‘I was sleeping for 16 hours straight and still exhausted’

It seems that no matter what you do these days, someone out there, whether it be a stranger, an acquaintance or even yourself, feels the need to criticize something about you.

Regardless if you have 10 followers or a million on social media, that negativity will always be there – and for former Miss Universe Australia, Tegan Martin, she’s lived with the pressure of having to live up to everyone’s expectations, including her own.

Yes, she has an Instagram following of 120k. Yes, she’s in a happy relationship with fitness hunk Blake Worrall Thompson. Yes, she gets to travel the world for work, but irrespective of all this, her life hasn’t, and isn’t, as spick and span as it all looks like from the outside.

Rewind back to her teenage years, and life’s pressure took a major toll on her health.

“My chronic fatigue syndrome came on slowly in my late teens and it progressively got worse and worse,” the 26-year-old tells myBody+Soul.

“I started noticing that I was not feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep and I couldn’t think straight.”

No matter how long she slept for, or how many health experts she went to see, her health wasn’t improving.

“I was sleeping for 16 hours straight and still waking up exhausted, I saw doctor after doctor and no one could figure out what was wrong.”

It wasn’t until she “found an incredible integrative doctor” who told her she had active glandular fever, which had been building up in her system.

“I’ve always pushed myself beyond my limits and this time was no different, I was living with a nasty virus trying to keep up with everyone around me, struggling through every waking second.”

While Tegan was eventually able to find her way back to good health through nourishing her body with nutritious foods and relaxing her mind with meditation, the pressure of having to “keep up with everyone” has continued to live on.

“This year I had a bit of a relapse with my fatigue, I ended up with glandular fever again. I had no one to blame but myself as I wasn’t on top of my self-care regimen and my adrenals and thyroid suffered as a result.”

To decrease her chances of relapsing, she’s learnt to nourish her body with healing foods to keep her energised throughout the day.

An average day on a plate involves a “heavy metal detox smoothie” made from secret ingredients coriander and wild berries. Lunch is “a brown rice and vegetable pattie” and “handpicked salad from [her] organic garden with pine nuts added,” and dinner is “a pumpkin and leek soup with a piece of sprouted bread.”

The model also admits her body is now too weak to cope with high intensity workouts, and instead, opts for restorative style training like Pilates, yoga, barre class, and daily walks.

In-line with her healthy diet and lifestyle, Tegan is also taking part in Ocsober this month to urge people to give up alcohol for a month – not only to benefit their health, but to prevent drug and alcohol related harm.

“I decided to take part in Ocsober this year because I have always been a big advocate for inspiring people to have a healthy relationship,” the Ocsober ambassador explains.

“I think every child deserves to know the potential short and long term dangers of binge drinking… I enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer with my burger on treat day but I am more than happy to go without these things.”

From her personal journey, it’s clear to see why you should never be quick to judge, because everyone has their own insecurities and battles, and no one is living a stress-free life.

“I have to be more careful than the average person and I must get good quality sleep, eat well and take my supplements regularly.

“My illness has taught me so much about myself – it reminds me of how strong I am every day and it has led me to my passion in preventing and reversing disease through food and mind medicine.”

Follow Tegan on Instagram @tegan.martin, and to help support others or even take part in losing the booze this month, follow Ocsober on Instagram.

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