Final check in. I ended my week - and 6FIT - surrounded by my family and friends for my 40th birthday. I thought I was going to dinner with my husband but, when we arrived at the restaurant, about 20 of my favorite Boston friends and out-of-town family members jumped out and yelled “surprise!” I was truly surprised by the number of people who showed up to celebrate with me. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by my closest friends and family all weekend.
The weekend made me think of why I agreed to be a 6FIT Spokesperson in the first place. I was slightly hesitant when I first discussed it with Megs in early January. I had just declared my approach to 2019 was "less stuff, lower expectations, and limited distractions". But I also said I wanted to have more fun and experience more joy this year. I knew that joining an amazing group of women in a 6FIT journey would be a lot of fun and bring me joy. And it did!
I loved reading all the updates on our Facebook page and seeing everyone in class. I tried to be honest about my own journey and share my daily struggles. However, one of the things I have not touched on during these recent posts is my mental health. 2017 was a rough year – my grandmother passed away in my presence, my youngest had brain surgery and received a second genetic diagnosis, my job got out of control. I was up for a big – and long overdue – promotion but some of the staff working with me were (and still are) incredibly challenging. I ended up in urgent care with a spike in my blood pressure, then experienced hair loss, sleep problems, and weird stomach issues throughout 2018. I have managed to find some periods of relief, usually because of dietary changes or trying out meditation or avoiding certain people at work. But the feelings of anxiety and exhaustion are creeping back. It’s like a small random event will suddenly bring on uncontrollable tension and discomfort. Last Friday, I actually got back into bed for twenty minutes because I just did not want to go to work. Thursday had been a long day at the office, the kids were being really loud, our sitter was bombarding me with questions and I just needed a time out.
How does this all tie into 6FIT? These past four weeks were physically challenging but very satisfying and just plain fun. I felt so much better in so many ways. Gina, Megs, and all of the studio's clients have built something very special at DanceFIT. I needed that connection and support more than I realized.
But I also realized that being ‘fit’ or healthy isn’t just about the number of burpees I can do in a minute or the ounces of water I can drink in day. It is about my overall well-being. Do I sleep well and deal well with stress? I really don’t think I do. I have a check list of things I do to juggle the priorities in my life (see last week’s post), but I need a much better way to really take care of myself. I cannot keep going at this pace without addressing these lingering feelings. No amount of exercise or good eating habits is going to change it.
Then today, my almost three year old threw an epic tantrum and as I am wrestling her into the stroller, my back starts to hurt and I suddenly feel like I cannot manage this. Not a tantrum but life as working mom with two kids, one that has needed a lot of extra attention. What if this isn’t a typical tantrum? What if it’s a sign that she has deeper developmental issues we haven’t discovered yet? The thoughts sort of spiral out until I feel totally overwhelmed about my long “to do” list – packing for a family trip next week, getting back to our landlord about our elevator problems at work, scheduling both kids’ teacher conferences. As I am texting my husband about it all later, he basically says he is worried about my mental health. Yikes. Mental health? His comment was the final straw. He is so even keeled and thoughtful. And he knows me really well. I know he’s right but I don’t even know where to start to make meaningful changes in my life.
Coincidentally, I am headed to an advance this weekend for a leadership program I am participating in this year. I have a room all to myself overnight and am looking forward to the quiet to rest and reflect. I scheduled a massage for late February and made a few appointments for some annual doctor’s visits this spring to check on my hair loss and stomach issues. These are all small attempts at self-care but it’s something. My husband also recently brought up some issues related to his job that could bring some sudden changes for our family and I just said – let’s go see a therapist to help us navigate this stuff. The same way I might see a trainer or hire a housekeeper – outsource it and let someone else put the energy into coming to solutions.
I know there are deeper issues I still need to address and I plan to do it this year. This is the first time I say out loud - or in writing, I guess - that I think there is something bigger going on with me. I don't know where this will take me but I really want to figure it out. It’s like I never fully dealt with the grief of losing my grandmother. Or maybe I didn’t fully process my child’s diagnosis. Or maybe I am truly done with my job and need to move on. It’s such a layered issue that I don’t really know what is causing me to feel this way.
Anyway, I know this is a less than positive way to end 6FIT but that’s what’s going on. I am also looking forward to logging in to Zoom and spending more time with y'all this year. Every class makes a such a positive difference in my day. Thank you, DanceFIT, for creating this platform for so many of us to stay fit and connected when we can't get to a gym. It's provides a supportive, laid-back community when so much of our day is spent grinding away at our to do lists or working towards the next thing.
Mom of 3, wife, business owner, ballet teacher and fitness instructor. Trying hard to raise healthy, happy and grateful children while running the studio of my dreams. Trying to stay FIT, flexible, stylish and take care of myself in the process!