Self Love 22 days ago by Liz Adams

Some Thoughts on Being “Healthy”

We have had almost a solid month of sickness in our house. Which always feels ironic because it comes at a time where I pat myself on the back and think, “Liz, you’re really keeping shit clean and tidy and healthy and fresh around here!” Then, BAM. It started with Charlie having strep 2.5 weeks ago which then led into pneumonia. Jack has had a cough for about 2 weeks but despite many pediatrician visits and strep tests it is just a cough/cold. Same thing with George. It has literally been a symphony of coughs in our house which at some point as a parent is funny because you lose all sympathy for a kid with a cough after day 4 because it becomes sooo annoying. Like why do they have to aggressively push out a cough like they are choking on air? It also happens to be one of the worst virus months South Carolina has ever seen or something AND allergies are starting to heat up which is still something I’m trying to figure out. Which leads me to my first point – it is so exhausting to have a million different factors play in to an illness when all you want is a simple answer.

And then last Friday I woke up with a weird taste in my mouth and a swollen tongue which always means something is up (you know I’m a psycho about oral health). As the day went on my chest got heavier and heavier and every time I took a breath I was coughing up a gross phlegm (TMI). By night I felt a little flushy but took some NyQuil and went to bed. On Saturday I woke up sweaty and knew I probably had a low grade fever but Dave was out of town so I had to pop some Advil and ignore it. But by Saturday afternoon I couldn’t hang anymore and luckily my mom came over (my parents are here, yay!) and Dave got home a few hours later. When I tell you the fevers I had for the next 24 hours were unreal. Sweating, actually not just sweating, monsooning out of my body. I dragged myself to urgent care on Saturday night and was negative for everything but turns out I have a nasty upper respiratory infection. Thankfully I’m feeling better with some good meds. I started steroids yesterday and let me tell you, I had to sleep on towels and change my pajamas every 2 hours but I woke up a new person. It was a spiritual journey.

I’m sure I caught Charlie’s strep at some point and didn’t realize it and because I feel like it’s my job to always be on and aware and making sure everyone else in my house is okay ahead of myself, my body pushed it aside until it couldn’t any more. Being sick makes me sad. I feel very connected to my body, aware of how it is feeling and what it needs, but when I get sick I sort of feel like I’ve neglected her. I feel like I do “what I’m supposed to do” and by that I mean exercise, eat the good stuff, stretch, drink lots of water, blah blah blah. But you know what I’m not good at doing? Resting. And that is something I am always made painfully aware of when I get taken down by the higher powers. I haven’t gone on as many walks lately, sat in the sunshine…I have had a get up and go mentality recently that without really noticing has sort of run me down. I told Dave just last week that I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day and I think I need to flip that picture. It is easy not to listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us because we are so busy worrying about other things.

And then I can really go down a rabbit hole of how much we try to control being “healthy.” I know it looks different for everyone because we all require different things but I often wonder if we are so consumed by the noise and information and opinions on what is healthy that we really lose sight of what we actually need. It’s easier and quicker for us to listen to someone else’s opinion than actually come up with our own. GUILTY. I just have to say that this is why I have really learned to love this long form writing because the more I write the more clarity I get on so many things.

I think we all know there is a baseline for “healthy” and we all know that there are “healthier” alternatives to everything. We can drive ourselves crazy being aware of all of it, there will always be someone who tells us that we should have chosen something different and there will always be areas in our lives where we are “lacking.” But something my sister in law told me (she is a transplant surgeon in Denver) that I think about so much is that the hardest thing on your body is stress. Stress leads to inflammation, anxiety, mental health struggles, gut issues, etc etc. I would argue our society is probably the most stressed out its ever been? Just some food for thought. I think focusing so much on the alternatives takes so much out of living life. Enjoying what’s in front of you instead of second guessing if your choice is good enough.

All this to say (these longs posts are literally a journey) that LIVING YOUR LIFE IS THE HEALTHIEST CHOICE FOR YOU. The sicknesses that kick us in the butt along the way are basically just little reminders to check in with yourself, rest, give yourself a break, nurture YOURSELF. The mind and body connection is so incredible if you take the time to listen to it. That’s my Ted Talk for today. xoxo

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  1. Yes Liz! Cortisol is that crazy stress hormone that most Americans (me included) are coasting through life on. The stress of staying healthy is counterintuitive, I don’t think many people realize that. I love what you said about listening to your own body, because we are the owners and care takers of her. And I believe if we get quiet even she will tell us what we need. ❤️

  2. THIS! Yell it louder. I actually find that when I STOP stressing, I feel my best – and that includes over food/wine/working out – when I just do what I WANT to do, it’s like the mind/body connects and it’s like, “Yeah girl – do you, we’ll tell you when it’s enough or when we want a salad or something.” Hope you’re feeling better! xx

  3. THIS!! All of this! It’s a constant ‘stress’ just to keep up with all the ways to be healthy. I’m glad you’re on the mend.
    Also posts like these make me so happy blogging exists. Love the long form content. 💛

  4. I hope that things are on the mend in your house.
    Not fun.
    I just discovered a book that I have found helpful it is about Self Care by Helene Lerner. I have run myself ragged in the past and it is a book that states that you are important too.

  5. Let me be a cautionary tale …

    I took care of everyone but myself and got one, then two, then three, then FOUR auto-immune conditions over ten years.

    I kept prioritizing other people before I did myself and paid the price. I was happy to sacrifices my needs from time to time (or all the time when I had infants), but I never stopped making sacrifices, even — and especially — stupid ones (like staying up late wrapping Christmas gifts my mother-in-law sent to my house unwrapped), when I should have.

    Ten years, four auto-immunes, chronic pain, thousands of dollars and hours in medical care later, I think I’ve *finally* learned that MY sleep, rest (because they are different!), exercise, hydration, and calm are more important than anything — or anyone (even my kiddos!).

  6. Liz, I’m so glad you realize this now! I didn’t realize it soon enough. I took care of everyone but myself and got one, then two, then three, then FOUR auto-immune conditions over ten years.

    I kept prioritizing other people before I did myself and paid the price. I was happy to sacrifices my needs from time to time (or all the time when I had infants), but I never stopped making sacrifices, even — and especially — stupid ones (like staying up late wrapping Christmas gifts my mother-in-law sent to my house unwrapped), when I should have.

    Ten years, four auto-immunes, chronic pain, thousands of dollars and hours in medical care later, I think I’ve *finally* learned that MY sleep, rest (because they are different!), exercise, hydration, and calm are more important than anything — or anyone (even my kiddos!).

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – I resonate with them so much! I also love reading your longer posts about life – so thank you for continuing to share them!