Managing My Stress and Sorting Through How I’m Feeling

next
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.

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Katrina says · 08.01.22

Stress and hormones can be such an overwhelming world of information to explore. Prayers that you find answers and a path forward to manage these things so you can live your life to the fullest.

Reply
Katherine says · 08.01.22

Kate, Thanks for sharing your experience and I wish you the best in managing what’s going on in your life. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things!
I’ve been going through a very stressful period due to a traumatic event that happened in our family. It’s incredible how stress can affect you physically. Ashwagandha seems to be helping me sleep and relax.
Good luck in working with your dr. and please keep us posted!

Reply
debbie says · 08.01.22

i enjoy your blog and wish you well on your journey- take good care…

Reply
Leslie says · 08.01.22

I would love to learn more about how you see your spiritual health as a factor. I know you and Justin previously hosted a small group through the Summit Church. I am somewhat familiar with the church and JD. I am curious about where this comes into play for you. I am in support of the church, JD and the overall passion and mission of the Summit Church.

Reply
Pam says · 08.02.22

Kate,
Thank you for sharing this. You always seem to be so upbeat and happy. Please take good care of yourself. Stress can be detrimental to mental and physical health. I know this from experience. I hope that you find answers and will share what might help others. I respect your need for privacy.
Pam

Reply
Kate says · 08.04.22

Thank you Pam!

Reply
Leslie says · 08.02.22

I’m genuinely wishing you the very best! This is why we love you so! You are honest and real with us. I appreciate you sharing parts of your journey through this. I didn’t hear anything that I haven’t experienced in some aspect and so appreciate your point of view on things. You encourage me to try to be a better advocate for my feelings and myself.

Reply
Kate says · 08.04.22

Thank you Leslie!

Reply
Meagan says · 08.02.22

Bravo! Thank you for this post. I feel like us working moms navigate a lot of stress and we tend to put ourselves last. We hear all of the time that we can’t best serve others without first taking care of yourself but it is easier said than done. I admire you for all that you do and for your insight into yourself and when things aren’t working for YOU. Take care of yourself and you will show your kids how to take care of themselves.

I wish you all the best. I am glad you are seeking medical advice and working with your physician to help you take care of yourself physically and emotionally.

Reply
Ali says · 08.02.22

🙌🏻🙌🏻 For functional medicine. Hope they can help you find answers and navigate healing.

Reply
Cindy says · 08.02.22

The poor dear has such a packed week next week… hair and facial appts, visiting parents, home projects being done by others, bridal shower hosting, a date with her sister, etc. all while working her usual 18-hour week. Cry me an effing river and read the room. Imagine having to do all of that while working full-time outside of the home. She sickens me.

Reply
Kate says · 08.02.22

dang girl. sorry for whatever happened that has caused this level of anger to pour out into me. You sound like a dedicated follower, both following along on stories and posting here, and it seems like you need to blow off some steam. Hope your day is better tomorrow.

Reply
Tara says · 09.01.22

Wow Kate, generous reply. Guess that’s part of the reason you’re stressed. Just a note. I worked “very” hard at a corporate job for so many years stressing myself out to over achieve. I’m not sure if that was part of my auto immune illnesses to come but sure didn’t help. Was raising children and managing family responsibilities. I’m glad you’re following your gut and taking it slowly. I’m a big advocate of a diary to chart your progress both good and bad to see what’s working and what’s not. The diary helped me get through one of my auto immune disease without medication. Also good to take with you to your dr’s appts tohelp them diagnose what’s going one. Resting when the body is asking for it and alone time, to clear your mind of the stresses that prevail. Take care and I’m enjoying reading your blog. ❤️

Reply
Sarah says · 08.07.22

The fact that you felt the time to berate someone else speaks worlds about you. Don’t waste your time commenting if you’re so busy with all those things in your own life. Such a sad hateful world. It’s so sad what people feel the need to put others down over.

Thanks, Kate for always showing up. You’re a bright light to many of us.

Reply
Katherine says · 08.02.22

Kate, Don’t even give a moment’s thought to the keyboard warriors who hide behind screens and feel good by putting others down. Their negative posts say more about them than about you!!

Reply
Megan says · 08.03.22

Thank you so much for sharing! This made me feel so much better knowing I am not alone. As soon as I read “it changed me” I was relieved. I got Covid on Easter and it knocked me down physically, but it changed me and trying to explain it to people was tough. I suffered through horrible anxiety and stress because of it and became very intro-verted, hating to leave my house. I did exactly what you did and started taking Ashwagandha, exercising, eliminating alcohol and eating very healthy. Also just trying to focus on the positive aspects of my life and lots of deep breathing. It is getting better but it was a tough time and hard for people around me to understand. I have been reading your blog since the very very beginning (you are the only blog I read!). I have loved watching your children grow and thank you again for sharing what you are going through.

Reply
Kate says · 08.04.22

Thanks for sharing this Megan! I’m sorry you’ve been going through it but it sounds like you’re taking a lot of healthy steps forward!

Reply
Erica says · 08.07.22

This sounds exactly like me! My whole family got covid around Easter and it changed me as well. My anxiety skyrocketed and I started having panic attacks.. It’s been really tough but I’ve been taking ashwaganda and making other lifestyle changes that are helping me to start feeling like myself again. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
Susanne says · 08.03.22

You are the real MVP.

Reply
Elizabeth says · 08.03.22

Good for you! And thank you for sharing. Would you be willing to share which lab you used for the cortisol testing? You’re inspiring me to get mine checked too.

Reply
Bonnie says · 08.03.22

Long time reader of your blog, first time commenter.
The search for better stress management never stops, so bravo to you to embrace this journey. I’m 60, and re-evaluating health and stressors is an on-going roller coaster of life! We are here for relationship, and you are keeping your heart protected and focused and doing what is right for YOU. I wish I had taken the time as you have when I was your age. Life is good–as they say, it’s all in how we react. Take care, and sure do appreciate all the tips you’ve given us –they are, in fact, the “little things,” but who doesn’t love a good beauty tip to lift one up!

Reply
Kate says · 08.04.22

I hope you’re able to find some balance to stress too, Bonnie!

Reply
Deb J says · 08.05.22

Thank you for sharing your story. What you wrote resonated exactly with how I have been feeling lately. It helps me knowing I am not alone. I hope you are able to sort through your stuff and feel like yourself again soon.

Reply
Heather Ferguson says · 08.05.22

Thank you for sharing this with us! While I hate that you’re going through this, it helps me realize that so many of us feel this way. Reading this reminds me that I need to get started. Would you mind sharing what at-home test you did?

Reply
Emily H. says · 08.07.22

I think especially with the pandemic a lot of us put off or delayed healthcare – particularly preventive care, since we feel “fine.” So if nothing else, this is a great reminder to schedule some doctors appointments and make sure we’re taking care of ourselves so we can be there for the people and things we love. Good luck, Kate, I hope you’re able to work with your doctor to feel your best.

Reply
Jolene says · 08.07.22

Agree with all of the supportive comments on here! I relate to you in that I’m very good at ignoring stress and continuing to press on like everything is fine, but reading your post is a meaningful reminder of the importance of checking in with myself and being honest about how I’m doing. Please continue sharing things like this if it’s helpful for you, because it’s helpful for many of us. Rooting for you 💜

Reply
Julie says · 08.07.22

What type of doctor are you seeing? Just your gp or a specialist?

Reply
Leigh says · 08.07.22

Thank you for your honesty and openness. How have you changed your exercise habits? I am going through something similar and wondering if I need to choose less intense workouts and maybe more calming.

Reply
Christina says · 08.07.22

Hi Kate. Thanks for sharing. You’ve inspired me to seek a functional doctor in my area and review some of the ways I’m attempting to cope. I appreciate your openness.

Reply
Hilary says · 08.07.22

Thank you for sharing with us! I hope you’re able to get to the root of your health issues and feel more like yourself soon! Take care of yourself.

Reply
Angela Polly says · 08.07.22

Praying you find answers and healing soon.

Reply
Mallory says · 08.07.22

Kate,
Thank you so much for your willingness to share. It helps to know others have similar experiences!
At just shy of 36 yo I have just been diagnosed with IBS. Let me tell you, that came out of left field. I’ve never struggled in this way before. One of the first things my gastroenterologist asked was, “is there any continued stress in your life?” Boom. Hit the nail on the head. That’s the only thing that’s changed, and isn’t going to resolve anytime soon. So, I’ve been looking for ways to give myself a break. Sounds like you are being intentional about that too ❤️
Been a follower since your days behind the chair living in the townhouse. Thank you for ALWAYS being you. I look forward to your posts everyday!

Reply
Kate says · 08.08.22

I’m sorry you just got a new diagnosis. I hope you find ways to manage it easily!!

Reply
Angie Simon says · 08.07.22

Kate, this is so well written, I can relate to this, just know that you are not alone and you are already on the road to feeling more you self just by acknowledging that something is off! I love your blog, content on Instagram and just your overall personality. I wish you all the best!!!

Sincerely,
Angie 💕

Reply
Deb says · 08.07.22

I support you! Managing life is complex and our bodies are amazing, sometimes telling us things we’d rather not hear, but I’m glad you’re sharing your experience and that you’re valuing your wellbeing. Props!

Reply
Kate says · 08.08.22

Thank you!

Reply
Rebecca Davis says · 08.07.22

I adore you and your openness.

Reply
Kate says · 08.08.22

Thank you! It can be hard to share sometimes but I hope it makes at least one person feel less alone.

Reply
Becky Brown says · 08.07.22

This is the THIRD post I have read with a similar message from an Influencer as yourself, and also around your age. I am a woman of 68 and have had a professional career all my life along with having two children and then four grandchildren. I have always worked at a high pace career (lots of travel) and also did consulting on the side. I am intimately familiar with balancing a family and career.

My daughter and daughter in law are also in your age bracket so I have been able to observe them and their friends.

Maybe it is because of FB or IG but your generation uses the word “perfect” a lot and that seems to be your goal in all areas. The last blog I read was written by a 42 year old with two small children, who managed her own business, worked out regularly, and authored a blog. Seriously?
Who does this to themselves.

You are feeling “not right” because you are asking too much of your body, mind, and soul, and it is telling you that. There will not be a quick fix.

You are letting others dictate your life and what it involves. I am a little discouraged that as an influencer you take a DIY test and go to Google for medical advice first. Come on. Would you do that with your children.

I enjoyed your blog most when it was just hair and beauty. You can tell those are your loves. You don’t have to be great in all areas. Who is? That’s why we have experts! Be the expert in hair and beauty.

The best advice I ever got was: When you say YES to one thing you are automatically saying NO to another.
Select the important things.

Reply
Kate says · 08.08.22

Thanks for taking the time to share, Becky. I do have an appointment but like many doctors right now it’s difficult to get in and it’s not until September. I’m doing what I can on my own prior to my appointment. Thanks!

Reply
Lauren says · 08.07.22

If willing to share, what at home test did you do to test your hormone levels? I am looking to do this as well

Reply
Kate says · 08.08.22

I got it from Everlywell!

Reply
Beth Tessier says · 08.07.22

Thank you for sharing a bit about your personal health and thoughts surrounding it. I am 48 and last month thought I was losing my ever living mind because of a major hormonal imbalance. I am taking specific steps to get healthier, and have found I am not alone. Here’s to hoping you feel more like your self loving forward, Kate. ♥️

Reply
Trinity says · 08.07.22

I am so glad you are taking care of yourself. I am now in the grandma years, but the time with little ones in school and going every direction is HARD! Glorious, but still hard. The older I get the more I pray for contentment in what I have already been blessed with and soak in those small, average moments tha make memories.

Reply
AmAnda Melton says · 08.07.22

Thank you for sharing! What at-home hormone test/brand did you use?

Reply
Kate says · 08.08.22

I bought it from Everlywell!

Reply
Megan says · 08.07.22

Would you be willing to share the at home test you used?

Reply
Kate says · 08.08.22

I bought it from Everlywell !

Reply
Michelle says · 08.07.22

Thank you for sharing. Hope you are feeling better and getting answers to your health issues. ❤️

Reply
Christina says · 08.07.22

I hope that you are feeling better soon and back to your usual self again! I would be interested to learn more about your overall experience with a functional medicine doctor, how you landed upon that route, etc. I’m more familiar with the traditional medicine route and would love to learn more if it is something you would like to share.

Reply
Kate says · 08.08.22

Thank you for this. I, too, have been on this journey of listening to my body and how it carries my emotions.

Reply
Sue F says · 08.13.22

Well written! It’s enough to share what you have shared, but maintaining personal privacy regarding your health, mental and physical, Is the right thing to do…..keep up the fantastic work that you do!

Reply
Pink Azalea says · 08.14.22

Best of luck as you work with your doctor to do what will help you. I believe you will make good and thoughtful decisions.

Reply
Sue says · 08.16.22

Thank you for sharing. It’s so easy for people (especially women in my opinion) to just keep doing what they are doing and not realize how they are impacted by stress, nutrition, poor sleep, etc. It’s important to pay attention and take care of yourself. Thanks for the reminder and best of luck to you in your quest for even better health.

Also, most of us understand what we see on Instagram is the output of many more hours off-screen. Anyone who thinks you work an 18-hour week is…uninformed. That said, even if that were accurate, life is stressful for a lot of us and that is true for those that work fulltime, part-time, or are a stay at home mom. You don’t have to work fulltime to be “the most stressed”. (And yes, Cindy, I work fulltime. I just understand that we are all dealing with stuff “off screen” so maybe try keeping your rude judgments to yourself.)

Kate, I appreciate you for sharing pieces of your life with us every single day and for this extremely thoughtful post. 🙂

Reply
Susan says · 09.02.22

Hi Kate,

I hope you are feeling somewhat better but don’t try to figure everything out in 1 month. Everything that you are feeling did not start over 1 month. I have been in your shoes and I am 65 now.
As woman we take on many hats as wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. For me it was also daughter in law and being a top notch employee at a very stressful fast paced job for 40 years! We are the eternal caretakers.
Around peri menopause I became totally burnt out having daily uncomfortable physical symptoms (including newly onset migraines) due to what was happening to me emotionally. My closest relationships were not healthy ones. For example, I wanted to do it all for everyone and do it perfectly!
To make a long story short I learned to practice “good selfishness.” It was ok to say NO. My close relationships had to change as well. They were not healthy for me.
As much as disliked this period in my life, I have to say now I learned so much about myself..my relationships, my fears, my anxiety. It has made me who I am today and I believe a better person.
Best of luck!
Please reach out anytime.

Reply
Cathy says · 09.02.22

Hi Kate, I am late to this conversation but I just wanted to thank you for sharing thoughts and feelings that many people seem to be having right now, including me. I’ve followed you pretty much since the beginning (while I was on maternity leave with my first baby, before yours were born!) and I’ve always appreciated your down to earth approach to the “little things” that I enjoy as well. Part of managing my own stress has been removing all social media from my phone as Instragram in particular was getting more of my time that I was comfortable with, and I can honestly say the only thing I miss is seeing your posts. Hope all is well and thanks again for being a bright spot in my inbox, including the few very relatable clouds sometimes!

Reply
Emily says · 09.02.22

To write this comment I had to answer a simple math problem as a check and my brain totally spaced. So I feel some of what you are talking about. As a therapist though I wanted to say thank you for addressing this so publicly and being honest about it. It is so amazing for people to hear from your example and experience while also protecting your own privacy.

Reply
Belinda says · 09.24.22

Long time follower here, your sister and Mom too. Taking time for yourself is hard to do when others depend on you. It causes me guilt beyond belief. But like they always tell you on the airplanes, “bring air to yourself first, then assist others”. I’m on my own journey too, trying to figure out what will work for me. Hang in there.

Reply