I don't remember exactly when it was. Maybe in like May of 2015 when I decided I was going to quit drinking alcohol for a while. Not because I felt like I had a problem with alcohol, but because I realized I hadn't been "sober" for any length of time since before I started drinking. I met a friend at the time who had been sober for about 8 years and I felt inspired to try doing things differently. Brene Brown summed it up in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, when she said she quit drinking because her "party girl persona kept getting in her way." I can relate to that 100%.
At first this was difficult mostly because it had become a lifestyle. What do people do who aren't going to happy hour after work or out to the bar on the weekends? I started to realize that most of my social interactions revolved around alcohol. My social anxiety (which I previously didn't know I had) kicked in when I didn't have alcohol to take the edge off. I remember going to a show really early on and feeling almost panicked and like I just wanted to be invisible. After I worked through the new and uncomfortable feelings, I really had a blast of a summer! It felt like I was a kid again. Hiking, swimming, picnics...so much fun! I went something like 98 days without alcohol that time which, at the time, I never thought I would do.
From that point on, I chose to give my body a break from alcohol periodically because that's what I choose. I like the way I feel when I'm sober. Mostly because I can feel. Emotions are so much more intense when there's nothing to numb them. Someone (maybe Brene Brown) said we can't numb just part of our feelings. When we numb the negative feelings, we also numb the positive ones. Alcohol became my excuse in life, my distraction to not get things done. I decided and made the trade, alcohol for getting things done. I traded alcohol for knowing more of myself. I'm not saying I'll never have another beer or another drink, but in general and in my daily life, it isn't part of the equation at this time.
As I write this, I am going on 7 months of living in my skin without alcohol and I can honestly say, I'm at a place where I know my enjoyment and feelings of being secure in social situations doesn't depend on what I'm drinking. It's more important for me to feel good, without a foggy head and to take care of my body in the way I choose instead of feeling like I fit in because I'm drinking with everyone else. Besides, fitting in is kind of junior high, so I'd like to belong regardless what I chose to put in my cup and if I don't I'm totally ok with it.
In the fall of 2016 I enrolled in the health coaching program with Institute for Integrative Nutrition. After working at the clinic for 13 years, I knew I wanted to help people to not need their health insurance more than I wanted to assist them in obtaining health insurance. Assisting clients with getting health insurance is so important and very much needed and I cannot emphasize that enough. I would assist people with diabetes in getting health insurance who needed like $2000 a month worth of insulin! I knew there was a better way, but it wasn't my role to find them a better way in life. My role was to get them approved for health insurance, so I chose to change my role. Luckily I had a really amazing supervisor at the time who really believed in me and paved the way for me to transition into health coaching.
After getting half way through the year-long IIN program is when I started Rooted In Wellness. I felt like my time at the clinic was limited, but didn't know what that meant yet. I just felt like it was. I had been working for a few years to untangle my self from needing to earn the salary I had been making in order to live. After moving out of the house and paying off my debt, I freed up a lot of needed income so one day I would be able to make the transition from Social Worker to Health Coach.
IIN helped me on my own path to self discovery as much as it helped me learn to be a health coach. It was double action happening! Not only did I learn about coaching, dietary theories, and behavior change, but also learned that I needed to love myself more and start to show up for myself like I had been for everyone else. I learned that it wasn't about waiting for that day for everything to be perfect in order get started. My business coach, Jan, said to me once, "better done that perfect." I take this with me every day. Perfection is a stopping block where nothing gets done except ruminating on the delusion of perfection. This has been big for me to move forward with everything I do today.
I started Rooted In Wellness because of my personal wellness journey. I also started my business because of all the people who are affected by chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, etc. These are mostly conditions brought on by unhealthy lifestyle choices. But it's not that as a culture, we just have poor willpower and decision making abilities. It's more that we are all affected by marketing and media showing images of how we're supposed to look, how we're supposed to be and the next fix to get us to look, feel and be this certain way. The other end of the mainstream marketing is getting us to buy and consume things that couldn't take us further away from health and happiness.
I believe deep down, in my skin and in my bones that there is a different way and it's my mission to share that with others. There's a way of living and being that is more loving towards ourselves, but that way is never shown in mainstream culture because if it were, look how many people would be out of a job. How many products wouldn't be needed. It would kind of collapse a big portion of consumerism as we know it.
The culture of society being told we are missing something because we don't look a certain way, weigh a certain number, etc...is in more ways than one, false. What is true, is that we need to love ourselves more, so know and feel that we are worth the time and effort to take care of these bodies and minds that are ours for this lifetime.
Being "rooted in wellness" is a lifestyle. It's the lifestyle I want to live and it's a real way of being. And for you, it looks different than it does for me. That's what's great about it, is everyone has a different truth about what it means for them to be rooted in wellness. It's not the latest fad or quick fix. It is a way to live over many years.
As I've shared my journey with you, we all know life is full of ups and downs. (For all of us!) It is full of challenges and victories. Sometimes the greatest wins come from the worst losses and it takes courage to even call them wins. All of the things I have shared in my writing are wins (even if I couldn't see that at the time) because they have put me in a relationship with myself that I never had.
Being rooted in wellness doesn't mean that we're ever going to have it all figured out and it doesn't mean that we accomplish all that we set out to do. Or if we do accomplish all of it, it doesn't mean that the process of meeting our goals was pretty. Being rooted in wellness isn't a number on a scale, how big our hips are, what Cosmo tells us is sexy or how many likes we receive on Facebook. It means that no matter who you are or where you're going, just because the journey isn't perfect or you didn't lose that weight yet or your life isn't looking like those other people's vacation photos posted on social media...it doesn't mean that you've failed.
Being rooted in wellness means that when things aren't looking the way you want them to, you have the ability to choose differently so your life can start looking more how you want it to. It's a series of choices and trades in every day life and the belief that you can get there. It's having love for yourself, so you keep working towards the best version of you for you. Each of us gets to decide for ourselves what this means and make the choices right for us to get us to that place!
Cheers to where we've all been, where we are today and where we're going. Take a breath for our effort and our past and a sigh of relief knowing that all things change and new opportunities always present themselves when we keep our hearts open.
May this new year be filled with endless love woven through every cell of your beautiful soul.
Let yourself be seen! Shine on!