Today’s guest post is by Emily Morgan. Emily was a client of mine for 6 years when she lived in Kansas City, and we stayed friends after she moved for a job.
When I look at my life so far, I know that one big part could be described as a wellness journey.
It started when I was 23. I got really sick (The kind of sick you don’t want to describe in an article like this. Work with me though). After a year and a half of being sick, a doctor finally suggested that I try going gluten-free. Gluten-free is something that most people now have heard about, but that wasn’t the case 12 years ago.
With a lot of research and effort, I made the switch. A week in, I felt so much better. I decided that I was never going to go back to the way I had been eating.
When I look back at this period of time, the thing that stands out to me is that I started to listen to my body. While I was sick, I lost a lot of weight, but until someone was asking why my clothes didn’t fit, I didn’t realize it. Discovering that I needed to be gluten-free required me to pay a lot of attention to my body and how my body was feeling. It was also easy in some early moments to realize when gluten had somehow slipped in, because the effects on my body were immediate.
Adding Other Quadrants
A couple of years later, I decided to run a half marathon. On a training run one Saturday morning, I fell. I hit hard on the bottom of a muddy hill. For several weeks after, I was having a lot of pain in my hip.
On a friend’s recommendation, I made an appointment with Dr. Robin. She was able to adjust me and get my hip back in place, which fixed the pain. After a couple of months, she told me that I didn’t look healthy. But I ate healthy! I exercised every day! But that comment started another time of tuning in and trying new things to be healthier. Some of them were simple, like getting my Vitamin D checked (It was unmeasurably low. Supplementation is important). Some of them were a little more involved, like paying attention to the feeling that sugar doesn’t work for my body.
But I am a person who is willing to try anything. I had the mentality that none of the little changes that Dr. Robin suggested would be as hard as going gluten-free. (Real confession: Giving up the sugar was. It took a lot of tries). She also rolled out her suggestions one at a time over the years that I was in Kansas City. It was always just one small thing.
If the message of going gluten-free was listening to my body, the message during this time period was that it’s not just what I eat and whether I exercise. There are many other parts of my health that needed the same kind of attention that I gave to food and exercise.
The Cancer Diagnosis
Years passed. I accepted a new job and made a cross country move. Soon after I moved, I got a cancer diagnosis, which launched a year of surgeries. That was 2015 and I call it The Worst Year.
We all have difficult spots in our lives, whether it’s something about health, a job issue, or difficulty with family members. How do you get through the difficult time?
For me, what got me through The Worst Year was:
- My Medical Team, My Mom, and My Tribe
- Taking It One Step at a Time
- Noticing Things to Be Grateful For
The Time After
And finally, there’s the time after. When the word resilience is applied to a material (like nylon), it’s about its ability to bounce back. I think all of these types of experiences affect us enough that we don’t bounce back to the same shape as before. But we can get to a place where we feel positive again, we can look forward to life, and feel happy.
For me the time after is about taking care of myself. I have a couple of non-negotiables. These days I eat gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. That’s just how it is. The fortunate thing is I like to cook, so it’s not a big deal. I also move every day. These days I do a walk/jog every morning. It gets me outside and moving. And I sleep 8 – 9 hours every night. I’m a sleeper so 9 hours is best for me.
I’ve also learned some other things help me take care of myself and make my life a little better. It’s better if I write in my journal every night, it’s better if I meditate for 10 minutes at some point during the day. It’s better if I stop and recognize something good or happy that I’m grateful for. It’s better if I laugh. It’s better if I have something to look forward to.
We all walk different paths. What are the things that help make your life better?