Healing Is Not Always A Straight Path

Sometimes the most important reminder I give people in my practice, and likely the most frustrating, is that healing takes time. Sometimes healing happens quickly, other times, less so.

The body will always try to adapt and move itself forward towards a healthier state if it can, but it’s not always a linear, straight path. I t is however, a progressive process provided the right healing environment is being created.

Whether you have an injury, some internal dis-ease, or emotional strain, when you make changes and your body starts healing, it’s amazing!

BUT, since we are complex and dynamic beings who are exposed to physical, emotional and chemical stress all the time, sometimes healing slows down.

Or seems to stop.

At least that’s how it feels.

If you’re making an effort to support your health and healing, it’s never lost. 

If you’re feeling this way, here are 3 things you can do:

  • Keep going! Stay consistent with the treatment protocol has been suggested, even if that’s rest.
  • Believe you can heal. The mind is a powerful part of all healing and recovery.
  • Talk to your health care providers about what else you can do to support the process, and then take responsibility for making other changes that may accelerate your progress.

If you’re actively trying to nurse your body back to a healthier state, trust your amazing body is doing it’s best to make some gains.

It’s just not necessarily on the timeline you expected!

 

The Post-Halloween Crash

I’m not one for fortune-telling, but if you were to fast forward to next week and ask me how people in my practice are doing I could easily give you that answer today.

Although every year I feel a little bit like the scrooge of Halloween, my experience proves to be consistent every year, and since my job is to lead people to healthier choices in their life, I will share my reminder about sugar with you right here.

Sugar…tastes great, but is horrible for your body. 

Does this mean you should never consume it? Not necessarily, it just means be more mindful of the impact it will have and be prepared for the potential consequences.

The week after Halloween what I see most often are children who are full of coughs, colds, congestion, sore throats, or any form of immune compromise. In the adults, I’ll often observe the same thing, however many will also complain of increased joint pain.

There is no coincidence in this timing!

Nothing suppresses the immune system quite like sugar does, and one of the biggest sources of inflammation is…SUGAR.

Of course it’s not good for other systems in your body either.

So, all that halloween candy in your home? Be mindful of your consumption, and remember that how you feel and function depends on the care you give your body. Choosing the right foods to nourish you and your family, and finding better alternatives for sugar is a good starting place.

If you’re not sure where to get started, ask me on your next visit!

This podcast episode is also a good summary of the recommendations I start most people with.

Let’s Talk About Thankfulness…

As Thanksgiving rolls into the month, it’s the season we are reminded about being thankful, celebrating with loved ones, enjoying good food and possibly even reconnecting with ourselves a little and having some time for relaxation and restoration.

There are times when this isn’t so easy.

Perhaps family dynamics have changed, finances are strained, health has deteriorated, or some other stressor impacts our ability to find the good and celebrate it.

If you’re finding yourself struggling, reach out. There are so many resources in our community to support you! You just might need a little direction.

Sometimes though, just a little reminder and a new habit, done consistently, can shift your emotional state dramatically. Practising gratitude is one of those things. 

The health benefits of gratitude are an amazing example of just how connected the mind and the body are. Research shows the feelings associated with gratitude, appreciation, love and caring enhance health.

When you find one thing to be thankful for and hold that feeling for as little as 15-20 seconds, many subtle but powerful physiological changes take place inside you.

  • Levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin decrease, supporting many organ systems and boosting your immune system
  • Coronary arteries relax, increasing the blood supply to your heart. Heart rhythms become more harmonious, affecting other organs and lifting your mood
  • Breathing becomes deeper, increasing the oxygen level of your tissues

Studies have shown that people who regularly practice gratitude report higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy when compared to those who do not.

If you focus on what you don’t have, that’s all you will see. Focusing your thoughts on victories instead of defeats will help you develop an attitude of gratitude, and a greater sense of self-worth.

Try listing a few things with your family around the dinner table, when you’re stopped at a traffic light, before you close your eyes at night.

You can journal, you can meditate on gratitude, you can share with friends, whatever works for you but my advice is always to just keep it simple and find something that works FOR YOU. 

What’s more important is the effort to do it, not the how.

Making simple acts of gratitude part of your everyday life might surprise you with the shifts you feel in your mental state and how much better you will feel, and it doesn’t have to be a complicated procedure!

How can you just get started? Right now…just take a breath, and list 5 things you’re grateful for. 

It can be as easy as that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

3 Thoughts From My 21 Year Of Practice In Collingwood

21 years….

In the Collingwood community as a Family & Pediatric Chiropractor, and it’s a little hard to believe sometimes.  Aside from the growth and changes in my personal life, and watching my sons thrive, my career has certainly been full of adventure (and I wouldn’t want it any other way!)

What a wild ride!

  • 3 Different clinical spaces
  • 100’s of communities events
  • 1 TV Show
  • 5 Podcasts

and such an incredible community of people who’s health I support in my practice.

When I sit back and think about all the things I’ve done and how they’ve shaped me, I’m struck by three things:

#1 – Life will always give you opportunities when you just show up for it.

#2 – Building a career and showing up as an engaged parent takes creative solutions.

#3 – You learn by doing, not dreaming.

Is there something you are holding back on because you just aren’t sure what the outcome will be?

Whether that’s related to your health, your relationships, or your work, you have the power within you to make a change, and help is all around.

You might just need the right people to support you, give you some guidance, and the care you need to get moving.

Can I help? Reach out, or book a complimentary 15 minute consultation to find out about the work I do with people in my practice and community that extends past my clinical care.

 

Lunches Your Children Will Love

I’m no longer making lunches for my sons, but I remember well the struggles at times when what I wanted them to eat was not in alignment with what they wanted.

Whole foods, locally grown and in season are great starting points for family health. However, trying to combine healthy choices with the preferences of your child, and potentially the influences of other children can be a challenge for many parents. I’ve been there too. As a health professional I found it especially challenging because much of my work relates to building health in the body, and with everything that I know it’s been hard at times to not get fanatical about food! However, applying these ideas made life easier for all of us, and much healthier for them.

Here’s what I learned, and what I still do with my sons:

Get your children involved. When my sons were younger they always came to the farmers market with me, we visited local farms, had our own plot at a community garden for a few years, and they’ve always been in the kitchen with me cooking. Now I give them a list of food to prep for dinner the nights I’m busy in practice, and they are actively involved in choosing meals for the week. I doubt they would have this appreciation for food had we not spent hours together when they were younger.

Start Early. I often joke with my sons that at least I was able to make sure their food was super nutritious in their earlier years when their brain was rapidly growing! Offer your baby, toddler, and child an abundance of healthy food and they will grow into healthy kids with an appreciation for healthy food.

Model good choices.  You can’t expect your children to choose vegetables, fruit, lean protein, good fats, if they never see you eating them! Your children might not always eat the meals you prepare (been there) but they are always watching and learning. Lead the way as the adult and stay consistent as much as possible. If you are going to indulge on occasion (and yes you should) talk to them about balancing healthy options.

Which leads me to my last point…

RELAX about it. Consider your child’s food intake for the whole day. Most of you are familiar with my 80/20 approach to a healthy diet – make 80% good choices and leave 20% for items that “have no nutritional value but taste good”. My boys lunches include a fruit, vegetable, sandwich/main of some type and then some kind of packaged, processed item that their grandmother buys them! They understand the importance of good food, but I have learned to focus on feeding them a solid breakfast and dinner, and loosened up about that middle meal. If you focus on the quality of their other meals during the day, and over the whole week, you can safely oblige their tastes for school lunches and still feel you are providing them with the solid nutrition for growing minds and bodies.

Need more ideas? Check out some of the books in our lending library, chat with other parents, and just keep experimenting! Ask me on one your upcoming visits for some other suggestions too.

Travelling? My 5 Tips To Support Your Body

Travel is…exciting! At least for me. It fulfils my sense of adventure and love of exploration, as well as connecting me to different cultures and appreciating the beauty of our world. If you’re changing time zones while travelling, dealing with jet lag can dampen your experience, as can any other challenges to your body’s performance.

Travel can be stressful on the body, but there are some simple things you can do that may help your body.

I’ve found these 5 tips help:

Fast

I’m not sure your taste preferences, but airport and airplane food is not great! It’s also often highly processed, and full of sugars, salts, artificial flavours and other ingredients that don’t need to be in your body. If you have the time (and are ok with the prices!) you may be able to find healthier options in some of the restaurants within the airports prior to boarding your flight, but another option is to fast. Reducing the consumption of food for short periods of time reduces the stress on your body, freeing up internal energy for other important functions. It can also help your brain adapt more easily to the shifting time zones.

Also, fasting is easy! Instead of worrying about finding good foods, you can spend the time doing something else you enjoy. Now I get it, fasting might not sound easy if you’ve never done it before, but trust me, you can do it! You can read all about the benefits of fasting in this blog post.

Hydrate

Anytime is a good time to keep your body well hydrated, but the air quality in airplanes makes this even more important. The oxygen within airplanes comes from outside, and high altitude air has less moisture in it. This can dehydrate our bodies more than being on the ground. I always purchase a 1 L bottle of water to take onto the plane, and avoid alcoholic drinks which further dehydrate. Herbal teas are also great to consume, you can easily bring a few of your favourite tea bags with you in your carry on. Read more about why hydration is important in this post.

Move Your Body

I know it’s hard in the cramped seats but take breaks to get up walk the aisle. While sitting in your seat you can roll your ankles, hands, shoulders and neck. You can even do some simple stretches while in your seat, and you happen to have the luxury of space next to you, change your position frequently. Just think about moving your body someway. Movement is what your body was designed to do, and once you’re at your destination be sure to make activity part of your trip!

Blue Light Glasses

Have you heard of the glasses that are beneficial to wear if you’re spending hours in front of a computer screen? My son has been using “blue light glasses” and I finally gave them a try. I’m actually wearing them as I type this, as I have found that they reduce the amount of strain my eyes feel, and my overall level of fatigue. Our bodies use light like a nutrient, and natural light is always the best for our bodies! The wrong kind of lighting can adversely affect us, and airplane lighting is usually fluorescent, which is the essentially the junk food of lighting types!

Have you ever felt that airplane lighting was especially harsh? It’s due to the fluorescent lighting which takes away the naturally occurring spectrum of lights and concentrates it with blue light – which is very hard on our cells. Among the reasons you want to avoid fluorescent light, when it comes specifically to airplane travel the blue light tells our bodies what time it is, and can affect your sleep rhythms by interfering with your internal melatonin production (this is also why we recommend getting off screens in the evenings).

When you’re travelling and crossing time zones, this can stress your body even more and make it hard to sleep when you want to. On my last flight to Europe I wore my blue light glasses as much as possible – whether I was watching a movie or reading a book – and I noticed a difference when I landed. You can easily pick them up at most optometrists, but ordering them online is also fast and efficient.

Try A Homeopathic Remedy

I trusted the recommendation from the owner of a local health food store, and taking the “Jet Lag” Homeopathic remedy for the days before and after my trip, as well as during the flight, helped me. Homeopathic remedies are generally safe to take, but be sure to check with your Health Professionals to be sure it’s right for you.

My last recommendation with travel is something I suggest in life in general…giving yourself something I call “grace and space”.

Life can be unpredictable, and travel even more so! Giving yourself permission to ease back into your schedule when you return, the grace to feel unsettled (or whatever feelings you have!) and the space to get reacquainted to your usual routines can be the biggest asset to support your travel adventures.

One Decision Can Change the Whole Trajectory of your Life

Isn’t it amazing how one moment, one decision, can change the whole trajectory of your life? I’m celebrating 20 years in clinical practice as a Chiropractor this year and I sit here so humbled, grateful, and a little in awe of how that one decision has brought so much good into my life, and continues to do so.

If I were to summarize the the greatest gifts my work has given me it would be this:

It changed my perspective on health.
Health comes from within. Being healthy is an active way of living and is a result from the choices we make, not from random chance. If there is a problem, I ask “what is the cause?” rather than simply address the symptoms.

Gifted me with natural and holistic approach to parenting.
I gave birth to my sons at home, breastfed, co-slept, minimized their toxic exposure, and nurtured them in a way that felt right to me while honouring the wisdom of natural sciences.

Helped me trust my body.
Tuning into giving my body what it needs to think clearly, move well, restore balance internally and heal consistently fuels my appreciation for the human body and what it’s capable of.

It taught me about my intuition.
That little voice inside, gut feelings, your heart, that knowing that lies within you is never wrong. Let it guide you.

Connected me with amazing people.
From my colleagues, mentors, coaches, and all the leaders I’ve had in my development, to all the people I get to care for in my practice, and then the other Doctors I’ve coached, this list is extensive and I’m so grateful.

To everyone who has been part of my clinical practice, part of the community I’ve shared my ideas of health and healing with, or participated in one of my programs, I’m thankful for the opportunity to help support your health. Onward to many more years!

7 Ways To Cultivate Resilience

This time of year I often find conversations about building strength and resilience in the body being essential as we head into the colder months.
However, emotional resilience has also been a hot topic the past year while I’ve supported many families through changing work environments, lack of social connection, online school, and so much fear.

I have a few tattoos, and one of them is an arrow because it consistently reminds me that life just keeps moving forward, and it’s always our choice how to adapt to it.

The loving care you give yourself and your physical body will always help you cultivate greater resilience for whatever challenges present in your life.

In my humble experience I’ve observed that emotional resilience can be shaped by

Unwavering RESOLVE to live by your values.

Have you ever stopped to think about this? What are the 5-10 values that are most important to you and the life you want to live? If you are clear on what your values are, are you practicing them by the actions you make everyday? If you need some direction here ask me for the values exercises I recommend.

Consistent CONNECTION with powerful souls who love you and remind you who you are.

Your personal and professional relationships matter, as does the amount of time you spend with them. Are you consistently making time for the people in your life who matter to you?

Relentless OPTIMISM.

This is easier for some than others, but your thoughts matter and what you consistently dwell upon expands. Choose your thoughts wisely and find gratitude for the simple things you appreciate in your life. [Read the post on gratitude here]

GROUNDING yourself in nature.

If you’re like me at all, this one is a little tougher in the colder months, but time outdoors is so good for our health! Make time to get outside everyday and take a few deep breaths. Even just a brief walk everyday may just clear your mind and help you find a little more peace.

FEELING all the feelings that come up rather than sedating, avoiding or suppressing them.

When we avoid what we feel we don’t heal. Is it time to examine some of the consistent thoughts or feelings that come up for you? Do you need to talk to someone who can help support your mental health?

EXPRESSING yourself in healthy and safe environments.

Expanding on point #2 about connection, do you feel you can communicate freely with the people you need to? Are you holding back or being a little less of yourself in any of your relationships because you don’t feel you can openly and easily? What needs to change?

MOVING your body some way to shake up your energy and shift your mood.

We are not designed to be sedentary beings. Movement is life, and we meant to move! It doesn’t matter if it’s an intense training session, a slow walk, a yoga practice or dancing in your kitchen, just aim to move your body everyday. Trust me, if there was one thing I wish everyone in my practice did more, it’s this one. A trainer I once had often said “You’re just one workout away from a better mood” and based on my personal experience and so much clinical research I completely agree.

Finding resilience is a practice, and life gives us plenty of opportunities. You can can choose to run or you can choose to rise.
Which of these 7 ideas resonates with you most and which do you need to put into practice?

Connection Is Vital

We all need social connections, it’s part of our fundamental design as human beings, and research has also shown that having friendships supports our health!

However, during the holiday season many people are ‘overstimulated‘, ‘overcommitted’, and ‘overwhelmed’ with too many events.  This can leave people feeling emotionally and mentally drained, and certainly getting  a lot less sleep than they would like! I’ll gently remind you, be choosy about how you spend your time. Politely decline invitations you are not comfortable with, and focus on the relationships that truly matter to you! 

After reading this, you might be thinking “This is NOT not what I’m experiencing THIS year”.

I hear you. Most people I have spoken with in my practice are struggling with the opposite: lack of connection

In other words, loneliness.  With changing family dynamics, different living arrangements, simple geography, and recommendations or even restrictions in place in some communities, it’s not being overcommitted socially that is of concern but rather the distinct lack of it that is leaving some feeling at a loss. 

Every year, many people are left alone during the holidays.  If you feel lonely or isolated, are there ways you can consider getting involved in different activities? Are there any volunteer opportunities?  Are you able to reach out to people who may find themselves alone during the holiday season and consider including them in your plans? Can you consider coordinate a phone or video call if physically being together is not possible?

I bet you can try!

It just might take some creativity, but the rewards will be far greater than just the social stimulation.

At every time of year relationships and social stimulation is essential for health and happiness, make it a priority!

A Few Words Can Make A Big Difference…

What do you want the holiday season to mean to you this year? 

Do you feel like celebrating? Or are you feeling angry, sad or lonely about the current events and wondering how that will translate to the time you cherish with loved ones over the next few weeks?

It’s ok. It’s been an interesting 8 months, and you’re entitled to feel all those feels!

I will suggest though, that you spend a few minutes reflecting on how you’d like to spend the holidays with some of the limitations that are currently in place, and something I’ve suggested every year in my practice just might be exceptionally appropriate for you right now.

Set an intention for this holiday season. 

But first, be realistic and consider:

What’s happening in your life these days? Where are your children or extended family in the current stage of their lives? Given their ages and interests, what do you want the holidays to look like for you?

Every year our lives are a little different, and it’s important to change our expectations accordingly.

This year has been no different! In fact, perhaps it has given us even more perspective.

Decide what you want the holidays to mean, what your priorities are, and how do you want to feel?

Then I want you to write it down. Choose 3-5 words or perhaps write a brief statement or sentence, then put it somewhere you can see it. You can get creative with this! Make it look pretty or decorative if you like, but what really matters is that you will see it and be reminded of what you wrote.

Whether you post it on your fridge, put it on your phone, or write it in a journal that you will look at every day, this is the most important step!

When you have an intention to refer to, it will help you make solid decisions about how you spend your time and money this holiday season.

You’ll feel better about your choices because they will be more realistic with your current lifestyle, and this will ease your mind, and help you find more JOY and less STRESS this holiday season.