Managing My Stress and Sorting Through How I’m Feeling
A Dressed Up Pony
It’s so easy to go through life, for so very long, without taking time to reflect on how you’re doing.
As a mother, a wife, a business owner, a person who works in a public-facing career, a friend, a daughter, a sister. . . there are so many other people or things that tend to take priority in our life. And some of those people *should* be a priority, like your children, friends, family, etc. But it’s also important to reflect on your emotional state, not only to assess how you’re really doing but also to teach those around you that you caring for yourself is important as well.
For a long time, I’ve sustained a high-pressure, high-stakes job in a booming industry that continues to change at a rapid pace. I started my blog before Instagram was created and before Pinterest took off.
It’s such a different field now, working as an Influencer, compared to what it was like back in 2011 when we were called Bloggers. With that change, though, an industry was born and it’s been truly an incredible experience to be a part of such an essential tool in marketing, education, and entertainment.
The past few years have been the most challenging in my career. Part of that is related to the pandemic that altered so much of our lives, and another part is navigating the public nature of my job as it relates to my kids.
There’s much more to write about on both of these things, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to simply share how I’m managing my stress and ways that I’m trying to pay better attention to my overall health (physical, mental, relational, etc.).
In June I felt a shift, and it happened to coincide with a horrendous migraine at the beginning of my menstrual cycle. And for some reason, it changed me. Maybe the pain, maybe the desperation I felt in wanting it to go away so I could resume my normal life activities, or maybe I had just finally reached the end of my capacity.
I made a decision, at the end of the 3-day migraine ordeal, to see what I can do to determine the triggers of my migraines (they are a bit sporadic, but often tied in with hormones and stress), and also sort through the changes I was feeling internally.
I felt bogged down by stress. I felt burnt out, weary, and a little lost. I felt like my brain was operating on a delay as if I was in a bit of a fog. I had trouble concentrating and easily lost focus on tasks.
There were some other physical things that I was dealing with as well, and while they were minor, they were things that I became interested in tending to in order to see if I could fix or adjust them.
I know I’m being a bit vague here, and part of that is intentional to protect myself, but overall I simply felt like I wasn’t myself.
I took an at-home test in order to search for answers as it relates to my hormone levels and ended up learning my cortisol levels were very high.
I turned to Google to learn what that meant and started to read about managing sustained high cortisol levels. I set up an appointment with a functional health doctor. I started taking a recommended supplement, Ashwagandha and shifted a few things around in my exercise routine, my diet, and more.
But more than those changes, I felt a huge wave of clarity wash over me when I read more in-depth about what stress does to you, and what imbalanced hormones can cause, and more.
“ohhhh, that is probably why I have been experiencing _____ .” was a sentence I whispered to myself more often than once over the past month or so.
I still have so much to learn, and this is something I’m committed to working on with my doctor when I have my first appointment in September.
Until that time, though, I am doing what I can to create better balance, manage my stress more effectively, and overall pay better attention to how I’m feeling instead of persevering through a fog due to ignoring what was really going on.
I realize a post like this may prompt questions, and I’m open to hearing them but will be selective in what I answer in order to protect my privacy and comfort. I’m willing to share a lot of myself, but not all of myself. Along those same lines, I’d kindly ask that you not postulate about what you think may be going on with me and leave that to my doctor. I’m sharing this after receiving a massive response from my community on Instagram, and simply want to serve as an example of someone who can admit when things are off and take control of figuring out how to fix things.
As always, comments are moderated on this site. I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice.