Self-Care for a Healthier You
This information is equally important for men and women, but today, I am going to be focusing on women’s health. As women, we tend to take care of everyone around us, forgetting about ourselves. We often forget that we matter too. This is an area where I have struggled a lot. Self-care is hard for me. Slowing down, putting me first and giving myself love is hard. But it has to be done. We cannot expect to be at our best and to care for our loved ones if we don’t take the time to first care for ourselves.
During my time in chiropractic school, I learned about the triad of health. Your overall health is dependent upon how healthy you are physically, emotionally and spiritually. You must be healthy in each of the 3 categories to achieve true health. Each component must be addressed on a daily basis as loving and caring for yourself is a lifelong commitment.
As a chiropractor, I tend to focus on helping women with the physical component of health. The physical component of health can be broken into further categories that can be individually addressed. These more manageable categories include thoughts, traumas and toxins. Each one can positively or negatively affect your physical well-being. Let’s take a closer look at each category along with practical tips you can start implementing today to help achieve the healthy life you desire.
Whether you are an optimist and can find joy in any situation or negative thoughts fill your mind on a daily basis, your thought pattern can greatly affect your health in many ways. Positive thinking results in positive emotions including optimism, hope, joy and well-being. Thinking positively brings thoughts, words and images to your mind that promote growth, expansion and success. (1) By focusing on positive thoughts throughout the day, you can improve the way you react to stressful situations.
When we hear the word stress, we automatically think stress is bad. Eustress, or good stress, can be a very good thing as it provides us with motivation, excitement, inspiration and overall well-being. An example of eustress may include a fun challenge you have at work, the stress to do well motivates you to perform at a higher level. Eustress is different than distress and affects our health in a much different way.
Constant stress about everything in life is an area where I personally struggle. When stress and negative thinking become focal points in your life, you develop a higher risk for conditions such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, anxiety, poor sleep, headaches, digestive upset, high blood pressure, etc. Did you know that stress raises the level of a hormone called cortisol? Elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, reduce the immune response making you more susceptible to sickness. Negative thought patterns, leading to increased stress levels, can be harmful to your overall health and well-being.
The good news is, changing your thought pattern can be done! Through simple daily practices, you can change negative thoughts into positive thoughts, reduce your stress level and improve your overall health. There are several ways to achieve this. You should try a few out and see what resonates with you. A few of my favorites include:
Spending time reading my Bible and in prayer. I find when I start my day thanking God for all the blessings in my life gears me up for a grateful mindset, my heart and mind are in the right place for the rest of the day. My mind is focused on gratitude instead of on everything I am lacking or wish I had.
Essential oils are a great tool for reducing stress and releasing negative emotions. A few of my favorites are lavender, Stress Away and Balance.
Meditation is beneficial in reducing tension and stress while learning how to connect and better listen to your body. (2) There are several meditation guide apps you can download.
Write affirmations and quotes that inspire you on a piece of paper. Put the paper where you can easily see and read it throughout the day.
Keeping a journal
Traumas may include small injuries, such as, stubbing your toe, significant injuries and illnesses. Traumas may result in physical pain, muscle spasms, reduced functional levels, etc. It is easy to see how this category can affect your physical health and well-being. No matter what stage of life we are in, women are warriors at fending off daily physical trauma threats. Whether you are an athlete, love working out, spend the weekend doing yard work or are constantly being tugged one way or another by your child, you are constantly bombarded with potential trauma threats.
It is imperative that we keep our bodies strong, so when we are faced with a trauma, we are able to recover quickly and continue thriving. The needs of each person are different and your journey to becoming a stronger, better you, should include actions that are relevant to your lifestyle. As a chiropractor, I am here to help women have a better quality of life. I work with my patients to determine the root cause of dysfunction and to help implement a plan to improve your overall health.
Some of my favorite ways to improve my physical health include:
Getting adjusted regularly. By getting regular chiropractic care, I am freeing my body of muscle tension, aches, pain, headaches, functional movement restrictions, etc that may be holding me back from thriving. When these structural interferences remain, it is hard for our bodies to defend itself and recover from potential traumas like illnesses.
Warm Epsom salt baths. Not only do warm Epsom salt baths help reduce stress and relax the body, they also help reduce muscle pain.
Staying hydrated. I will admit, I struggle with this one. I have to find ways to help remind myself to drink enough water throughout the day.
Exercise. Yoga, going to a gym, bike rides, taking daily walks, whatever gives you joy and motivates you to stay active, do that! Studies have shown that getting regular exercise can lower your risk to many chronic diseases, such as coronary artery disease. (3) By keeping your body physically strong, you will be able to improve your quality of life, feel your best and be the best version of yourself to better care for your family.
From environmental, food, household items and beauty products, we are bombarded with toxins on a daily basis. Improving your lifestyle in this category can get overwhelming fast. Many people do not know where to start. Choose one area of your household to tackle first and start slowly. I would like to focus our discuss on toxins that plague our food, household items and beauty products.
Much of the food produced in the United States today is not grown in the best circumstances. Many crops are sprayed with poisonous pesticides and are genetically modified. The most common genetically modified foods (GMOs) include corn, soy and canola oil. (4) GMOs can be found in around 70% of processed foods on the market today. As long-term consequences are unknown regarding GMOs, it is better to stay away from consuming the processed foods that contain these ingredients. Reducing your toxin exposure with the food you eat can be a great place to start. Making a few diet changes can drastically change your overall health in areas, such as, your energy level, skin, hair and nail health, reducing brain fog, reducing your risk of chronic disease and improving your immune response. The food you choose to eat and feed your family should nourish and fuel your body, not make you feel bad.
When grocery shopping, stay around the walls of the grocery store and skip most of the inner aisles. Fresher and more nourishing foods tend to be along the walls, while more processed foods tend to be located along the inner aisles.
One of my favorite websites is www.ewg.org. This organization reports a dirty dozen and clean 15 list of produce each year. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/full-list.php. The produced listed on the dirty dozen list should be bought organic when possible as they are sprayed with pesticides. The produce listed on the clean 15 list may be bought conventional as less pesticides are used.
When buying meat and eggs, choose organic, grass-fed and cage-free when possible.
Many of our beloved household items are filled with toxins and are affecting our health without us even realizing it! One popular product that I want to touch base on are scented candles. I love scented candles and burned them daily before I knew what they were made from and how they affected my family’s health. Burning candles emit chemicals that some experts say are as dangerous as second-hand smoke. (5) Many candles are made from paraffin, a petroleum waste product, that emits toxic known carcinogens benzene and toluene. (6) Another common item is plastic. BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a common chemical additive in plastics to make them more durable. BPA has been shown to be a hormone disruptor and can mimic estrogen in the body. My favorite tips on how to make a non-toxic household:
Start with one room at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Replace all scented candles made with paraffin wax to bee’s wax or coconut wax candles with cotton or wood wicks. Better yet, choose to diffuse a good quality essential oil.
Replace all plastics that touch food or drink to glass or metal. If you do continue to use plastics in the kitchen, hand wash all plastics and avoid high heat such as the microwave and dishwasher.
Replace all toxic household cleaners with healthier options. Visit: https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/ as a guide to rating the toxicity and safety of common household cleaners.
Clean beauty products have become an obsession of mine! Many of our favorite products contain ingredients that help us look and feel our best while harming our overall health. Parabens are made from a group of synthetic ingredients as a preservative to prevent fungal, yeast and bacteria growth. (7) Another iffy ingredient is phthalates. Phthalates are a synthetic chemical that have been used to make plastic more pliant, utilized in roofing materials, food wrappers, etc. (8) These are just two common ingredients, among many ingredients, utilized in beauty products that have been linked to hormone disruption and other health concerns. So, why would we want to put these harmful ingredients on our bodies?
Replace all products that touch your skin with healthier options
Download the app or visit the EWG website to utilized while shopping: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ to check the health rating of products
Some of my favorite healthier beauty product brands are Mineral Fusion, 100% Pure, Honest Beauty, Burt’s Bees, Pacifica, Zoya, Alaffia
Try your hand at making your own products! I love Wellness Mama’s recipes. www.wellnessmama.com
As you can see, each component, physical, emotional and spiritual, joins together to make you as a whole person. You are unique. There is no one on this planet like you. Embrace this idea about yourself and see how it affects your overall health. We may need to work on one area more than another as we are all in a different place in our lives. Work on improving each component separately, improving each part of your life. When you do this, you’ll start to live a better quality of life and be the very best version of yourself. Give yourself love and make self-care a priority. You deserve it!
1.) Naseem, Zarghuna, and Ruhi Khalid. "Positive Thinking in Coping with Stress and Health outcomes: Literature Review." Journal of Research & Reflections in Education (JRRE) 4.1 (2010).
3.) Adamu B, Sani MU, Abdu A. Physical exercise and health: a review. Nigerian Journal of Medicine : Journal of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria. 2006 Jul-Sep;15(3):190-196. DOI: 10.4314/njm.v15i3.37214.