The Kaizen method for chronic illness: 5 tiny tweaks for significant healing gains

I'm Anindita!

I am a Functional Medicine certified Health Coach and AFMC Practitioner. I help women with autoimmune conditions I help women with autoimmune conditions reverse their symptoms with their body as their guide

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I often hear from my health coaching clients that the prospect of healing from chronic illness feels overwhelming.

The suggested protocols seem too complicated, expensive, or demanding.

So where do you even begin? With the Kaizen approach! (More on that later in the post)

This was exactly the case with my client, a doctor herself dealing with multiple chronic conditions. Yet, despite being a professional herself, her symptoms were uncontrolled after years on medications.

When we started working together, she felt defeated, confused, and desperate for solutions.

The good news is that major healing doesn’t always require dramatic interventions.

And within just 3 months, my client saw significant improvements through basic diet and lifestyle changes, mindfulness, and self-compassion. No extensive testing or piles of supplements needed!

How was this possible?

Because just like learning a new language, you must start with the fundamentals first. The complex stuff always comes later.

Are extensive testing helpful? Certainly!

But they are not certainly compulsory, especially at the very beginning when you are laying the foundation for long term health. In fact, some times they can distract you from the real work that you need to do anyway, in your house, in your kitchen.

Vector motivational poster: small steps lead to big changes, illustration background, yellow and orange colors.

It’s like saying that you want to learn a new language, but you want to jump straight into writing essays.

You need to learn the alphabet first! Always!

Then you string together 2 letter and 3 letter words, then more complicated ones and finally you are able to write an essay.

For healing to occur, we must come to see that we are not so much responsible for our illnesses as responsible to them.

Dr Christian Northrup (from the book Women’s bodies, women’s wisdom)

You see, your healing journey is much like that, no matter what your diagnosis is. You can start where you are, with what you have. And with the right guidance and support you can see significant improvements and sustained relief from your symptoms.

Yet, sometimes we get stuck in a cycle of trial and error than can lead to a sense of hopelessness.

Transforming from a WEARY WARRIOR to an “EMPOWERED” one

A WEARY WARRIOR is a woman dealing with autoimmune disease who feels tired, exhausted, and defeated

She has been on medication for years without getting any better and has developed yet another autoimmune disease. She is lost and confused by all the information that she is bombarded with and doesn’t know which way to go next. And so she gets more and more sick as she waits for someone to guide and support her to address the root causes of her condition

This is NOT what I want for you!

What I want for you is to be an EMPOWERED WARRIOR. She is a woman who has learned how to create a healing environment so that she can support her body’s healing process.

She is able to make plans and once again do the things that she enjoys. She treats her body with kindness and allows it to guide her as a friend would. She knows how to listen to what her body needs and give it the support it needs.

Small steps that build the healing foundation

We often think fixing complex health issues demands complex solutions.

But the truth is, creating a healing environment starts with simple building blocks.

Tiny habits around nutrition, stress management, rest, community and self-care. They might not seem like much initially, but small consistent actions trigger an exponential impact.

This reminds me of the Japanese principle of Kaizen – achieving big transformations through continuous small positive changes.

When we focus on minute but mighty improvements daily, over time we nurture resilience. Think adding an extra fruit serving, 5 minutes of meditation, or earlier bedtime. Tiny tweaks that gradually sculpt wellness.

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Start where you are with what you have

However, we often try tackling too much too soon on willpower alone. We try copying diets off the internet rather than listening to our body. This leads to quick burnout, without sustainable progress.

You may also be trying to figure out how to deal with this alone because you believe that  personal struggles must be faced alone. Or that it will be perceived to be a sign of weakness or being dependent on others. It may also be that you asked for support but didn’t get it!

The good news is that instead of continuing on this path and taking a passive role, you can play a more active role.

The key is to start where you are, with what you have. Build gradually instead of seeking perfection.

Making just ONE of these 5 small changes consistently can unlock positive momentum:

  1. Start a daily journaling practice. Setting aside just 5 minutes each morning to check in with your emotions, thoughts, and bodily sensations can reveal insightful patterns and clarity. You can also keep a symptom tracker that record food, mood and energy levels to uncover any patterns
  2. Identify 1 repeating trigger of stress or symptoms and create healthy boundaries around it. Even subtle shifts to reduce exposure can relieve a significant burden on your nervous system over time. or example, silence work notifications such as emails after 6pm so that you can rest and relax. Or set a rule of no screen time for at least 1 hour before bed. 
  3. Have an open conversation with someone who is supportive. Speaking your truth without judgment or advice can help you feel heard and supported. Tell your spouse you want to vent about fatigue without advice. Share what you are going through with a friend who will listen with empathy and compassion. Or seek support from a health coach or join a like minded, supportive community to encourage and guide you as you navigate your healing journey.
  4. Add 1 nutritious anti-inflammatory food to each meal. Small tweaks like turmeric, ginger, garlic, greens or plant-based proteins cumulatively reduce inflammation driving symptoms. So add some mushroom and spinach to eggs in the morning. You can even have different coloured soups (using different vegetables) a few days in the week week.
  5. Establish a 10-minute daily relaxation ritual. Whether deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, giving your body this space to rest counteracts stressful “fight or flight” reactions day-to-day. Try box breathing for 10 minutes – inhale for 4 sec, hold for 4 sec, exhale for 4 sec. Or diffuse lavender oil and do some stretches before going to bed.

The key is to start tiny – whether a 4 second breathing exercise or saying no to screen time before bed.

These small steps can spark positive momentum and build emotional, physical and social resilience leading to reduced anxiety to improved sleep, mood, and energy

So why start small?

Here are a few reasons…

  • Tiny gains build confidence to make bigger changes later
  • Prevents getting overwhelmed and giving up
  • Tiny actions can compound into macro results
  • Allows you to listen to your body’s unique needs
  • Empowers you to take an active role, not passively rely on others

Implementing one small step today sparks a ripple effect of healing transformation.

Are you ready to begin?

You can find me at:

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Health Coach, author, blogger, podcaster, mom of two and avid reader

Before you get any further....
Hi, I'm Anindita!

I am a Functional Medicine certified Health Coach and AFMC practitioner. I help women with autoimmune conditions reverse their symptoms with their body as their guide

I work with women who want to go beyond symptom management, reconnect with their bodies and learn how to get well and stay well by tuning into their body's wisdom 

Learn more


“Autoimmune healing toolkit for women”

This toolkit will be focusing on the different kinds of tools you can use to create a healing environment like mindfulness, self compassion, journaling, stress management by reconnecting to your body's wisdom.
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