As I sit here on a Wednesday night (way past my bedtime) gluhwein in hand, it’s a little ironic that I am writing about my journey to health… but it’s all about balance right?
It’s only taken me 35 years to do a complete 360 on my health. One of the most common things I hear in practice is people reflecting on their health challenges or injuries as a normal part of aging. Common yes but normal NO.
At 36 I can honestly say that I am the best version of myself to date… I sleep better, I have far less illness and injuries, and my body is stronger than it’s ever been. Not perfect by far – but I’m working on it. Boy was it a journey……
As a child in the 80’s and 90’s I imagine my experience was pretty common. Lots of anti-biotics for various minor colds and ear infections. Tonsils out, grommets in. However I don’t remember eating a lot of packaged food. I think we were the last generation of kids to mostly eat home cooked ‘real food’, and play for hours in the fields and forests unsupervised. Life was good! I played sports every day and had a metabolism I could only dream of today.
Throughout my teens, whilst my activity remained high I was addicted to sugar and all the convenience of frozen food, two minute noodles and all the alcopops I could get my hands on.
My stress increased… study, work, loss of loved ones, my sickness went through the roof. I had tonsillitis (now called pharyngitis as technically my tonsils were no more) three times a year for a good week at a time, I felt exhausted, bloated ALL the time, and I was plagued with injuries in sport – The worst of which being crippling back pain. I was in my early 20’s how was this happening? Must be getting “older”
Add on a move to Australia (solo), 5 years of corporate life and a high stress job and voila you have a physical and emotional concoction of adrenal fatigue, gut problems and a ton of anxiety.
It took getting pregnant with my first child to take a huge step back and realise….. This can’t be a great lifestyle I don’t want my unborn child to step into this world of depletion and complete lack of presence that I had been whipped up in.
It’s amazing what growing a child inside you can do for your philosophy of life……….
9 YEARS LATER……… and this is what I have learnt so far (and still compulsively learning)
BEING IN PAIN IN NOT “NORMAL” AT ANY AGE!
This is so ingrained in my being these days. I’ve seen it, I’ve witnessed it, I have helped drive it, and I have felt it! Pain is a symptom, a message- LISTEN. Your body is trying to tell you something. It’s never too late to move better, to think better, and to feel better. This isn’t a task to be taken lightly and involves a journey to find what has brought you to this place of pain. Because pain doesn’t appear overnight (usually), it’s the culmination of often years or decades of dysfunction, compensations and maladaptation’s in both the body and mind.
SLEEP, SLEEP AND SLEEP SOME MORE
Don’t feel guilty, we all do – especially when we have a family to look after. Sleep is THE most essential part of healing. There is a reason this was used as a form of torture in the war. We all know it but why is it so hard to do well? Go to bed early… at least 4 nights a week. Why? Because the more regenerative part of sleep happens early in the night- this is where the magic happens. Go on try it – you won’t go back. If you can’t sleep or struggle to get to sleep LISTEN, this is a HUGE sign that your whole system is stressed and some big lifestyle changes need to happen.
FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO HELP YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY
I have met a handful of people, friends, bodyworkers, healers, who have been transformational in my journey to health. You know that person that you look at and say I WANT WHAT THEY HAVE. Listen to your gut instinct, think of it as a piece in the jigsaw puzzle. They can’t do this for you but they might just have that corner piece you have been looking for to get you a leap closer to where you want to be. Don’t be disheartened, health is a mine field and we are all different. What may be transformational for you may not be for someone else. Take it with both hands, embrace it and move forward. For every failed interaction and dollar wasted you are a step closer to your next corner piece. DON’T GIVE UP.
FOOD REALLY IS MEDICINE
This is not news to anyone… but how the hell do you juggle time and convenience, a family, a nine till 5 job, a caffeine and sugar addiction, and the effort of resourcing sustainable and healthy produce. I GET IT – I have been here (more than once)
SIMPLE is key. Rather than read every packet for numbers and additives, AVOID the packets. Find a simple recipe using fresh produce – meat/fish/vege, whatever floats your boat, and put it on rotation. We try to be strict in the week – no packaged food, and on the weekend we just roll with whatever we fancy. You will crave less rubbish if you eat less rubbish.
Set an example for your kids. If they don’t jump on board straight away you will have planted the seed. Better still plant the seed WITH them – in the garden. Watch it grow and eat it. These are the life lessons they will remember forever.
STRESS IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL –AND DISEASE.
If you take away one thing from this blog this is it. We KNOW stress causes disease. There is no lack of research linking stress to every form of physical and mental disorder under the sun. You can CHOOSE to change this any time. It all starts with perception.
Negative thoughts and feelings create stronger wiring in our brains than positive ones. Have you ever thought how easy it is to let your mind get carried away with negativity? STOP
The first step is observation. Observe the stress, the negativity, the feeling of dis-ease. Make a conscious decision to change that thought for a positive one. This will feel like you really have to force it at the beginning- because it IS hard. Our brains are wired to run with all the drama and stress and the good stuff is really short lived (often)
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU STOPPED TO BREATHE?
SERIOUSLY! We spend all day taking these shallow breaths, 12-20 per minute to be precise. What if you stopped 5x a day to take 5 BIG inhales and 5 SLOW exhales. You would probably feel dizzy at first, but once you program that conscious breath into your day you won’t need that second cup of coffee you will be buzzing.
Pain, emotions, posture, and stress ALL affect our breath in a negative way. We can go for days without food and water but breath for only minutes. There is a good reason for that your body NEEDS oxygen to function. More oxygen = better function.
CHEMICALS ARE KILLER
This was HUGE for me! I had no idea how many chemical concoctions I had used before I had even left the house for work in the morning. Facewash, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, perfume, hair product – the list goes on for us ladies. This 100% made my system sluggish and toxic. If I brush my teeth with commercial toothpaste now my whole mouth goes numb.
Most synthetic chemicals are endocrine disruptors, which means they mess with your hormones , AVOID at all costs
Don’t trust labels, natural doesn’t mean NATURAL – which makes my head spin. Find a good brand that you can trust and slowly transition all your home products, OR even better make your own its easy I promise.
Did you know some essential oils are as effective as chemical cleaning products? YES and they smell amazing.
Check these guys out for all you replacement ideas…. https://theinspiredlittlepot.com.au/naturally-inspired-diy-recipe-book/
I no longer wear makeup – even to work! And I LOVE IT! (you don’t need to be that drastic to see huge changes.. just ditch the main stuff)
And last but NOT least………….
FIND YOUR PURPOSE.
That drive or passion that makes your heart sing! Don’t live life for an end goal, take a hold of the reins and steer that sleigh in the direction you want to head.
I wholeheartedly believe that it’s never too late to chase a dream. When you live life in congruency with your values you will beam excitement and energy for every single day.
For me this has culminated in a dream to help others walk the path to create their own healing journey. Chiropractic and movement have been my vessels for change. My ability to be grounded and really feel what my body is communicating.
For those of you who are on your journey I salute you for taking the courage to take those tough first steps forward.
For those of you whom I am privileged to be a part of your journey please know that you are just as much a part of mine x