Today is the last day of 2017 and I also believe that it’s really important to reflect on our year before we begin a new cycle on the 1st of January.
My biggest lesson this year was how truly detrimental chronic stress can be as I experienced it first hand.
When you lead a relatively healthy lifestyle , you think you figured what to eat, what exercise to do and what supplements to take – you kind of think it’s going to be OK. And you might even start to feel invincible. I certainly did. I ran 4 half marathons in the last few years, had 2 jobs (including starting my own company – nutrition practice and collaborating with SuperWellness Nutrition), I had a very busy social life as well as volunteering and participating in my Buddhist activities.
Work hard, play hard – does it sound familiar ?
It wouldn’t be such a big issue had we found balance – leaving time to relax, recharge, recuperate. However, if we miss this very important point – and it’s missing for a long time – our body will show us warning signs – maybe quite subtle ones first and then these signs might get louder, until we can’t ignore them any longer.
Even though I thought I had it all figured – I was missing this very important point – and for 6 months this year I had no chance to rest and relax. After a long day’s work and other activities- more worries and fear were waiting for me at home.
After 6 months – just before a week’s holiday all the pressure manifested as panic attacks. If you had one, you know how scary it feels, it can literally feel like you’re having a heart attack and dying. It makes you numb. And you feel out of control. I’ve been seen by doctors and twice by paramedics as well – physically everything was fine. But I knew this time that something had to be done.
The good thing is, there are so many tools that can help. And this is certainly a condition that will make you want to do those changes. No one wants to feel like this every day. And no one has to either.
I am lucky to have other tools like functional testing available- so I did an adrenal stress test to see what’s going on on a hormonal level. The results were shocking but not surprising at all. My night stress hormones were as high as during the day – this was another sign to do something about it.
I started to work with my functional medicine mentor (thank you), a fantastic counsellor (thank you), I started yoga therapy (thank you), I incorporated a lot of mindfulness techniques in my life, yoga nidra, journaling. (thank myself too)
I looked at all the possible tools that people have used and tried them all. I stuck with the ones I could incorporate in my life. I learned to understand my feelings and the triggers and slowly I got my life back.
I replaced my running with a yoga practice, late nights with early mornings, watching telly with reading and sleep meditations.
While I was experiencing these symptoms and was working through them – I already knew that this illness has a much more profound meaning.
I shared my struggles with friends and colleagues and learned about so many of them also suffering from anxiety and panic attacks. I realised that this chronic condition has sneaked into our lives and we might feel embarrassed sharing it with others. We fear the stigma and the label of having mental health problems.
I determined to help as many people suffering as possible this coming year.
I want to share my tools and lessons I’ve learnt.
I want to show you that we can all overcome it.
SuperWellness Nutrition already offers a 2 part talk on Stress Busting and having shared this with groups of employees has been very powerful.
I am also already working on a workshop for corporate employees to fight anxiety as I find the pressure is highest in this environment.
Get in touch to find out more!
Wishing you all a fab 2018