I was always the “happy one.” A natural problem-solver, handling life’s challenges with a smile on my face was second nature. And if it was an act... I was even fooling myself.
But over the years and after each pregnancy, my easy hold on “mindfulness” became more challenging. Or, put another way, it became harder for me to maintain positivity and focus when my emotions felt overwhelming.
I delivered four healthy children and one miscarriage in 3.5 years. All this, while maintaining a demanding career and barely pausing to acknowledge my own needs. My previously healthy lifestyle had taken a backseat in most areas of my life.
Just reading what I wrote sort of blows my mind, actually… WHY was I surprised that it felt stressful?
Women aren’t created weak.
Mothers don’t exist to be martyrs.
Things came to a boiling point after my last child was born nearly 4 years ago. I’d experienced postpartum depression and anxiety to varying degrees after each pregnancy but repeatedly swept my feelings under the rug in order to live up to the “Super Mom” title I felt was expected of me.
Where did those expectations come from anyway?
At the time I would have pointed the finger at the people around me (who were loving and well-meaning, for the record), but after years of digging deeper, I now believe that I'm responsible for being an active participant in my own mental health.
Why do women minimize our own emotions in order to meet unrealistic standards and/or minimize inconvenience in the lives of those around us, at our own expense? Can this really be the extent of God's plan for us?
The words of scripture ring true for how we talk to ourselves as well as how we interact with others. Are you kind to yourself? Do you take the time to understand your purpose? “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.” - Proverbs 11:17
Your brain believes whatever you tell it.
Every time I intentionally neglected to observe how my body and mind were reacting, I was telling my subconscious mind that I didn’t matter.
Every time I overrode my body’s signals that things were awry, I was telling my subconscious that I can’t trust my own feelings.
Every time I chose to serve the purpose of others at the expense of serving the purpose of my soul, I was telling my subconscious that what others want is more important than my own desires.
Happiness is an Inside Job.
It has taken years of creating (and re-creating) habits that reinstated my confidence and joy. What I have tried to share throughout my journey is that the things that keep us well don't need to come from the multi-billion dollar beauty industry; they are all around us and easily accessed once you know what you're looking for.
When I am at my best, I am doing specific, teensy-tiny actions habitually every day. These are simple steps that can be done by absolutely anyone of any age, any fitness level, any season of life.
The fundamentals that have taken me from overwhelmed to overcoming are available in our first online course, Everyday Wellness. We created this toolkit and our other free resources as an affordable and easy way to build the basics of wellness back into your life. You can do this course on your own-- it's broken into 21 days of bite-sized lessons-- or with a friend to help you stay on track and accountable.
You were created to be Well
I believe with my whole heart and soul that our Creator doesn't expect us to operate in a state of distress. After all, we are better able to serve our Purpose when we are healthy in body, mind and spirit.
We are often struggling to stay afloat in the pool of life, not realizing that we are surrounded by life-rafts! If only we knew they're there or could be reminded when things feel too hard.
You are worthy of feeling your BEST. You are worthy of prioritizing your desires, your dreams, your feelings and your health. It's true what my pawpaw always said: "when mama ain;t happy, ain;t nobody happy".... we laughed but it's true! Our entire families operate at a higher caliber when we are our best.
Wellness isn't a destination.; it's designed to be a journey that can be beautiful and empowering once you're ready to be an active participant. I'm not suggesting this is always easy but it is possible.