Even holistic health coaches like me encounter challenges with their health. But most of the time, instead of running to the chemist for a cure, we look to find the cause. When our body is producing symptoms – such as headaches, acne, fatigues, sore throat, colds, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, muscle/joint pain – we first look to our Primal 6. Though it’s common to first look at Food, Movement and Sleep, we must remember that Thoughts, Breath and Water are just as important as their places at the top of the list.
A Personal Story
I was never plagued by acne. Lucky, I know. I am blessed with good genetics combined with good nutritional habits. I have smooth, clear, olive skin with few blemishes and the occasional pimple. So you can imagine my surprise one week when every day, my forehead and cheeks became bumpier and redder. Being passionate about my health and vigilant about my nutritional needs, I immediately scanned my memory for something I recently ate that could have started this madness on my face. But then the rest of my body started complaining too. My hips got sore, my shoulders and neck became tight as ever, and the back of my throat started getting that scratchy feeling.
Symptoms = Body’s Cry for Help
Ok, this was clearly my body telling me that it needs some attention. I realised that I had been staying up too late working on the computer, so I started getting back to my early bedtime. I reminded myself daily to drink more water, as my intake had decreased since the start of winter. And I pushed on with my to-do-list, thinking that if I could cross some things off the list, I’d feel more relaxed.
One of the things on my list was to join the local gym for 4 months over the winter, and that new outlet for movement and ‘me time’ was bound to boost my health. I excitedly went to my first yoga class in a long time, and the class was just what I needed – relaxing, releasing and grounding. So much so, that during a very releasing stretch for the hips, I started crying. The instructor, completely unaware of my tears, told the class, “a lot of emotion gets stored up in the hips”. And then the tears really flowed. I could hardly chant my oms at the end without choking up, and my namaste nod of gratitude at the end was more heartfelt than the instructor will ever know. You see, thanks to her, I had started to discover a main cause of my body’s ills. My mind.
Everything seemed fine, what was bothering me? A thorough D&M (Deep and meaningful talk; very effective mental health test) with my husband, Brad, revealed parts of my personal, work and family life where I simply felt overwhelmed and undernourished at the moment. My thoughts, feelings and emotions, simply needed some attention, as they had gotten lost in the to-do-lists of our day-to-day life, and suppressing them contributed physical stress on my body.
Purging for The Cause
Feeling much better already from the emotional purge, I decided to continue purging. I drank some Epsom salts to purge my bowels, and then purged all that clutter out of the bottom of our closets to finally sell on or give to charity or friends. Lastly, I sat down in front of the computer and purged this letter to you. Partly because writing makes me feel good, and partly because what I learned this time about taking care of myself could help you take care of yourself too. This also makes me feel good.
Anyway, when the Epsom salts didn’t produce much bowel purging, I realised another symptom that had gone completely unnoticed – constipation. I hadn’t had a full bowel movement in a couple days! The fact that I hadn’t noticed this was further proof that I had gotten too obsessed with my to-do list lately, and the lack of time to tackle it. I wasn’t paying attention to my body. Now everything made a lot more sense, as acne is often a symptom of a sluggish digestive system! Emotional and lifestyle stress was diverting blood flow away from my digestive system so it couldn’t function properly. The fact that I wasn’t drinking enough water just made matters in my colon worse. When bowel waste is not eliminated regularly, it putrefies in the colon and creates toxins, which often represents itself as acne, skin disorders, fatigue, joint pain and more.
I’m no doctor, yet after following my personal prescription below for one week, I was feeling back to my happy self, pooing again and the acne was nearly gone.
– Accepting and releasing past and current emotional hang-ups through Radical Forgiveness.
– Listing the things that bring me joy, then putting those things on my to-do lists.
– Taking things off my to-do list that are causing me stress and are not really pressing.
– Consciously feeling and expressing gratitude for all the wonderful moments of my days.
– Taking time to talk to my husband, rather than just in passing as we rush by each other.
– Having deeper talks with my close friends.
– Stopping to notice my breath several times a day.
– Focusing on belly-breathing, so I’m not stressing my shoulders and neck with chest breathing.
– Doing yoga once a week.
– Continuing my nutritious eating habits.
– Being careful about too many heavy foods while my digestive system is under stress.
– Shutting down my busy mind at mealtime so I can focus on eating and digesting well.
– Drinking at least 2 litres a day for my dehydrated colon!
– Using herbal teas to increase hydration in the winter.
– Taking exercise classes and doing strength training at the gym I just joined.
– Weekly yoga classes at the same gym.
– Walking around the neighbourhood with my daughter, instead of hiding in the house all winter.
– Getting to bed no later than 10pm.
– No more late night computer sessions.
Learn more about the Primal 6: Thoughts, Breath, Water, Food, Movement, Sleep… and write your own prescription!
Please note: Though I have shown you an example here of how you can often use self-care to eliminate the cause of symptoms, there will still be times when infection, viruses and/or long-ignored symptoms need medical assistance. Use your intuition and common sense to distinguish when you can help yourself, and when you need to see a doctor or other qualified health professional.
How to Write Your Own Prescription – August 2013