Another Life Lesson: Holistic Health and the Importance of Self-Care

Before we begin: Again, I am not a medical doctor, these are my opinions based on my personal reading, research and experiences.

You may have noticed that it’s been a while between blog posts.

I have been busy at uni working my way through my Masters in Teaching and have had to prioritise my school work with my parenting of Mr I.S.N.

You know how it is?!

You get busy, you’re working hard, staying up late.

You’re too busy for your friendships.

You’re too busy for your exercise routine, for meditation, for healthy eating (I was good with healthy eating this Semester but I have definitely been too busy for healthy eating before!).

You have no time for pursuing the things you love. 

(The above picture is not mine and I don’t know whose beautiful pool this is – but if they see it or you know who this belongs to, message me and I will endeavour to give them credit for the picture as it’s my idea of heaven! :-))

The things that sustain you. That nurture you. That make life worthwhile.

Then, all of a sudden…

Your body decides enough is enough and you get SICK…

I haven’t had an MS attack since 2008. The last time I had an attack I was 28 and loved rolling my own cigarettes and drinking energy drinks and smashing lollies and biscuits and junk food to sustain me through my Social Work degree.

I was feeling so inadequate leading up to my first exam and my anxiety levels were through the roof. I stayed up most of the evening beforehand studying and smoking and eating crap, then I woke up, more energy drinks and cigarettes and off to the exam with horrific, crippling, anxiety…

Following the exam I met up with friends and sat on the lawn smoking and drinking Chai Lattes and relaxing/recovering…

That evening my legs went numb.

The next day I quit smoking permanently.

I stopped drinking energy drinks and started taking care of myself. Acupuncture, Colonic Irrigation, Chiropractics, Massage and a major dietary overhaul.

I recovered. Slowly.

I have come leaps and bounds since then, so this year when I faced another assessment task which I found particularly anxiety inducing, I didn’t for a second think that the stress I was feeling might cause me to have a further relapse in my MS.

I was eating so clean, I wasn’t smoking, I had slowed down my exercise (but I was still consistant).

I was healthy right?

Wrong.

Both of these relapses had one significant thing in common: my ongoing feelings of inadequacy had lead to a major increase in my anxiety levels which I was unable to manage.

I had stopped taking care of my own mental and spiritual health. I had become overcome with self doubt/fear and simultaneously had let any tools I may have previously used for self care, fall to the way side.

I wasn’t caring for myself. I wasn’t loving myself. I wasn’t meditating. I wasn’t spending time with the people I love. I wasn’t going into nature and finding peace within myself.

We like to think of ourselves as a series of parts, separate and isolated from each other, however it is not that simple.

(The below image is an example of what I am talking about and sadly I couldn’t find the author of this image to give them any credit for it)

Our minds, bodies and spirits are inextricably linked. We don’t give ourselves and the power we have over our own health enough credit. Our minds and thinking play an incredibly powerful role in our health and well being.

My negative self talk and fear had built to a toxic level within me, impacting on my sleep, my thinking, my stomach and digestion, and I could honestly feel myself reaching a physical crescendo of which I had absolutely no control of – ‘inflammation’.

Inflammation and damage to the myelin surrounding the nerves in my brain, resulting in numbness, altered sensation, weakness and extreme fatigue.

I was making myself sick by not prioritising time for self love and to care for my spiritual, emotional, mental, psychological well being.

I like to see setbacks in my health as gifts. Each time I get sick, I like to step back and focus on what my body is trying to tell me.

My body was again screaming at me to listen but what was it trying to tell me?

What am I doing that is creating illness in my body?

What am I eating that is creating illness?

What am I thinking that is creating illness?

What can I change to create a space for health to return?

This helps me feel in control and empowered to rebuild and to heal.

 

I think my body needed me to rest, to refocus, to value and love myself.

 

I listened.

 

I stripped my life back, I asked for extensions for my work, I made changes. I went in search of the things that enrich my existence and bring me joy.

 

I healed.

 

The message:

 

* Listen to your bodies.

*Respond to what your body is telling you.

* Remember yourselves.

* Nurture yourselves.

* Love yourselves.

 

xxx