Holistic Medicine for Makers, Musings

Why Working and Resting Are the Same Thing

This month I was posed with the question, what is the one goal that if met, would propel your work and life forward the most?

I knew pretty instantly; it was my health.

Through three moves, packing and unpacking, multiple omg-am-I-sure-I-have-everything’s, being constantly on the move, working 16 hour days and basically living in a tent for two months, multiple 26 hour drives (solo) to and from California and throughout the Midwest, eating NOT the right food, being unable to get a true night’s sleep (thanks insomnia) since August, a 22 hour flight to Asia, hitting the ground running on the work visa search, and basically ignoring my body’s every need, (pause for breath) my lil bod needed a serious reboot. I had been doing little things here and there, but nothing consistent. I ended up at a point where it hurt to eat and I woke up more exhausted than going to sleep. Then lo and behold, both began to cyclically contribute to the other – funnn!!!

How ironic, people think, one of her passions and studies is health and wellness, shouldn’t she have a handle on this?

Logically, yes; in practice? No.

Sometimes things are complicated and sometimes they snowball. Sometimes you’re afraid that if you take a break your life will fall apart. Sometimes thinking about trying to have the time or money to take care of yourself is scary.

Especially for me. Even my little FILA’s know, I am a workaholic. Time-crunching to the point of self-deterioration may as well be my (long) middle name. Sleeping is also the bane of my existence (how could I not do something when I could be doing something?!). And even though I am constantly championing the ‘do not let money control you’ ideology, I am not SO over my money fear that the idea of committing to a practitioner and an unknown dollar quotient of healthcare doesn’t make me want to knock the idea to the end of my list.

But, after this question from a mentor, I had an epiphany about what exactly I had been missing in my entrepreneurial equation; just why I have been feeling like I’m treading water in my goals – resting is part of working.

And by resting I mean making meals. I mean seeing a specialist. Getting a massage. Sleeping. Purchasing and taking your perfect supplements. Not letting an ache, pain, or digestive issue go by the wayside because it is ‘inconvenient’.

Her question drew this line between success and self care for me that hadn’t quite clicked before. Often when I am in stress, fear, or fight or flight (and I don’t think I’m alone here) self care is what falls off first, which is ironic because that is when we need it most. The gym membership, the vegetables, the sleep. We sprint toward the direction of ‘safety’ only to leave our truest safety behind, our health.

My question is, why is this always the LAST thing we will spend money on. Why is this always the absolute last activity we will commit our time and energy to? What is it about taking care of ourselves that seems to be the least important, scariest, above all else I will not commit to this, thing?

I mean, come on. So you got that contract, now what? Do you even have enough creative juice to fulfill it? You got your paycheck, now do you have the energy to spend it on more than Ubereats and medicine? I know these are the questions I’ve been asking myself lately. Which made me realize, my body is part of my work. It is part of being successful. On some level, le duh, but think about it further: consistency is essential to success, creativity is your LIFE and the basis for your work, and vitality is the source of both. Pushing past your physical needs leaves you lackluster, generally exhausted, and the goals you worked so hard to reach, well, now your work on them will be SHIT. I know I tend to be a special case in the work ethic department, I’m a pusher and ‘crazy’ or whatever, but this idea applies to all y’all. Anything you want to do starts with your health; any thought, project, new job, even relationship, damn. Check in with your health first. It is where everything, and everywhere you want to go, begins — EV-ER-Y-THING.

Let’s work on ousting this idea that there is ‘nobility’ in steamrolling straight over our health. That denying ourselves sleep and proper down time make us ‘dedicated’ and ‘go-getters’. That vital functions like exercise and meal making are the first to get cut out of our time/money budgets. I want to do one of those dramatic sweeping arm things and knock that bull right off the table, ya feel. Make health and hustle interchangeable, one unheard of without the other. Make them necessary parts of each other; a new habit and belief system where you sleep hard to work hard and vice versa, startingggggg… now.

In order to do that, though, we need to X out those fears that lead us to think that stopping to take care of ourselves will ‘ruin everything’. I promise you, life is not going to end (via time or money) if you take care of yourself. In fact, it will only get better. We are not too busy, and we are definitely not ‘too broke’.

HELLO. THIS IS THE BIG PICTURE CALLING

I HATE that excuse. Why? Because I have used it so many times, because that was life. Because I know it through and through and I can tell you from experience, THAT DOESN’T MATTER. There is, and you can find, a way. There are discounted clinics and first time offers. Possibilities to negotiate a social media, copy, or graphic design trade for a discounted rate. Make a deal with your friend at the co-op to share perfectly good, but no longer store worthy, produce that’s about to be tossed. There’s Groupon, etc etc. But even in that, don’t cheapen your experience by thinking the only way you can afford to better yourself is at a discount. Money can show up, like it has for me so many times when I put my foot down and say this is what I’m doing, among a trillion other random ways it can come together when we DECIDE. Remember how we talked about deciding? This is the same. Decide this is important (and it is) and money won’t matter in this equation, even when you ‘don’t have any’. (quotations because this literally is not a barrier for you no matter how much you think it is)

If you are waiting for a good time, there won’t be. There will always be another bill to pay and another task that seems more pressing, which is why now is as good a time as any. Quite honestly, your life adjusts. The only hard part is making that initial, mental commitment, then it fits into your day in ways you never knew it could, and you are happier than ever that you decided to try.

So after realizing what a ninny I was being by putting this off, I made a plan. I went all out and decided to consider it an investment in my new, baby business – because it is!!

I assessed all of my symptoms and knew that acupuncture did my tummy good, so acupuncture it was, and I scheduled it every Monday at 2 for the month (including facial acupuncture woahhh); I decided I would implement whatever herbs and diet changes I was prescribed, exactly as instructed. I downloaded this yoga app thing and began doing one class (about half an hour) once a day. I actually SCHEDULED meals (y’all know if I put off finding time to sleep how would I ever cook). It actually helped. It really really helped. I added some different self-care routines, including dry brushing and skin hydrotherapy to help me detox. I scheduled a breath work appointment every other week because ooh la la oxygen and boy does it chill out my emotions (don’t even get me started on how connected they are to your health).

Aaaaand the kicker, multiple cleanses, flushes, and detoxes for various organs because, for those of you unfamiliar to this concept, expecting your body to work through anything without a solid clean out is like throwing your fancy, Whole Foods lemon cleaner on top of garbage and expecting your living space to go back to the free and clear.

(I know this warrants a whole new blog post, that is why it is currently in the works, don’t worry your precious head)

Seem like a lot? Well, I know from past experience that if we want to see results we have to go all in, not a random appointment or new supplement here and there (which is a very common and ineffective approach to holistic healing). It would involve consistency, frequency, and habit changing, and like I said earlier, your life will begin to mold around it. You will forget you are doing anything differently and the way you feel will be enough to make up for any schedule adjusting you might have had to endure to accommodate it. And yes, on the money side, I don’t have a job yet, but I know I can’t make decisions like this based on money (or lack there of). I knew I had to make the appointment, show up, and what will be will be.

This is your body and it’s the only one you have. Learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make your own, let it take precedence over everything!

So as far as my reboot, as of now I am still in implementation mode, and quite in the midsts of getting into my groove with it, but yessss I am seeing progress, you guessed it! Overall, my skin is better, I am sleeping (praise everything that is holy) and it now it only hurts sometimes when I eat, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I will be sharing more about the protocol I set for myself in another post, so much to share, I tell ya. But my sincerest hope is that I am one step closer to being able to say, do what I say AND what I do.

Ciaoooo for now

Chels