My writing has been getting hella deep lately. (hella, did I really just say that. Yes I did. Moving on.) It’s no secret I am swimming in one very introspective chapter of life, one of those growing stages. (does it ever stop? My mom says no.) This particular period of life involves an excavation of layers physical, mental, and emotional.
My words lately have been challenging words, raw and real words, the kind that hit us where it hurts.
But it’s important to remember: not all days are bad days. There may be moments of darkness, hours and weeks, but there is light, too, oh so much light seeping through the cracks I’m sealing around my tired body and soul. And you know what? It is time to give the light its fair chance to shine on these pages, too. So here we go:
Welcome to Wellness Trending, my new weekly (well, #goals weekly) series. As I recover from disordered eating habits, exercise addiction, the fallout to both of those and, well, all the other stuff I’ve been writing about lately, I’ve been getting curious. And I crave a space to really dig into this curiosity and talk it out with you all, because I know I am not alone in the quest for all the healthy things–
In need of an honestly messy, imperfectly-photographed smoothie bowl, sweaty post-workout-way, too.
I heard a metaphor the other day involving a girl and her coffee cup. Hands outstretched and fingers gripping tightly to her mug, she runs. Thumb looped through the handle she is careful not to spill, but the faster she runs–and oh! how she must run!–coffee sloshes up and over the rim. Drops fly. The cup empties.
The girl sprints by her source once more for a refill–but the running must continue. She receives only drips from the Maker in passing.
On and on she goes, day after day, week after week.
We all know how this story ends: when nearing empty, one cannot survive on passing drips alone. Dehydration takes it toll long before thirst is felt,
Empty knows this. Yet Empty refuses to slow down enough to receive Fullness: There is one more thing to do! One more project, assignment, workout class. One more night we just can’t miss out on. Promotions to chase and salaries to raise. Bodies to trim and clothes to buy.
Empty will eventually stop–perhaps the only way she will stop–when she is met with a slow burn ending in a crash and fall.
I am the girl with the coffee cup. I, too, was Empty.
And I got way too many feels, way too much emotion
I don’t even know what’s real, I just say f*&k it, keep on going
-Kiiara ( & Avery)
I am a feelings girl–my heart bleeds on my sleeve. I cry when I get excited. I cry when I laugh too hard. I cry at sad movies, like real, belly-deep ugly cry that keeps me up at night. (I avoid sad books and The Fault in Our Stars and movies where animals die for this very reason.)
I cry when others cry. I cry at concerts when the music is just so good. I cry when I sense my sisters’ pain even from across the country. I also literally shake with happiness at good news, and can hear my heart crack under the weight of disappointment and unmet expectations.
For the majority of my young life, I thought this was wrong. I thought I was faulty. Too sensitive, they said. Drama queen, they said. Toughen up, they said.
So I tried.
I stuffed down emotions only for them to explode later. I buried myself deep inside my head, weaving myself up tight in lies questioning my self-worth, my purpose, and my mistakes. Relationships and close friendships imploded.
It wasn’t until my senior year of college when years of depression and eating disorders became unignorable, a very wise woman (my therapist, God love her) brought me to a life-changing realization:
the very trait I was seeing as my weakness is actually my strength.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brené Brown
As humans, we gravitate toward stories. We love stories for their beginning, middle and end, a perfect succession of past, present and future.
We love stories because of the rise after the fall. We fervently listen to the hero’s tale of fighting, overcoming, then saving the world and going on to rescue humanity with their lessons learned. We attach strings of our own truth, heartaches and struggles to the characters we read. We think, me too! and when they win, if they can, so can I.
I started my blog out this way. Writing buoyed me as I waded and swam through my eating disorder recovery. It saw me through to my win and beyond, looking down over the debris of a battle fought and won.
But here’s a thing about stories–they are never really over until we are gone, our earthly shells reduced to sprinkles of dust under the hard ground. Life is a series of ups and downs, challenges and changes–this we know well.
But for a while I was speeding along too fast to see the next hurdle in my path.
I am going to be painfully honest here. I’ve gone back and forth about this post for about two months now, after taking a break from writing because the words just wouldn’t come. I needed to pause, I needed to start the healing process. But the more I open up to my closest confidants, the more I have found this truth still stands: we are not alone in the struggle.
So remember this please, when I share my story with you.
As promised, part two is here. Read on to find tips on managing anxiety and times of high stress. This holiday season, set aside time for self-care and time to relax so you can enter the new year rejuvenated and ready to go.
Fuel Your Body
During bouts of anxiety, what you eat can help level your mood and energy levels. Some may experience a loss of appetite while others may be hit with salty or sweet cravings–be mindful of what your body is calling out for.
Nourish your body and soul with healthful foods: brightly colored veggies for a variety of vitamins, warm and soothing soups, and even some dark chocolate (which may aid in boosting serotonin levels).
All the Teas
So this part sucks for us coffee lovers–caffeiene serves only to intensify feelings of anxiety. I’ve found it best to avoid it entirely when I’m feeling out of sorts. (I know. I never thought I’d say that. Ugh.)
Instead? All. The. Tea!
Keep a variety of your favorites on hand. Some of my go-tos include Yogi Tea’s Sleep Honey Lavender Stress Relief, St. Johns Wort Blues Away, and Bedtime. My dear friend Lauren also introduced me to Aveda Calm tea–I drink this staple both morning and night.
Still want your cup o’ joe? Learn to be okay with asking for decaf, if only for a while.