I have to admit I have a really hard time talking about an being vulnerable. So this blog post is hard to write and yet there is part of me that is driven to write it for accountability and to let others out there know that they aren’t alone. Designing for better health has to start at home.

As a mom of three and business owner anxiety is a regular emotion. And the act of self care and taking mom time can be guilt ridden as there is always that feeling in the back of my mind that I should be doing something else, that there is something else more important than me. Any other moms, parents, business owners out there that feel this way?

At one point in my life I let myself give so much of me that I was constantly living in a Lupus flare and missing out on so much of the wonderful things in life. Part of designing and tapping into the creative process is putting part of yourself into each design. When you aren’t adding back to you the process is exhausting. Add in parenting and trying to be the perfect wife and I was living looking forward to the vacations that I would schedule to have a week where I could shut things off with the high hopes that the vacation would be perfect. And I am sure you would know what happens when things need to be perfect, they rarely are and the unrealized expectations just make the situation worse. The anxiety would rise. I needed to find a way to believe that what I wanted and needed was just as important as what everyone else needed and that if I kept giving all of me to everyone else there wouldn’t be anything left of me.

Over the past year and a half I have been consciously working on taking care of myself. Setting boundaries. Taking time for friends, going hiking, painting and my favorite thing skiing. I realized that I can’t keep working 60+ hours a week. The high altitude of the ski mountains is amazing for my lupus. It may be getting out of the humidity in Florida or the peaceful settings and adjustment of oxygen levels. People talk about altitude sickness, I feel the best at higher altitudes like my body is brand new and the lupus doesn’t exist. So for me self care is not just taking care of mind and body but also finding ways to make sure I keep my lupus in check.

These views bring such peace to my soul. I have to say there was definitely some serious mom guilt going on, that this week I am out exploring a new place and skiing without the kids. And they definitely let me know that they wished that they could be with me. There was so much guilt about going by myself. Everything from did I really want to be states away from my kids, what if something happened? Did I really need to spend the money on myself? Am I taking away from something I should be doing for my kids or my clients? But in the end I realized that I can’t keep running on empty. That I needed to be inspired to bring new ideas back to my clients. That I needed time to myself where I am not worrying about everything going on with the kids. And even bigger that I made a commitment to myself to keep healing me so that I can recognize the anxiety, fear and pain that came with the past and move forward. To not live in it, to acknowledge and release it. This can be scary and so satisfying when accomplished.

Today I had a huge moment. I am rarely ever nervous about heights. I was a gymnast, I was the kid that would walk on top of monkey bars. I walked construction sites on the top floors while pregnant with no stairs/railing, solely going up ladders in heals. Roller coasters and amusement rides, all things I love to do. So today when I got to the top of the mountain there was a panic that set in out of nowhere. Yes it was high, over 9,500 ft but I had been higher. It was a new run for me and for the first time this week I had a realization that I was out here alone. But it wasn’t a sad alone it was a connection to me. It was a heightened sense of being that I was super aware of everything around me. The view was amazing.

The top of Empire

The signage on the lift going up says no easy way down. And there was no easy way down but there was an exhilarating way down. The sense of accomplishment to overcome the nervousness, to have faith in my abilities and to trust that I was capable. A little over a year ago I had never taken a run down a mountain by myself, even though I have been skiing since I was 8 years old. Today I am on a week trip skiing by myself and not stopping myself from going to the very top of the mountain. I am putting myself out there swallowing the fear of not being perfect and just being me. Realizing that it is ok to say that I don’t know everything, that I do need breaks and that self care is just as important as the care I give everyone else.

So here I am, about to turn 41. Letting go of the voices that tell me I’m not good enough. Looking to a future that doesn’t let others dictate how I see myself. Setting an keeping boundaries that respect me. And learning how to celebrate each and every moment, even those where I am not perfect.

So join me in celebrating all the parents and business owners that are finally taking care of themselves. Give them a smile, a like, a nod to the fact that you know they are trying as hard as they can. Find a way to look for positive intent and be the helping hand they are too afraid to ask for. And if you have found a way to overcome your anxiety and guilt I want to hear about it!

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