how the new "normal" for children's health has become chronic illness a rise in chronic inflammation in children leading to eczema, allergies and asthma
gut health and immunity
honouring the body's innate ability to heal
how to get started
(This is the first of a three-part series of posts on self-care. While I had originally intended it to be only one post, I realised while writing this that there was a lot I wanted to share and I did not want to cut any corners. I will be publishing the remaining posts in the next few weeks)
When was the last time you felt that your health was completely in your hands?
That you had the power to decide the outcome of your health goals?
Do you often feel powerless in front of medical authorities when you meet them for your health issues?
This is not confined only to doctor visits though.
This can happen to any of us anywhere and with anyone that we chose to give away our power to. We often knowingly or unknowingly give away our power over our own lives to authorities outside of us and to the circumstances in our lives.
When we hear the word Power we usually think of it as something lying outside of us.
A powerful car.
A powerful businessman or leader.
A powerful speech.
A powerful motorbike.
A powerful doctor that everyone listens to.
This can also be in the form of thinking that-
If only I had that dream house, I would be able to settle down and be happy
If only I could find someone who finally understands me and loves me, everything would be fine
If only I could have enough money, I would take that long vacation and finally be happy
Does this sound familiar to you?
More often than not we fail to realise we have given our power and in turn our happiness to people and circumstances which lie outside of us. This holds true for all aspects of our lives including our health issues
Instead of turning deep into ourselves, trusting our instincts and listening to what our body is trying to tell us, we usually ignore or otherwise medicate our way out of the symptoms. Medication, of course, has its right of place and is life saving when used properly and for the right reasons. However, when medicine is used as a substitute for self care and leading a well balanced life, it can end up creating a lot of problems in the long run.
"Selfcare is how you take your power back"
Our body is a truly amazing and miraculous thing. Too often we fail to give it the support that it needs on a daily basis to take care of us and keep us healthy. We forget that our bodies have an innate ability to heal provided all the right ingredients are present.
Taking the time to really get to know yourself and who you have become and in turn what your body needs at this point in time, is one of the first places to start. This does not happen in one go and neither does it happen overnight, so we need to deliberately take out the time for self care from our busy schedules on a daily basis.
But before we can begin moving towards changing the way we treat ourselves, we may need to recognise the ways in which we have been giving away our personal power.
We need to...
Blaming others for our health condition and take responsibility for the choices that we have made
Giving so much to others that we start feeling empty and resentful inside
Holding onto anger and grudges against others who may intentionally or unintentionally have hurt us
Letting other people's behaviour dictate our emotions and how we feel about ourselves and others
Take the time to sit down with ourselves and learn to truly listen to what we need at this moment
Take responsibility for our own life, feelings and actions
Face our fears and learn to accept the dark and unwanted parts of ourselves as gracefully as we do our strengths; once we are able to do so, they lose their power over us
Nourish our mind and body with positive thoughts and energy by eating the right foods and taking out time to take care of our emotional and physical needs on a daily basis
Most of all, we can get to know ourselves as we would a new friend
In getting to know ourselves, we may...
get to know what we want and what we do not want in our lives, what our likes and dislikes are
find that what we were looking for was within us all the time
find that we need to forgive and move on, and many times the person who needs to be forgiven is ourselves
We can then finally start reclaiming our power and move towards our health and other life goals...
I have mentioned in my earlier post about how chronic conditions are increasing worldwide. And inflammatory chronic conditions like autoimmune conditions, allergies, asthma and arthritis are increasing at dramatic rates. Hidden food sensitivities, stress, toxins, inflammatory foods and poor lifestyle are usually the real reason for these inflammatory conditions.
Autoimmune conditions prevail when your body's immune system attacks it's own tissues rather a potentially dangerous foreign substance like an allergen, bacteria or virus, a toxin. The immune system fails to differentiate between the foreign molecule and parts of your body and develops antibodies against itself rather than the intruders. In some cases it’s your thyroid under attack, in others it’s your intestines, or your skin, your brain, your pancreas, or another organ. There are more than 100 types of known autoimmune diseases that have been classified. For instance rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease among many others.
Various symptoms associated with autoimmune conditions (but not limited to) are
joint pain, muscle pain, weakness or tremor
feeling tired or fatigued, weight gain or cold intolerance
dry eyes, mouth or skin
difficulty focusing or concentrating
weight loss, chronic diarrhea
The role of chronic inflammation
Apart from a complex genetic component, research shows that all autoimmune conditions have an epigenetic component as well. That means that a large part of the risk for developing an autoimmune disease is due to lifestyle factors; in other words, how much you move, what you eat, how you live your life, your social connections and your exposure to environmental toxins play a very large role. Due to this reason, chronic and systemic inflammation due to the misplaced immune response is an underlying factor for many autoimmune conditions. The good news is that by finding out source of the inflammation can help in managing the condition. This is where Functional Medicine can play an important role.
There are only a handful of Functional Medicine practitioners in India as of now; you can find them on the Institute of Functional Medicine website. There are many medical professionals (based in the US and UK) who are trained in the Functional Medicine paradigm whom you can reach out to as they do consultations online.
Some things to think about
Since autoimmune conditions develop due to the body's immune system going rogue, the solution lies in getting the immune system back under control. I will discuss this in more details in a separate post later, but there are some basic steps that you can take today to move towards health and vitality-
Consume a maximally nutrient-dense diet and avoids foods that you have a sensitivity towards (this can be identified by doing a comprehensive elimination diet)
Reduce your toxin exposure
Move your body and activate and use your muscles.
Control your stress hormones using restorative practices (yoga, tai chi, massage, deep breathing) and meditation
Maintain or build social connections with supportive people
My role as a Health Coach
My role as a Functional Medicine certified Health Coach is to guide and support you in taking the steps mentioned above. Even with knowing what needs to be done, it is not always easy to make the necessary changes. Keeping the principles of Functional Medicine in mind, I guide my clients through the process of making important lifestyle and dietary changes.
In my coaching sessions you can expect customised guidance and support on
– sleep and relaxation
– social relationships and connections
– mindfulness and stress management
If you are interested in knowing more about how I can help you, please feel free to contact me using the form below
Reading Time: 2minutesMany of you already know what it is that you need to do to move towards better health, to have better relationships and to have more peace of mind. Or you may not be very clear about whether you are taking the steps in the right direction to where you want to be. Health Coaching can guide you and provide the accountability that you need.
It is when we start asking the right questions that real change and even transformation can happen.
Mindfulness is a word which is being increasing heard nowadays. It forms an integral part of my coaching sessions as well. But what is it?
According to the internationally reknowned meditation teacher Jon Kabat Zin “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”
Jon Kabat–Zinn, Ph.D. is internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society. He is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he founded its world-renowned 8 week MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) programme.
In other words, mindfuless is simply being aware of the present moment but with kindness and curiosity. It means paying attention to what is right here, right now without labelling it good or bad or anything else at all. When we are mindful, we are in our true home which is in the here and now. We are not living in the past nor are we living in the present. We are thus able to let go of our fears, worries, regrets and our plans and enjoy being in the present moment. By being mindful we realise that the conditions for our happiness are already there with us. This liberates us in a way as we come to understand that we can be happy with what we have and we do not have to search beyond ourselves for what already lies within us. And our breath can be the bridge which connects us to this truth. As the great meditation master Thich Naht Hanh tells us
Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”
Babies and young children know this intuitively, we are all born with the gift of living in the here and now. That is why they find joy and pleasure even in the most simple things in life which does not depend on any external and materialistic factors. Fortunately, we can relearn all that we have forgotten, all that we think were never a part of us. In a way, as we learn to dissociate ourselves from our thoughts and learn that they are not who we are. By taking the time for ourselves, we can thus learn to silence the voices in our head and feel the healing power of silence. The practice of mindfulness can thus make us truly alive as many of us start really living fully for the first time in our lives. As Thich Nhat Hanh had said-
“Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment. Fully alive and fully aware”