And how it all unfolded...
My story begins with rigidity. My younger self was bound by rigid principles, most of which I placed on my self early on. I was a perfectionist who would strive and work hard to be the best that I could be. I was highly involved within academia and sports and was always committed to this or that (and I excelled in all of it). I worried a lot (about everything). I wanted to be independent, so everything I had I wanted to earn it. I played by the rules and very rarely asked for anything. Needless to say, I took life very seriously.
These traits have certainly served me in my life, especially as I pursued my Doctorate in Physical Therapy and then a life beyond as a licensed physical therapist. It’s essentially a prerequisite for all health care providers to be able to maintain a rigorous agenda and excel at doing so. Unfortunately, though, that wears a person out. And, to be fair, I wore myself out. My rigid rules for living and my perfectionism tended to cause stress, nervousness, and fear, which disrupted several pillars of health (ie, quality exercise, sleep, nourishment, etc). The story lines within my mind (and I know this not unique to me) were unrealistic, unfair, and, honestly, not very fun. The intense, type-A personality that had served me in getting me to where I wanted to be was suddenly was a barrier to creating a healthful, fun, relaxed, and truly enjoyable life.
The middle of my story is about transition. In my mid-20s, after having been through a few bumps in my personal life (leading to the all of the weird and wild things that emotional & mental stress does to one’s body and mind), I discovered what I found to be the foundation to my own health: yoga, mindfulness & meditation, faith, and nature. I explored these options to figure out what they meant to me and how each might serve me. I had a newfound confidence, and I made a commitment to myself that I wasn’t going to allow anything to limit me. I even packed my life into two suitcases and moved to Alaska on whim (as it turns out, this is where I met my soon-to-be husband, continued gathering forever friends, and experienced the true awe of nature). I had discovered what it meant to have pliability and ease in my life.
Thank goodness I had finally discovered a healthy foundation as to who I was because my future self was going to need it. As it turns out, my launch to the Last Frontier was just the beginning of my true growth spurt. In true Kelsea fashion, I became invested in my career and started going down my pathway of rigidity again. The more I worked as an outpatient orthopedic PT, the more overwhelmed I became, both by the number of people who wanted to be ‘fixed’ and by the caseload I was required to hold. There were no built-in breaks in my days, giving no time for me to restore my own mental, emotional, and physical bandwidth for the day. As a pelvic health PT, I specifically felt a recurrent sense of fatigue. Being a pelvic health PT is emotionally intensive work. What happened was I would push hard during my workdays and be present for others at the expense of my own health and personal needs. It was through this painstaking process of breaking down, getting back up, breaking down, and getting back up again that I realized something had to change. My clinical life felt like an endless feedback loop that never allowed me to catch up, take a deep breath, and simply take care of myself and the woman I had become.
I then had to decide: sink or swim. When I made the decision to swim, health coaching landed in my lap.
My story ends (or at least leads to the present time) with pliability. In moving through a health coach certification program and learning about self-discovery, I finally found the missing building blocks that could be supported with my previously laid out foundation. It doesn’t mean that I no longer experience stress or the overwhelming sense that life is too full to manage, I simply have more tools manage it all. I’ve learned to ask for help. I’ve learned to have better boundaries and self-care strategies. I've learned that perfectionism is a false security blanket. My body, mind, and spirit feel more supported, flexible, and nourished than ever before. And finally...pliable.
Your story as a postpartum mother started somewhere and it’s led you to where you currently stand. If you’re seeking to restore who you are as a woman and wonder what’s on the other side of pain, rigidity, fatigue, and that gloomy sense of feeling overwhelmed, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m happy to help cheer you on along the pathway that leads to…pliability.