brainfogWell Friends,

It’s been a pretty tough week for me.  Trying to balance an extremely full work schedule and parenting all while dealing with a heartbreaking tragedy (see below) made it really challenging for me to stick to my self-care. 

So guess what happened?  I got sick.

…and I’ve learned, once again, the supreme importance of prioritizing self-care especially when times get tough.

This week, I’ve experienced gut, adrenal and sleep issues.  Sound familiar?  🙂  Taking a step back with my health was no fun so I want to send out this friendly reminder + some how-tos on better caring for ourselves (see below.)

Being overwhelmed is something we all deal with from time to time but it can take a real toll on your health.  This week’s “Hot Health Resources” were just what I needed to dig out of my mini health hiccup. And in the article below, I bare it all with tips to support you in your busy life.

Pushing the reset button as we speak….

Warmly, Jen

p.s. – Don’t forget to check out this week’s Hot Health Resources before reading the article.  There’s a bunch of great stuff going on this week.

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This Week’s Hot Health Resources

1. Having wrecked my gut with all the stress this week, Sean Croxton’s FREE Digestion Sessions have been a life saver. I’m now happily and easily getting my gut back on track bolstered by some new tips I learned from the series.

2. When my life started unraveling this week and I was really not showing enough patience with my little guy so I looked to the helpful tips of Katie The Wellness Mama’s Wellness Family Summit.  Katie is a pro; managing 5 kids and a thyroid condition with ease and provides great resources too on her blog. Her resources and suggestions were life line to me this week.

3.  Stress and weight gain can go hand-in-hand and if you’re dealing with too much stress and having a hard time managing a weight that feels great to you, I’d recommend the Women’s Weight Loss summit going on now for more tips on how to effectively manage weight without stressing out yourself or your adrenals.  You can find that one here.

4.  JJ Virgin is offering a Sugar Impact 2-Week Cookbook + 4 Videos for FREE.Diet I’d snag those bad boys now while you can!  Seriously, if you’ve been wanting to shove some chocolate cake in your face like I have lately, JJ’s cookbook and video resources offer easy, practical strategies to saying sayonara to sugar.  They’ve definitely kept me on track throughout all the stress.

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When You Can’t Breathe:

Dealing With Overwhelming Emotions

She looked down and smiled at me, “We just can’t get you to breathe, can we?”  Yaffa, my new Pilates instructor, has only known me for two weeks.  And since she has known me, Yaffa has probably had to remind me a few hundreds times to exhale.  I’m literally not breathing.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been in massive production mode.  I’ve continued creating videos and hosting expert Q&A calls, I’ve recorded more than 20 videos as a free thyroid resource, I’ve been juggling motherhood…..oh, and my friend took her own life only hours after I posted an article on suicide.  So, yeah, that’s been my two weeks and it has felt like being punched in the face over and over again —  hence the non-breathing.

Not only have I not been able to breathe though, I haven’t been able to cry either.  Shocked by the devastating news that I’d lost a dear, sweet friend, I sat stunned, choked up, gasping and sobbing for about 90 seconds…and then it all went inside.  Locked up in my throat with nowhere to go.

This happens to me when I’m overwhelmed by emotion, overcome by sadness, shocked into emptiness.  I stop breathing…. And I don’t even know how to cry…. I go numb.

It wasn’t until my compassion and wisdom-packed health coaching session yesterday with Chris Kresser that I started to feel something move.  I forget sometimes that as a coach, I’m still human.  As a recovering Type-A perfectionist, I, like many of my dear clients, hold myself up to an impossible standard.  I always put so much energy into caring for my family, friends and our wonderful thyroid community that sometimes I forget that I need support too. 

After speaking with Chris about what was going on lately with my health and my life, I realized I was really sad and stressed. (Shocker, right? But sometimes we need an outside perspective.)  The past two weeks of being on camera (which is WAY out of my comfort zone for this introvert) as well as experiencing a tragic loss was just too much; and it would have been too much for anyone.

I finally heard the sadness as I was telling Chris my story.  It had been buried in the distraction of a busy life and now it was starting to bubble up.

Yesterday was my first day off in two weeks.  My first day free of distraction and facing what is true in my life.  Speaking with Chris, the feelings started to move; heading to Pilates afterward, Yaffa got me to breathe; but calling my friend Lisa, got me to cry…. and that was just what I needed.

Lisa is my crying buddy.  She’s really my emotional soul sister.  Lisa and I have been through some severe life events together over the past (almost 20!) years, holding each other up time and time again. 

When I finally let the breath into my body and I could feel that block of tightness and sadness break apart, I knew I needed to move it out of my body.  It wasn’t serving me at all to keep it stuck there.  So, I called Lisa and said, “I’m calling you so I can cry,” and I told her my story.

Saying out loud that I lost my friend opened the gateway to healing.  Having a witness to your pain, someone there to hold the space as you move through it is an invaluable tool for healing.  We all face overwork, overwhelm and tragedies, but what do we do with them in our bodies and how can that affect our health?

How breathing and crying can help you heal:

Here’s why it’s important to breathe, to protect self-care time, to sit with your emotions and to find your cry buddy.

  • If you find you’re chronically busy, it may not be that you have so much to do, but that you’re avoiding being still with your thoughts. While we do live in an overscheduled world, it is often too easy to distract ourselves with busy-ness or to numb ourselves with TV keeping us from facing the reality of our lives.  A busy schedule can be used to distract ourselves from our true feelings, but if you keep busy for too long, it can hinder processing emotions. And while you can ignore unpleasant emotions for a while, they don’t go away until you address them.Hiding behind your schedule is a way of hiding from your feelings, either because you’re afraid of feeling them, afraid that the sadness or anger will overwhelm you or never end, or you’re afraid of how others will react. But it’s important to find a safe way to experience those feelings (like with a cry buddy — see below).
  • My pilates teacher wasn’t just toeing the party line when she told me to breathe: proper breathing is detoxifying, releases tension, strengthens the immune system, and can even help you lose weight — in addition to helping release and work through emotions.  So, let’s make a pact to just keep breathing!  🙂
  • Loads of people are embarrassed to cry or think “big girls don’t cry,” but research consistently shows that people feel relief and release after a good cry. Crying slows your breathing, has a calming effect and reduces stress; all which promote healing both physically and emotionally. Hey, there’s a reason it’s referred to as a “good” cry.
  • But crying alone may not be the best idea. People who have support while crying report more cathartic release than people who cry alone, whether they rely on a friend, a therapist, a health care practitioner, or a support group… It’s also true that having a partner for accountability and support can help you reach your bigger health goals, whatever they may be.  So buddy up!

I feel so grateful to have someone in my life I can call my cry buddy. Lisa and I have struck an unspoken agreement over the years that we can say and be anything with each other.  We let it all hang loose!  When we’re on the phone or hanging out, we’re like two drunken pirates talking most of the time.  Our “colorful” language would make any man blush and we’re each other’s safe place to go to let it ALL out, to laugh irreverently and to sob uncontrollably with each other as we work through pain.  A cry buddy is one of the most valuable treasures I have in my healing kit.  I highly recommend you get one.  🙂

I know I’m not alone in dealing with difficult situations. I’d love for you to share your best tips for working through grief and other strong emotions in the Facebook group; it’s a wonderful safe place to be the real you.



If you found this article helpful, I provide a ton of resources on healing your thyroid naturally, including:

  • Our totally free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Report and Coaching Sessions
  • Right here on my blog, where I talk about what’s worked best for me and my clients, as well as the latest research and resources I come across.  You can subscribe to get new blog posts delivered right to your email by signing up on the righthand side of the page.
  • My book, Healing Hashimoto’s Naturally — part memoir, part instruction manual for how I personally healed my Hashimoto’s disease.
  • My exclusive free 6 Thyroid Myths That Can Keep You From Healing workshop — with info on the comprehensive Thyroid Fix in 6 program, which walks you through, step-by-step, the exact actions you need to take to heal your thyroid and get your life back! We’ve seen hundreds of participants in the Thyroid Fix in 6 avoid, decrease, or even eliminate the need need for thyroid medications.
  • The incredible Your Best Thyroid Life Video Bundle, in which I personally invited 27 of the world’s top health experts to share their best tips for living with and healing thyroid disease.

Remember to breathe. Don’t be afraid to cry. Make self-care a priority and you can heal and have a normal life again!

Jen Wittman Thyroid CoachJen Wittman is a Certified Holistic Health Expert, Chef, Author & Vitality Coach, who teaches women how to reverse thyroid and autoimmune conditions naturally. She’s helped hundreds of women decrease (or even eliminate) their thyroid medications and has helped others stay off thyroid medication entirely.

Through her free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Jen teaches easy and simple steps to thyroid healing that can fit into your busy day. She also provides print outs to bring to your next doctor’s appointment so you can get the support and respect you deserve.