Human beings are interesting when it comes to health and wellness. We know that we need to look after ourselves and eat good food and exercise. However, it is often when our health care practitioner tells us that our body system is not working optimally or we have developed a complaint that requires attention, that we sit up and pay attention to how we are looking after ourselves.
Good health and wellness is always different for everyone. No one thing will work for everyone. But that’s exciting! We’re all on our own journey to feeling and functioning the best we can. Looking after oneself does take time and dedication – taking a small amount of time (every day) can help you to reach your health goals.
Our world of ‘hurry up and do this… so that we can do that’ – the ‘going and doing’ never ends. That’s a one-way ticket to illness, not good health.
Get rid of the ‘quick fix’ mentality and begin to make small changes. If you started the year with a commitment to improving your health and have fallen off the wagon or feel you need a little bit of motivation then read on and think about the following guidelines – they may help you to keep on track. Remember your health is a process that YOU must engage in, it doesn’t happen by itself and your health won’t improve overnight.
Start by thinking about how you are feeling at present. Is there someone or something that is pushing your buttons? It’s these subtle (or not so subtle) emotions that we tend to sweep under the carpet that we really need to pay more attention to. If you have a continual nagging feeling reoccurring then you need to address and rectify it. As things like this, no matter how small you think they are, can be draining on your energy resources and therefore draining on your body systems.
You have 2 choices:
+ If you can do something to rectify the situation then do so
+ If you can’t, then let it go.
Worrying never solved anything; instead it usually makes you uncomfortable and can make you ill.
However, this is sometimes easier said than done. It’s important to look at where you can help yourself. I have always found that a little “ME” time to chill out is always beneficial and a great place to start. It doesn’t require a lot of time as little as 15-20 minutes per day can do the trick. You will need to find a quiet space and sit quietly and concentrate on your breath. When you breathe in, start to relax and when you breathe out think of this as the time to let go of any frustration or concern. This process can help you to relax your mind and also help you to put more oxygenated blood through your circulatory system.
It will also help to clear the mind and slow down the chitter chatter that we experience from too much thinking. You can also us tune into your intuition, which we so often ignore. We never give ourselves enough credit. No one knows us better than us – only we can make decisions about what we should do and what’s best for us. A calmer mind can help us to think clearly and tune into to what we really want and need.
Of course being committed to improving our health would be nothing if we did not eat healthy food and exercise. Anything in moderation is fine as long as we can maintain the ‘moderation’ (and this is coming from a reformed chocoholic!). It’s not easy but awareness of what your weaknesses are is a good starting point. Whatever your weakness is, only you can work out a solution that works for you. Mine was ‘don’t eat it’ – but that was a process – I had to start somewhere to begin to see any results.
One important thing to note is – there is no point in someone else telling you how to do this! We all have our own way of doing things. The important thing is that whatever you choose to do make sure it is achievable and you are motivated to do it for yourself. Think of it as your ongoing commitment to your health. This also relates to exercise. Work out something that you can do 4-5 times per week that you will continue to do – something that you like to do. Make sure that it’s not something that you are going to dread or try to make excuses not to do it. Also if you have a reoccurring health problem that is affected by exercising, then you need to review the type of exercise you are doing and speak to your health care practitioner to discuss solutions.
Don’t let the problem get out of hand. Know your limitations. You need to work to maintain good health but that ‘work’ can be defined by you, to suit you. Think about what is important to you.
While we are looking at our lifestyle, let’s look at how well balanced our life actually is. Take some time to sit down and ask yourself:
Is my work, rest and play time well balanced?
How many people work themselves to the point that they continually feel tired, have no energy and just can’t be bothered. The next step is usually feeling unwell, possibly experiencing reoccurring infections, coughs or colds etc. Ask them what they are doing in their spare time and their reply is generally ‘What spare time?’ Sorry, but you do have choices! If you choose to work yourself into the ground maybe you should be a little firmer with yourself and ensure that you take some time out to have fun. Do it (just) once and you’ll enjoy it so much that you will want to make it a regular part of your life.
Health, believe it or not, is also related to your creative self. I am not referring to your artistic ability, we all have a creative side. Just think about how you do your job, what skills you need to co-ordinate the day to day running of a family and household and for the single person the day to day running of their lives and what gets them through their day. It all links back to your creativity, what you ‘create’ on a day-to-day basis.
Finally, good health can also be improved by having a good laugh! We can all be too serious sometimes, which winds us up and stresses us out. If you feel it’s all ‘too hard’, find someone or something to have a good laugh at/with – this alone will help to release a lot of built up tension and leave you feeling calmer and happier almost immediately.
Working towards better health (even just a little bit everyday) can help you to give your body the best chance to perform at its peak, all day every day.
In Good health,
What does good health and wellness mean to you? What are some of you everyday health practices?
I recently attended Werribee Park Zoo and was fortunate enough to be part of the Gorilla encounter. Up-close and personal with 3 adult male gorillas, it was very awe inspiring. Their eyes are so expressive; they are (believe it or not) gentle giants, very King Kong like.
The three gorillas I met were an interesting trio: Dad (Motaba), eldest son (Yakini, 14 years and 6 months) and young son (Ganyeka, 14 years).
The eldest son, Yakini, has in recent months become the alpha male of the group and ‘Dad’ has realised that he needs to step aside and allow Yakini to step up to the mark.
What is interesting to note, is that the youngest member of the group has been having digestive problems. My first question to the keepers is ‘What are they eating?’ The answer I received was ‘minimal fruit because of the high sugar content and vegetables that are the same quality for human consumption.’ Sounded good to me! Testing for infection had been conducted with no positive result.
So then the questions started flowing, ‘Where did the vegetables come from?’ ‘Were they organic?’ ‘When did he develop this sensitivity?’ I thought perhaps the gorilla was reacting to a possible pesticide sprayed on the fruit/vegetables or maybe it wasn’t the food at all and he was suffering from stress being the inferior male in a male dominated group. Just a thought!
Gorillas are 98% like humans. We suffer digestive issues too; our reasons are varied as well. We should be asking ourselves the same questions. ‘Is this digestive upset food related or emotion related?’ Both are very valid and both require some form of action. Digestion is integral to our overall health and wellbeing it is the process by which we provide our bodies with the nutrients it requires to function properly.
Gorillas are highly intelligent beings; I have witnessed that – however I’m not sure how I would go teaching gorillas mindfulness meditation! Us, on the other hand, have many options available. We just need to decide which is the best option for us. Our digestive system is where everything begins; coughs, colds etc develop when the digestive system is out of balance. Because of this, it is vitally important to pay attention to what is happening. If you are suffering from a digestive problem, ask yourself some questions like above and investigate your options – your body will thank you for it.
Love & light,
Do you notice the difference when you fuel your body with nutrient rich, organic foods? Where do you source your produce from?
Today I’m talking Menopause, but…
What is Menopause?
Menopause is the cessation of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle due to the ovaries stopping the ripening of eggs and the associated hormones that cause the creation and subsequent releasing of the uterine lining.
Menopause is an important and special time in a women’s life and can be celebrated and embraced in so many positive ways. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Often as a women’s body is trying to establish a new state of balance, all manner of symptoms can start. Some such occurrences are periods becoming irregular and heavy; skin, hair and nails become dry; itching can occur; depression; anxiety; insomnia; difficulty concentrating; hot flushes; weight gain and urinary problems. These are physical changes that occur that are extremely noticeable by the woman experiencing them and it’s the way your body lets you know that your hormones are out of balance.
We are not meant to experience or suffer through symptoms throughout menopause. Symptoms are a reflection of other health issues in the body, for example adrenal fatigue, lack of sleep, poor digestion etc.
The imbalance cause by physical changes can also be heightened by any circulating toxins that are in the body. Undigested toxins in the body just add fuel to the fire (hot flushes) – the liver becomes sluggish as it is trying to regulate hormones efficiently and this is difficult if the liver is not working at its optimal level.
Let’s also take into consideration our mind. This change is generally all happening at a time in our lives when the kids leave home, women are developing a ‘new’ relationship with their husband or partner, parents are ageing and some women are retiring from work. In our age of constant ‘go, go, go’ rather than ‘rest and digest,’ women can feel overwhelmed and undervalued, causing even more problems.
How can we help ourselves through Menopause?
Prevention is always better than cure and we can make certain lifestyle changes in preparation for menopause (don’t forget these changes will improve your health & wellbeing regardless!). Throughout ‘peri-menopause’ (5-10 years prior to true menopause) start to look at yourself and your body and how it is changing. By embracing the changes and working to support your body, you will help to make the transition smoother.
Most importantly the best form of help you can give yourself is by calming and stabilising the mind and body. Slow down and reduce stress. When the mind is calm, the feelings of confusion and low self esteem reduce. You can do this with simple breathing techniques that you can use everyday, wherever and whenever you like.
Part of calming the body includes giving yourself time to rest. Many women are not very good at this! By resting the body you are giving your body the best chance of healing itself. It is recommended that everyone, not just women, take 20 minutes ‘time out’ each day for better health and well being. This would be especially beneficial to women who are still menstruating, particularly on the first day of their cycle.
Diet and nutrition are also important and we need to get real about this. Warm, nourishing food can work wonders. Avoid dry, cold foods. Avoid alcohol and caffeine – both put a lot of pressure on the liver that is trying to regulate your hormones. Cutting out red wine and caffeine alone has been known to reduce hot flushes and nights sweats considerably. Also remove refined sugars and flour from your diet. There are other options available, for example, rapadura sugar and spelt flour.
Let’s not forget exercise but please be mindful that this is not a request to do excessive activity. Excessive activity only depletes the body more. Moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, Tai Chi, Qi Jong and some forms of yoga are great. Keep the body moving. After retirement we usually slow down, move less and eat more of the things that we wouldn’t normally eat – be very aware of this and remember to prioritise your health.
Last, but not least, look at your routine. Go to bed and get up at regular times that suit you. The body wants to be cared for, nourished and adequate sleep is a big part of this.
Imbalances are just a message from the body that it needs support. Listen to the body, it is very intelligent and it will work happily with you if you nourish and care for it. Nat Kringoudis chatted with Dr Sherrill Sellman on her healthtalks channel – busting through the menopause myths. It is a great video, not just for menopausal women, but all women interested in better understanding their hormones and how they can support their bodies everyday.
Therapeutic Massage, Reflexology and Kinesiology, Meditation and Reiki are all things you may like to consider on your own health journey – it is just a case of finding what works for you.
Stay healthy and happy,
Have you experienced any ‘symptoms’ of menopause? What did you find helped you through your transition? It would be great to share your stories with other women.