The way I have come define health in my life has changed tremendously over the last few years. With my back injury in 2008, I learned that my back was causing me pain because I was ignoring my emotions and didn’t trust my intuition which caused me to prioritize external expectations -the should’s in life- over my own desires and authenticity. A recipe for disaster.
My back forced me to come to terms with ME and re-ground the backbone of my life in my own truth.
A few years later, my hormonal imbalances -which I discovered after coming off of the birth control pill- taught me that there is a whole new way to think about my feminine health. One aspect was that my self-care needed to be overhauled: I learned that toxicity can hide not only in the obvious sources like food and self-care products, but also in our relationships, in self-expectations and daily stress, and -very importantly- the way we talk to, think about, and treat ourselves!
In order to create true health, balance and well-being, we need to look at ourselves -emotionally and physically- in the greater context of our lives.
With that in mind, here are my top 5 indicators that your health is in need of some serious loving:
1. Your thoughts are predominantly negative and self-critical.
Do you wake up and put yourself down, expecting your day to be sucky, anticipating stress and problems? Do you take things overly personal, worry about what others think of you, and feel like you constantly have to prove your worth?
What to do: Well, it’s truly time to work on your mindset and make some positive shifts in your internal world, so your external reality can meet you. As long as you are expecting your life to be difficult, your thoughts cannot help but be negative and self-critical. One of my favorite ways to turn this around is by setting an intention every morning before I even move as much as my little toe from underneath my sheets. I ask myself “How do I want to feel today?” and “What small thing can I do to help myself feel that way?” Personally my answers vary from energized, passionate, and wild to calm, relaxed, and protected; which in and of itself makes my perception of myself more colorful. By meeting yourself where you authentically are each day, you are honoring yourself beyond measure and that sets you up for more natural positivity, ease and well-being.
2. Your cycles (yup ladies, I’m talking about your menstrual periods!) are off;
---> meaning you suffer from painful PMS, lacking or irregular periods, or other conditions like PCOS or endometriosis.
Here is the honest truth: Women’s health is a topic that is just not talked about enough in our society. So many of us feel shame and embarrassment when it comes to talking about periods and our fertility even with our closest friends. We have accepted things like PMS as normal and don’t question what that little birth control pill actually does to our bodies in the grand scheme of things.
What to do: This is obviously a loaded topic, which is why my dear friend, mentor, and hormonal health expert Nicole Jardim and I are hosting an amazing, fun and info-packed FREE call on Getting Your Hormones On Board For 2015. It’s happening on Wednesday, January 14th and I’d love to have you on the call with us. You can sign up here (a recording of the call will be sent to you afterwards!)
3. Your relationships are leaving you drained and tired.
If that’s the case, you are likely someone who takes on a care-taker role and feels responsible for other people’s happiness. You are more concerned about helping others, making other people happy (and perhaps not stepping on anyone’s toes) than to just be yourself, have a good time, and perhaps even ask for the help you need. This makes you likely to neglect your own self-care and create more stress than anyone can handle over a long period of time.
What to do: Ask yourself whose company fuels you and whose drains you. It’s not about breaking off relationships completely (although some may need that!) but about knowing that you are allowed to set boundaries with others. Start to explore saying “no,” “not now,” or “perhaps a little later” a bit more often. The key here is to be firm but nice. When you respect your own time, others will too.
4. Your body is hurting or feeling tired.
So many of us have a tendency to “push through” the pain and tiredness. Cerebral discipline (“You have to go work out”) battles physical urges (“All I need is a bath and a great book”). The sad thing is that even when we follow our physical urges, we end up feeling guilty, which defeats the whole purpose of resting. When your body goes through extended periods of tiredness and doesn’t get enough rest, you are faced with a lowered immune system strength, emotional and hormonal swings, increased cravings and a jeopardized memory. Not fun.
What to do: Use your discipline to establish a tuned-in relationship with your body that honors exercise as much as it honors rest. Give yourself permission to do things slower, have a night in, maybe walk instead of jog and come up with an evening routine that supports your body and mind in calming down about 1-2 hours before you actually turn the lights off. Sleep is essential for optimal health.
5. Your are constantly "kind of" hungry.
Either you are simply not eating enough or you are faced with blood sugar imbalances due to what’s on your fork. Making sure that your blood sugar stays stable throughout the day is such an important component of creating and maintaining a healthy body and a sharp mind as well as physical vibrancy and emotional resilience.
What to do: make sure your meals are nutritious and balanced. More on this in a future bloogpost, but to get you started, you want to make sure to always include 3 things: a healthy fat (my favs: coconut butter/oil, avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds), a protein (my favs: sustainably sourced meats, almond butter, and protein packed grains like quinoa), and greens (my favs: spinach, kale, arugula, brussel sprouts, and broccolini). Soups, salads, and smoothies are always a great and easy go-to. Follow me on instagram for some ideas.
Your health is your biggest asset and making sure you are viewing it from a holistic and wholesome perspective is key in order to make sure you are well physically, emotionally and spiritually! This is true if you are in the midst of healing from something already, but also if you just want to maintain and keep up a healthy, vibrant life.
With love as always and I hope you can make it to Nicole and my free call on Wednesday and jam about your hormones with us.