There are 26 weeks in the six month challenge I’m doing and today on Sept 14th I’m completing week number two. I feel worse than I did when I started and I’m thinking there is no point in continuing. Only 14 days in and I’m done with it. I feel more depressed, I’ve actually gained weight, and I’m still suffering from head to toe in hives.
That’s about as honest as I can be about how I’ve been feeling over the past few days, but of course there’s a lot more to it. If I’m being completely honest with myself, then I know that if it wasn’t for this challenge I’d probably have had a nervous breakdown by now.
It’s simple. I’m super stressed. I know that’s a word that is easily thrown around and the majority of people I know would probably say they’re also stressed out on some level. Many people I know love to wear it like a badge. If they’re incredibly stressed and overwhelmed it makes them feel important. The truth is stress can manifest in awful and destructive ways. I have a few physical signs that tell me when my stress levels are elevated like a muscle twitch under my left eye, or clenching my jaw while I sleep, but I’ve never broken out into full blown hives before. One definition of stress is:
A specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.
Based on that I’ve been feeling like my physiological equilibrium has been constantly interfered with significantly for almost six years now, triggered when I had my daughter and started my first business. I’m convinced that the specific response my body is experiencing at this moment, due to that stimulus as well as everything else that is currently going on in my life, is red itchy bumps all over my body and crazy irritability. Fun, right!?
So here’s the deal…my nervous system is on overload and I need to slow things down. There is a lot of upheaval in my life right now, and I can only imagine that if I stopped my daily yoga practice and used a couple glasses of wine to temporarily make myself feel better that I’d be a complete disaster. In full disclosure part of the reason for feeling like crap is because I ended up taking prednisone the Doctor had prescribed for my hives. If you’ve never had to use prednisone, you’re very fortunate. Some of the side effects I experienced were weight gain, mild depression and irritability. I was also quadrupling the amount of antihistamine I was taking and using cortisone cream – anything I could do to make it bearable to function. The crazy thing was none of it was making much of a difference which is how I knew my symptoms were absolutely stress related. I decided to go off the medication and as of this morning my Naturopath has me on some supplements and a food plan that will help to calm my nerves and hopefully provide me with some relief. Fingers crossed!
Something else happened today though that I found quite remarkable. It’s the one thing I haven’t tried during the past 3 weeks of suffering. Instead of a morning yoga practice I decided to meditate for 15-20 min and the difference it made was incredible. Considering I’ve been scratching myself to the point where I have scabs all over my arms and legs, the relief was nothing short of a miracle. I’ve always meditated on and off, and a few years ago I learned the Transcendental Meditation Technique through a certified TM teacher. The problem is I need to practice more of what I preach because even though I know and rave about the benefits of mediation, I don’t consistently do it myself. I know that yoga incorporates aspects of meditation and I do other things that I find are meditative, but based on the feeling of relief I had following my morning meditation today, I know I need to make it more of a priority in my daily life.
I didn’t add meditating to my six month challenge because I figured that it was incorporated as a part of my daily yoga, and come on…there are only so many things I can add to my plate, right?! Well, it’s now clear that the meditative aspect of yoga isn’t enough for me in my current condition. Deepak Chopra says, “Everything that happens in your mind has a physical representation in your brain, and everything that happens in your brain correlates with what happens in your body. When you experience negative or toxic emotions, such as compulsiveness, fear, anger, hostility or doubt, then of course that creates stress which in turn creates damage to your body. Through meditation you can actually reverse the effects of this toxic experience of life, whether it’s toxic emotions, a toxic environment, toxic habits or substances. The key is to experience inner silence so the body can self repair.”
So I’m not going to give up on my challenge but for now I need to incorporate at least one meditation session into my day – ideally two, and make it top priority. I’m pushing my body way too hard in an environment that is not healthy. Thankfully the environment is temporary, but at the rate I’m going the damage I’m doing to myself could be devastating. It’s just not worth it.