From Breaking Routine to Everything In Between: My Honest Health Update
Sharing my personal experience with chronic stress and how I’m mending myself back to health by breaking routine!
Opening up about everything I’m going through right now is hard. It’s scary and makes me feel vulnerable. But I’m going to do it anyways, because one of the things I appreciate most is when people are honest. It’s when people open up, share their stories, and manifest what’s really going on behind the screens. That’s what connects us the most.
So here I am today sharing where I’m at, in the hopes that it will make someone out there feel less alone. Even if that’s just me! Writing about it, sharing it, showing my true authentic self—that’s where I feel my healing starts. Showing the world that there’s more to someone than just pretty instagram photos and healthy recipes, that’s a chain reaction I want to be part of.
So here we go!
It all started just a couple months ago. Feeling unmotivated, fatigued, and simply out of ‘oomf’. Small tasks became huge obstacles in my head, and almost everything gave me colossal amounts of stress. Looking at the big picture, there’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed. It’s an emotion that probably everyone will feel in their life at one point. Hell, it’s even necessary to motivate us sometimes! But extensive, long-term stress will most likely do more harm than good.
There’s several different types of stress, from physical to emotional and everything in between. Too much of any kind can be destructive, like I have started to experience in the past couple months. I believe my ‘burn-out’ was caused by a combination of stressors, all while my body is still healing from years of malnourishment. I was working out 5 days a week, constantly competing with the clock at meal and snack times, pressuring myself to be ‘productive’ everyday, and basically just not allowing myself REST.
After months, I learned that this is simply NOT sustainable! Nor is it healthy. When I felt the first ‘signs’ of my burn-out, I was angry at myself for letting it come this far. My digestion was a mess and I was so chronically fatigued that I couldn’t even bear the thought of simply writing an instagram caption many days. Not to mention I haven’t had my period since November of 2018. I didn’t know what was going on with me, so I kept pushing forward. Until I realized I didn’t have the same strength at the gym as I used to, and literally could not keep my eyes off the clock while doing things that usually seemed to fly by.
I started to feel completely disconnected with myself, which is one of the strangest things I’ve ever felt before. The best way to describe this ‘feeling’ is as pure emptiness. I couldn’t figure out what emotions I was feeling, simply because it felt like I was emotionless. To be honest, some days still feel like this right now. But I’ve finally started to have days again where I am feeling EVERYTHING. And I think this is because I have started to break my routine.
If you follow me on instagram, you know I’m currently on vacation in Canada! We’re doing a house swap, meaning I'm staying (with my mom and sisters) in a house that belongs to people here, and the people who live in this house are staying in our house back in the Netherlands. It’s a great way to travel and see the world without having to pay a dime for room and board!
In the past, vacation used to stress me out more than anything. I feared going out of my routine. I feared not having my ‘safe’ food, I feared not being able to workout, I feared not having a strict day schedule. Now, for the first time in YEARS, I told myself I needed a BREAK. I’m not talking about just a different environment, but a break from everything. A break from my usual environment, yes, but also a break from everything else that was ultimately giving me stress. Exercise, eating times, and actually just TIME in general.
Back home, my days revolved around the clock. I had to wake up at a certain time. I had to eat at certain times. I had to workout at certain times. But racing the clock is no life. It’s exhausting and completely unnecessary. Our bodies are so freaking smart and know how to tell us when we need to eat, sleep, and even move! Right now, my body was telling me I needed REST. So I went into this vacation telling myself I was allowed all the chill, relax, and rest I need. I have been sleeping 10+ hours a night, I have been eating meals and snacks at the ‘craziest’ times, and haven’t done a conventional form of ‘exercise’ since I left. All I can say is? I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.
Regarding the burn out, I do not know exactly what has caused me to feel this way neither do I know exactly what I can do to reverse it. But that is life. It’s all a learning experience. I am figuring out what works for me RIGHT NOW. I am learning that I currently prefer walks with mom and bike riding to the store as my movement for the day. I am learning that sleeping in and having slow mornings gives me the energy I need to stay vital. I am learning that you won’t always feel the same way. Your needs are constantly changing, and I am learning that these changes are 100% ALLOWED. So here’s to allowing all that life has to offer!