I was gonna write about something else today, but I'm nursing this gross headcold that is making things (read: everything) difficult.
So instead of trying to force something else out, I figured I'd share what my go-to's for fall/winter/spring colds are, since it seems that I'm not alone in dealing with a bit of a bug right now.... and it's all that can literally occupy my brain at the moment.
Here's the thing. I don't take a ton of over the counter drugs for colds and flus, because honestly, I feel like they make whatever sickness I'm dealing with last way LONGER.
Sure, they stop the symptoms long enough for you to struggle through the workday or get your super important shit done for a few hours (I totally keep them on hand for those exact situations). And that's exactly what they were designed for. BUT they won't actually get rid of the cold. They just cover up the symptoms.
And really, those symptoms are there for a reason. Don't get me wrong, they blow in the most serious way. But that fever is there to help heat up your body so the immune system can knock out the bug. That runny nose is trying to expel whatever bacterial or viral infection is looming around. And that tired, achy feeling? It's trying to get you to SLOW THE FUCK DOWN FOR ONCE AND GET SOME REST.
NOTE: if shit gets serious, absolutely take some OTC meds and see your doctor. I'm talking about your run of the mill common colds here. Sometimes you need a damn anti-biotic, and that's ok. I just don't think that it should be your first go-to the second you get the sniffles.
So I do my best to focus on things that will help speed up the healing process as much as I can. The nice thing is, you can do these things immediately if you feel symptoms coming on to fight it off or shorten the duration of the cold.
Ok, so here are the 4 main things I do whenever I start to feel like crap.
Ginger tea with a squeeze of lemon and a TSP of raw honey. Specific, I know. Ginger is a known immune booster and it helps to heat up the body. Remember what we said about fevers actually being useful? Ginger does the same thing in a way more mild way. The squeeze of lemon give you a nice hit of Vitamin C (plus it tastes fucking good) and the raw honey is an awesome anti-microbial (PLUS IT TASTES FUCKING GOOD). Just don't go overboard with the honey. Sugar tends to feed sickness and make it last much longer.
Elderberry Syrup/Lozenges/Tinctures Elderberry is a KILLER immune booster. With high doses of Vitamin C and Amino Acids, it helps to support your body to do it's job more effectively and kick your cold way faster.
Oil of Oregano Not just for pizza, this crazy ass herb is actually what was used before pharmaceutical anti-biotics were invented. I take it in capsule form, one with each meal.
SLEEP Seriously though. This is the one I resist the most, and I think that's true for most of us. All the extra stuff I take and do is great, but at the end of the day the thing that's going to get rid of your cold the fastest is good old shut eye. Fever making it hard to sleep? Watch some TV, read a book, whatever. Even just lying around is great, as it gives your body a chance to reset and focus on fighting off the offender.
I know I know. We hear the term "affirmations" thrown around a ton.
And I know, it sounds totally hokey.
And new age-y hippy dippy bullshit, right?
Or that people who use them are "not being realistic" or "pretending everything is ok."
Affirmations are sentences and phrases meant to alter your conscious and subconscious mind to create a more positive headspace. By repeating affirmations out loud or in your head, you automatically create visuals for those words (whether you realize it or not) which, in turn, help to change behaviors, actions, reactions and habits.
In a nutshell, affirmations are kickass things you want to be true.
For example, here are a few from the affirmations guru herself, Louise Hay:
"I love and approve of myself."
"I trust the process of life. I am safe."
"Money flows freely to me, and my income is constantly increasing."
"All is well in my world"
And it doesn't have to be her affirmations. You can totally make up your own for whatever you want to be true in your life. Do some googling to find some if you're feeling stuck, or take some time to journal out what you want to attract into your life.
Alright, so once you have your affirmations, what the hell do you even do with them?
The most important thing is that you repeat them daily, or ideally a few times a day. Set them as alarms on your phone to go off every few hours. Stick them on post-it's around your computer screen. Write them on the bathroom mirror. Make it your phone background. Anything that's going to remind you of that phrase.
And here's where I lose people. How the hell will repeating a phrase help me get this kickass thing I want?
The biggest thing is that it helps to re-wire your brain. As kids, we form neurological pathways based on the experiences we have, which then in turn create habits from that experience.
For example, maybe when you were very young you once got reprimanded by a teacher for being too loud or outspoken. You were maybe punished, which then tells your young developing brain that when you speak, you get in trouble. Your brain solidifies that pathway, so now the idea of speaking in front of groups of people makes you anxious as fuck.
When you're able to look at it with some space as an adult, you know that it's an over-reaction, but you still can't help those nerves that pop up, right? That's because our brain developed that pathway. It's there now, even though you try to tell yourself to "calm down" the physical reaction is still happens.
But you know what's cool? You can actually re-wire those pathways in your brain! Crazy right? It takes some time, but by repeating affirmations to yourself, you help to change up your reaction to different potentially stressful situations.
Those habits we developed as kids served a purpose at the time (mostly, to help us feel safe) but they no longer serve us, and it's time to let them go.
So this week, pick one affirmation and post it below. Then, post that shit everywhere. And if you post it in your social media, use the hashtag #themagicofmindset so I can find you!
Here's the deal sister. Affirmations are just one of the many tools available to us in our journey to healing our bodies and having killer energy. But if it doesn't resonate with you, don't beat yourself up over it. But also, don't just write it off without giving it solid chance to work some magic.
I hate to break it to you, but the government doesn’t really give a shit about your health or well-being.
The nutrition guidelines they put out are totally wack and heavily influenced by large food corporations. Think back to the old food pyramid. Dairy was in a category all by itself.... which basically meant you HAD to have dairy as part of a healthy diet. The bottom of the pyramid? Showed images of pasta and white bread, which they suggested you needed 6-8 servings of to have a balanced diet.
Those same shitty nutrition guidelines dictate the food we feed our kids in school. It allows pizza to count as a vegetable. It allows them to feed kid french fries and cookies everyday for lunch. And then the KID gets blamed if she can't focus or sit still in school.
Crappy junk food is subsidized, which makes it way cheaper to produce and easier to buy.
And on top of that, our healthcare system is set up to only treat you once you’re already sick, instead of keeping you well in the first place.
THIS is why self-care is radical y’all. Stick it to the man and take care of yourself ❤
Time for me? Yeah okay, let me just pencil that in….somewhere… When life gets chaotic, the first thing to go can often be time for self-reflection and care. But there are little things you can do each day to make your day feel eleventy times better and give yourself that extra boost you need.
I often find myself so busy that I forget to eat, forget to make that important phone call, or just forget what I was supposed to remember in general.
Self-Love and care often have the theme of extravagance tied to them. Elaborate bubble baths, day-long mani pedis, hour-long journal sessions. All of those things are amazing but when you’re crunched for time they can feel like an elusive fantasy that’s never going to be a part of your reality.
Fear not, Ms. Busy, there are solutions for you, and they might be more enjoyable than you realize.
1) Remove the Uncertainty of Routine Tasks
Much of our daily frustrations stem from things so small that we often forget they happened hours later. I’m talking about not knowing where that important piece of mail went, losing a sticky note with vital info on it, and so on. There are a slew of things we can all do for ourselves that take moments to set up and lead to endless timesavers and stress-free mornings. Many of these may seem obvious but the reminders can be vital if they’ve been on your to-do list for a while...
Designate a place for your keys - they go there when you walk in and you always know where they are
Create an inbox/outbox - I don’t know about you, but my counter tops get cluttered with paper piles fast. Creating a place for incoming stuff to handle/sort and outgoing stuff to mail/sign/toss will make you feel more in control and less anxious that you’re forgetting something.
Use a notebook for notes, ideas, errands that need to get done, and anything else you’re worried about forgetting. Now everything is in one place, can easily go with you, and you won’t have to worry about loose papers or sticky notes flying around when the A/C comes on.
2) Make Your Bed - Improve Your Mindset
Did you know that making your bed each morning can lower your stress? Not only are you doing something for you first thing in the morning but you’re also starting your day with an accomplishment. This sets a positive mindset for the day and can help you set intention and feel good knowing that you’ve adulted and it just feels right.
3) Say “Thank you” when you receive a compliment
I get it, being humble is your thing but pausing to say “thank you” when someone says something nice about you allows a few things to happen:
You acknowledge the other person (and they appreciate it)
You allow yourself to feel good instead of deflecting or saying “you too!” or “please, not as much as…”
You start accepting and believing the positive traits that others see in you
4) Give Yourself Permission to Change your Mind
I mean this in so many ways. How many times have you left the house in the morning thinking “I’m totally going to make xyz for dinner” or “tonight, this entire room is getting a makeover” only to come home, feel exhausted, and then get upset with yourself because you’re not sure you want to do those things anymore? Expectation hangovers are a real thing and I talk more about them in this post here. What’s important to remember is that depending on our mood, our wants, needs, and energy levels can shift. Instead of nagging yourself for not doing something that was an idea earlier, write it down in that handy notebook we talked about and get excited about it for another time. It’s totally fine and acceptable to change your mind and doing so gives your more freedom, too. You’re not bound to any one idea you have, why live in a limiting way?
The big takeaway here is that the moments of each day shape the life you live, the way you feel, and the happiness you’re capable of having. Self-Love is a practice that you can honor daily in ways that help you cultivate more control over the things you really want to be doing.
Sarah Steckler is a Creative Self-Love Coach who helps women identify their goals, pinpoint what’s holding them back, and create meaningful action that allows them to feel how they deserve, get what they want, and create a better relationship with themselves in the process. When she’s not blogging or coaching, you can find her exploring the outdoors, writing snail mail to her friends, or cuddling with her English Bulldog.
Jodi's way of breaking down every tactic anxiety uses to tighten it's grip on you, while simultaneously making sure there is no judgement against the sufferer, is profound and extremely helpful.
Fo so long I've heard, "If you're anxious, you have to change your mindset" or that "You can only control your thoughts, not the world around you."
And you guys KNOW I'm all about positivity and mindset. I love that shit.
But what about when you can't shift to positivity? Or when it seems extremely difficult?
It creates self-judgement, which leads to more anxiety. It makes you wonder "if it's that easy, why can't I do it?"
Jodi acknowledges that fact from the very beginning, and makes it very clear that anxiety is NOT your fault.
I love the action steps she lays out throughout the book to give you some concrete steps to take to find relief.
One part of it is taming your inner critic. Feel like yours is being a huge asshole? Check out Jodi's video to calm that shit down.
How To Silence Your Inner Critic - YouTube
From the garden she started when she was 8 years old, to the baby ducks she found a home when she was 10, Jodi Aman has always been passionate about nurturing life. With sharp empathy into the complexities of people's pain–since she has recovered from her own family chaos and panic attacks–and a keen understanding of how and why people get stuck there, Jodi has decided to dedicate her life to helping people feel less lonely and afraid. Find meditations, retreats, and online anxiety recovery programs at http://jodiaman.com. Check out her videos at http://youtube,com/jodiaman. Get inspired on Instagram @JodiAmanLove Or feel loved on Facebook: http://facebook.com/jodiamanlove.
Want more? You’re in luck.
I loved this book so much I’m giving away a FREE copy! All you have to do is enter your info below, and you're in! One winner will be chosen at random on May 10th 2016.
ENTER TO WIN
Sign up to be entered to win a FREE copy of "You 1, Anxiety 0" by Jodi Aman!
((you'll also get my free weekly health and wellness tips to help you keep your stress levels wayyyyyy down))
Yesterday, as I was walking the dog, I finally understood what it feels like to self-sabotage.
I’ve heard that term thrown around a ton in books, lectures and in talking with other coaches, but I was always convinced I never did that. Sure, I stand in my own way sometimes, but self-sabotage? That definitely wasn’t me.
Nope. So not.
During my walk last night I was thinking to myself, “Things are actually going pretty well right now.” I’ve been coaching some amazing women (who are having some killer results), I’ve kept my anxiety on the lower side the past few weeks, the dog seems happier…. Shit, things are looking up!
And then, it hit me.
Literally out of nowhere feelings of dread, anxiety, fear, and an overwhelming sense of ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’ hit me like a ton of bricks. I went from feeling peaceful and happy to suddenly worrying that everything was going to be terrible, and nothing will work out, and clearly something awful is going to happen.
That is some fucked up shit, and I know I’m not alone in this feeling. And the scary part for me is… I’m sure I’ve been doing this for years, but I didn’t realized till JUST now!
In a way, I’m not allowing myself to feel good. I don’t believe I deserve to feel good, or I don’t deserve to have good things happen to me. By fearing the future and convincing myself that things will go to hell, I’m not trusting in myself or the universe to handle things.
And I KNOW that I can handle things, and the universe can handle things.
This happens in all different ways for all different people. For some, it manifests as “I’ve been eating really well and treating my body right…. But I don’t deserve to feel good so imma down a box of oreos” or“I’m feeling really good about a situation but my mind is now going to be FULL of all the possible horrible outcomes and oh hey let’s show them on replay for the next 2 days.”
We deserve better than this.
What to do about it:
Ok, so we know self-sabotage sucks (and is literally the opposite of self-care and self-love), so what do we do about it?
1. The first step is just noticing. If you’re anything like me, you may have gone years without realizing you were even doing this! By first identifying when this is happening, we can start to take action. Try to catch yourself in the moment, when your brain tells you “Things can’t be this good.”
2. Once you have that moment, you can kick the self-love up a notch. My first step is to say to myself “I deserve to feel good” or “I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life.” These are my two favorite affirmations, and when I feel anxiety creeping in, I tend to repeat them to myself for at least few minutes.
3. Then, I practice some deep breathing to take the edge off. My favorite is the 4-7-8 Breath. ((Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 7, breathe out through your mouth for 8 counts)) I do this 4-6 times to help re-set my parasympathetic nervous system.
4. If I’m at home and able to, I love to practice some tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) around whatever the issue is. To use EFT, you use the tips of your fingers to lightly tap on different meridian points on your head, shoulders and chest, while affirming, “Even thought I have this problem (Fill in the blank with your issue), I love and accept myself.”
Want to give it a try? Watch this quick video by Jessica Ortner for a primer on the points.
5. And then, finally, I journal that shit out. Sometimes I really resist journaling, but that’s usually when I need it the most. Getting it out of my head and onto paper helps me process things a little more, so it’s not just swirling around in an anxious jumble in my head.
All right you fabulous babes – talk to me. Do you experience self-sabotage? Yes? No? Have you never thought about it before? What do you do when it creeps in? Leave me a comment below!
Autoimmunity. Are you familiar with it? Chances are you probably have heard about it or know someone with an autoimmune disease. So what is autoimmunity? In its simplest form, your body is attacking itself. What? Yup, that's right. For example, if you have Celiac Disease like me your body is attacking your small intestines and with Rheumatoid Arthritis your body is attacking it's joints. In Hashimoto's, your body is attacking your thyroid.
Why can it be challenging to figure out if you are suffering from one? As someone who has an autoimmune disease, that typically can take about nine years to pinpoint, I'd love to share some of my thoughts and experience on why so many women are not only suffering, but aren't being diagnosed.
1.) Doctors. Taking time to really listen and understand all the symptoms going on with someone takes time! Unfortunately our current medical system is not set up to accommodate time with patients. Practitioners generally are paid by insurance companies based on the number of patients they see. Functional doctors take the time to listen, look at the symptoms, and attempt to get to the root of the issue and restore balance in the body. The patient is treated as a whole, instead of treating symptoms. It's why often functional practitioners can't take insurance. It's just not cost effective. I can't tell you how many doctors and specialists I saw that couldn't find anything wrong with me but I knew something wasn't right. My diagnosis came when I worked with a functional doctor.
2.) Our SAD diet! I'd be remiss without mentioning what we put in our body. The Standard American Diet (SAD- how ironic) has contributed to the increase in autoimmunity. Sure, you may have a genetic predisposition to it but what you eat and how you live plays a huge factor. Why? The SAD diet is carb heavy. It contains foods that are highly processed and high in sugar which create inflammation in our bodies. Chronic inflammation can often lead to disease and in many cases an autoimmune disease. Eating a diet closer to the earth, meaning food with no added ingredients. Nutrient dense foods like veggies, fruits, lean protein and nuts increase your odds to not developing one. If you aren't feeling well and not getting answers, looking at your food is a great place to start. There are other foods you can add in and take out to cool inflammation. A health coach can help with this too!
3.) Women aren't taken seriously. Okay, so if your doctor doesn't have enough time to listen and your symptoms are fatigue, anxiety, feeling depressed, aches and pains...you can feel helpless. These were all the symptoms I had in addition to heart palpations, tremors and balance issues. If you have kids then you are an overworked mom. If you have a career that demands much of your time, well you too are overworked. If you have both, forget it! That's about the time when many doctors open up their scripts for a prescription for Xanax. "You need to relax, you're stressed, take this...." and now you feel CRAZY. This happened to me during my time of trying to figure out what the heck was going on. It's infuriating!
4.) Hormones! Hormones like estrogen and progesterone and our thyroid hormones are all pieces of a complex puzzle. Many doctors just look at TSH for thyroid but there are about five other tests that can actually tell how your body is converting your hormones and how they are working together. Proper hormone testing, looking at things like inflammation markers, listening to a patient's symptoms and along with analyzing your diet can really help create a clear picture of what's going on in our bodies. From my experience, many doctors don't look at all of these things together and it's hard to put a puzzle together without all the pieces! One of the things I recommend to my clients if they are having symptoms but aren't able to get to answers, is to download a period tracker and note their symptoms around their cycle. Many times a pattern is found. This arms them with information for speaking with practitioners.
Please don't think I’m bashing traditional medicine because I'm not. If I broke my leg, I'd go right to the hospital and be very thankful for all our medical advancements. I saw five doctors and specialists before I received a proper diagnosis of Celiac Disease from an Integrative Doctor who uses a functional approach. I feel lucky to have received a diagnosis within a year as the average time to diagnosis is approximately nine years! It's why I'm a fan of Functional Medicine. It approaches the patient differently by attempting to get at the root of the issue and identifies preventative measures. It looks at the whole person instead of just one symptom. If you are a woman who is struggling with pain and hasn't been able to figure out what's going on, I've walked in your shoes. You may or may not have an autoimmune disease, but if you aren't getting answers, try seeing a doctor who uses a functional approach. If that's not an option, don't give up! Look at your food and track your cycle for starters. Remember, doctors are only people too. My advice to anyone is to follow your intuition, keep asking questions, advocate for yourself and do what you can to take control of your health!
"When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change!"
Wishing you health & healing,
Deana Gunn is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who specializes in helping women with autoimmune disease take their power back and the owner of threekindsofkale.com. She's a gluten free Mom of two, a closeted lover of comic book character movies, and enjoys a nice glass of red wine.
Yesterday, I all of a sudden had a HUGE craving for a big salad.
I like salad and all, but it’s not typically a staple of mine when it’s cold out, it’s more of a warm weather food for me. I also noticed that I was feeling a little more antsy than usual, and also SUPER inspired to keep working through most of the day yesterday.
This feels more like spring energy, but I’m sitting here with a Winter Weather warning in Baltimore. What gives?
Then I remembered that the Chinese elemental calendar start seasons on different dates, and when I googled it I realized that yesterday, Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year, marks the start of the Spring season.
To. The. Day. I called it, because I felt that shift. Crazy, huh?
In Chinese medicine, the Spring or Wood season marks a sense of renewal and inspiration. The worst of the winter is (hopefully) over, the days are noticeably longer, and we start to plan ahead for the warmer months. We start to make plans for our gardens, getting ready to plant seeds and eventually we break through the tough soil to allow for movement and growth.
As we get into this season, as lovely as it is, many folks tend to experience some not so fun emotions as well. Anxiety, depression, and irritability are common as we deal with the build up of energy from winter to spring.
And oh boy, I’m feeling that too.
With that being the case, this is a great time to refocus your self-care practice, and there are a few things you can specifically do to help ease yourself into this time.
· Begin to incorporate more raw vegetables into your diet. As it’s still chilly on the east coast of the US, I’d say don’t rush into it and suddenly eat salad or juice for each meal, but here and there start to add some in!
· Drink 60 to 80 oz of water per day to help flush out the liver. The liver is responsible for detoxifying the blood, so you want to keep that shit moving!
· On a similar note, start incorporating more movement into your days to also get the liver going. Take a walk a few times per week. Join a yoga class. Or friend me on Couch to 5K (caitbyrnes) so we can keep each other motivated!
· Re-organize your space! This is a great time to get rid of all the crap that builds up during the winter (hello KonMari method!). Throw out old papers, dust those ceiling fans, and get your shit in order. You’ll feel so much better after.
How are you feeling right now? Still feeling the winter blues? Caught the spring anxiety?
Everyone needs support. Period. Even if you think you can do it all yourself.
It doesn’t matter what it is:
A listening ear
An accountability partner
A reminder to take care of yourself
Or, help packing all of your belongings into a truck and moving a few states away.
You’re gonna need some help.
As Desmond and I get ready to make our move to the Jersey Shore, I’m reflecting on what support really means, and how just existing around other people is support enough sometimes.
Having a community to belong to is huge, and Baltimore has been an incredible community for both of us. It’s something I’ll miss deeply, but am also so grateful for the age we live in and that really that community support never has to end.
(That being said, I’m still booking workshops and lectures in Baltimore, and the work I do with clients is 100% online and by phone, so we can keep doing what we’re doing!)
But really, what I’m getting at is it’s ok to ask for help.
Really, it is.
Many of us were brought up to never depend on anyone else, and that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. And yet, so many of us are totally burnt out and overwhelmed.
Outsource whatever you can. There’s no shame in that.
Maybe you have a few extra bucks to hire a cleaner to come once a week to your house. Or, maybe you can ask a friend to help you lift some heavy shit. Or maybe you can hire a personal trainer to help you figure out what movement you should do (and to help you stick to it). Or maybe you can use a free service like 7 Cups of Tea to talk things out when they’re feeling heavy.
Ask yourself today where you could use some support, and then go out and get it.
Did anyone else just get overwhelmed by their calendar? Today when I opened my google calendar I realized that almost every weekend has something planned until the end of December. And don’t get me wrong, it’s all SUPER fun stuff. A weekend away with friends for our annual Alliterative Thanksgiving, a burlesque show, a girls night, actual thanksgiving, my family’s annual Holiday Hoo-Haa.
Shit is crazy.
Late fall and winter are really a time meant for us to be slowing down. Our bodies are craving the rest after an active, busy summer and harvest season, and yet November/December is often when we tend to speed up. Much party planning. Very gifts. So decorations. Wow.
We rarely allow ourselves the rest that we need during this time… usually not until after New Years Shenanigans. And by then we’re so burnt out, undernourished and frazzled that we’re feeling terrible.
Not a great way to start the new year.
So many of us set new years resolutions that include things like loosing weight, getting fit, getting healthy, and feeling better in our bodies. And yet, we’re starting at a huge disadvantage because of they way we’ve treated ourselves the previous few months. We quickly loose sight of those resolutions, and spend the rest of the winter feeling depleted. This can quickly amplify feelings of seasonal depression for those of us whom it affects.
This year, I challenge you to do something for yourself during the holiday madness. Take a break! Use some of those vacation days and actually get some rest. Take one extra day if you can to just lay around and sleep. Go to bed early. Wake up late. Escape from the parties when you need to. Give in to the early darkness!! I know I’m not the only one who contemplates going to bed at 6pm after the whole daylight savings thing.
Make sure your subscribed to my newsletter this fall and winter. I’ll have some extra goodies coming your way to keep you healthy through the hectic holidays, and you’ll get to be the 1st to know about how to have the best new year ever!
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