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.
All the signs were there
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.
My lack of self care caught up to me!
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!
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 your 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 however many likes on your latest post. Dreamy.
- 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 video calls would have to do in his case.
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. Thousands of women come to me each year because of serious menstrual problems and fertility issues.
The common denominator 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, grab my book Fix Your Period. In it I teach you exactly what is going on in your body and how to address specific issues with my 6-week protocol. 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, and it’s taken a lot of the anxiety with it!
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!
0 thoughts on “Anxiety: The word of the day”
But what’s the difference between people who can keep going through stress and people who crash? I get that modern life can be stressful, but I am still pretty sure my life is a cake walk compared to the lives of some (most? possibly literally all?) of my ancestors, even when it comes to chronic stress.
I would be worried about vitamin deficiencies if I had your experience; for me this would be a sign that I need even more magnesium and more B1 (and probably B12 and B9). I figure that is the difference between my ancestors and me–I’ve consumed more antibiotics, plastics, and pesticides, honestly don’t digest food all that well, and the food itself is different from what it was before the green revolution and climate change.
The difference is those people eventually crash. No one can survive endless amounts of psychological stress without some consequences. It looks different for different people. Some people show symptoms right away, whereas others it may take longer. But in my experience, the bill always comes due eventually one way or another. Vitamin deficiencies were a key part for me, and usually are for most people under longterm stress.
I’ve been meaning to answer this since I saw it.
So glad nothing major was wrong and that you were able to destress.
Anxiety is a huge problem. I did neurofeedback in 2006 for mine. In just 4 sessions I was basically cured but he said I should do 50 sessions so it would be permanent. I will say unfortunately it came back in my 2nd trimester. I started seeing Mojka at Holistic Options in Lake Mary and she’s been able to help w/most of the residual anxiety that I had.
Keep up the good work!
I just got back from Atlanta and Deborah was my coord! It was great seeing her.
Hi Norma! Thanks for your support and I’ll definitely keep plugging along here. It’s great to see ladies getting the help they need!
I feel like my moodiness has gotten worse, and seems to be longer than the normal day or two of pms…would the course help with that as well, in your opinion?
Lauren! I have no idea how I’m only seeing this comment now. So so sorry! Yes the course will absolutely help with your PMS. In fact this is one of the easier things to address when it comes to hormonal problems so you’re in luck! I’m having my assistant email you right now with a special discount code because of the delay in responding to you. xoxo
Our bodies are so smart, aren’t they? I’ve had similar wake up calls, in various forms, always when I am at the peak of stress and anxiety. I am conscious that I need to slow down, but get trapped in feeling like there’s no time! Then WHAM! You’re hit with a ton of bricks and forced to slow down! If only we could listen to those wise bodies of ours more often, right?! 😉
I’m so glad you found the silver lining in this, and appreciate you sharing your story so incredilby much. While I’m of course sad that you had this experience, it’s nice for women to know we’re not alone. There is such power in sharing our stories! So thanks Nicole, you are a great inspiration!
Beth, I know! We take our bodies for granted because they always try their best and do so much with the little they get. I’m much more conscious of the warning signs now…
Thanks for the wonderful advice Nicole! I’m glad that you are doing well, we all have something to learn from your experience.
Barbara, thank you for the well wishes. Luckily this was almost three months ago. I finally have some perspective on it now 🙂
How do you rock a hospital gown so well?!
I’ll share I’m also a health coach, and this winter I bounced payroll at my clinic, was in a panic, and ended up having serious breakthrough bleeding and night sweats. Fun! Diet isn’t everything- stress is just as powerful. Sometimes our addiction to stress is the hardest to give up.
Bridgit, yes the addiction to stress is truly epidemic. Or perhaps it’s the addiction to busyness. Thank you for sharing your story with us 🙂
Thanks for posting, and well worth the read. I’ve just moved and in between a mounting pile of work and trying to organize my personal life, stress levels have been high. I heard this story on NPR this morning and there are also some great tips with respect to technology and how it affects productivity, which ultimately affects how stressed you become. http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/07/26/205506993/the-reply-to-email-overload-prioritze-or-turn-it-off Thanks again for sharing your story!
Thanks for sharing this article Charissa. I love that Steven Cohen is using email as his defense! Seriously?!
So sorry to hear this, Nicole. But you still look great! Thanks for being brave and baring your story.
Thanks so much Jess! 🙂 It was definitely one of those that I was scared to hit the publish button on.
Nicole, it’s the end of the week and I needed to read this! I am grateful for women like you who are so willing to share their personal stories. I’m going to think about all of this over the weekend and start next week right 🙂