It's been a little while since I've talked to you about life that didn't involve a few personal style shots so I wanted to change the pace of things today and talk about making healthier choices. A month ago I briefly talked about my battle with anxiety and if you've been following me on my social media platforms then you know I've been pretty adamant about combating stressors aka triggers. If you follow me on SnapChat (msjjenai) then you've also seen me share healthy food choices I've been making. 

Let's get right to it shall we?

I have a condition called Costochondritis that is essentially an inflammation of the cartilage that connects my ribs to my breastbone and the chronic swelling can turn into Tietze syndrome. In super simple terms, sometimes I have chest wall pain that can mimic heart issues and potentially cause anxiety. While there isn't a concrete reason as to why these conditions exist, some argue that they're brought on by *ding ding* stress and anxiety. Seems fitting for someone who struggles with those things right? My symptoms tend to flare up when I over exert my upper body in some way and I've noticed that when I am stressed, I tend to hurt a lot more which prolongs the recovery process. Knowing that I come from a family where high blood pressure, diabetes and other heart issues are prevalent, I've always known that I needed to monitor the way I take care of myself but life comes at you fast sometimes. I know you understand how that works.

I'm sharing this with you because I've seen firsthand the effects stress can have on someone's health and I realize how important it is for us to be mindful of the way we let people or situations affect us. I've never been one to define self-care for anyone because it's going to look different from person to person but I will say it's important to make sure we're doing our best to make it a daily part of our lives. If this means meditating in the morning/evening, taking a warm detox bath or hot shower with candles burning, listening to your favorite feel good music, setting boundaries or being mindful of who you follow on social then so be it. Sometimes our minds and our hearts need a break from taking on so much negativity. If you struggle with trying to fix everyone and taking on everyone's problems then be honest with yourself about how it makes you feel. If you feel drained then you have every right to step back and say, "I need to take care of myself." If you're dealing with family members or friends who are going through a toxic bout and they're taking it out on everyone around then, step back and say, "this is putting me in a stressful place." 

It's not selfish to look stress (whatever stress looks and feels like to you) in the face and say, "no. I don't have to accept this or take this on." The more you allow stress to overcome you, the easier it gets for your body to literally invite negativity in, in the form of illnesses and diseases. No matter what anyone says, your well-being is one of the most important things you can take care of. You have first access to it and if you need help taking care of it then don't be afraid to ask for help. This is the first year I've openly admitted to my mom and sister I have a problem with anxiety and that it scares me when it's really bad because I feel like I'm being suffocated. It gets that real.

Now taking care of yourself and not letting stress win isn't going to happen overnight so don't think it's a matter of snapping your fingers to rid yourself of anything that makes you feel stressed to the point where you feel stuck or sick. It may take some time before you feel like you're making progress but that's okay. Just take it one step at a time and know it will get better the more you make your well-being a priority. You don't have to be rude to people to let them know that you need some time to yourself but even if they still find offense with you doing so then let them handle that offense by themselves. 

Remember, investing in yourself is beautiful wealth. You're worth it. You deserve it.