I've had a huge pressure on my chest for the past week.
It feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. I just can't seem to catch my breath and I have to force myself to take a deep breath. When I do get a deep breath, there is occasional wheezing.
I realized that I needed self care asap.
I took a dance class, an epson and essential oil bath, and a hike. I also have been doing some deep breathing and cancelled some plans to relieve some brain space. I still wasn't feeling any relief.
When extreme anxiety hits, I always try to get to the root cause.
A lot of times, anxiety seems unfounded, but when I dig deep I find the root is usually trapped trauma, taking on more responsibilities than I can really handle, or something is not in alignment with my purpose or beliefs.
So, as I think about what was happening at this time in my life, 3 years ago; my Dad was rushed to the ER.
We didn't quite know that he was at the final stages of Stage 4 Lung Cancer. He was diagnosed 9 months prior. It's hard for me to remember specific dates. This time was a blur. It was stressful and traumatic and I was on autopilot. It was the culmination of 9 months of both of my parents battling Stage 4 cancer.
My mom was hospitalized in February of the previous year because she couldn't eat and had congestion in her lungs.
We would find out later that it was complications of colon cancer. She was in a deep state of depression and most likely didn't even know how to tell all of us. She passed in July just before her 60th birthday.
Now, not even 6 months later, we were going to lose my dad.
I remained strong even as I had to leave him to return to Indiana, hundreds of miles away.
Man, my dad made friends everywhere he went.
He had life-long friends that respected his integrity. So many stories of him standing up for the underdog and standing up to the bullies. He loved with all his heart. He cried, he laughed, he yelled, he showed rage. He had parts of him that he only showed his family and we still loved him for it. HE loved us so deeply.
Since his death, I've been processing the hurtful parts of my dad.
The memories of the alcohol induced rage. The way he treated my mom when he was drunk. Ultimately, I have forgiven this part of my dad. He never deserved to be punished for his addiction. It is a mental disease. When he was alive, I set up clear boundaries and he knew my opinions. He didn't always take it maturely. He, at times, was extremely hurt by my necessary distance, but I never wanted him to feel punished.
This kind of tragedy can be totally overwhelming and at times paralyzing.
As a mom, I know that I have to put my self care first so I can be here for my family. If I don't give myself time for journaling, baths, yoga, and walks alone, I will get very overwhelmed by the trapped trauma and then none of my responsibilities get done.
Another major part of the healing process is giving myself grace when I am having a very hard day.
I tell myself that everyday is a new day and I can pick up where I left off the next day with the routines that I have set in place to keep me motivated.
Watch this video for some more tips on this. https://youtu.be/_5NPTcrMuo8
Suggested book: The Body Keeps the Score
Do you want to be more intentional and less reactive?
I used to think I needed to find time to sit on my mat and meditate so I felt defeated without even trying. The perfectionist in me told myself that I would never be the mindful, calm mom that I wanted to be.
I had no idea how to model good habits of intention and joy for my kids.
Well, I’ve done all of the hard work of finding daily mindfulness practices and it’s not on a yoga mat! It’s super easy for you to follow and begin a new journey towards more joy.
I have a 90 day Challenge and it only takes a few minutes per day! Jump in my Facebook group here. It’s there to repeat anytime you want!
What is the gratitude jar you mentioned? It sounds like something I might want to introduce to my family.