my friends encouraged me to do it. And if you’re a mom, chances are you need to be inspired to make choices that take care of YOU sometimes too, more than you need to know which brand of protein bar is healthiest to eat.
I am here to tell you that for 2016…
I choose authenticity and transparency, over perfectionism. I am going to prioritize self-care over work. This one is so hard for me. I am a workaholic and I love my job. But, now I’ve told you, so I have to do it!
I want to show you how you can make time for small things throughout the day that take care of you. I also want to show you how I budget for occasional bigger treats like a massage or a facial. And of course, I’ll be open with you about the struggle to balance it all!
The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that it is important to ask for help. Much of how I got myself in this situation is that I’ve been trying to do everything and anything on my own. Chances are you can relate to this too.
Women of our generation are raised to believe that we can do it all and that we have to do it all – and all by ourselves, at that. We can be the perfect mom and the woman with a thriving career, all while our house is clean, we are in great shape, make all of our meals from scratch, down to the sauerkraut and even manage to make time for our hobbies.
I really tried to do the above for far too long. For 3.5 years to be exact. It was pure madness.
For 2016, I’ve asked for A LOT of help because I know it’s the only way to live how I want to live and feel how I want to feel. I am ready to feel great again and to inspire you to do the same!
What you can expect from me and Rubies & Radishes this year:
1 – I’ll be open and honest with you. I’ll share some of the things I’m doing to take care of myself this year. I’ll share the struggles too. It won’t be all fairies and unicorns. I will be writing some blog posts, but I’ll also be sharing a lot on Instagram.
2 – I also want to continue to bring you great recipes. I realize that I can’t do it all. I’ve added some amazing bloggers and recipe developers to my team as regular contributors. So, you’ll still be getting new Paleo recipes and even some DIY recipes!
Thank you so much for hearing me out! I feel light, focused and connected. I am so ready to share with you authentically this year!
Do you make time for self-care? What are little or big things you do, that are just for you? Share with us in the comments!
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