“You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know, And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss
I often speak to friends and family about being physically unwell or injured and how its a time for reflection, rest and self awareness.
Well, I’ve have a recent opportunity to try to take on my own words of wisdom! I’ve been at home sick all week.
Instead of taking my own advice, I found myself fluctuating between feeling the need to do something productive, and being frustrated about what I could NOT do!
What I noticed about being sick, is that while my body wants to recuperate, my mind is running twice as fast. So I ended up thinking about all the things I can do since I’m not at work, while my body is saying – Hey, you trying to get over a virus. Take it easy!
So, why hasn’t it been easy to reflect and rest?
I usually use exercise regularly to de-stress and quiet my mind. Without exercising this week, my mind is definitely louder than usual. After a few days of this mind body conflict, I felt drained and stressed – neither of which is conducive to getting better quickly. Letting my mind’s voice get louder and louder, was not giving me the space to reflect. So what did I decide to do about it?
- I choose to be gracefully unwell, instead of grumpy, stressed and unwell. I realised that I have a choice about who I am when I’m sick as well as healthy. Who do I want to be when I’m sick? Relaxed, making choices that will optimise my health. Who I don’t want to be? Unwell for weeks, stressed, feeling guilty for not being at work, frustrated that I can’t exercise, eating foods that won’t help me get better. Making this distinction between who I want to be and who I don’t want to be makes it a lot easier to incorporate the rest of the steps!
- Eat for health optimisation. This means, simply getting as much good stuff in me as possible, and forget the rest. The good stuff is minerals, vitamins, amino acids, alkalising foods, electrolytes, and water. I’ve been juicing fresh fruits and vegetables everyday; taking supplements of iron, magnesium, echinenesia, calcium, and tons of other vitamins. I ate an entire cantaloupe (or rock mellon for my Australia friends), added spirulina and chlorella (featured picture) to my shakes, and drinking my homemade garlic and ginger tincture in orange juice. I’m trying to drink most of my meals so that my body doesn’t require too much energy to break down the food. And downing at least 2 litres of water with an alkaline supplement per day.
- Quiet my mind. If I want to be truly relaxed, I need to stop my mind from running rampant in my head. Some of the techniques I use are: a) Focus on listening to my breath – I find this clears my mind and reduces the tension I hold in my shoulders; b) Reading – By reading, I interrupt the continuous internal conversation in my head and my mind just reads instead of thinking; c) Listening – I play music or audio podcasts and let my mind focus on listening and my mind goes quiet; and d) Watching – By watching a movie or live surfing (Quiksilver Pro France), my stops chattering and just watches whatever is in front of me.
- Getting plenty of sleep. I am going to bed before 9pm and not setting an alarm, I’ve even kept my phone charging in another room so it doesn’t wake me up. I take naps when Ifeel tired, which is sometimes twice a day and I let myself wake up naturally.
- Fresh air. I take at least one walk a day to breath in the fresh ocean air. If I can’t surf in the salt water, at least I can breathe it in! Walking is a good compromise between getting movements in my muscles and joints but not tiring myself out.
In finding time to reflect, I find it so interesting that all of these steps which will play a large part in getting me back to optimal health, and also steps that are going to help keep me there.
Diet is a vital part of any athlete’s performance. Food is fuel for our bodies, it gives us the energy we need to perform.
But with so many trendy diets & nutritional advice out there, which ones do we listen to? The Paleo Diet? The Lemon Detox Diet? The Zone Diet? Atkins? South Beach Diet?
As a Life Coach, I truely believe that YOU have the answers you are looking for, if you listen to yourself – your mind, your body and your values.
It is only you that has to live with the consequences of your food choices, take responsibility and choose wisely!
So, you are saying that our body, mind, and values will tell us what we should and should not eat??
Exactly! The concept of tuning into your body to make the right food and eating choices, is called Conscious Eating.
- It means, you think about what to put in your mouth and what not to put in your mouth!
- It means checking in with your body throughout your meal to know when you’ve had enough.
- It means listening to your body’s reaction to what you’ve eaten to judge whether you’ve made a good choice. Then, choosing more wisely the next time!
- There is a deeper level of Conscious Eating that means educating yourself on how your food choices affect other people and the environment, but thats a topic for another time!
Conscious Eating, Here’s How Regardless of Any Diet Plan You Follow:
- Just Eat – When you are eating, don’t multi-task. How can you be aware of your body and make conscious decisions about your food choices if you attention is split 5 ways?
- Slow Down – To help our digestive systems, we are suppose to chew between 20 – 30 times a bite! Slow down your eating and chew properly. This will also help you savour your food – Have you ever had a meal so quickly that you couldn’t even remember what it tasted like afterwards?
- Relax – When you sit down to meal, take a second to assess how you are feeling. If you are feeling stressed, take a minute to breath deeply and relax before digging in.
- Eat When Hungry – Sounds simple, but we eat for many different reasons (stress, fatigue, habit, boredom, etc.). Before eating, place your hands on your stomach and check if you are really hungry.
- Pause – Check in with your body when you are 1/2 and 3/4 finished your plate. Are you still hungry or are you satisfied?
Conscious Eating is a process, so keep listening to your body, learning and adjusting!
How well do you know your body? How often do you pay attention to it?
If you are reading my blog, it is likely that you are active and/or a competitive athlete so you may be more in touch with your body than the average person. However, I’d be interested in hearing how often you scan your body during the day and pay attention to its messages & insights.
That’s right! Your body ‘talks’ to you BUT how often are you listening?
From a coaching perspective, the body is an essential part of your way of being. It is the physical expression of thoughts, emotions & moods and often holds the key to what is really going on!
Self Coaching Exercise
Tomorrow pick 3 times to scan your body, all the way from your toes to the top of your head. Here are some questions to consider:
- Where are you holding tension? Why?
- What’s going on in your stomach? Butterflies? Tension? Are your abs engaged holding your posture upright?
- Any tension in your face? Around your eyes? Mouth? Jaw?
- How about your shoulders – Are they rolled down & back? Are they up around your ears?
This post was inspired by the fantastic Alan Seiler workshop in Perth last week, thanks Alan!
Well, after 4 consecutive days of workshops, a full day of moving, then a full day of cleaning, it’s no wonder that I have a sore throat! Argh, ever feel like you have too many exciting things happening to have time to get sick?
I’m normally really good at avoiding the flu season, but my throat is threatening to get a lot worse if I don’t pay attention to it now!
My favourite remedy is orange juice with homemade garlic & ginger tincture. My husband originally made this tincture for us to keep us healthy on our 26+ hour flights back to Canada & I’ve been addicted since. It may sound like a weird combination, orange juice with garlic & ginger tincture, and I used to only add a few drops of the potent stuff at first, but now I add 3, 4, 5 squeezes to every glass! Actually, I have a confession to make … I can’t drink orange juice without it! I LOVE it! So, I’ll be drinking heaps over the next couple of days, along with homemade veg soup & litres of water. Oh, and rest..off to bed, I’ll be back to 100% in a couple days i hope!