How to level up your personal and self-care
September is my birthday month so I thought it would fun to share some womanly wisdom along with what I’ve implemented over the past year or so that’s helped to transform my moods, mind set, and overall health and well being. (Jumping right in) I know most of us don’t really want to talk about the pandemic but I need to bring it up because it was the catalyst that allowed me to realize the scope of what I needed to do. I realized the importance of figuring this out so I could better show up for myself and make a difference in not only my life but of those around me. Rather than dwelling on all that wasn’t good I tried to turn the experience into a little bit of a positive. I started to think about what I could do in my immediate environment rather than looking for external help and support. I starting not trusting and felt the need to do my own research and become more self-sufficient. Something I started to think about was how little we hear on television about self-care, how to have a healthy immune system, the importance of Vitamin D, etc.. and specifically regarding women, there is very little to help us navigate the waters, particularly as we reach the second part of our life. It’s really a helpless feeling isn’t it? I started leaning away from traditional Western Medicine and learning about Functional and Naturopathic Medicine. All I can say is wow, what a difference. The average provider (medical doctor) spends about 20 minutes with a patient. In that time they diagnose, treat, and there is usually no discussion regarding diet, exercise, stress, and overall health, all of which directly impact our health. In contrast Functional Medical doctors take a deep dive into your health, potentially heading off something at the pass before it’ a problem. Functional and Naturopathic doctors typically spend almost 2 hours on your initial visit and 40 minutes (minimum) on follow up appointments. Don’t get me wrong there is a need/place for our traditional Western medicine, especially for treatment of acute issues or illness, but for chronic health issues is seems prudent to take a deeper look into the cause of illness rather than simple writing a prescription.
After a while I almost completely stopped watching the mainstream news. Hearing the news media inflame issues and spin words I didn’t want to listen anymore. If I needed to know something I learned to do my own research or discuss with close friends and family. So the past year or so has really been about working inward and getting quiet. I’ve learned it’s okay to feel a little bit of discomfort, doubt, or overwhelm, and then I ask is all this stress I’m putting myself under necessary, is this really a problem? The answer most often was no, things weren’t nearly as bad as I’d thought. Part of this exercise was simply recognizing when I’m going down that rabbit hole and the second part is how to get rid of the stuff that’s keeping me from really showing up for myself. Tuning out the noise, less social media, focusing on what’s best for me and recognizing when I feeling overwhelmed has been a game changer for me.
This is huge for me. If you’re not sleeping you aren’t allowing your body to detox and heal itself. Sleep is so important for you emotional well-being, your hormones, and your cravings.
Turn off social media an hour or so before bed and then take a bath, listen to calming music, play cards, or read. If you are using your phone in bed (scrolling through FB) to relax or watching an exciting Netflix show that’s not going to help you sleep better. By the time we finish work for the day it’s time to exercise and after that we prepare dinner which makes for a late evening. That’s not the best situation but I’m working on it. We are taking baby steps like eating earlier and getting whatever we want to watch on television finished early so we have a full 45 minutes or so to wind down. Supplements can also help. After dinner I like to make a Golden Milk latte (turmeric based) with nut or Hemp Milk. I also include Magnesium and depending on my stress level and/or how I’ve been sleeping I might also add Integrative Cortisol Management, 5-htp (important for calming the body), and (recently) CBD oil.
I’ve to started doing acupuncture. This is something you need to commit to doing regularly. Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine with a component of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is parasympathetic as it predominates in quiet “rest and digest” conditions while the sympathetic nervous system drives the “fight or flight” response in stressful situations. In addition to reducing inflammation in my body (I have osteoarthritis), Acupuncture has taught me to be still and be present. I committed to two sessions a week initially and now I go every 2 or 3 weeks. All of these alternative supplements and treatments aren’t meant for everyone. We are very unique creatures and after doing my own research, and lots of trial and error, I’ve started to figure out what works. That said I recognize my body will continue to change and I will need to adapt to those changes.
Lean on Mother Nature
Add sprouts, micro greens, and herbs like cilantro, parsley, and basil to salads. I’ve also been experimenting with various teas. One of my favorites as of late is tulsi. In Ayurveda, tulsi is an adaptogen, a natural herb that can help the body adapt to outside stressors. My top two favorites are Rose and Turmeric Ginger. Depending on the tea, I sometimes add pumpkin spice, cinnamon, or vanilla. If you missed my blog post on how to make your own tea blends, here it is!
Basically I feel that we should receive our nutrition from natural food sources . Unfortunately over the years our soil has become depleted and the pre-prep processed food industry continues to boom. That said it probably doesn’t hurt to add in a few supplements. Before taking more than just a multivitamin it’s a good idea to discuss what your individual needs are with your provider so you know for sure that your body is receiving what it needs for optimal health.
- Extra vitamin D: 2,000 IU’s is probably the minimum. I was tested and not absorbing well so I take more. It’s a good idea to get your levels tested to see where you’re at and then you’re provider will recommend the dosage that you need. Sublingual is my preference because my body is better able to absorb it. There are two that I like: Thorne and I’ve recently ordered Garden of Life Spray and can’t wait to try it. The vitamin D comes from lichen rather than animal products and there are also some omega 3 fatty acids in the mixture.
- Magnesium: This mineral is important for heart health, and bone support, and much more. I take mine at night time to help me sleep.
- Turmeric: This supplement has the added Black Pepper for better absorption. I take it for daily joint support and it helps with my inflammation.
Nature walks and hikes is an important part of my self care. Upon rising, I open a window and try to get natural light and fresh air in. We get out daily to walk our dogs and on the weekends we kayak and hike with them. I recommend you invest in whatever gear you need to so you will be comfortable outdoors. It makes a huge difference if you’re comfortable! Breathing the fresh air and all the forest has to offer is so grounding. Sometimes the moss is so thick on the ground it feels like we are walking on a cloud. If you follow my Instagram stories I almost always share glimpses of our weekend hikes in the mountains or near lakes. This is also a good time to connect with my partner. Walking and talking is a wonderful way to share what’s on your mind.
Have more sex
Having sex is another way to tap into femininity and Goddess energy. There are many pieces that make up the puzzle of health and sex is one of those pieces. The more we can find balance the better off you’ll be. Often the thing that’s neglected is what you need the most and sex is one of those things. You’re too tired, too busy, exhausted, have to make dinner, and all the things. Fatigue, feeling tired yet wired, and not taking care of yourself begins a cycle of being depleted and because of all that, you just won’t have the energy or desire to have sex. Sex is not just about the physical part. It’s about communication and making time for your partner. Be a good listener and do little things throughout the day to show you care. Sex starts in your everyday environment. How do you communicate with your partner? Are there things that need to be said that aren’t? If there’s all this baggage its more difficult to connect. So for me it’s not just about the physical part it’s also about the communication. Be clear, boundaries needs, support one another, all that leads to better sex.
Practice drinking more water
Do whatever it takes to get more water in. I bought this container and carry it with me. Water is important and most of us simply don’t drink enough. Water is important for cellular hydration which in turn helps our bodily functions and hydrate our skin. Add lemon and a drop of Stevia if that helps. Carbonated water is okay but the carbonic acid used for bubbles isn’t the best for your teeth so don’t drink too much of it. Remember that coffee and alcohol are dehydrating so drink more water if you are enjoying those beverages.
I struggle with letting go of things, especially things I can’t change. Recently I had something happen with a family member that has yet to be resolved. When there’s something that’s not right, you need to have that conversation to fix things. If you or the other person goes mute and doesn’t want to talk things will continue to degrade and there will be more to resolve later. That’s where I’m at now and it’s caused so much anxiety. Four square breathing has been helpful. I have learned to recognize the stress in my life and I’m trying to with it rather than allowing it to be present and dominate my thoughts throughout the day.
..and there’s one more thing
So there’s one more thing, my general attitude. I give less and less F***’s .. yep I just said it. I have finally become better about letting things just roll off my back and it’s been so liberating! Yes, you need to allow that. It’s about saying no, having that difficult conversation, and doing more of what’s best for you and not worrying so much about ‘others’ that create stress and hurt you. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not perfect or as together as you might think.
I certainly don’t have all the answers, I’m just trying my best and taking baby steps every day. We are dynamic creatures therefore nothing is absolute. Hopefully by sharing my thoughts something lands with you and that you feel a sense of community here. Feel comfortable to share here and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Affiliate links are included in this post. That means if you were to purchase something on this page I would make a small percentage of the cost of the product. Creating blog posts is time consuming and a lot of work. The pennies I make through affiliate links help to keep my blog going. Thank you!
Such a GREAT post, Leslie!
It’s FILLED with a wealth of healthy advise!
As a long time follower, I always appreciate your awareness of the stresses around us and your effort to lead your readers to good choices for better health. Your knowledge and life experiences bring enlightenment and encouragement!
I’m so glad you found this helpful Lynne! Have a wonderful day :)
Thanks for a great post Leslie! All great suggestions, some of which I am already am doing, but there are others I could definitely incorporate into my life. I agree that many doctors just want to write a prescription instead of discussing exercise, diet, etc. So much of it is about educating the patient.
I know these posts take a lot of time and I want you to know that I do appreciate it! :)
Glad you enjoyed it Linda! Yes, I’m not surprised to hear you’ve already implemented much of what I said :) YES .. patient education is crucial and often left out of the equation. Thank you for your sweet comments and support.