When I started Gracefulfitness I was all hooked on this phrase “if you know what’s good for you, do it!”. Sounds obvious enough but I think the ability to actually integrate knowledge, intuition, and, perhaps most of all, follow through, is greatly underrated.
I was thinking about this yesterday in terms of how to prevent getting sick.
If I were to write a post “Top Ten Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter” it would include things like drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, exercise but not to much, eat vegetables and a variety at that, take a muli-vitamin, get outside, get sunshine everyday if possible, wash your hands very regularly, eat fermented foods, and cut back on coffee, sugar, and alcohol. All great things to keep you healthy however they are useless if you don’t actually tune into your body allow yourself to slow down and comply with what it’s saying.
In other words, the real way to stay healthy this winter is to prevent getting run down and sick in the first place rather than try to play fix-it once the crud has set in.
Take cold sores for example, I know what to do to avoid getting them (as I talk about in this post) yet maybe once a year I will still get a big one. When an outbreak occurs I can ALWAYS look back and see the pattern; extra chocolate, nuts, and oats in my diet, stress, and right before my period. Like most dis-ease, it is very preventable but not really treatable once you get past the tipping point. So avoidable with different diet choices and an extra dose of Lysine and vitamin C yet I ignored my innate body intelligence and thought I could get away with it.
Occasionally I luck out and I do get away with it but often I don’t and end up run down and sick or with an uncomfortable and embarrassing blister. Why is it so hard to take good care of ourselves? I know that I tend to get rundown in the fall and am susceptible to the fall cold/flu and yet I usually wait until I actually start to feel bad before taking what should be preventative measures in an attempt to get healthy again.
As with most posts I write for this blog, I’m really writing this as a reminder to myself, as I am as ‘guilty’ as anyone else at ignoring my body’s cues and pushing on until I’m forced by illness to actually slow down and take care of myself.
I do know what’s good for me; I need fresh air, lots of water, fresh food, fermented food, to be moderate with coffee, alcohol, sugar and partying, lots of sleep (naps included!), vitamin supplements, good humor, regular exercise and regular rest and I need these things in different doses depending on the day and time of day. You also know what’s good for you if you allow yourself to pay attention and be really really good to yourself, so do it! 😉
I struggle with the same issues of self care and dis-ease, except instead of cold sores I get migraines and/or anxiety attacks. It’s so easy to get caught up in daily life and expect perfection out of ourselves…then…bam! Insert random ailment here. When I get a migraine it’s usually cue for me to slow down my lifestyle/my brain and practice some self-care, in the form of baths, alone time from the boyfriend, extra sleep, etc. Instead of trying to treat the migraine at that point, I try to take a proactive step in 1 or 2 things that are at the forefront on my mind that I’ve avoided dealing with. That usually eases my stress and then eases my body.
I am looking forward to the day when my PCP will understand the mind/body connection I work off of, and accept it rather than fight me with countless medications and dismissal of my opinion. Any advice on how to get your western doctor on board with your more holistic thought processes would be so appreciated. I wish I could find a new doctor/alternative medicine but as of now I am bound to my insurance and meager health reimbursements.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. The doctor thing is a really hard one. I think that one of the big problems is that natural/holistic/non-medical treatments and PREVENTION aren’t taught in med school and so most PCP’s just really don’t even have the knowledge to have a conversation with you about such things. This isn’t “their fault” as I see it but it is a problem with our system, the way that chiropractors and acupuncturists and osteopaths and md’s and R.D’s and nutritionists and naturopaths rarely actually work together to treat patients. Unfortunately most of us don’t have insurance benefits to cover the more alternative so we try to rely on our PCP for things he’s not interested in or even really qualified for. That’s a bit of a rant and one you seem to know already, sorry. 😉
I would say do your own research and unfortunately don’t expect or rely on your doc to know more about how to use diet or vitamins or alternative therapies to help yourself. He is (hopefully) good at diagnosing issues and prescribing medicine but his scope of practice is really pretty narrow outside of that by the nature of the beast.
Great post Faith! Love the tips! What restaurant have you had the best chocolate? Remember to add it to your Besty List! http://www.thebesty.com/gracefulfitness
As you said, it is all about listening. For a long time I was resistant to fall (the season), it represented sadness and darkness to me. Over time, I’ve learned it is more about the harvest, letting go and being slow. Slowing down enough to listen. I love the days where I have space and time to step outside and listen to the larger rhythms, feel my feet growing into the ground, and move with….These are the days I drink enough water, and eat for me. NOW to find that vegan chocolate cake recipe that I was looking for!!!
It is an odd thing that so often we ignore what are bodies are telling us and “push through” until we are down and out with a cold or what have you. And then when we do end up sick, sometimes the advice is to take medication and keep going. I was definitely in both of these groupings until the last few months. I am really trying to cultivate self-awareness and listen to my body. When I do, it is much happier and my immune system seems to be able to take care of me, just like it’s supposed to.
Hi Joanne! So nice to hear from you!
Well said and keep up the good work. 🙂