Reboot Your Life
I am celebrating the one-year anniversary of the beginning of my life.
It’s hard to believe it has been a year already. It’s also hard to believe that I’ve come so far over the course of this past year. Though last Christmas Eve I thought my life was ending, it was really just a beginning, and it led me to this seat to write my story.
Let me back up for a bit so you can get a clearer picture of where I was sitting before the main event. Until last year, I thought I had it all figured out. My story is perhaps not unlike your own. I aimed for Wonder Woman status. I thought I could do it all, be it all.
I had stopped listening to what my soul was telling me, until everything inside me finally said “enough.”
Does this sound familiar to you?
Deep inhale. Most days, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to run for an hour. I quickly went into high gear and, within the next few hours, I had made the family breakfast, packed lunches, prepped dinner, and got the kids off to school. Then I practiced yoga and quickly took a shower to get ready for work. Being Wonder Woman of course meant I could never leave the house as-is (looking like someone actually lived in it!), so before I headed out the door the house was always magazine-shoot ready.
More deep inhaling. At work each day, I saw three or four private clients, taught two to three classes, and in between returned over 100 emails while managing a staff of 30 people.
Keep inhaling. When back at home after work, I cooked dinner, picked up the house (again), bathed the kids, and got back on my computer until 11 p.m. to catch up and prepare for the next day.
Has anyone said exhale yet?
Then I’d collapse. That is, until I had to start that exhausting routine over again six hours later.
I get an anxiety attack just looking back at how I used to live. When did I fit in running errands, relaxing, socializing, or fun?
You see, I thought I was doing everything right.
Yoga? Wouldn’t miss it.
Ambitious career? Yes.
There for the kids? No doubt.
Healthy diet? Of course.
Gluten-free? A must.
Clean house? Always.
Wasn’t this the normal day of a “successful” woman in today’s world?
So, whose idea was this woman’s revolution thing anyway? When they said “you can have it all,” did they realize how much all is? When did sleep become negotiable? When did “doing nothing” become a sign of failure? When did relaxing and enjoying your husband, community, and friends become rewards instead of necessities? None of us even know what the word “connect” means anymore.
Wonder Woman’s magic lasso forces those bound by it to tell the truth.
One day last year I found myself tied up in my own lasso and enslaved by my ambitions and perfectionism. I was—finally—forced to reassess my priorities and re-evaluate my life.
My husband Wes and I packed up the car and got on the road, embarking upon our 10 hour annual drive from Boulder to Kansas City to visit with my in-laws. Wes and I had had better times in our marriage in the past—to say the least—so the long drive seemed arduous to me before it even began.
How we had gotten to this point? Our life was glamorous on the outside, but it did not look pretty from the inside. We had a beautiful 2-year-old girl and my husband had a gorgeous 10-year-old daughter who lived with us half the time. We were in a brand new house we built at the foothills in Boulder with a front lawn that encompassed acres of open space. We both had jobs that should have allowed us the flexibility we wanted to create the schedule of our dreams—if we would have let ourselves. Yet something wasn’t right. Our stress levels had risen to a point we couldn’t manage. My body decided it had had enough.
The day my body stopped
I woke up on Christmas Day feeling terrible. I stayed in my bed until 10:00 a.m., wishing the nausea away. The entire family was downstairs waiting to celebrate what Santa had dropped off for the children the night before but I couldn’t stand up. Of course, Wes’s response was less than sympathetic.
I couldn’t get out of bed because the pain was so bad. I had started throwing up and I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stand up. I was stuck in Kansas City and the road home was a long one. I was miserable ...
I don’t know how we got there, but we eventually arrived in Boulder after many pit stops along the way. When you’re feeling like I did, your first thought is a 24-hour stomach bug. Simple, right? Then 24 hours rolled into 48 hours, and 48 hours rolled into 72 hours. The days rolled into a week, and I was not getting any better. The pain and nausea were getting worse. It was hard to reach a doctor since the world was shutting down for the year. Eventually I ended up in the hospital. I was afraid and no one could figure out what was wrong.
Dehydration, stomach flu, gas, irritable bowel syndrome, stress—you name it, they mentioned it. Over the next few weeks, I saw my family physician, who sent me back to the ER. The ER sent me to the radiology department, they sent me to see a surgeon, and the surgeon sent me to the gastroenterologist. It was ridiculous. From one doctor’s office to the next I went, and no one could figure out what was wrong. I was put on medication to stop the nausea. I was put on medication to stop the abdominal spasms. I was put on medication to help me sleep. I couldn’t work. I was not eating. I could barely breathe. I could not hold my little girl.
My life had essentially stopped.
Growing up, traditional medical care was the norm. My father was a radiologist, so it had always been instinctive for me to seek out that kind of help. Obviously, though, nothing prescribed was working. Did these guys really know how to diagnose or were they simply ruling out what I did not have? Desperate, I decided I needed a more holistic approach, and I started exploring chiropractic, ayurvedic care, and life coaching. I said, “Up yours, diagnosis” and got honest with myself.
The origin of disease
What I’ve come to understand is that disease originates in four ways: congestion, stagnation, depletion, and deficiency. At that point, I was depleted. I was deficient. My body was in stagnation.
What was wrong with me, I came to realize, was that I hadn’t allowed myself to stop moving. There was no time in my schedule for the slightest pause. My sympathetic nervous system had gone haywire, and my body was living in a constant state of fight or flight. The scariest part was that I didn’t know differently. I was so used to it that I called it normal.
Thank God our bodies are designed to be smarter than our stubborn minds.
Finding a new normal
The next few months were a blur. I barely left the house. I had no choice but to cancel my chaotic schedule that—although the norm to me—would have given any of you an anxiety attack just looking at it in iCalendar.
This was the hardest part. I had been a workaholic. A perfectionist. The queen bee of type As. I had always rated my level of success by how busy I could be. I had always felt most productive the more activities I had lined up on my plate. Ten minutes to spare? Perfect. Just enough time to run one more errand and then be stressed out in traffic.
No more work. Some would consider that a gift. To me, it seemed like imprisonment.
No more exercise. Some would breathe a huge sigh of relief that someone or something had given them a hall pass. I felt lazy, stiff, fat, and bored.
I slept in until after the sun came up. I didn’t get out of my pajamas until often mid-afternoon, if at all.
I couldn’t imagine how I had been able to manage my life like it was until now. Just getting my daughter dressed and off to preschool became an ordeal to me. Buying groceries and preparing a meal became an all-day activity. When had there even been time for everything else I had been able to squeeze into my jam-packed schedule?
But shutting down for a while was exactly what my body, mind, and soul needed to rejuvenate. It was time to go inward, to re-examine everything: my marriage, relationships, family, business and career, money, body, fitness, self-image, self-care, spirituality, and my health. What did they mean to me? What did I want each area of my life to look like? What were my dreams? And why was I not there? What was stopping me? What was blocking me?
I decided that I didn’t want to want to be bound by the titles of mother, wife, daughter, manager, teacher, or athlete. I did not want to have to be perfect. All these expectations and roles were ones I had given myself in order to find a place in this world and have it all. Once I slowed down I was really able to connect with my true vision. It’s become so much better than “perfect.”
My life is different now. I’ve had to let go of the story about who I thought I was in order to find the person I really wanted to be. I had to let go of the visions and ideals I was holding onto that I believed defined me at the moment.
Am I healthier? No doubt. Am I happier? More than I’ve ever been.
Life is not an ever-growing checklist. It is for living. It’s not linear. It ebbs and flows, cycling daily, monthly, yearly through life’s constant shifts. It is our responsibility to let go and allow for these shifts to happen.
The result becomes an opening, not a blocking. Instead of stagnating, depleting, and congesting, in a healthy way, we can move through seasons of strengthening, times that require intense nourishing, and continue to grow through constant evolution of who we are to all we can become.
Hayley Hobson is a doTERRA-certified pure essential oil diamond director, a trained health coach, certified Pilates teacher, certified yoga teacher, author of Hayley Hobson’s Hip Guide to Creating Your Sexy & Abundant Life and founder and owner of NoBo Pilates and Yoga studio in Boulder, Colorado. You can find her online at hayleyhobson.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/hayleyhobsonhealthcoach.