Time After Time

"The bad news is time flies. The good news is, you're the pilot!" - unknown

Time is an interesting concept. I am always reminded of this during daylight savings, when we arbitrarily change our clocks so that daylight is in our favour. Time is a theme that seems to interweave into many of our conversations through the day, like the weather. The interesting thing though, is that we all have the same number of hours in the day, yet have very different experiences and perspectives on it. For instance, if you are in a dreadfully boring meeting, an hour may feel like 10. On the other hand, if you are with someone you are crazy about 10 hours may feel like 10 minutes. 

 As a health practitioner, I am constantly reminding people of the power of time. No matter what you do for treatment, your body needs time to heal. It is as easy as that. The rate at which you heal has many factors, but has little to do with how you feel. When you cut your finger, for example, your body initiates the healing process before you are even aware you cut yourself. The healthier you are (the state of your nervous system, the foods you are eating, if you are hydrated, etc.), the better healing potential you have...but even then, it still requires time. If you already have a compromised state of health (eating poorly, not sleeping, overweight, etc.) and you injure yourself or become ill, your body will require more time and resources to improve. 

 It truly comes down to understanding the difference between an event and a process. Whether we are discussing health or dis-ease, neither occur spontaneously. We have no control over time, but we do have control over how we use our moments as they happen. From the quality of our thoughts, nutritional intake to the care of our physical state...everything we do matters and either leads us toward or away from where we desire to be. 

 When someone is in tremendous pain or in a poor state of health, there is often a high level of motivation to address it. When someone is feeling well, there can be less of an urgency around doing the things we need to do to maintain health. We may pass on the gym, or an appointment because we are feeling good and can deal with it tomorrow. The truth is, if we engage in regular health-promoting strategies, we will spend way LESS time in the long run than if we wait until we are in a state of crisis. 

 Get clear on what you want your health to be. Believe that great things are possible, and take the steps to allow it to happen. If you can keep this intention in mind and create healthy habits around it, you will be amazed at what your future potential can be. 

Lifestyle Hack

I was listening to a podcast this morning (Lewis Howes "The School of Greatness"...HIGHLY recommend it!), and one of the points discussed was how often we have habits that make us feel good, show up at a higher level, and assist us in executing our desired results in life, and then, out of nowhere, we stop. Not only do we stop, but our momentum slows down, we feel more lethargic and we just feel "off"...all the while wondering why. Of all the personal development I have participated in through seminars, books, and coaching, there are definitely common themes around creating healthy habits in life and sticking with them. Life is, of course, a process with many layers, ups & downs and experiences to be had. Nothing though, will replace the importance of daily action steps that nurture your core foundation and set the tone for living the great life we all aspire to lead.

That being said, I have observed my habits and results through the years and there is an undeniable correlation between when I am eating well, exercising regularly and feeding my soul with positive, happy thoughts, with those times when I am happy, less stressed, decisive, in-tune to wants and needs and overall at my best physically and emotionally. It is easy to say "I am busy and stressed thus don't have time for xyz (insert healthy behaviour here)", but what I have experienced is, it is during those times where it is MOST important to engage in healthy, nurturing action steps. As a result, we actually free up more time (because we are more efficient), reduce stress (because we can clearly see through rational eyes and heart what we need to do to move forward), and feel a greater sense of control over our experience.

The podcast today made me stop to reflect what behaviours move me towards my ideal life. I encourage you to look at your own life and see what is working and what isnt, what has worked in the past that you may no longer be doing (and start doing it!), and eliminate what is bringing you down. Here are some of my essentials:

  • Yoga- I have found that starting my day with an early morning yoga session clears my head and sets a positive tone for my day. I am not a morning person, but ALWAYS feel better after class. If I can't make it to class, even a few sun salutations help to get my body moving and blood flowing.
  • Physical Activity- yoga can fit into this category too obviously, but although there are obvious physical benefits, I am attracted to yoga for the mental/ emotional aspect. Physical activity for me, is anything that gets my heart rate elevated and causes a good sweat. Running, swimming, spin/ road biking (yay for spring!), hiking, you name it. Having a number of activities I enjoy keeps it motivating for me, because it no longer becomes a question of if I'm going to do something or not, but more WHAT I'm going to do.
  • Water! I feel SO much better, especially in our dry climate, when I'm consuming water throughout the day. Seems simple, and I recommend it to my practice members, but it's easy to forget...I now ensure I have a full water bottle when I leave home and work and bring one with me when I have to drive anywhere.
  • Words with impact- I always feel more grounded and centered when I am feeding my brain with healthy perspectives, either in books I'm reading, conversations I have (friends, practice members, colleagues, family), or audio books and podcasts. I am far less-stressed driving place to place, when I am listening to a great message.
  • Eating well- Don't you find that the worse you eat, the worse you eat? I find my cravings as a symptom to how kind I have been to myself in the previously weeks. Unhealthy behaviours breed more unhealthy behaviours, but the opposite is true too. Healthy habits, be it exercising or eating more vegetables, are truly a reflection of how much respect you have for yourself. You are afterall, more valuable than a freaking mazaratti...so treat yourself that way!
  • Keeping my body "in tune" with regular Chiropractic adjustments. The adjustment keeps my nervous system working at its prime, allowing all of my other behaviours to integrate optimally. 
  • One of the biggest lessons I learned at a personal development event, was the importance of keeping agreements...not only with other people, but most importantly with yourself. If I set an intent for my day or week, it is more likely I will adhere to it (vs. winging it, hoping for the best, and complaining when it doesn't work out). 

We all know what we need to do, so find that anchor that links the daily habits with your greater purpose and intended outcomes, and get started! We are all works in progress, the question is if we are progressing in a direction toward health and vitality or one of illness and dis-ease.

Nature is Life

There is something to be said for getting off "the grid", and becoming reacquainted with nature. Recently, I had the privilege of traveling to Costa Rica for a much-needed, much-overdue vacation. Although I was only down there for a week, I had many incredible reminders of how majestic, powerful and amazing nature is...when there is no interference. The first day brought us an earthquake (which actually came from an earthquake that occurred in Nicaragua), the 5th day brought a lunar eclipse (which we actually didn't see directly) and a full moon, the effects of which were evident in the tumultuous ocean and less-predictable waves. We also witnessed the early migration of land crabs down to the beach from their mountain burrows, to lay their eggs...an event that occurs at the beginning of rainy season. So many amazing events, all part of the natural cycle of nature. 

So what does this have to do with anything related to health? Everything. Witnessing first-hand, the incredible power of nature and natural, predictable cycles that occur, was an amazing reminder of what we as human beings are a part of, but often forget. We see the beauty in nature and trust that life takes care of itself, yet forget about the inborn wisdom that exists within us. We interfere by artificially controlling cycles and rhythms of the body, making outcomes and reactions less predictable. It extends beyond the human frame though too. The more we exert artificial control over nature, the more we disrupt the cycle and existence of all animals. Sounds deep, but it's  important. We are not separate from nature. Until we remember and respect that, the further from health we will be.

 As someone who works with the power of the body on a daily basis, I can tell you that the awe we find in nature, is within us every day! How cool is it that sperm cells swim aimlessly on their own, yet when in the presence of an egg they swim in unison towards it. How cool is it that your body can sense when your skeleton is under more stress and responds by laying more bone to assist in support. How cool is it that even the thought of food produces saliva containing enzymes that will aid in digestion? We have way more inborn intelligence than we have been led to believe. Ask yourself if your choices and actions are supporting nature or interfering with it. The power that made the body, heals the body.

Swimming in Cold Water

It is often said that our greatest challenges give us the strength to grow. I have found this to be particularly true during physical challenges such as a race.

Back in September 2012, I completed my first (to date) triathlon in Banff. It was an abnormally warm September day in the mountains, but this didn’t make up for the fact that the lake we swam in was absolutely FREEZING. I anticipated the swim to be the most challenging for me anyway, but I was not prepared for how cold it was that day! I knew that once I completed the swim, the rest of the race would be a piece of cake, I just had to make it out of the lake! The wetsuit offered unexpected buoyancy, and as my goggles were fogging up, I relied on the kayak to bump into me to let me know I was swimming off course (yes I was that girl- I was quite the spectacle I’m sure). At one point I told myself to calm down, and that this was not the most difficult thing I would have to endure in my life. It was 500 m afterall, and all I really had to do was to keep rotating my arms. Thats it. I could do that, so thats what I did...and before I knew it, my hand was hitting the bottom of the lake and I had done it. I had survived the swim. 

 I will never forget that lesson, and truly feel that the underlying premise can be applied to any life experience. Maybe not the rotating of the arms part (ha...although that would definitely lighten the mood!), but in the following basic steps:

 1) Identify what it is going to take at this moment. Not how long, or how hard, but what is the one thing you can do to move you forward, right now.

2) Decide that you can do it.

3) Do it!

Seems easy, but I will be honest, I remind myself this often when I feel overwhelmed about something. How does this apply to health? Really in whatever manner you want it to. Are you struggling to lose weight? Are you in chronic pain and feel hopeless that you will have a life of ease again? Have you had a lifetime of unhealthy habits you are now trying to undo? Just take one step at a time. Focusing on what CAN be done and following through will provide faster gains than you realize! Or as Dory said, "Just keep swimming"... ;)

And here it begins....

One cold winter morning, I was up before the sun to walk to an early bird yoga class. I was bundled in layers to protect me from the cold, and was studying the sidewalk to avoid slipping on the ice, when something told me to look up... I’m glad I did. If I hadn’t, I would’ve missed the beauty in the cold. The frost kissed branches lining the streets were something only reserved for those willing to be up at that very early hour. It made me wonder what other beauty I missed daily by keeping my head down simply to “avoid a fall”. 

After that moment, I started becoming more aware of when I would hold back during my day. I started observing how I arrived at decisions and realized how "safe" and under the radar I stayed. I believe there is a time for this, however I also feel that sometimes when we live with our heads down, not only do we miss out on a world around us, but the world misses out on us too. And so here I am, launching my first blog.  Years of information, experience, tips and research will be shared here. As a Chiropractor, I have a passion for natural health and I hope this blog contributes to not only improving the health of others, but lights a spark that re-ignites a commitment to self.

I heard someone once point out how health insurance was as much about health as life insurance is about being alive. True health insurance, is investing proactively in supporting, sustaining and strengthening the body while we are still healthy. It is about taking responsibility for our health NOW, and recognizing that health begins within. 

I hope to touch on topics relevant to you, the person reading this. Remember, we are all works in progress. Living a full, healthy life is a process, not an event. Personally, I like to spend my time doing things I love with people I love and, like many of you, I am busy and crave simplicity. Half the battle in making a change is often making the decision to do something differently and following through. Whether you are in need of a lifestyle overhaul, or you are on the track of pure health, I am here. Whether you are starting at square one or what i have to share is reinforcing how you already live, we are in this together. Lift your head up and here we go...