Here's something no one really wants to say out loud: the past week or so, I've been feeling pretty crummy. This morning on my walk with Ari and Winnie, I was thinking about why I've been so down and how I can get to feeling a little more like me.
I used to hear or see people talk about having anxiety and I'd think to myself, "Huh? How can SHE have anxiety? She's seemingly happy, healthy and successful. What's there to worry about?!" Now I kick myself for ever being so judgmental, because the truth is that we are each walking only in our own shoes and no one else's. And yes, I'm an incredibly fortunate person and I don't take a single one of my blessings for granted. Now maybe you're reading this and thinking, "Huh? What in the world does SHE have to feel anxious or badly about?" I hope you'll take away from this what I have - that you never really know anyone's full story from a glance.
My mom always told me that the most important lesson my Nana ever taught her was that you have to be your own best advocate when it comes to your health. I think about this every single day. When I had the flu in 2013 - probably the sickest I've ever been - my mom came to the doctor with me because she knew how much I hated going on my own. To this day every single time I get a shot I wish she was there next to me, holding my hand. But what she always wanted to impress upon me was that I was in charge of my own body and I have to be the one who takes action, asks questions, pushes back when necessary, etc. Yes, she'd be there whenever she could to support me, but I ultimately had to be my own best advocate and never count on anyone else to do it for me. Now that she's gone, and no one's here to hold my hand, it makes all the sense in the world. With this in mind, I created a "feel good" checklist to go over when I'm not feeling my best. I want to share it here in hopes maybe it'll help one of you, too.
(I snapped this photo on our walk home today.)
THE FEEL GOOD CHECKLIST:
· Am I sleeping well?
(As well as can be expected, given I have a 3.5 month old.)
· Am I eating well? Am I lacking nutrients or having too much of something?
(This past week was less than ideal between July 4, travel and a wedding.)
· Am I drinking enough water?
· Am I exercising enough?
(I made it to the gym four times last week. This week I'm aiming for five.)
· Am I getting enough Vitamin D and fresh air?
(No. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that an unleashed dog attempted to attack Winnie on our morning walk two weeks ago. It scared me more than I wanted to admit, and that coupled with the really hot temps the past few weeks have caused me to skip a lot of our morning walks since. This morning the weather was beautiful and I decided it was time to do our regular walk again. My heart skipped a beat the first time I heard a dog bark, but I desperately needed to associate that two mile loop with a good experience. We took that exact route every single morning and I don't want to let one bad incident keep us from a really great routine. I'm glad we did it today and I hope it keeps getting easier...)
· Are there any outside circumstances affecting how I feel?
· If so, are these circumstances I can control?
· If not, can I just let these things go?
· Am I taking care of myself to the best of my ability in this very moment?
After I answer all these questions, I make a plan of attack:
· I set a "brush teeth & wash face" alarm in my phone for 8:30 on weeknights in hopes that winding down earlier will help me sleep longer.
· I'm tracking my macros and water intake again starting today.
· I'm making a point to get outside with the girls when the sun isn't too strong.
· I'm making plans with girlfriends and getting out of the house a bit more.
· I'm talking about it. I'm connecting with others openly about life, motherhood, anxiety, challenges, etc. and it makes all the difference. And please know if you're reading this and want to talk, you can always reach out to me too.
What do you do when you don't feel like you?