Even though there were some incredible highs, like getting married, last year was one of the most challenging years of my life. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto Hypothyroiditis (hypothyroidism), adrenal exhaustion and leaky gut (candida). I went from being a vibrant, athletic, social, creative, happy person to someone who felt like she was merely surviving. The healing process ended up being long and full of many lessons and lifestyle changes.
And guess what? Meditation helped me through all stages of my recovery. Even if you don’t have direct experience with the stress-related conditions I mentioned above, I bet you can relate to a time when you felt sick, stuck, a little hopeless, frustrated, sad or confused. If so, let me share with you how meditation helped me through all of those feelings…
1 Meditation helped ease my fear and frustration
There is nothing scarier than knowing that something isn’t right with your body but not knowing what it is. Without a label, how can you heal it? Frustratingly, it took me the better part of the year to find the right medical professionals, diagnosis and treatment plan. Meditation was one of my top tools to release frustration in a healthy way and to reconnect me with the feeling that everything was going to be OK somehow, someway.
2 Meditation helped me receive clarity
With these kinds of stress-related health issues, there is no one plan of action that guarantees healing. It was a process of figuring out what works specific to my body. I heard conflicting information from different sources, resulting in a lot of mental confusion and anxiety in the beginning of the healing process. Never having been through this, meditation helped me release the mental racing and anxiety so I could clearly think through what was the best decision in each situation. Down the road I learned to listen to my body for answers, but more on that later…
3 Meditation helped me be patient
I learned this one years ago while going to grad school FT and working FT…when I felt like I wanted to tell everyone to eff off at work (not good practice in general but especially not when you’re head of HR). When I began meditating regularly, I felt a noticeable difference in my patience level. It was the same result with my health issues. Being told these conditions will take six months to a year to heal (or more) was like a kick in the gut. Meditation helped me process my grief around this and accept it.
4 Meditation helped me reconnect with my body
I had no magic pill to take and found myself in a very gray area with treatment plans. I eventually realized I had to rely on my body to tell me what treatments were working and what wasn’t working, which sometimes was very subtle and easily missed. Our bodies are unique, so naturally my treatment plan won’t be the exact same as others. Through meditation I began building a new relationship with my body, connecting with it in ways I never had before. It had a lot of wise guidance to share! And that guidance helped me be more persistent with my doctor, especially when my body was telling me something conflicted with the norm. That of course led to a quicker healing process! (As a side note, this one is without doubt the greatest gift of this whole experience – building a new relationship with my body. 🙂 )
5 Meditation helped me accept my new lifestyle
Part of the healing plan included major dietary changes. No wine (or alcohol). No cheese (or dairy). No gluten or grains. No peanuts. No soy. No sugar. No CHOCOLATE (even the real sugar free kind 🙁 ). While I’m not overly indulgent in any of those, completely removing all of them for three plus months was HARD. The struggle was real, my friends. But, meditation helped calm me down in those give-me-chocolate-or-I-will-die-or-hurt-you moments so that I didn’t actually hurt anyone or break the rules. 😉 (To be fully transparent, once a week I did have a tablespoon of allergy free chocolate. My one conscious indulgence.)
Side note: these dietary changes were made under the guidance of my Naturopath, based on lab-work and were done for healing purposes on a temporary basis. I’ve since been able to integrate some of those food groups back into my diet.
6 Meditation helped me relieve my FOMO
OK, related to above, as an extrovert, I enjoy sharing a group experience. So the fact that I couldn’t have even a teeny tiny bite/sip of what my friends were eating or drinking felt isolating sometimes. In this new lifestyle, I became determined to have as much fun as before and still be a self-proclaimed fun girl, even if I was doing my own thing with food and drink. So instead of having a glass of wine in my hand, I’d do a 1-3 min energy boosting and clearing meditation beforehand (or in the bathroom stall in desperate moments) to get my energy high and happy. And as an added bonus, the mediation helped me feel connected with myself, significantly lessening any feelings of being an outsider.
7 Meditation helped me get creative again
Seriously — when my brain started working again (it had been foggy because of the thyroid and adrenal stuff) and my energy was back, my mind was bursting with so many creative ideas and inspirations that I couldn’t get them out fast enough!!! It’s like they were clogged and couldn’t get out of my mind into my computer. Meditation helped me ground my energy and get focused so that I could begin productively working one by one through each of the ideas.
8 Meditation helped me enjoy what I love
OK, so part (if not all) of the reason I found myself in this situation was because I am a recovering workaholic. In the past when I felt my body getting tired, I routinely pushed through to accomplish whatever needed accomplishing. As I started working again this year, I made some big changes in the way I approached work. One of them included doing quick meditations or breathing exercises throughout the day, as a way to clear my energy and to check in with my body. These mini-meditations keep my energy much stronger throughout the day and have enhanced the quality of work. Most importantly I ENJOY my work so much more now! (If you’re a perfectionist, you know it’s 100% possible to love what you do and still suck the joy out of it!) If I notice my old perfectionist tendencies starting to creep in, I stop drop and meditate, which centers my energy and helps me lead from my heart instead of racing in my head.
So, as you can see, meditation really saved my sanity during a difficult time in my life. And while the specifics of your situation might be different, the outcome can be the same. Mediation rocks, according to this self-proclaimed fun girl. 😉 And if you have any stories of how it’s helped you, I’d love to hear!
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