Yes, I’m busy. Yes, it’s been a long year, and yes, I need a break but I’m not happy to write it off as just that.
The truth is, I haven’t been taking great care of myself of late and now I’m paying for it. My body is talking to me and it’s not happy; my head aches every day, my back aches more than usual, I’m not sleeping well, my skin is dry, I’m exhausted, I’m cranky, I'm constantly thirsty, I have a sore in the corner of my mouth (eeew), my eyes are dry and I have a mucusy throat (eeew again).
Since finding a few amazing health and wellness mentors I’ve become more in tune with my body and what serves it best. I’ve also learnt that our bodies are truly amazing machines with an innate intelligence that will always alert us to the fact that something isn’t right. It just depends on whether we listen and respond accordingly, as to whether this inherent communication is of any use.
To explain it more simply I’ll paraphrase a statement from nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara: “At first our body whispers to us if it’s not happy. If we don’t listen and make the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes, it speaks a little louder. If we still don’t listen, it yells. If we still aren’t listening, it ends up screaming at us and by then we can actually find ourselves quite sick.”
In the last few months I’ve been pretty stressed with a few personal issues to deal with along with the regular stuff we all have on our plates like 3 busy little girls, a business and household to run, a 2 acre property to maintain etc. etc. During this time I’ve somewhat dropped the ball on self care and my body has started to talk to me. My job now is to listen and proactively respond. I'm going to stop ignoring the messages and start making my health a priority again.
But in what ways have I dropped the ball you ask? Well, here’s my list:
Cooking: I haven’t been spending as much time in my kitchen that I usually would which has resulted in us eating more processed and packaged foods. I haven’t let it get completely out of control but definitely need to get back to preparing meals from scratch a lot more regularly.
Eating out: I’ve eaten out more. And whilst I do love to eat out, try to choose quality cafes, and try to make good choices, the truth is you’re never 100% sure what’s in your food when you’re away from home. And if I’m honest, when I’m feeling a bit drab, fried chips are just too hard to say no to!
Wine: I’ve drunk more alcohol of late than I usually would. Don’t get me wrong; I love a good glass of wine or 5, but my vino consumption has really stepped up of late and it’s time to say goodbye for a while (at least until Christmas Day anyway!)
Grain intake: I’ve been eating a lot more grain than usual. There is a lot of new research out declaring that too much grain isn’t good for us and is one of the main offenders in weight gain. I’m still learning about this and have a lot more research to do but what I do know now is that I feel a lot better when I keep my grain consumption to minimum. This is hard as I love it. Bread, crackers, rice, pasta, the list goes on. But not a great regular choice for me if I want to feel good.
H2O: Not drinking enough water. I don’t think I need to elaborate here. We all know drinking heaps of water and keeping hydrated is essential to good health. It’s the elixir of life. Time for me to keep the water jug permanently out, fill it every morning, have it gone by lunch time, then refill and empty it again throughout the afternoon. I’m a visual person so having it right there in front of me will keep it in my mind.
Caffeine: Too much tea and coffee. Last Christmas we shouted ourselves a whizz-bang, expensive coffee machine. And we got what we paid for - it makes bloody great coffee. It also got me hooked on something that I hadn’t really been very interested in before. And by the middle of this year I found I would really crave my arvo coffee if I didn’t have it. Then more recently I started buying a coffee every time I was out and would have another one from our machine when I got home. Add to this the one or 2 black teas I have most days and that is just way too much caffeine for me. It would sometimes even give me the shakes and a yucky indigestion-type feeling. No thanks.
I am happy to report though, that I’ve managed in the last weeks, to limit myself to only a couple of coffees per week and have switched to mostly herbal teas. This has eradicated the shakes and the indigestion, but I could easily regress to my caffeine guzzling ways if I’m not careful!
Less greens: I feel my best when I eat a beautiful fresh salad at least once a day. In the last while, this hasn’t occurred. Feeling down or pressed for time, I’ve gone for quicker, easier lunch options. And whilst it hasn’t been Maccas that I’ve turned to, my choices haven’t been as nourishing and cleansing as fresh, crunchy greens.
Less movement: I’m happy to admit that I’m not really into exercise. I don’t like the gym, I’m not a runner and not great in the water. But I do love long brisk walks, yoga, functional stretching and Pilates. I’ve let all of these things take a back seat lately and my body really does need to move. All bodies do - that's what they’re made to do. I haven’t been a complete couch potato but need to up my daily movement in order to get back to feeling great.
So there you have it; the ways my body is telling me it’s not happy and my summation of why it’s not. I'm thankful that I know how to listen to it and have learnt the benefits of doing so. Life is to be lived to the full and I certainly can't do that unless I'm feeling alive and energised. So thank you, my body, for giving me the messages I need to make the improvements I need to get back to my best. I'm glad I have you in my life.
How about you, can you hear your body talk? Are you listening? There’s plenty to hear if we just take notice.