Probably one of the top things that a lady in her late twenties never wants to think about or even consider having is a heart problem. For someone who is extremely active, eats a mostly plant based diet, and takes exceptional pride in my health in general, having to see a cardiologist was something that I thought I’d never have to do. About a month ago I started experiencing pretty intense heart palpitations. I’d try to go to sleep or be working and I’d feel a fluttery feeling slowly start to come on, followed by a heavy irregular heart beat. It freaked me out. After this continued for about two weeks, I realized it wasn’t just going to go away and needed to see a doctor stat. On my mother’s side mitral valve prolapse and Wolf-Parkinson-White conditions are prevalent, so I was extremely nervous that I was just now experiencing some symptoms of these, but in the back of my mind I kept telling myself, “Kate, you are way to freaking stressed, it has to be just that.” So after many vials of blood drawn, having an EKG & echocardiogram performed, and wearing a heart monitor for a few days, the doctors ruled out any problems associated with my blood tests and my heart… leaving, as I had guessed, a major stress and anxiety problem. I was floored to realize how much stress & anxiety had taken a toll physically on my body, that it had literally created irregular heart beats which had in turn stressed me out even more! Over the course of that week I thought about myself more, trying to figure out when and why I had become this stressed. I had seen fragments of stress/anxiety that usually resulted from my perfectionism earlier in my life, but nothing ever this severe. It didn’t take long for me to basically boil it down to coming out to Colorado, a place where we had dreams of “slowing down” and enjoying the mountains. For as much as we have taken advantage of those mountains, it all has seem to come at a compromise to what I had envisioned our life being like out here. I don’t want to say I’m thankful I’ve had these heart palpitations, because I’m not, but I am grateful for the lessons it so quickly shared with me. When compromising my life, my goals, and my dreams creates added stress – enough is enough. I’ve decided it’s time to reclaim my life. It’s time for me to be a little selfish, to put my foot down, and to say “NO.” It’s time for a lesson on self love and making time for myself. I’ve spent time thinking about what I need to de-stress and manage my anxiety, most of which means taking more “me time” seriously. Below is stress management tips and how I like to practice some self love.
1. Quiet Time: As an introvert, having that space or quiet time to myself is extremely important and it’s something I have neglected immensely. For me, it’s decompressing after work for a solo run, cooking by myself, reading before bed, crafting, or just walking our dog.
2. Spoil Yourself: Retail therapy is really a thing people. For me, I love window shopping, not necessarily spending lots of money. It seems to provide sources of inspiration, relaxation, and just a way to zone out for me. Treating yourself to a spa day (either professionally or just at home) is a easy way to refocus on yourself. The above DIY scrub is one of my many handmade body products I love using.
3. Meditate: Whether it’s thru yoga, praying, or breathing techniques, I always feel mentally rejuvenated after a mindful meditation session. My co-worker recently recommended the Headspace app, which walks you thru how to mediate anywhere, anytime.
4. Quality Sleep: I’m a huge proponent of sleep – quality sleep, and lots of it! I know without a doubt my career, health, and running would suffer immensely if I didn’t get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Whenever I’ve been sick, stressed, or just overworked, getting a few 10 hour nights of sleep on the weekends does wonders for my body and soul.
5. Less Stimulus: This is probably the hardest for me, but I’m actively trying to step away from my computer and phone – to leave work at work, to stop wasting time browsing the internet, and not giving two shits about social media. Work is probably the most arduous, but if it comes between a promotion and my physical well being, the body is always going to come first. I think half of the battle is knowing and understanding that I’ll always tend to be an anxious person, and that I don’t handle stress the same way others do. This is the game of life, trying to figure out yourself and how to make it all “work.” So how do you handle stress? I’d love to hear other ways I can practice self love and stress management. DIY Body Scrub
– ½ cup coconut oil
– ½ cup turbinado sugar
-Zest of half an orange & half a lemon
-Touch of juice from zested orange
– 4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
Whip coconut oil and sugar together in a mixer, until light a fluffy. Stir in zest and add essential oil. Keep in fridge to prevent from melting.