Darling Days

My Health Journey

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What is rest, anyway?

I found myself asking this after my holistic doctor let me know that I’m a 24-year old diagnosed with chronic stress and fatigue, with lifestyle-changing food allergies and a body that is basically out of all resources … and energy.

Say what?

You betchya, this piece of news took me by surprise. The message was: “Dear Jessi, you need to heal, and with that you must learn to rest.”

But what is rest? And how do I do that? To be honest, I didn’t know! My degree at Texas encompassed cut-throat chemistry and biology classes, while working 15 hours a week at Kendra Scott, and pulling my hair out to maintain a blog that no one was interested in at the time. Upon graduation, I entered an adrenaline-filled season of “am-I-going-to-make-it-in-the-real-world?” after an unexpected flip in my career path which changed my plans–forcing me to take The Darling Detail full time before I actually felt ready to. Then I walked into owning and maintaining a business at age 22/23, becoming not only a blogger, but a manager – and the “real life” portion of owning a business took away a large snippet of my youth. Meaning…rest was not an option, and I worked to balance being a kid while learning to handle business like an adult. I feel like I’m out of breath just writing this.

Then there were the food allergies. After learning that I’m highly allergic to gluten (i.e., bread, pasta, all that good stuff – all kinds of it) and ALL forms of dairy (two very inflammatory food groups), I found that my gut and stomach had been torn up from 23 years of eating within the confined walls of our (overly processed) food system. I am not a scientist, doctor, chemist, whatever – but what I do know is this:  the minute I cut out gluten and dairy, I noticed an insane change in the way I felt as a whole – getting rid of the never-rending acne on my face, migraines, fatigue, and even anxious thoughts. The more that I spoke about my allergies, the more my friends started to pick up on it – realizing that they too were reacting badly to gluten and dairy and cluelessly having no idea of it. The more I began to talk about it with people, the more I realized this is a bigger problem than just myself and a few friends. Our stomachs are correlated to our minds, and the messages we send to our brains in the midst of eating in a never-ending plethora of processed food is … a bit frightening?

So now what?

I’m currently working on something called rest. I’m on a personal journey to become more balanced, take care of myself, be mindful of what I put into my body, and heal. It’s something you don’t hear too often in the blogging industry (it looks like hearts and butterflies, doesn’t it?). Rest isn’t always top of mind in the midst of the c-r-a-z-y holidays – a time where we all are a go-go and social media has us trying to keep up with the other instagrammers at a pace faster than we can even snapchat it all.

So how do I flip this for good?

The holidays can, instead, be a time for self. A time for re-evaluation, a time for healing, rest, and preparation for a shiny new season come 2017. Rest beckons change; it allows for change and it prepares for change. But it starts with setting boundaries: and that begins with a whole lot of simple “no’s.”

I think this was my hardest lesson: learning to say no. When what we want isn’t always what we need,  it’s hard to understand that setting boundaries is difficult and quite frankly, makes us feel uncomfortable. However, it is the way to mindfulness and getting to know ourselves better without the outside world confusing us. Whether it’s saying no to bad eating habits, processed foods, non-stop nights hitting the town, overworking yourself, overextending yourself, allowing a friend group to influence you negatively, or just simply not knowing how to sit down on the couch and simply…be–all of these things can be intense distractions from mindfulness, rest, healing, and knowing your true self. For some reason, the principle of rest just isn’t encouraged enough in our society.  I believe it’s one of the most important steps in reaching for the stars and going for the gold. The best part about rest and healing is you are strengthening yourself, and preparing for a shiny, strengthened, and balanced you.

I hope that you all can take a little inspo from my journey – as it is something that I just began this fall and I’m slowly, but surely, getting stronger and healthier. And I’m slowly gaining my energy back (sans 6 cups of coffee) each day with the help of my holistic practitioner. In the midst of my lifestyle choices, learning these boundaries has been a painful, but incredibly eye-opening process, making me excited for what is to come. It took me awhile to get up the guts to publish this, so I hope this inspires at least one of you! Would love to hear if any of you have any tips or stories to share as well! Comment below! XOXO

all images via pinterest

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43 Comments

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing your journey to health and what’s in your heart. Balance sounds great, but is so hard to achieve. I’m happy you have found a good holistic practitioner to help you, and that you are taking back your life! I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to open up to your readers and help us all step back and acknowledge what’s important in life. Thanks, Jessi!

    XO–Kat

  2. How this post touches most everyone! Everyone can relate on so many levels . Thanks for sharing!
    Can you share the name of the holistic doctor that you have been going to? It seems that he has gotten
    you going in the right direction.

    Many blessings to you!
    Dawn

  3. Hi gorgeous!

    Loved this post so much. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! I too have done a lot of research on health and it is so so true your point about food affecting the brain. People don’t often know that what you eat directly affects how you feel, even your emotions.

    What I also loved about this was saying “no.” I’ve totally found myself in this predicament this Holiday season where I feel like I need to be a million places at once, and let me tell you – it’s absolutely draining and exhausting, and then I found that when I’m there and pulling myself 100 different ways I’m not even in the moment with the people I need to be! Such a good lesson that maybe less can be more.

    Thanks again for sharing! Hope you have a fabulous day love!

    Xo
    Lauren
    @stylemelauren

    1. HI sweet girl! First, I appreciate all your support – you are so dear to me! Second, so proud of you for doing the research — it’s not common knowledge to know about the food/mind problems we are going through. Good for you to start working towards a new you, good luck! XOXO

  4. Rest is so underrated in our society. But there has to be time to actually enjoy the life we’ve been blessed with!! Rest well, dear friend! I’m excited to see where it takes you! 💕

  5. Hi Jessi,

    This is a pretty cool post. I graduated with a degree in nutrition but not find myself wanting to take my blog full-time. In the midst of working a full-time job (in event planning of all things) and building my blog on the side, I intuitively shifted my diet to cut out all meat, alcohol, dairy, gluten, coffee, and as much added sugar as possible. It sounds like my diet might suck, but I know that I feel 10X better and I have more energy so I can work longer. I think that what you are doing is courageous and all of your hard work at such a young age will pay off. Because you are so young, your body can recover faster than if you started your journey in your 30’s or with kids and a family (I mean Chloe is kind of a baby though lol) I love watching you grow and you truly inspire me to my best. If you ever need an intern., let me know!

    1. WOW! Love a girl who followers her intuition – it speaks wonders doesn’t it? And LOL to Chloe, yes she’s like a 2 year old toddler.

      I so agree – people feel sorry with me because I can’t eat as much, yet feeling energetic and getting rid of anxious thoughts is SO worth it. I still find joy in food, it’s just different now!

      Aw, I will absolutely keep you in mind for future intern opportunities ! XO

  6. What a great and honest post! There is 100% a correlation with what we ingest and our minds. Every once in a while I like to challenge myself. I cut out sugar last year and noticed a difference, but I know what I really need to cut out is dairy. I just have resisted for so long because I can’t quite break up with cheese. Perhaps that will be my resolution this year.
    Anyway, thanks for your honesty and candor.

    xx, Elise
    http://www.sparkleandslippers.blogspot.com

  7. Such an inspiring post and so excited to see you flourish in your journey! The most challenging moments bring us beauty and depth. Thank you for sharing your insights. xoxo

  8. This is so great! Being a full time medical professional plus blogging I have major been lacking in the rest department too!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

  9. Awwww….sorry to hear you have allergies, but glad you’re feeling better! Girl….saying no is so hard for me too. I love what you said “What we want isn’t always what we need.” A-freaking-men! Here’s to a better 2017!

  10. I’m so you decided to post this because I for one can relate! I do not believe I am allergic to gluten or dairy, but after doing a round of Whole 30 this summer I realized just how negatively those things were effecting my body. I have mostly cut them out of my diet now and have been feeling overall better! I’m glad to hear you are too!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  11. Thanks for sharing! It does often feel like we’re in this non-stop hamster wheel, and I’m currently working on a post describing how saying “no” can bring so much positivity to our lives. Unfortunately, it’s a lesson learned once lived for most. With age comes wisdom, right?! 😉

    I, too, am working on being more mindful about what I put in my body and how I treat it. So, I will follow along!

    Be well.
    -Kimberly

  12. I can’t believe you’re only 24! AH. Glad you’re taking the time to rest though. I feel like in todays world its SO easy to get caught up and feel rushed and pressure and its happens so quickly! I get anxiety easily and have to figure out a way to reduce that. Anyways, thank you for being so honest and open!

    xo, jess

    alljessedup.com

    1. Love hearing from another Jess 🙂 And haha, people say that all the time about my age!

      Anxiety is definitely quite the beast in our day in age. I do highly urge you try clean eating to try and combat it 🙂 Good luck!! XOXO

  13. Love this and your honesty! So refreshing to read from other bloggers; life can sometimes hit us hard. I have the same health issues and this was such and good read and so encouraging. Thank you!

    Xoxo – MacKenzie

  14. How are you doing on gluten dairy free diet? Im have terrible reactions to but still struggle to stay away from it. Its a challenge every day. Im glad you are feeling better and able to stay so positive

  15. Love this post! It makes me wish you had an inspirational book. I’d love it if you shared on snap chat or YouTube some of your favorite daily food choices.

    1. Hi Teresa!
      Awww you are so sweet. Hey about a book – you never know 😉 Stay tuned! And re:snapchat that is definitely something to think about, I will give that a ponder and see what I can do ! I appreciate your feedback! XO

  16. Jessi, I discovered ~4 years back that I was highly intolerant to gluten as well and have since become not only gluten free, but grain free as well. I found that grains (rice and corn) would give my stomach similar reactions, although certainly not as intense as gluten. Eliminating these food groups was the best decision I’ve ever made. I couldn’t agree with you more in that if anything was learned from my situation, it has been to truly listen to my body. It screams at us for so many things, but our minds usually silence this alarm.
    Recently (within the last month) I’ve given up dairy as well as I’ve found I’ve become very intolerant to it (or was I all along and chose to not see it?). This is such an important topic to discuss, I’m so glad you shared your story!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Amanda! I love your part about the mind silencing the alarms of the body – that is SO true. Appreciate you! XO

  17. Hi Jessi,
    Have you talked to someone who understands about food allergies? Are you getting rid of soy, gluten, corn (this one, like soy is sneaky) and lactose? I’ve been dealing with this for way too many years. Give yourself three months of no poison and you’ll feel SO MUCH better. Get rid of them for a couple weeks and then slowly add them back in.

    1. Hey Tom!

      yes I have I’m working with a specialist 🙂 It’s going so well and yes in the midst of the cleanse too! Thanks so much for your insight! XO

  18. I saw on your Snapchat that you were chatting about “rest” on your blog.
    So cray cray about how we eat such terrible and processed foods! I don’t know that I could go GF… but I’m glad you could, that it’s worked in your favor and your body is healing…

    Health is so tricky…


    Amber
    All the Cute

    P.S. You are a great writer!

  19. I loved this post Jessi!! I’ve dealt with similar things all my life. I’m not actually allergic to gluten or dairy, but VERY sensitive to dairy and eating less gluten just makes me feel better. I think it’s amazing that you’ve come to this realization at such a young age. I’m 29 and I feel like I only grasped the idea a year or two ago and I’m still struggling with the rest and less stress. I’ve also worked for myself for most of my adult life and being your own boss has it’s perks, but everything also rests on your shoulders and that part can be scary. Glad to know I’m not the only one who feels like this (physically and mentally, ha!) Thanks for sharing 🙂

  20. Jessi

    What a beautiful message to give to your readers. I’m so proud of you and wish you a very peaceful holiday.

    P.S- ” How to Relax” – Thich Nhat Hanh would be a great read right now. There’s a little shop on East 11th that has it!