The word anxiety seems to be popping up everywhere. Almost every woman I know has some form of anxiety about one or many different aspects of her life. Why is this? Could the immense amount of societal pressure we experience be dictating this?
After all, we’re told that we must be doing something (productive or not) at all times! The term “I’m so busy” has become a ubiquitous badge of honor in our modern world of constant hustling. Trust me, I get it, I live in New York City – the epitome of “busy”.
I don’t usually share a whole lot on here about my personal life but today I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and do that. I spent the first five months of the year doing exactly what I tell my clients not to do – stressing like crazy, working like crazy and not taking care of myself in the right way. Yup, this professional period fixer-upper was about to become a fixer-upper.
And guess what? I ended up in the hospital! A random ER in the heart of Fort Lauderdale while visiting my sister. Long story short, the week prior to the hospital visit I woke up with a 102 degree fever.
And then I started to get back pain like I had never experienced before. The kind that hurts uncontrollably, no matter what position you’re in. The fever broke but the back pain broke me, so I hauled ass to the chiropractor. He did the usual adjustments and within a day I was feeling more like myself and less like an 80 year-old woman!
Fast forward a week later and I was in the same situation again! Fever, back pain, feeling awful. So I found a chiropractor close to my sis’s house and made my way over there.
What he said scared me into going to a hospital. He thought that I could have meningitis and I should get to a hospital immediately just to rule it out. Yikes! So off I went to the hospital, where I ended up sitting in the ER waiting room for nearly 3 hours.
Remember that part about not taking care of myself properly? Well, that included not eating anything that morning because I felt so crappy. Not so smart when people are going to try taking your blood.
Never before in my life have I fainted, but I did when they took my blood that day. One should never forget to eat and drink lots of water prior to blood drawing ;). The nurse freaked out and immediately admitted me to the hospital. They did a bazillion tests which of course came back completely normal. According to the doctors, nothing was wrong. Hmmm…I’ve heard that before!
I was a fall risk!
If anything, it forced me to sit in a bed all day and watch Lifetime TV. (Felt kinda like my mom!). It actually ended up being one of my least stressful days of the year!
The moral of the story? Stress will f—ing kill you. Literally. And there won’t typically be any clues that it’s killing you beside how you feel and the symptoms you might experience. Overwhelm, anxiety, panic attacks, snappy moods, back pain, fever, food cravings, low energy, period issues. These all fall under that big generic stress umbrella and I was feeling all of them at some point or another over the 3 months prior to my hospital fun day!
I get that we’ve all got things called lives, and they’re busy. But is this “busyness” worth it?? If you wake up each morning and a wave of overwhelm or anxiety washes over you, I guarantee you’re heading down the same road as I was. I know that changing our behavior is the hardest thing to do but is your current state of affairs really cutting it? Are you happy with the status quo? I sure wasn’t!
So here’s what I did after spending 8 hours in a hospital unnecessarily:
- I told my assistant to rebook all of my appointments for the rest of the week. This gave me 4 days to do not much. I found out my business would not crash and burn the moment I took my hands off the steering wheel. Entrepreneurs, I’m talking to you! 🙂 Whether we own businesses or not, we can all step off the roller-coaster if we choose to do so.
- I went and sat on the beach (lucky me I was in Fort Lauderdale). Most of us barely touch the ground/grass/sand anymore which means we’ve become completely disconnected from the grounding that the earth’s energy provides. Instead, our energy is frazzled from all the electronics and EMF’s we’re exposed to on an ongoing basis.
- I stepped away from social media. Keeping up with social media is a job in itself so I was happy to take an e-break. I urge you to try this for a weekend…it will change your life! Imagine no pressure to get 20 likes on your latest profile picture. Bliss.
- I ate really good, healthy food but I also ate ice-cream. In fact, I ate two ice-creams. I’ve realized that in many cases, it’s not so much the food that’s harming us, it’s our state of mind that’s really doing the damage. There is so much fear around food in our society and that needs to shift. When we let ourselves relax into the moment, there’s heaps of enjoyment to be had with whatever food is sitting in front of us.
- I hung out with my sister and my mom. Thankfully they both happened to be with me! Having a health scare always seems to make us re-evaluate everything doesn’t it? Like spending time with the people who mean the most to us. What’s the point of letting it get to that anyway? Be with the people you love. Unfortunately, my man was 6000 miles away so Skype would have to do in his case.
Since then I’ve made a couple more permanent changes. The best one yet – I got myself a device called the Heart Math. This little device is like your own stress coach and it is Ah-mazing! If you feel like your stress is a runaway train then you need Heart Math.
It determines how stressed you are by measuring your heart rate and then coaches you through that not-so-happy situation so that you can better deal with stress the next time it happens. Talk about an effective accountability strategy! It is a god-send for us high-strung/super-busy girls.
Stress and your menstrual cycle
If you’re having a hard time believing that stress can cause these issues then I have news for you. Modern women are in a full-on hormonal crisis. Hundreds of women come to me each year because of serious menstrual problems and fertility issues.
The common denominator across the board is chronic stress on their minds and bodies – jobs, co-workers, spouses, kids, mile-long to-do lists, parents, perfection pressure, over-exercising, under-eating etc etc. Women need to know that they are much more prone to the effects of stress than men because we have a lot of hormonal crosstalk happening.
Our hypothalamus in our brain (reactor to stress) is directly linked to our adrenals (cortisol producers), and they are directly linked to our thyroid (energy producer) and ovaries (period/baby producers). Too much cortisol means too little thyroid and reproductive hormones.
Eventually, chronic stress can lead to anovulatory cycles, a cycle in which ovulation does not occur. Recent studies show that we experience an average of 50 stressful experiences A DAY! That sure adds up to a lot of stress in just one week.
We’re not mean’t to power through and just keep going forever in this so-called survival mode. One way or another, our bodies will make us pay attention and it usually starts with our menstrual cycle. This is because our reproductive organs are not required for survival so they’re the first to go.
Problems with your cycle signal a hormonal red alert and you should address them immediately. Since hormones don’t exist in a vacuum you will find that you are probably experiencing cortisol and/or thyroid problems too.
If you are looking for some hormonal harmony, take a look at my Fix Your Period E-Course. In it I teach you exactly what is going on in your body and how to address specific issues. That way you are back in control of your health again!
Life looks different for me now. If some things don’t get done when they’re supposed to, well that’s okay. There’s always tomorrow. Perfection has sort of gone out the window!
I even took a vacation. Talk about resetting my adrenals!
My work is super important to me, but I’ve gotta be present (and ALIVE) to do it and the only way to do that is to consistently check in and see how I’m doing. Finding whatever it is that keeps you balanced is not always easy but it’s necessary if you want to live a life free of hormonal imbalance misery!
Now you get to tell me what your stress is like and what you’re doing about it. Can you relate to my story above? Have you had a similar wake-up call?