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self care

Pictured here is one tired unicorn. I wanted to post this to show you another side of my recovery. A while back I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and a couple years later fibromyalgia. These two health issues come and go, and often wreak havoc on my productivity and my emotional state. It's taken me a long time to not beat myself up about the fact that sometimes I have to take a nap. And sometimes, I just can't get done what I want to in a day. I won't get into all the details of how each illness affects me, but I will tell you this, it's a vicious cycle that I need to be on top of, otherwise I can spiral into a depression without even knowing it. There are times where I pull away from connecting with people because it's hard to explain that I am drained from either or both of these health problems, because for whatever reason, there's still a weird shame I have with not being 100% healthy. Thankfully I have a few close friends that I can text with and are understanding of my situation, and can usually talk me off of a depression ledge before it gets bad. But sometimes I'm in it before I even am aware of it.

I have been working very hard the last month to not overbook my schedule, and allow self-care time into my routine. But wedding season has officially kicked my butt this year, which has led me to understand what my body can and can't handle. I'm finally accepting that my saying no for my own health is far more important than wanting to help another person. I can't help other people if I'm not well, so that must come first. When I use the term self-care, I really mean just putting my needs first. It doesn't mean I'm going to get a mani-pedi, or take myself out to dinner... it literally just means, what does Cristina need right now? And the answer usually is nap.

I think what's most important that I want to share, is that I need to be aware and mindful of what's going on inside my body because that affects my mood, my thoughts, and my actions. If I'm not on top of this, I'll usually become agitated with others, communicate poorly, or end up hiding from society because it's just too hard. Obviously this is not how I want to live. So it's been a huge part of my therapy and daily routine to begin listening to my body when something feels off. Meditation is crucial in my life. Without knowing the issue, I can't take the steps to resolve the problem. I've also started a healthier food plan for myself, I've joined a weight loss group at my church, and I'm learning more and more about the right essential oils to use for not only my ailments, but also my emotional state.

I found this graphic on Pinterest, and I think I'm going to try it out for the month of October, and see the difference of putting self-care first and how it impacts different aspects of my life:

I'll leave you with this quote that resonates with me on so many levels of recovery and self-care:

Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving.

When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” ― Bell Hooks

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