Self-Care is the new Healthcare
As a healthcare and wellness provider, I am blessed with the opportunity to meet new people every day. I am afforded the ability to connect with individuals, hear their stories, listen to their problems, and work together with them as a unit to uncover barriers and blocks that are standing in the way of optimal health and vitality. In a culture that is generally focused on external resources for all of the answers; I pride myself on taking the time to dig a little deeper and work with the client to shift their focus inward to find healing.
This approach is a big paradigm shift from the way we have been taught to solve health problems. When people are dealing with forms of pain or dysfunction, we are instructed to turn to the medical society for advice (or search Google…which will lead you down a rabbit hole, disregarding all individualization of care). Unfortunately, the way Western medicine modernly operates, your problems are frequently answered with a prescription or band-aid approach that ignores the root cause of the issue. As consumers, this leads to reduced accountability for our own choices and actions in life.
It is ultimately these lifestyle habits that shape our overall wellness; but they are the first thing that go out the window when the stresses of every day living pile up. More often than not, the problems that originally lead us to seek out medical attention are a secondary effect of poor lifestyle choices, unhealthy habits, and the accumulation of stress. My hope is that you feel empowered to know that you have more control over the outcome of your health and well-being than you may realize – and it does not come in pill form!
If you, or someone that you know, has fallen victim to our modern healthcare structure…I invite you to reflect on the following questions:
-How many of your own basic healthy lifestyle choices and habits do you control on a consistent basis? (ie. adequate sleep, hydration, balanced nutrition, physical activity, etc.)
-How much time do you spend on self-care practices that allow your body to restore itself?
-How often do you fuel your mind and body with self-loving thoughts and actions?
-Do you take personal accountability for the pain and dysfunctions that you complain of? Or do you play the blame game?
-When you receive advice from healthcare providers, are you open to making habit changes and lifestyle modifications? Or are you fast to accept the magic pill, or quick fix?
-Are you making more deposits than withdrawals from your Health Bank Account?
-Are you living a busy life? Or a full life?
Now, some of you may be thinking…
“But I don’t have time for myself. I have a full time job, children to care for, bills to pay, a long commute, a laundry list of obligations, and a home to tend to. It’s selfish for me to schedule time for a relaxing bath or a stress relieving massage when I have a million other things that I should be doing.”
If this is automatically where your thought stream goes to, I want to call you out on these commonly used excuses. Please understand that they are keeping you stuck in your current situation, and if you want to make a change, you need to first change your inner dialogue!
Let’s begin shifting your perceptions and get back to the basics:
- Self-care: First and foremost, please understand and believe that tending to your self-care needs does NOT make you self-centered, arrogant, or selfish. It affords you the opportunity to refuel yourself and put the best version of you forward into the world. That’s not selfish one bit! Think of the commonly used analogy that when you fill your cup up first…you have more to pour into others -OR- When you put your plane oxygen mask on first, you will survive so that you are able to help and care for others.
- Self-love: “Your ability to love others will grow with your ability to love yourself.” Begin shifting the focus that you place outward, and redirect it inward. By moving into a space of unconditional love for ourselves, you are able to build resilience so that no one can strip you of your love and light. The more self-love you practice, the more you will feel inclined to give away in all of your relationships. This will enhance and enrich the connections that you are able to build with your family, friends, and community; which comes back around to you full circle.
Click here for: 20 ways to improve Self-Care and Self-Love in your own life.
- Nourish your body – Consume nutrient dense real foods that are diverse and preferably organic in order to sustain your body’s physical needs. Listen to your body’s hunger signals, cravings, and energy needs. Be intuitive and mindful while consuming food; and seek out foods that add to your health, rather than detract from it.
- Move More -Participate in daily physical activity, including routine functional activities. Avoid prolonged periods of being sedentary. Tune in to your body’s needs, and acknowledge if it needs a rest day from high intensity exercise, or perhaps it could use a good sweat to detox. Most importantly, have fun with whatever form of exercise you choose to participate in. The best exercise routine is the one that you will stick with – not the one that you feel is a chore to you, and you have to pep talk yourself to do each day.
- Sleep – This is your body’s natural restorative practice when it processes all of the information and benefits from your day, including the food you eat, the information you consume, and the physical activity your participate in. Foregoing sleep adds to overall stress, hormone imbalances, and the interferes with your body’s natural reset button.
- Hydrate – Consume adequate amounts of high quality structured water to support cellular function as well as elimination of toxins. Aim for at least 8 glasses of pure water per day.
- Train your brain – Mindset matters! All functions and actions begin in your brain, so do not deny the power of your conscious and subconscious mind. Challenge yourself by learning new skills and consuming information that enhances brain function. Believe that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to.
- Ground yourself – Get outside and expose yourself to fresh air, sunlight (best source of Vit. D), and nature. This gives you a great opportunity to detox yourself from the harmful effects of artificial lights, EMF’s (electromagnetic fields from wifi and electronic devices), and other toxins. Connecting to your breath, being mindful and present, and rooting yourself in gratitude can do wonders for you physically, mentally, and spiritually!
*If you are not making a strong attempt to control all of these items in your own life, I would highly encourage you to take some time for self-reflection and reassess what your goals are. Are you living a life that is aligned with the goals that you have envisioned for yourself? Before seeking out medical advice for stress related disorders, I recommend that you first identify where you may be causing your body stress on a physical, mental, or emotional level. The human body is a wonderful being; and it is created to both survive and thrive when it is given the proper environment and fuel to do so. If it is broken for any reason, you need to look under the hood in order to identify the root cause. Duck tape can only help for so long, and you’re not going to get far if you have a flat tire!
So after assessing these basic needs, what areas of your life do you feel like you need most assistance with? Awareness and the desire to change is the first step! Working with a trained professional or wellness coach may ultimately benefit you to assist you in putting some realistic strategies in place that will tailor to your individual situation and needs. Do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need any guidance, or advice!
As always, I am wishing you the absolute best in Health and Happiness!
Shelly Solan, DPT, CWC
InsideOut Wellness & Rehab
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Wellness Coach
‘Empowering you to claim your Health as your Wellth’