Taking a break from writing in this space wasn’t intentional. At first. And then it was.
Truth be told, this little family of ours wasn’t feeling so well (physically) throughout the end of 2016, but we forged on through the holidays and wrapped up the year by heading back to Ohio to spend some time with family and friends.
On January 1st, we made the trek home to Georgia from Ohio. And for most of the drive, it looked a lot like this:
Fortunately, I wasn’t driving. Unfortunately, I was straining my eyes, in an attempt to manifest x-ray vision that could cut that fog. Within an hour of arriving home, IT had set in. IT, being land sickness.
Google it. I can never remember the specific name for it.
I’ve had bouts with it before, but it’s been years since my last episode. Basically, for me, it’s this weird feeling in my head that makes it feel like I’m still in motion (car, plane, etc.) even though my body is perfectly still. I imagine it’s like the intersection of one cocktail too many and vertigo … good times.
I stumbled over to the neighbor’s house for a New Year’s day party and tried my best not to fall over in front of a whole bunch of people we’d never met. I turned down every offer for a drink, and stood next to a counter (or Keith) trying not to look like I was swaying (though my body felt exactly that). Then I went home, fell into bed, and begged the universe to make this a short lived episode.
A few days later, and I was back.
Then, almost immediately, IT happened. IT being me catching a basketball with my face. Unintentionally, btw.
It was close range, and I never saw it coming. I remember seeing total black a second before feeling my entire face compress. We were in the driveway and Mayhem was playing basketball with some kids from the neighborhood. It was a complete accident.
I stumbled into the house and headed straight for the bathroom mirror … to see if everything was still in it’s proper location. It was. I took some headache medicine and hoped the swelling would be minimal.
And while the swelling (a la Marcia Brady) never happened, my entire face hurt for weeks. I was 100 percent certain that there was serious bruising going on behind what I could see, and I spent many nights laying in bed, wondering if I had internal bleeding and would maybe die in my sleep. And because I’m a very rational person, I refused to go see a doctor.
Headaches continued off and on. And looking at a computer screen, tv, and/or cell phone screen made things worse. Disconnecting, it seemed, would be the only way to truly heal.
I’m not a New Year’s resolution type person (I’ve come to find that I don’t stick with things I declare on January 1) but somewhere around the third week of January, I decided these couple of incidents were clearly “Hey Dummy!” moments, designed to get my attention.
I was not taking care of myself. At all. And I haven’t been, for years.
Our family was a family with angry stomachs. All of us. And it had gotten progressively worse throughout 2016. By October of 2016, it was apparent that the re-introduction of (more) processed foods into our diet, after Mayhem being cleared of her (previous) soy allergy, was largely to blame. But heading into the holidays meant we were kind of on auto-pilot and simply doing what we needed, to cruise into a new year.
The physical blahs combining with the “hey dummy” moments were finally a catalyst for some real change. Keith and I decided it was time for our family to make a switch to a primarily whole foods, plant based diet. And within a few short days, we felt tremendously better.
Make no mistake, this is a major shift for us, and we’re still a work in progress. There’s been a lot of trial and error and “what are we going to eat?!?!”, but we’ve stuck with it.
Mayhem was super excited when we went to meet a friend downtown, and he’d made reservations for dinner at a steakhouse (he had no clue we’d made any diet changes) … she enjoyed every bite of her cheeseburger, which, to her delight, also came with bacon. She sat in the booth, swooning, and declaring, “Pua, you are SO delicious!”
Pua is the pet pig in Moana. Mayhem has zero feelings 😉
I could go on and on about the dietary changes we’ve made and are continuing to make, but I’ll save that for that for another post. If you’re curious as to why plant based was the direction we wanted to go with our family, I highly recommend the Forks Over Knives (check it out on Netflix if you have it) documentary as a starting point. We’ve been kind of obsessed with food documentaries for years and this particular one has a lot of information we’ve found super helpful (not to mention eye opening).
Traveling and entertaining (ie; eating with other people) has been the greatest challenge, since we’re still navigating these waters for ourselves. As is finding plant based recipes which don’t rely heavily on nuts and/or nut based products (Mayhem is still highly allergic to ALL of those). But we’re doing it. And getting a little better everyday.
More than three months into this journey, I can say, that we feel like this is a definite lifestyle change for us. It doesn’t feel temporary, or like something we’re tired of.
Getting control of feeling physically better felt like the first step towards overall better health, and now that we’re more comfortable with this new lifestyle, we’re tackling how we handle stress.
I have no idea what that looks like just yet, but I’m hoping that some quiet time, spent writing, will help. I’ve enjoyed it in the past, and when it doesn’t feel like work, it can be therapeutic. Keith also mentioned to me that maybe we should explore some type of meditation, as a means of quieting our seemingly ALWAYS ON minds. I’m game.
We’ve been fortunate that our move south has allowed us to spend tons of time outdoors, and getting out to exercise in fresh air is always a good stress relief. Making it a daily priority is now a priority.
And so is relaxation. I don’t know how to do that (daily) just yet, but I’m exploring options …
What’s really nice though is not being afraid to try something new. And make changes. And feel better.
And begin again.
What’s your ‘go to’ stress buster?!?!