Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Home Education, Other Thoughts

    Getting Back on the Health Merry-Go-Round (A Low-Energy Mom’s Guide Post)

    August 10, 2016 by Brandy Vencel

    So far in The Low-Energy Mom’s Guide to Homeschooling, I’ve talked about my personal story, and then my thoughts on suffering, followed up with a bunch of posts on homeschooly things like organization or mothering or curriculum or whatever. Some people even found all of this helpful in spite of having normal energy levels!

    Today, I’m going to start a sort of series-within-a-series. We’re going to focus on trying to improve health.

    But first, do you remember these merry-go-rounds?

    Three things to think about before you make a plan for getting healthy again. This series of posts isn't a cure; it's a thinking tool.

    This is old-school playground equipment now. There is something that spins, of course, but it doesn’t look the same. (It’s not nearly as easy to hurt yourself, I don’t think.) Do you remember how these burned in summer? I remember grabbing a bar and it felt like trying to lift a cookie sheet out of a hot oven with my bare hands!

    I have a distinct memory from my childhood. It’s nothing spectacular. I just remember that some kids at the park — I think it was my sister and some of our neighbors — had gotten the merry-go-round spinning really fast, and I was trying to get on. And this was really hard for me, for some reason. It was like standing in front of a revolving door — I kept second-guessing myself. Where should I jump on? Will I get hurt if I go now? What about now?

    Like I said — it’s nothing spectacular. But, when I was searching for an image that illustrated how I feel about getting healthy again, these merry-go-rounds came to mind. There’s the kid standing in the middle — health is a breeze for her! She’s been on the merry-go-round her whole life, and she stays in the center, so she’s never fallen off.

    Good for her. That’s great!

    But the question arises: if we fall off, how do we get back on? It’s spinning so fast, and the fall was a little painful.

    The truth is that there are multiple considerations, and it’s going to look different for everyone.

    Time: The Free Resource That’s Quite Costly

    How much time are you willing to spend on getting well? Are you a DIY-er who is going to figure it all out yourself? How much time does your family want you to spend on this? Yes, getting healthy is important, but how many other things will go by the wayside? Is this okay with everyone who has to reap the consequences of that?

    Do you have a plan for spending the time wisely so that it isn’t wasted? And how are you going to feel if you spend many months researching only to realize you’ve hit a dead end?

    And time isn’t just spent on research — treatments, appointments, exercise, all of these things take time. Are you willing to spend the time it takes?

    Energy: It’s Right up There with Time

    Most of the questions we asked about time we can ask about energy. But then there are more — for example, let’s say you research a fancy diet and spend the time making a plan. Do you actually have the energy to implement that plan?

    If you get well, you will have more energy. It’s true. But what do you have the energy for right now? Maybe there are parts of the merry-go-round you ought to ignore for a bit because you just don’t have the energy for it.

    Another thing you’ll need to consider is prioritization. You only have so much energy (same with time and money), so where should it go? Tackle one thing at a time or you’ll get overwhelmed.

    Money: No Matter What, It’s Going to Cost You

    I would highly suggest thinking about what you can afford. We’re going to talk about all sorts of things, and some of the things cost more than others. Buying books might be on the cheap end. Special diets might be in the middle, along with supplementation of vitamins and minerals or other things. What about special doctors? Fancy tests? These may cost hundreds, even thousands!

    Now, fancy tests might be worth saving up for. But you have to be realistic about what you can actually do right now, and then save for later if you need to do more.

    Here’s the important thing about money: it will never help your health to go into debt looking for a cure.

    Here’s the Merry-Go-Round

    I was trying to think up a way to depict the merry-go-round I have in my head, and this is what I came up with:

    The Afterthoughts Health Merry-Go-Round: Where will YOU try to jump back on?

    You’re going to see this image often because we’ll keep coming back to it.

    One thing is not on this list: enlisting outside help. This is a real thing, but I think that it can be discussed in regard to every category you see here, so instead of discussing it on its own so much, we’re going to discuss what it might look like in every post along the way.

    No Promises

    I am not promising this series will do magic. I cannot get all of you to be healthy and strong — I have enough struggle trying to get myself there! Some of you have problems that render me speechless. My ideas will not cure cancer or remove tumors.


    At the end of the day, I am a fighter. I refuse to not try. While I accept my limitations today, that doesn’t mean I accept them for all time. So this part of the series can be thought of as a thinking tool. Let’s consider all the issues and decide, each of us for herself, where we’re going to try and jump back on the merry-go-round.

    Return to The Low-Energy Mom’s Guide to Homeschooling series index.

    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Susan Holmes December 23, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    I have so much sympathy with the health issues. We have had myself and three family members with health issues. I now help other extended family with health issues because I have done so much research.
    I should send you my method of keeping up with health records and attempts. However, briefly, I would urge you to look into grain free eating. I tested with and found I reacted to gluten, soy, dairy and eggs. Taking those out of my diet along with grains dramatically increased my energy, diminished headaches from daily to once a week and much less intense, did away with altitude sickness and motion sickness, and stopped gastrointestinal symptoms. I still eat well.
    My homeschool kids have all graduated college and now I have grandkids being homeschooled. Good luck to you, and may God bless your efforts to find solutions without sacrificing the family.

  • Reply Bek August 13, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Great analogy Brandy and I love the colourful health merry go round image.
    If you don’t mind me mentioning, one really important thing I don’t see there, and that’s spirituality,because THAT will help us have the wisdom to keep all the other segments in the right balance and in their place.

    Look forward to the rest of your posts.

  • Reply Meghan August 11, 2016 at 10:41 am

    I love that metaphor. It’s perfect. I had a few years that I referred to as “my culinary dark ages” (I was really into cooking before having babies), and recently noticed that I had no more hope that I would get back on the merry-go-round. I made a decision to wait on God without doing any more research on our particular issues and just pray for awhile. A real and effective solution actually emerged. There’s still a lot more work to do, but I was so encouraged.

  • Reply Mama Rachael August 11, 2016 at 6:22 am

    I am so excited to read your thoughts here. I suspect it won’t be too much new for me, but the reminders are encouraging. And motivating. I’ve put on about 20 extra pounds since little man was born 5 yrs ago, and these extra pounds, I think, have made this pregnancy harder than it needed to be. When this baby is born, I want to aim to lose those 20 lbs, wisely, bc I was to exclusively breastfeed this baby as I did my son. And today…. a walk, which will maybe help labor start… I’m 37 weeks today!

  • Reply Megan August 10, 2016 at 7:17 am

    I’m so excited about this!! I’m in this very spot of sliding out of good health and fighting to get it back but feeling like I’ll be spun off again. I love how you’ve talked about deciding how much to invest in your health in these different areas and if it is really worth the cost. I’m looking forward to this series!!

  • Leave a Reply