Last year was most definitely my biggest year yet, and by big I don't mean it was all about success.
Once again my year started off with heartbreak in January after losing yet another loved one which hit me really hard.. in May I was promoted which was really exciting and then I launched this blog in July after months (if not years really) of working on it.
Over the last few years so much has happened in my life personally and professionally that eventually it was going to come to a point where it was too much if I didn't allow quality time to heal and rest, and soon after the first part of last year it did, it all became too much. The amount of stress running through my body had become beyond imaginable, though on the outside you couldn't see it, on the inside my heart was aching, my body was exhausted and I had nothing left to give, because I was giving too much and not filling myself back up. One day I woke up in so much pain running through my entire body, it had finally given in, it was telling me to stop, right now, that day, stop completely and heal. So I did.
That day I had a couple of days off work to rest, I had health checks, blood tests, then from there I began a journey of about 6 months of physiotherapy to mend my body, I focused on resting and worked on slowing down in every aspect of my life. I let go of the temptation to do everything and be everything to everyone all of the time. I cancelled my gym membership and stayed home a lot more to do some serious winding down and to sleep more than I ever had in my life, I literally had to come to a complete stop in order to start again. After all of this work I finally feel like I am becoming my best self again.
It's a funny thing that it's not until something stops us in our tracks that we take notice of what is affecting us from the inside-out. I had let life's stressors build up pressure inside me for a couple of years, and when my physio first touched my body she could feel the intense tension, the pain, running all the way up through my back to my neck and my head. She said she hadn't seen a young persons body like this, that it shouldn't be like this. She was one of the first people to tell me that I needed to do some work, not just physical, but I needed to stop and heal. Notice the reuccurance so far? Stop to heal. I know I'm not the only one to push through the pain, the workload, to make my dreams happen no matter what, I'm not the only one to push aside wellness to keep moving forward in whatever way possible, but I'm not that person anymore, today I stop and heal, every, single, day.
Here are some of the things that I now know that stopped me in my tracks and the things that helped me heal..
What stopped me..
I held emotion in for a long time, too long.
I didn't get enough sleep and didn't listen to my body when it was tired during the day.
I was constantly trying to hold together toxic friendships.
I took on too much at once.
I thought I was obliged to keep going when I was exhausted, that taking time out just for me wasn't an option.
What healed me..
I let everything out and talked to my loved ones about how I was feeling.
I seeked professional help, for my mental and physical state.
I began sleeping whenever I needed to, even if it meant one to two times during the day on my days off.
I stopped the pressure hanging over me from having a gym membership, I cancelled it and did healing exercises instead like yoga and walking.
I worked (and continually work) on being grateful for what I have.
I don't want anyone to ever be where I was at one of the lowest points of my life. I thought I had it all together, that I was doing all the right things, I was exercising, I was eating well, I was living by the 'books', but still I wasn't truly listening to my body, I wasn't taking notice of the signals until it was too late. Would you believe that on the day of the photoshoot I did for this blog (most of the photos you see here including the one above) that I was in such intense pain that I could hardly open my eyes, but yet I still pushed through? I had put my body under so much stress over a couple of years without even noticing. Never again, from when I started to feel well again I made a promise to myself to always listen and remain consciously aware through everything I do.
I hope this resonates with someone out there who has been through something similar (you are never alone) or is beginning to feel their body coming to a stop, there's a reason for this, it is telling you to stop, so stop to heal, give yourself the permission to. I promise that it's all going to be ok, that the world will not fall apart when you take time out. Listen to your body beautiful souls, honour it, it is the only one you have, do not be afraid to reach out for help from loved ones or professionals, and remember, finding gratitude in simply being well and feeling good is so powerful. Be grateful for your health, always.
All my love,