Okay, FIRST let me preface this with – I’m extremely dramatic when I’m in pain. I like to think its because I have a really high pain tolerance and once I'm in pain I know how serious it is or I’m just a big baby when it comes to being in pain. Also... I googled my symptoms and WebMD said I had a fatal condition. Anyway, moving on...
In February we went on a family vacation to Disney World(!!!!!) for my oldest son’s 6th Birthday. About a week before we left, I had killer headaches that stayed on my left side and that shot up and over my head. Then I went on a few rides at and thought I had vertigo (it feels like drunk spins). I was nauseous and basically useless to my family and kids for about two weeks.🤦🏻♀️
I’m one of those people that HATE taking medicine. I’m super sensitive to it, and even like something like 800mg of Motrin will knock me out for two hours. 🙅🏻♀️After 3 weeks of an annoying headache, trying medicine and other DIY remedies to alleviate the pain, I finally went to the doctor.
I had TENSION HEADACHES. Between an international move, stress from that international move, my kids, staying alive, staying within budget, planning stuff, and whatever – I was really stressed and anxious. My MIND didn’t feel anxious but my body felt it.🤷🏻♀️
My doctor said, “Whoa, you have abnormally large traps for a female. Do you lift?” Thanks doc.👊🏼
So after the Heat, Rest, and Stretch for a week, my trapezius muscles subsided a little and I decided to make some lifestyle changes. If your body is feeling overwhelmed and anxious, these things really helped with my body stress even if my mind didn’t feel the stress.
DOWNLOAD GOOGLE CALENDAR. I LOVE a good color coordinated calendar.🤓 I LOVE writing stuff down. I love colored pens. But all my crap was everywhere. Like, colored pens and 3 different planners and calendars were cluttering up our counter space and my brain. Getting rid of the physical clutter helped A LOT. So, Jay and I downloaded the Google Calendar App and synced our calendars. Now we don’t have to worry and stress about conflicting schedules, missed appointments, missed deadlines, and/or events that might have been forgotten in conversation or texts. Everyone is still color coded and I get alerts for when something is coming up. 🤘🏼I threw away my planners (freeing up a lot of pursespace, too!) but kept my pens because they’re SO pretty! I KNOW I’m late to the calendar app game. But I really really loved writing things down.
MINDFUL EATING/FASTING. In January, our siblings and significant others started an accountability group lovingly called “The Fat Sibs”. We would weigh in and share what we were eating. Whoever lost the most amount of inches/weight won a new outfit! Well, it really didn’t work because we just sent facetious texts and pictures to each other of like donuts and burgers and wrote “Diet starts tomorrow! FOR REAL!” (PS – we still never declared a winner LOL)
A few weeks ago Jay joined this fitness challenge with some of his old coworkers. You pay an entry fee but the winner of the challenge wins $2,000! So he’s taking it a little more seriously than The Fat Sibs Challenge. As the good wife that I am, I’m supporting him. I didn’t buy into the challenge but I’m eating at the same times he’s eating and I’m eating CLEAN. Mostly protein, veggies, and minimal fat and sugar.
While eating relatively clean we’re doing this thing called intermittent fasting. Since Jay is a dude, he eats within an 8-hour window and fasts for the rest of the 16 hours. Since I am a female, I eat within a 10-hour window and I fast for 14 hours. When you are fasting, you can drink as much water, tea, or black coffee as your little heart desires.
I suck at dieting. 😅I don’t like depriving myself of food. Food is my love language. In my culture, if you’re sad… you eat… if you’re happy… you eat… if you’re content... you eat… if you just ate… then you eat. Filipinos LOVE food. Intermittent fasting is a good lifestyle change since Jay and I WON’T deprive our self from food. 🍔🍟🌮🍱🍪We can still sort of eat whatever we want without gaining too much, as long as were eating relatively clean and within that window.
Before I had my third kid, I could eat 8 slices of pizza without gaining a pound. Now I read the word "pizza" and *boom* my pants won’t button. I mean, I still go back for 5 plates at a brunch buffet but that’s a story and a blog post for another time.💁🏻♀️
DOING SOMETHING FOR MYSELF. As a mom and wife we give. We givegivegive so our kids are happy and so our spouse is happy, because we LOVE these people and will move the mountains and drain oceans to make them smile. But it leaves us TIRED AF and a little frumpy.
SO between the cleaning and the planning and the taking care of, I told myself that I will do something JUST for MYSELF every single day and a BIG thing for myself every week. So what does that look like?
Daily? A Beer, Popcorn, and a movie of my choice after the kids go to bed. Or mindless scrolling on my phone. Or reading a book before bed. Maybe going a few rounds with the QuietPunch (a punching bag in our doorframe). Cleaning or organizing. Yes, I think cleaning/organzing certain things is therapeutic. Or maybe eating a snack and not sharing with anyone. I would choose one or ALL of these things. My daily self-care could be different from one day to the next or totally the same.
Weekly? I have the same Weekly Ritual on Sundays. I put on a movie, I put on a face mask, and I do my nails. If I need it, I wax my lip or groom the brows. Sometimes I have a big ass spa party on the floor of my living room with D. All of the Above! I’m wearing a face mask while I cut my nails. While my toes are drying, I wax my legs and groom my brows. After the whole tornado that is my Weekly Self Care Ritual, I emerge feeling smooth as a dolphin and pretty AF ready to conquer the hell out of my week.💅🏼🧖🏻♀️💆🏻♀️
STRETCH/YOGA. I’ve done yoga on and off for 10 years. I’m not good at it but I really love how it makes me feel afterwards. After my headache episode and after Jay started his challenege, I like to hop on YouTube about three times a week and follow some flows. Sometimes I just do my own thing while the TV is on or if the kids are napping. Foamrolling and Yoga have really helped with my mobility especially since I’m on the floor with the kids or always running after one of them. I’d like to think it helps my body manage stress too!
CONSISTENT EXERCISE. I’m one of those super lazy active people. I love working out, I love going to the gym, I love being active… but I will find any and all excuses NOT to go. Once I’m there, I go H.A.M. 💪🏼lifting all the weights or bouldering on a hike when bouldering is totally not necessary and we’re like, on a flat path. Since Jay started going to the gym, I’ve been tagging along for accountability. There is child care that the kids LOVE. Its not like we’re in the gym for three hours, no. We go for maybe an hour, get a good and sweaty workout in, and then we go home. It gets the kids out of the house, it gets our blood flowing, and happy endorphins in our system.
I STOPPED DRINKING COFFEE. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I used to post these ridiculous stories at 2AM.👀 Remember how I said that I was super sensitive to medicine? Well it turns out I’m sensitive to caffeine too. I wouldn’t sleep. I would get maybe 3 hours a night? Then I would drink coffee ALL DAY (like 5 cups) to keep myself awake. Only to not be able to fall asleep again. It was a really annoying and vicious cycle. I was super on edge, I looked like crap, and what I THOUGHT was energy was really just jitters.
So, one morning I woke up too late to drink coffee. So I just didn’t. I had a KILLERFREAKINGHEADACHE for the first day. That went away on the second and third day because I pounded a bunch of water all day.
Now, I drink Chai tea in the mornings and whatever herbal tea for the rest of the day and at night.🍵 I started sleeping regularly and I wake up without feeling like I got hit by a bus. I miss the taste of coffee. So I bought Gevalia Decaf House Blend coffee and drink 2 cups of that in the morning.
A cup of decaf coffee has less than 5mgs of caffeine per cup compared to 65-175 mgs (source).☕️ I like Gevalia because it tastes BAHMB but also because the decaffeinating process is super clean. It uses Supercritical Carbon Dioxide to separate the caffeine instead of some chemical solvent. I’m psycho and I emailed customer service and asked. Basically they get the wet the coffee beans and they pump carbon dioxide (like bubbles from soda) through the bean to extract the caffeine.
While my three-week headache was incredibly dramatic and left me temporarily immobile, these few daily lifestyle changes will help me keep me less stressed and less anxious. If you’re in the same boat, I invite you to try these and even to *gasp* stop drinking coffee?? Whatever you choose, I hope you are taking care of yourself and taking care of your stress!