Ugh. That hurt. In fact it still kind of does. The worst part is I didn’t see it coming even though I absolutely should have which kind of makes me feel even more ridiculous.
You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been a little MIA over the last couple of months. I’d love to tell you I’ve been backpacking through Thailand or deep diving into Raw course work for you, or cuddling in bed with my babies, slowly sipping a latte, but the truth is I’ve been trudging through some personal self care over here.
The self care I’m talking about is not the usual assortment of yoga, coffee dates with friends and bubble baths that you see on Pinterest. It’s the challenging kind that often involves a lot of tears, fear, struggle and resistance. The self care that most people don’t like to talk about because it often comes clouded in feelings of vulnerability, failure, and thoughts like, “what if I always feel like this?”, “why am I the only one struggling with this?” and “will people think I’m weak/weird/a failure if they know this about me?” etc.
So here’s exactly what happened and where I’ve been…
A couple of months ago, for the first time in over 8 years my anxiety came back full force.
I went back to work when Brooklyn was 4 months old because I love my work and it fuels me. That being said, despite several attempts at sleep training, my little lady was still waking up 3-4 times per night and we have a busy toddler who doesn’t stop moving or talking ALL. DAY. LONG. We bought a new home and started the process of renovating and I was refining our Raw group coaching course and attempting to re-launch it while simultaneously keeping my Pilates studio afloat. All such amazing things that I’m so grateful for but I guess sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing.
The first month back I felt great. I was managing two kids, two jobs, wife life and was on track to hit my goals for the year. The only thing I wasn’t paying attention to was my health.
I wasn’t working out, eating enough, sleeping or even finding time to drink water but hey, I figured I could let that stuff slide for a couple months right?. After all, sometimes all that self care stuff seems like another item on the To Do list.
I was running on 4-5 hours of sleep per night and somehow felt fine.
That would be my nervous system running on over drive. Adrenaline is meant for short bursts…not for months at a time.
Then I got a nasty cold, the stomach flu, Shingles and the stomach flu again.
That would be my immune system shutting down.
I was so determined and set on making it through the course I was launching that I tried to negotiate with my body, begging it to hold on for another 6 weeks so I could keep my commitment to the incredible women who had signed up.
That would be me, completely ignoring the advice I preach and that, more importantly, has kept me healthy and happy for years.
The more I ignored my body, the louder it got as it tried to get my attention.
Our body has our back. It wants what’s best for us and sends us signals or symptoms (tummy aches, headaches, anxiety, hunger, sweat etc.) to let us know what it’s needing. If we don’t listen and adapt the signals get louder so that we can’t ignore them as easily. More on that here.
Cue insane anxiety and my first panic attack.
Even typing this out right now makes me cringe. I’m a health & wellness coach, I should know better. But the truth is – and it’s important you understand this – NO ONE is immune to hard days, some unhealthy patterns or moments of insecurity and required personal growth.
In the past I would have kept going but this time, I decided to listen. I cancelled the course, only two weeks in. It felt like I was letting go of a dream I’d had for so long while simultaneously letting down people I cared for deeply. All the feels. All the tears in the shower. All the blahs.
Here’s the thing – I have yet to meet a man or woman, no matter how strong or confident and perfect they appear on the outside who hasn’t comes face to face with adversity and struggle. In fact, when I think about the individuals I admire most they have all overcome challenging situations….or maybe they are still dealing with them today. They were not the ones who moved through life in a bubble of perfection. They tried and failed and tried again, got hurt, kept going, found success, failed, felt sad, dug deep, grew and no matter what kept showing up. I truly believe the challenging moments are the ones that make us stronger, more resilient and give us some grit to work with in this game called life.
It’s always easier to talk about this type of thing when you are fully in the clear from it and life is back to normal but that’s just ego needing to feel safe and in control. I hope that by sharing my story of coming back from burnout and figuring out how to find some balance with work and motherhood (an ongoing journey) it will help you feel a little less alone in a challenging moment and perhaps some of the tools that I’m using along the way will work for you too.
With the tragic news of both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s deaths in the news this week I think it is more important than ever to speak out about where we are at so that no one feels alone. Moments of grief, sadness, anxiety, depression, fear and hurt come in waves and seasons. They are our teachers. The beginning of our next chapter. A launch pad from which to build our strongest self. Never the end.
Head on over to our Facebook Group – Stepping Into Self Love – to connect with the most amazing, supportive, courageous women on the journey to becoming their strongest, happiest most authentic selves. Together we stand.
thank you for sharing so beautifully and authentically and for being a breath of fresh air for all of us “strong women” who have struggled and are on the journey! Love always and so much respect for you Erin!
I’m so touched by this. I think we were going through the exact same thing at the exact same time. Wouldn’t it have been nice to be able to lean on each other and know that you’re not alone in it. But it’s amazing how good we are at hiding our imperfections and conveying that everything is just fine when we are actually falling apart. I’ve suffered with anxiety for years! It’s an ongoing battle and motherhood has definitely ramped it up. Thank you for sharing. And if you ever need a shoulder to cry on or someone who can relate, I’m your girl! Let’s get James and Jake together for a play date. See you Thursday! ?❤️
Erin, thank you for sharing your story. It empowers me, as a mother with two young children, trying to get a new business going, manage life, and find time for my self care. I know it empowers many others. Sending you so much love and grace. xxxoo
Thank you for the post.
kudos to you for taking care of yourself! you’ll always have the opportunity to revisit the course in the future when you’re feeling better. it sucks to feel like you’re letting others down but you probably wouldn’t have been able to really give them what they need when you haven’t been feeling your best. i hope you’re able to take some time to put yourself first and find a good balance!