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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Stein

Journey to Wellness

As humans, we tend to put self-wellness at the bottom of our To-Do lists. When you have work to do, bills to pay, a house to run, and a family that has needs, taking care of yourself seems like a daunting task.

But there's no denying the old saying "You can't pour from an empty cup"

And so I took charge of my self!

Physical Wellness

I wasn't physically well for approximately nine years. Nine! Until my diagnosis in 2013, I struggled every. single. day. My symptoms and diagnoses included: migraines, extreme fatigue, the whole array of stomach issues, memory loss, numbness and tingling, reynaud's syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, mononucleosis, weight loss, and weight gain, just to name a few.

I saw countless doctors, who dismissed me after a few tests. I underwent cat scans, blood draws, colonoscopies, and MRIs and nothing helped. Even I was beginning to think that this was just how my body operated, and nothing was truly wrong. So, I kept it all to myself for so very long. If the doctors thought I was fine, then I was fine. After all, I LOOKED OK on the outside, so I must have been ok. I trudged on through every day, with my symptoms tagging (and nagging!) along.

Then comes the day of saving grace.

I was randomly chatting with my Aunt Patty about my symptoms. {She's the most loving woman ever; and I look up to her SO much!} She's a nurse, so talking to her made me a bit more comfortable. She urged me to seek another opinion because she suspected I had Lyme Disease. I had been tested several times before with all negative results. But, what I didn't know is that the tests I received at my local doctor's office did not test for all the co-infections that often come along with Lyme! My next step changed my life- literally. I researched to find a local doctor who specialized in Lyme treatment. To my dismay; one of those were so hard to find! It turned out that there were virtually no doctors local to me that would test or treat for it any other way than by the book. After looking and asking around, I did find one in the county region, and unfortunately they did not bill insurance. I found out hat's a standard for most doctors who treat Lyme for long term; insurance won't pay for it. The added out of pocket expense wasn't something I had planned for, but it was necessary, and I am so glad I decided to go forward with it. My diagnosis was there - I WAS LYME POSITIVE! From year 2004 to year 2013, I lived with this demon. To hear those words was like angels singing. To know that someone finally understood, cared, and validated my internal battle, was uplifting. I cried, an ugly cry. I was so relieved and so grateful that I took one small step and confided in someone about my struggle.

My doctor recommended that I change my diet to eat for my blood type (I'm A positive), and also put me on a regimen of antibiotics and vitamin supplements. I changed my lifestyle, one piece at a time. Over the next couple months, I started to see drastic improvements with how I felt. For the first time in Nine years, I felt physically well!!! I continued my regimen of eating better, and moderately exercising, and still do today! I go with the 80/20 method for meals; 80% is foods that are 5 ingredient types or less (fresh is best), and 20% is whatever I want. For the most part, my family eats the same too! They've grown to love new foods just the same as I do. We've also started a regular subscription with Misfits Market to have fresh, organic veggies delivered to our door!

Mental Wellness

As a wife and a new mom, I had a lot on my plate. My daily life consisted of taking care of everyone around me. Ensuring that everyone's needs were met was always my priority and I still never considered really taking care of the whole me. I knew that I had to though, and after a major setback in my life in 2015, I started to do just that.

The year before we had our first baby,(year 2012), I started running a bit and completed my first 5k. I enjoyed it, very much, so I knew that's what I wanted to do as part of my wellness routine. Running is such a beautiful experience!! I absolutely love being outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, listening to the crisp sounds of nature... ahhhhhh. It is so relaxing. Each step forward is like a conveyor that cycles and organizes each random thought that's been flowing through my mind. Being able to relieve the stress of the daily grind is invaluable. Of course, there are days when it isn't enjoyable. Some runs just plain suck! I mean, we can't expect to have great runs every time.

On the days that I don't run, I make sure to set aside at least 15 minutes of stretching time, or 20 minutes of sweaty exercise. If you didn't already know, sweaty exercise creates endorphins! Endorphins are a secret fuel for happiness, and mental wellness :-) Bonus is that it can contribute to a nice physical appearance too!

I started my own group on Facebook, Be Fit ~ Be Well ~Be You!, to hold me accountable, and to connect with others just like me who were striving for wellness too! I post workouts, mental health updates, recipes, dishes I've made, and updates about my life. Though, I've been sorta quieter in recent months due to pregnancy and life changes {sorry guys!}; I still very much value the accountability there! The community is so supportive too. I am truly thankful for that little group of mine!

Spiritual Wellness

One of the best ways to feel good, is to practice good habits. Here's a list of positive traits you can practice with me each day:

1. Think with the mentality that we get to do the things we do; not that we have to.

2. Surround yourself with like-minded people.

3. Smile at someone in passing, or compliment them

4. If you're frustrated, talk it out, find a solution and move on

5. Let go of grudges, and forgive

6. Laugh or sing out loud

7. Let the sun shine in your face

8. Find the good in every bad situation (cup half full)

9. Help at least one person, no matter how small the gesture

10. Congratulate yourself on something you've accomplished that day, even the small ! Life is hard!

Overall wellness is not something you do and then move on. It is a continuous effort to be the best you. You HAVE to invest in yourself every day, and you have to know that not every day will be grand. There WILL be bad days, just don't let them define the rest of your week. Start small, be patient with yourself and you'll start to see the positive results over time.

Stay well, friends!



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