2019: My Year of Self-Care

I was pretty selfish in 2019 and I mean that in the best way possible. Self-care was a big focus. If there’s anything I’ve learned as a book publicist for life coaches, it’s that we must be the best version of ourselves in order to properly care for our families and also to achieve our dreams.

Prior to this, I had a few challenging years. After Luca was born, I went through a health crisis. It took six months to get diagnosed and then cleared from having fatty liver from pregnancy. So basically, for six months while I was a brand new mom of two and full of post-partum hormones, I thought I was dying of an unexplained liver disease. It shook me to my core. I had so much anxiety that I lost all my baby weight and dropped over 50 pounds and weighed less than before I even got married. I eventually went to speak with a counselor to help find strategies and ways to manage this anxiety. (Note: I’ll write a post about that one day. I found the Headspace app to be a great tool, as well as using positive affirmations).

I am pretty sure I worked myself up so much that some other issues I encountered were a result of the stress. I got headaches that lasted 24/7 for THREE MONTHS. Yes. I saw a chiropractor, I got X-rays, I saw my doctor. Finally, a holistic bodywork therapist told me that I had inflamed nerves in the back of my head. He worked miracles and helped align my whole body. My spine was out of wack from pregnancy among other things.

Then and this is too much information, so I will be quick… For a year I kept seeing different OBGYN telling them that I had a cyst and everyone told me everything is normal, blah blah. I literally thought I was going crazy and even told my counselor about it. I knew my anxiety was not making up an issue. And what do you know, a year later, I saw a new doctor who told me that I have… get this.. a varicose vein in my lady bits that is a result of carrying pregnancies. And I’m fine! And it’s common. Who knew?! I am writing this extremely personal info because maybe it will help some woman out there. I wish I knew about it so I could have saved myself one year of additional health-related anxiety. This year, I cleared that up!

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Today, my health-related anxiety and just anxiety in general is a million times better but still a work in progress. I’m a mom and I’ll never stop worrying about being able to care for my children and to keep them safe, especially in this crazy world. But here’s the thing:

I’m channeling my anxiety to fuel my dreams and goals! And I’m using it to empower me against my worries.

An example: People are crazy and I want to keep my daughter safe. So, I signed her up for karate/mixed martial arts (MMA) classes to learn self-defense. She LOVES it. And I’m going to take private lessons, too.

Another example: I wrote my forthcoming children’s book, Princess Genevieve: The Hero with Girl Power, and filled it with important life lessons that I want to ensure my daughter learns. Things like the importance of chasing your dreams, being brave and conquering fears, making friends with all different types of people, and caring for animals.

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I know, I got a bit off track here talking about my anxiety but it was important to shed light on what I have been through the past two years and what I have learned and now how I have OVERCOME and am CELEBRATING health, dreams and just living life to its fullest!

I have kids now, not babies. Genevieve is 5 years old and sleeps through the night. Luca is 2.5 and usually sleeps through the night. That means FOR THE FIRST TIME IN LIKE 5 YEARS this mom is SLEEPING more than two or three hours a night! (I never sleep trained but that’s another blog). More sleep means I have energy to be a functioning human! I can stay up after the kids go to sleep and type this blog. I can wake up earlier and write a list of goals for 2020 while I sip coffee and the kids sleep. I can get back to “Joelle the Dreamer and Goal-Getter.”

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So I started that in 2019. I invested in myself, big time.

  1. I dedicated time going to the gym and doing yoga to build up strength in my body. The yoga was a kid’s class with Genevieve but still great. And I have been slacking on the gym for months but I am going back to this all in 2020. I will make the time by setting a recurring appointment in my calendar. The point is that I took the first step and started the process.81173332_10220937332524281_4437341604981768192_n
  2. I invested in my personal style/appearance. I’ve never felt quite as cool as I used to be since I gave up contacts and started wearing glasses 24/7 (my eyes just can’t deal with the dryness and headaches). I bought so many cheap glasses with different styles and colors and nothing made me feel happy with the statement I was making on my face. So I splurged and bought a pair of Warby Parker frames that I tried on while in NYC one day and loved. I feel confident and cool in them. And I haven’t felt that way wearing glasses in years. Sometimes you need to just buy the quality product.2019-01-23+14.20.24-3
  3. I got the luxury diaper/ mom bag that I shouts out my style and helps me organize and manage life on-the-go for myself and two kids. This is so important, especially as I need to carry my own snacks and food everywhere because I have food allergies. My Mina Baie Amelia bag (TIP: GOT IT DURING A SAMPLE SALE, SO I DID NOT PAY FULL PRICE) is a convertible tote, crossbody and backpack, so I can throw it on my back when I am out alone with both kids and need to carry my toddler. (Side note, the heavy weight did injure my weak back and I had to stop wearing it so I will just pray for a lightweight nylon version!) I still buy $5 shirts from Target so I think it’s OK to splurge on one style item that will last for years. I don’t go out and spend money getting my hair or nails done, or go out to dinner with friends, so this is something that makes me happy.
  4. I took a food challenge with my allergist so I can reintroduce things into my diet. This was a huge win. A food challenge is when you eat diluted or small pieces of a food you were allergic to previously but recently test negative to on bloodwork and the prick test. It’s the final OK that you can start to eat that food again. For 2 years, all my tests for a few types of fish came back negative but my anxiety kept me from doing the challenge. This year, before we went to Disney World and I had so much fear of flying with my peanut allergy, I made myself go for in-depth tests to see if I was safe to fly and what I really could eat while away from home. My food allergies are so bad, I have to bring my food everywhere and travel terrified me. But I did the challenge and got cleared to eat fish, which was the biggest win of my year and a total game changer for my dietary life. I literally eat the same thing for each meal every day (oatmeal, eggs, pasta or chicken) so having something new is amazing. Next, I can challenge peanuts and if that works out, I can challenge soy. That would be so awesome, you have no clue. All because I got the courage to go back to the allergist and do more testing!40591267._UY2400_SS2400_
  5. I made time to read inspiring books. Here’s to you Rachel Hollis. I don’t even need help getting motivated but I love Rachel’s books and her tips are so inspiring. I’m ready to take on 2020 thanks to Girl, Stop Apologizing! And I can’t wait to read Popsugar editor, Lisa Sugar’s book next. I started reading while on the bikes at the gym. Multi-tasking at its finest.
  6. I invested in my dreams. I hired an illustrator to work on my Princess Genevieve book, I purchased and built websites, I bought Instagram filter apps to improve my page, I tested the advertising waters doing sponsored posts, I designed and printed promotional materials for media kits and more. I’m working on my own brand.78152635_10220681064797748_2146802350222737408_o
  7. I practiced mindfulness. I got out in nature, read positive affirmations, self-help books, hid the social media apps on my phone and made tiny steps for living a life of gratitude and in the moment.
  8. I released negative people from my life. My attention can’t be spent on drama. I’d rather watch it on my soap operas.
  9. Speaking of that… I made time to watch my soap operas! I have literally been months behind on General Hospital and The Bold and The Beautiful and I found ways to have that important “me time” and watch them.
  10. Last but not least, I made time for FRIENDSHIPS. With real moms. In real life. I found that my dance moms are the best and we can get together and talk while all our kids play. I now have a social life and I don’t feel guilty by being away from my kids. These moms are like me. We don’t like to go out or be fancy. We want to sit in sweats and drink coffee and dish about life. It’s the best.

Lesson Learned from this Story: Taking time for self-care will help you live your best life. And it’s the best thing for everyone in your life!

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