A few months ago I found myself at a point where I was overwhelmed, tired and worn out. I had taken on additional duties in my full-time job, ramped up my training for volleyball, was working on growing 2 online businesses, exploring my new home in Colorado and trying to be a good girlfriend. I knew I was taking on too much and I’d have to pull back on something if I wanted to preserve my health and my sanity.
I knew that I was doing too much but everything that I was working toward was incredibly important to me so I just kept grinding away. Not only was I allowing myself to be pulled in a thousand different directions, I was also having trouble sleeping, wasn’t spending much time with my boyfriend, couldn’t focus on simple tasks, and had little to no social life. I dismissed the signals my body was sending to me.
Then, as it always does, the universe stepped in and made my decision for me with two events that left me with physical and emotional trauma. At practice one day, I injured my knee and ultimately needed surgery to repair it. Shortly after the injury, my heart broke when we unexpectedly said goodbye to my boyfriend’s 11 year old German Shepherd, Riley.
I took a much needed break from social media, writing, blogging, newsletter’ing so that I could focus on healing. I needed space to heal my body from the injury and the loss. And since Jason lost his best friend and partner in crime, I wanted to be there for him.
It’s now 3 months later and we are learning how to live without Riley, and I’m almost completely healed from my injury. I wanted to share some of the things that have helped and are continuing to help me heal physically and emotionally in case you’re going through something similar.
I talked about it.
Talking about what I was going through really helped me to process it all rather than bottle it up. I talked a lot about the emotional toll of my injury on my Instagram story. Since Riley’s death was a pretty traumatic and unexpected experience for both of us, Jason and I made sure to have daily conversations about the loss of his fur baby.
I wrote about it.
I always find writing to be my therapy and feel so much better once I’ve transferred words from my brain to paper. I used to write in a journal ALL THE TIME, but fell out of the habit a couple years ago. I found that dusting off my old notebook and writing whatever was on my mind not only helped me to process my feelings, but I also feel like it helped me to have deeper conversations with Jason about what we were both going through.
I focused on nutrients rather than comfort food.
There was a time in my life that I would have dealt with this situation very differently. I would have turned to drinking copious amounts of alcohol and eating all of the junk food. Now that I have a much healthier relationship with myself and with food, I focused on providing my body with high-quality nourishment. For example, I started drinking a lot more bone broth and smoothies packed with phytonutrients, and opted for organic produce and hormone-free meat whenever possible.
I moved every day.
From the time that I hurt my knee to the time that I was recovered from surgery enough to play volleyball was about 3 months. That means that I took 3 months off volleyball and from my typical strength and conditioning program.
Instead of focusing on the things that I couldn’t do, I focused on the things that I COULD do. We ended up purchasing a stationary bike for our home gym which might be my favorite purchase so far this year. Biking was (and still is) a great low impact way to keep my joints moving and maintain cardiovascular health. Prior to surgery I modified my workouts to accommodate my injury and then post-surgery I did whatever my physical therapist prescribed. In addition to all of that, I did a lot of hiking and walking around the neighborhood.
I’ve always believed that movement is a form of medicine and believe that now more than ever.
I revisited my goals.
At the beginning of the year I set goals with the assumption that I wouldn’t be taking a 3-month hiatus from growing my business, and that I wouldn’t experience a physical injury that would set my back in my sport. Once the challenges presented themselves, I decided to revisit my goals and make them more realistic given the circumstances.
I upgraded my daily routines.
One of my goals for this year that didn’t change regardless of what happened was my desire to upgrade my daily habits. Riley had been a big part of my daily routine with our morning walks by the creek, and for a few weeks I couldn’t even go for walks by myself. For about a month, I found myself completely thrown off and found myself bailing on all the healthy habits that I had worked hard to incorporate.
I found myself starting a whole new routine from scratch and while some aspects are the same and others are completely changed, I really enjoy the routine that has evolved.
I spent more time in nature.
I’ve always spent a significant part of my life outdoors, regardless of the weather. But while I was in a state of healing, I spent even more time connecting with Mother Nature. She kept me sane, positive and balanced through all the depressing thoughts and life’s uncertainty. I started hiking more frequently than before, and even picked up a new favorite hobby – backcountry backpacking. There’s something so special and magical about being in nature that just seems to put me at ease no matter how much chaos is present in my life.
I learned the true meaning of "nourishing myself"
During my healing journey, I experienced what it really means to nourish myself. I put my own physical and emotional health first and I learned how to show myself grace. Through all of the frustration, I learned patience. I was reminded that I am not getting any younger but I can influence how quickly my body shows signs of aging. I learned how to connect deeper with myself, my partner and my natural world. And I learned how to heal through food, movement, reflection, creativity, and mindset.
Since I learned so much about self-nourishment over these past few months, I decided to launch a 5-day Nourish Challenge so that you can carve out some time to put yourself first and accomplish your personal goals. You can learn more about this free challenge here. Hope to see you there!