Lessons Self-Care

Fresh Food, Fresh Perspective

Hi-dee everybody,

I have been dealing with a string of health issues. As someone who has been fortunate enough to not get sick very often, this reality has been particularly trying on me physically, mentally, and emotionally.

A point of view shot of a woman's crossed legs as she lies on a hospital bed and watches television. The television show The Waltons is playing.
Because of course I turned on the hospital television to find The Waltons.

On March 21, I was hospitalized with bilateral pneumonia. Naturally, recovery was a bit slow. It was also prolonged due to seasonal allergy symptoms, including the return of a fever, I acquired on top of the lingering pneumonia symptoms. All the while, I was taking two antibiotics and a steroid—powerful medications which led to side effects and yet another prescription to alleviate those side effects. Then, on April 11, I rolled my ankle while leaving to pick up my eldest daughter from school.

I am someone well-versed in navigating major life tragedies, but if the adage “When it rains, it pours” comes to fruition in my world, I get stuck in a funk. My anxiety overwhelms me, my OCD symptoms bubble up, my self-motivation tanks, and all I want to do is sleep.

During the first week of April, which was spring break week for our family, we took a weekend trip out of town (I’ll tell you more about that soon.) This trip forced me to be more upbeat. I love a getaway so that fact alone improved my outlook exponentially—not to mention, we all had a great time. Once we returned home, however, I was thrust back into the daily grind and worrying about what new ill would befall me.

This past weekend, I was determined to do something for myself and shake off at least some of that nagging feeling of doom and gloom. Though my ankle was sore and I was only operating at what felt like about 70 percent Kim, I packed up my kiddos and headed to a local farmers market: Griffith Family Farm.

The Griffith Family Farm stall featuring tables and shelves with pots of flowers, herbs, and baskets.
Flowers and ferns and baskets, oh my!

The girls helped me load up bags of goodies—everything from eggs and cinnamon rolls to herbs and steak.

The Griffith Family Farm stall featuring tables and shelves with local honey, baked goods like bread and cinnamon rolls, and cartons of one dozen eggs.
There’s nothing like a Saturday morning assortment of baked goods, amirite?

After the shopping, the girls had energy to burn. They played in the parking lot while I loaded up the car. Watching my girls play well together always brings a smile to my face.

Two young girls running and playing ponies together in a parking lot across from the Griffith Family Farm stand.
The girls playing “ponies” in the parking lot across from the farm stand.

Ahead of the return trip home, we paid particular mind to the safety of our new pot of herbs. We all were tickled by the notion of buckling up the herb pot, but it worked!

A pot of herbs from the Griffith Family Farm stand which has been secured with a seat belt inside a car. Next to the pot is a Kentucky Proud shopping bag.
Don’t you just want to shove your face in there and take a whiff?

I felt so good after our farmers market stop that I decided to take the girls with me to the grocery store and finish up our weekly shopping. This is usually a Sunday afternoon adventure, but we were already out and about so why not?

The fresh finds at the farmers market kicked my imagination into gear and I started thinking about what I wanted to cook over the next few days. Generally, I try and prepare one special meal during a weekend and, after finding a beautiful cut of Blessed Ridge Farm sirloin steak at the farm stand, my mind and mouth settled on fajitas.

Although cooking can inspire stressful moments, I find it meditative. It’s art and science and magic, and sharing good food with my family makes me exceedingly happy.

Slices of medium to medium-rare sirloin steak.
Yummy slices of sirloin. Tip: Before slicing, rest your steak for at least as long as you cooked it.

Our grocery store trip yielded more colorful items to complete our fajitas feast. Fajitas are particularly enjoyable to make because I use the same big skillet cook everything in stages: 1. bell peppers and onions, 2. steak, and 3. shrimp.

A skillet mix of sirloin steak slices and sauteed peppers, onions, and shrimp, as well as fresh cilantro.
The steak slices were combined with sauteed peppers, onions, shrimp, and fresh cilantro for fajita night.

The point of this post isn’t to elicit pity for my recent health woes or to tell you how to make fajitas.

I want to share with you, as well as remind myself, that taking one small step toward self-betterment can lead to additional positive decisions.

If I hadn’t decided to make myself get up and out to the farmers market, I wouldn’t have laughed with my girls about buckling the pot of herbs into my car or watched them run around pretending to be ponies; I wouldn’t have gone to the grocery store and been inspired to make the special weekend dinner that impressed everyone (except our four-year-old).

Sometimes, in order to feel better—to feel more like myself—I have to make a conscious effort. I have to be proactive in my self-care; I have to say no to that inner voice that tells me You’ll be much more comfortable staying home or Just sleep and you’ll forget how you feel right now. Denying that voice isn’t easy, and my effort isn’t always rewarded, but that’s okay, too.

For me, the point is that I continue to try and be kind to myself, and trying can be everything.

What is the most recent kind thing you did for yourself? Share your story with me in a comment. Thank y’all for reading.

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