How to take ownership of your health and de-code what your body is asking you for.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we think about taking care of ourselves, considering we are frequently pre-occupied by external responsibilities like work, play, relationships, and more. However, the busier we get and the more stress that becomes so commonplace in our lives, the farther away from ourselves we can get. The more disjointed we can become from our own bodies. But there are practical steps we can take to return to center and to have a closer connection with our bodies. Enter: symptoms.
You might be annoyed by symptoms, we all are sometimes. “What now?!”… sound familiar? Heck, you might not even know something is out of whack because it’s always been like that and you’re sitting here thinking that always being bloated or being “cursed” with a mega-painful period is “normal”. I personally grew up with plenty of these symptoms, many of which I was told by both doctors and family were “normal”, or “genetic”, and so I brushed them under the rug even as they compiled and worsened. As I’ve gotten older… some assumptions or explanations told to me were “you’re getting older”, “you do too much”. But what does any of that mean? And yet again, why are we going outside of ourselves for answers first before checking in with ourselves as the priority? After all… aren’t the symptoms coming from our own bodies?
Our ancestors, grandmothers, great grandmothers knew from tradition and learning to pay attention to ourselves just what to do and how to react to certain situations. I remember if my stomach hurt, my grandmother would swiftly boil some anise seeds (licorice) and give me that as tea… boom, stomach pain gone. She’d then start to think about why… “was it what you just ate? Maybe because you wouldn’t sit still at dinner?!” and we’d learn the lesson and try not to let it happen again. Then magic pills came along and increased… “Just take this for that” and “…ask your doctor about X”. “Magically gone! Keep doing whatever you’re doing to bring about that pain or issue in the first place!” Two thumbs up. OR NOT. Medicine has its place, believe me, it does… but more often than not, the traditional way of handling symptoms as clues from our bodies to be investigated and treated with care… is a more powerful and long-lasting step to take, and normally is side-effect free.
So, what are symptoms?
MESSAGES FROM OUR BODIES! Isn’t that incredible? Maybe not when it’s something like a painful rash on your face… but nonetheless, the concept is really interesting when you consider it. When you think of it this way, you can be more curious but ready to answer that call and open communication with yourself on what’s going on. And a symptom doesn’t just need to be physical, be sure to pay attention to the emotional, mental, spiritual aspects as well… us humans are very complicated and there’s more than just the physical aspect of what makes you-you.
So how do we address these symptoms?
THOUGHTFULLY – You are now Sherlock Holmes, your body is giving you a clue, sometimes it’s an open and shut case… super obvious. Other times, it’s not as easy to understand and maybe we need some help. But by paying attention to every detail… the before state, the after, the during… what else was happening at that time? Hypothesizing, we can ask our body and come up with some ideas… without Web MD’s help. With my clients, I’m always empowering them to BECOME the detective. To go from being Watson to Sherlock… it’s a game-changer.
WITH LOVE – This is not some machine or thing, this is YOU. By stressing yourself out about your symptoms or by treating it as something broken needing to be fixed, you start to fight yourself. And that’s one game no one wins. Treat “it”, whatever “it” is with love, like you would a child or pet. Once you’re “hating your stubborn weight gain” or “dreading your painful period”, you are not only worsening the pain, but you’re stifling your body’s ability to heal. Your body HEARS YOU. Your brain is actually connected to your body, guys… come on!
SLOWLY BUT SURELY – There’s a ton of information and treatments out there. Some of it is really exciting, all these new DNA and genetic testing, blood tests that give a ton of data, elimination diets and protocols that are straight up reversing disease, potent and natural supplements and herbs that help support natural healing without nasty effects, lifestyle changes that are bringing people more joy and reducing stress. It’s honestly amazing, but it’s also OVERWHELMING. You can get access to this information before you get answers as to your root cause! And so this can lead to trying too many things at once, burning out, getting discouraged and ending up worse off than you started. GO SLOW. By implementing 1, 2 or 3 changes slowly and tracking them, you can actually see what’s helping or not. I know in our day in age, we’re all about instant gratification and if we can just DO IT ALL NOW we can FIX IT ALL NOW, right? WRONG. Go easy on yourself, and get the help and support you need from a professional. Find a doctor you can trust and confide in who listens to your story… I always recommend an Integrative/Functional Medicine Doctor, Naturopath or similar. I also myself am a Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach that helps clients in between doctor visits to make sure they’re set up for success. Having a team on your side while doing all of the above will really make a difference.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! XO