De-stressing is the last thing I thought I’d be doing over the past year, but it turns out that I have been. Throughout the past year, I’ve lived through a pandemic, moved to a new city and left my job…according to most statistics, I should be a mess, but according to my doctors, I’m in the best health of my life.
In January of 2020, my OBGYN told me that if I didn’t get my stress under control, I would never be able to get pregnant. I didn’t realize how stressed I was and that I was running myself ragged for no reason until the pandemic hit. What was the point of working out in the morning, working all day, working out again in the evening and then going home to cook a meal? I used to try to squeeze three days into one and I don’t think that’s something to be proud of.
Since January 2020, my life has done a 180. It has taken me a while to understand what has happened to me over the past year and at times I have felt like a total failure, but I’m beginning to realize that I’m exactly where I need to be doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
The other day I had my six-month dental appointment and they had to take my blood pressure twice because it was shockingly low. For as long as I can remember, my blood pressure has been around 120/80–which is teetering on pre-hypertension, but this week, it was 102/66. After my appointment, I couldn’t help but reflect on what has changed in my life to get me in such a relaxed state.
What I’ve Changed:
- Got a puppy
- Stopped working a 9-5 job
- Cut back on drinking
- Let go of toxic friendships
- Started Meditating
There are endless studies that describe the benefits of having a dog, but it is really crazy to think about the positive impact Charlie has made on my life. Not only do I have a constant companion, but because Charlie is still a puppy, he has A LOT of energy so we are always outside and walking, which has been great for me. His endless cuddles and kisses are also the best!
As far as working goes, I never planned to quit my job last year. Our move to Austin was not my decision and I didn’t want to leave my job, but looking back it was so necessary. I had hit a wall in terms of growth and I don’t think I realized just how stressful and upsetting that was for me. I was trying to do so many things at once that it is amazing to me I didn’t go crazy. Driving all around Houston to get to work, to get to the gym, to get to the grocery store, to attend every event I was invited to…It was honestly insane. Although I miss my life in Houston at times, I think I’m a much better person today than I was a year ago.
In June of 2020 I decided to reevaluate my drinking. Like most people during lockdown last year, I started drinking more than I should have. I don’t know if other people experienced this, but the more I drank, the more upset I would get about my situation and my husband and I began fighting a lot. I realized that drinking was at the root of most of our arguments so I decided to cut it out for a while. I still drink now, just very moderately and definitely don’t when I’m already in a bad mood.
Letting go of toxic friendships is probably one of the best changes you can make in your life. I’ve let go of several friendships in my lifetime, but last year I let go of one that had been hugely impactful on me. For years, people around me questioned why I was friends with this person, but I never saw what they saw. At first it was hard to not have this person in my life who had been there for so long, but in time, I realized that my life was so much less complicated without them in it. My dad always said that you become the five people who you are around the most, so if you have someone in your life who you think is toxic…LET THEM GO. Don’t wait, don’t give them a second chance. Move on and be around good people who bring positivity into your life.
Meditation has brought so much peace to my life. I never really thought about trying it, but in February I was having trouble sleeping so I decided to download the BetterMe: Meditation and Sleep app and give it a shot. This app has completely changed my sleeping habits and now I can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.
Obviously I haven’t been able to see my friends as much as I would have liked to over the past year because of the pandemic, but when I do see them, most of them remark on how much I’ve changed this year. From saying that I seem more clear-headed and lighter to even glowing and happier, I have to agree with them that I am in a much better place.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re running on a short fuse, I encourage you to look around at your life and see what you can eliminate or change to make yourself happier and healthier.