Deep Thoughts: Taking Care of Me

I feel like I need to author this post under the name Jack Handey. Deep Thoughts, Stacy’s Obligatory Monthly Cathartic Moment…

But I want to make a post about Taking Care of Yourself. It’s something I really needed a reminder about. I wasn’t paying attention to the person I’m most responsible for: me.  Not work. Not the kids. Not the cats. Not Matt. Not bills, housework, shopping. Not this blog or the book. I can’t do any of those things if I’m not healthy and well, and I needed to refocus on what is truly important in my life. I’m hoping some of you can be inspired too.

I personally read the blogs of some awesome women, who all have been talking about taking care of themselves lately too. Like BalancedBite‘s adrenal protocol, Hayley’s broth cleanse, Melissa’s Healing Experiment and Jude‘s Balance efforts.  I even got to hear how Elana was taking an entire year to focus on herself from a recent phone chat.  But of course, none of that sunk in with me (even though I knew I needed to hear it) until I got REALLY sick before Thanksgiving.

I got so ill that I couldn’t even check e-mail on my phone. I didn’t care. I was so sick I didn’t leave the bathroom for almost 24 hours. It was awful and I was wrecked in a way I haven’t been since going Paleo. It took getting that sick for me to realize that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I knew my body couldn’t fight the illness the way it wanted because it wasn’t in an optimal state.

It was easier for me to stay up until 1, 2 or 3am in the morning than to tell myself to stop working on perfecting the book. It was easier to keep answering blog e-mail, facebook comments , pintrest posts and twitter messages than it was to realize I couldn’t possibly get back to everyone. And then on top of it all, my regular day job went crazy hectic and that is something that is crucial to do correctly and timely.

So what suffered? My relationship with my family. The time I had to spend with the kids. And above all else, me: I suffered. I forgot where the gym even was. I never slept. And as a result I craved carbs and sugar. So I ate a boatload of paleo(ish) foods that I knew weren’t healing my poor, exhausted body. I drank coffee, ate chocolate and developed an eye twitch. Literally.

So when I had to unplug for a couple days because I was beyond ill, I got too behind to even try to catch-up. I had to delegate at work. I had to delegate some blog stuff at home. And I had to admit that I was never going to be able to do everything I wanted in the time that I had.

I gave myself a pass. I told people I was sick and they understood. Their expectations lowered and so did my guilt regarding the things I wanted but couldn’t do.

And then it was Thanksgiving. And my family arrived! So again, I put down my electronic devises and I focused on spending time with my mom, my sisters, my brothers, my kids and my husband. I visited with friends over the break. I played board games and cards instead of watching TV with the boys at night.

And all of the sudden, it had been 6 days and my laptop hadn’t been opened.

And life was still going on.

I don’t remember the last time I went more than 24 hours without a computer. Even at that, those were strategically planned choices to not touch them. To shut the computer down for a long weekend, plus sick days, was a mind-blowing event. I came out on the other side on Monday morning able to get my day-to-day job done.

On Monday evening I gave myself one hour to edit photos and work on catching-up on the blog. I didn’t finish the Thanksgiving post. Instead of freaking out and staying up to do it, I went to bed at my prescribed new bed time of “when I’m tired, but no later than 10pm.” And eventually, the post went up. I didn’t hear a single one of you say, “This post is late, I quit this blog!”

The next day, I said to Matt “I feel so great, I want to go to the gym and work out.” And so we did. I did yoga, rowing sprints and a little lifting. And I came home feeling rejuvenated, relaxed and fantastic. I remembered what Paleo was really about. I focused on living the life I was preaching. And I remembered why I preached it to begin with.

In the past 10 days I’ve slept more than I probably had in the entire prior month. My carb and sugar cravings are almost completely eliminated. The facial breakouts I was having have subsided. My hormone regulation is back in control. My weight loss has jump started again.

I am really excited to start losing weight and feeling great again. But I realize it’s only happening because of my energy to go to the gym, my availability to go to sleep and my focus on eating the right things in order to take care of myself.

I want to encourage you to have your own wake up call. Pretend you have the flu. Call in sick. Stay in bed. Hide your devices. Recover mentally. Recover physically. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Focus on your kids and your family – the things that are truly important to you in your life.

I hope that the noticeable difference in our participation in social media doesn’t offend you. I can’t do anything about the fact that our Alexa and Klout rankings have taken a slight hit. But guess what: when I’m laying on my death bed, I’m NEVER going to say “Man I wish I’d spent more time online so that our site stats were better.”

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  • Thanks for the shout out… and yay for you! Dave and I have been talking about doing a completely unplugged/no electricity weekend in the new year, after out cookbook is released and the holidays are over. I’m REALLY looking forward to it.

    I’ve been reading my candlelight before bed as a test, and not only is it soothing, it’s really, really fun! Like being on a camping trip in the bedroom or something.

    Best wishes for continued success taking care of yourself!

    • No problem – it’s been nice “connecting” and I look forward to meeting up at AustinPaleoFX (you’re going right?)! 

      I don’t know that I’m quite ready for candlelight book reading, but quitting iPhone tweeting at 2am EST is progress 😉

  • Beautiful post Stacy. Have been going through this myself the last couple of years. It’s been a long road to prioritize and it’s really what inspired me to start a blog about balance. Especially as mothers we tend to put everyone else in front of ourselves. My situation got so bad that I nearly died as a result. It’s a beautiful light at the end of that tunnel that helps us realize what we’re worth. So happy for you. The payoff will be so worth it.

    • Thanks. I agree – it’s a huge relief to not have such guilt and pressure (self proposed) about this stuff. It feels infinitely better to sleep and relax and hang with my boys!

  • This post couldn’t have come at a better time, Stacy. 2 days ago I was in a hyperventilating, overwhelmed, exhausted, and just plain FINISHED state. The demands of everything really started to affect me and I just wanted to sleep the stress away. 

    Your post is a good dose of reality. Eat well, sleep well, make time for me. Yes!! 🙂

    • Tara, I get anxiety attacks when I eat gluten and am sleep deprived at the onset of stress. Glad it was helpful… Take care of you!

  • Tina Beth Holloway

     I recently gave up Facebook shortly after I restarted Paleo. I now go to bed around 10 as opposed to playing Farmville or reading people’s posts until 2 or 3 in the morning. I spend very little time on the computer since everyone else is on Facebook there is very “little to do” online now. 🙂 It’s a drastic change & has had nothing but positive effects. I have to be honest, my Facebook withdrawal & craving for comments was MUCH more difficult than going off sugar, flour or caffeine! Social media is truly an addiction & I am happy to hear you have given yourself permission to not be a slave to it. Well done Stacy! 🙂

    • I’m no where near ready to make such a change, but I can imagine how freeing that would be.  Good for you, too!

  • Thanks for this Stacy. I just went through the same thing but my sickness came the week after Thanksgiving. I even had the eye twitch going on too, sorry to hear you had that but I have to say it makes me feel better to know it happened to someone else too! I just started my blog and facebook and twitter. I am still trying to figure it all out but the point of my blog is to write about trying to eat well and live a simpler life taking inspiration from the Little House books so I am really trying to keep that in focus. The day before I read this post I was finally just starting to feel better and I was going back and forth on how much to post and where etc. and I even had trouble sleeping that night over thinking things. I always look forward to new blog posts from you guys and this one could not have arrived at a better time so, thank you! Hearing that you are going to make sure to put yourself and your family time first makes me want to follow you even more. If you post things too often then I would be reading your stuff too often and I would not be spending enough time on myself and my family either so I think it all works out!

    • Jenn, I’m honored that you take time out of your busy schedule to keep up with us – but definitely try to focus on what’s most important – your family.  Thanks 🙂

  • Monifah

    Very good post Stcy.. I am mom of three and the youngest is 6 months now, i am breastfeeding her and trying to write my thesis right now too. this, combined with taking care of the other kids and the house, two puppie dogs and attention for my hub is really been dragging me down the past months. It is too much, but i am too proud to ask for help so it ends with me not taking care of me at all. Have to get my act together and start asap. Even though it is hard to kick myself in the butt. I WILL DO IT. Take care, and thanks for putting it out there <3


    • Monifah

      StAcy of course :o)

    • Monifah, I don’t like asking for help either.  But if you don’t know you’ll need more help later on.  Best to make sure you can take care of the things that are most important while you’re healthy, rather than too much and getting worn out.  Good luck!

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  • Hi Stacy, I appreciated your post, especially since I can totally relate!  I left my (full time, very stable, nice benefits) job 6 years ago to take time off when I was having health issues, and it was one of the scariest and best thing I’ve ever done.  I’ve taken mini-sabbaticals since then when my body has needed them, and it’s been a real health-saver. Learning to say no can be my best way to say yes to me.
    You are also very welcome to join us for the December Sanity Challenge http://www.gfgoodness.com/2011/11/30/december-sanity-challenge/

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