This past year, I stressed myself out way past my limit time and time again. All of the goals I set at the beginning of 2016 led me to one of the toughest years of my life and left me mentally, physically, and emotionally burnt out.
One goal was to be an amazing wife and mother. Of course, in my mind, this would include self-sacrifice. As always, I put 110% effort into this. Ultimately this equated to all of my family’s needs coming before mine. All of my emotions, needs, and desires were put on the back burner. This was not healthy as all of that built up into a huge emotional storm that I had to let out a few times. Honestly on one occasion it was just screaming nonstop for a few minutes (it actually helped).
Another goal was to lose weight. Three years ago, I started tracking my weight and recording everything I ate when I was put on medication that caused metabolic changes and weight gain. For 3 years, I put 110% in eating healthy and exercising regularly. I even became a fitness instructor in 2014. I became so obsessed with losing weight this year that I deprived myself of almost every food group. I cut down to just eating protein, fruits, and vegetables (nothing more, nothing less). I still gained 10 pounds this year. That’s a total of 50 pounds gained since I started taking this medication. I joke that I’m the healthiest fat person and my bloodwork attests to that.
The next goal was to get pregnant. My husband is the only child so we are under “a little” extra pressure to get pregnant. I also worry about getting pregnant soon because after 35 you become high risk. Unfortunately with my disorder, I’m already considered high risk. So again I put 110% into getting pregnant. Fertility pills, ovulation predictors, and a fertility app were purchased. Every month that came around with no pregnancy made me do more research, buy more fertility products, and then become depressed when nothing was working. It was a horrible, vicious cycle.
Yet another goal was to pay off credit cards that I racked up when paying for my son’s private school tuition a couple of years ago. Again, I threw 110% effort into that. I picked up additional tutoring jobs. I put all my extra money into paying off those cards. I rarely went out and did anything fun unless it was free or at the gym. I didn’t go out to eat and I wouldn’t buy anything for myself unless it was absolutely and desperately needed. I didn’t put anything on credit except for emergencies. Even after depriving myself by not spending much money on myself, I was unable to pay everything off by the end of the year like I had hoped for. Unfortunately, unforeseen expenses crept up on me multiple times so I just about broke even this past year. This was absolutely frustrating.
What I have taken from 2016 is that I need to make self-care a priority. I put so much effort into everything else that I almost lost myself. This year, I am taking a step back. My plan is to take care of myself by not obsessing or stressing about goals, but enjoying each and every moment of life I have left. This means still eating healthy and exercising, but not stressing about the weight I gain or lose. This means taking steps with my doctor and husband to solve the fertility issue, but not obsessing and stressing over it. This means putting extra money towards paying off credit card bills, but not excessively depriving myself of everything. I want to live a happy, fulfilled life and I can’t do that without taking care of myself first. In the end, by taking better care of myself, I can become a better wife, mother, friend, teacher, tutor, and mental health advocate.