My intro to psychology professor told my freshman class to expect to go home on Christmas break and get sick. She said it’s just what happens after a prolonged period of stress. After three months of living in a new place, making new friends, eating new food and taking new, challenging classes takes a toll on your body. Your defenses weaken and we get sick.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. In the past couple of weeks, various loved ones in my life have been stressed to the max, and it’s taken a physical toll. Between them, they’ve experienced being tired, achy, back problems, nausea and even pneumonia!

I mostly feel stress as nausea. When I feel overwhelmed or uncertain, I don’t want to eat. I know it isn’t healthy, but when my guy and I started having problems, I couldn’t stomach much more than cereal or peanut butter toast. I knew I was on the mend when I was talking to my 3-year-old niece and she mentioned having mac and cheese for lunch. Immediately, I needed some baked cheesey goodness of my own.

I decided to allow myself to break my rules and eat whatever I was craving until I felt better. That meant I ate mac and cheese for dinner three days in a row. There may have been a few stops to Trophy Cupcake, too. But I felt my body healing.

What a difference taking care of yourself makes. I know, I know. When it feels like your world is collapsing in on you, it’s hard to sleep. It’s hard to eat. I get it. But just remember that you can’t heal if your body isn’t getting what it needs. I mostly write that last sentence for myself because I need to be reminded as much as anyone.

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