Our bodies have different needs at different times. As we age, we may need digestive support in the way of enzymes. Or hormonal support as, ahem, things start to change. How we eat will affect our neurotransmitters, and stress can deplete the body of precious minerals and vitamins. And even our DNA will predispose some of us to require supplementation, at least until we can turn off the negatively expressing gene SNPs hiding in our cells. In fact, epigenetics tells us that supplementation is in fact sometimes required to make that shift.
For this phase of my life, my body and mind thrive when I consume the following:
Pure Encapsulations B Complex Plus (with MetaFolin to address DNA and support energy)
Pure Encapsulations P-5-P 50 (for burning feet and adrenal support)
NOW L-Tryptophan 500mg (mood and sleep support)
Premier Research Labs Adaptagen R-3 (hormone and sleep support)
Arbonne Digestion Plus (probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes to support proper gut health and function)
I also take Iodine, D3/K2 combo, a sublingual B12 and vitamin C. As needed, I’ll add in magnesium, calcium and GABA. Damn that’s a lot!
Of course, none of this works without consistently eating really healthy meals with tons of veggies and fresh fruits, clean proteins and limited grains. I enjoy fermented foods, bone broth, and green smoothies in addition to what you see above.
I am confident that as I continue to heal my gut, and heal the emotional traumas of my past, my body’s needs will continue to shift and I won’t need to take so many supplements.
And while I know that technically speaking, protein powder is not a supplement, this deserves a Very Honorable Mention. I love and will not go without Arbonne protein powder for the energy it delivers. Arbonne’s clean, soy-free vegan protein absolutely helped my adrenals recover after total burnout and collapse in 2014. I’ve tried a lot of different proteins and this one is the best in term of how it makes my body feel. And it tastes great, too.
I buy most of these supplements from the awesome online retailer www.PureFormulas.com. Create your own free account and get a discount using my referral code: SOQMRHX
Self-Care For Dummies, aka For The Old Me.
The New Me Is Learning How!
What is this Self-Care thing, you ask? Is it massages and pedicures, spa dates and shopping trips? Did I hear you say it sounds like something for rich folks? Well, you’re only half right. Because there’s so much more to it.
You see, Self-Care is basically any act we intentionally perform whose aim is to provide self-directed care on some basic or not-so-basic physical, emotional, or psychological level. Some Self-Care is habit by now, or at least I hope it is, like brushing your teeth everyday.
We’re all taught on some level to care for others first. Women as nurturers, men as bread-winners (I’m generalizing, of course – hats off to the nurturing bread-winners of any gender). But that usually means that we put others’ needs before our own. Even our animal friends seem to eat better than we do, and on a regular schedule to boot!
The physical realm is the easiest for me personally to navigate. We all know how to tend wounds, shower, and exercise (even if we don’t do it). But I want to talk about the other stuff, too, because my ignorance of and disregard for a self-focused nurturing practice left me completely and wildly burned out with adrenal fatigue two and a half years ago. What I see now, but couldn’t fathom then, was how important Self-Care is to our health; physical, emotional, and psychological.
Since my burnout, I’ve gotten pretty darn good at listening to my body, maybe even too good. Well beyond recognizing when I’m hungry, tired, and thirsty, I’ve learned how to supplement for energy, better sleep, and balanced hormones and mood. I prepare meals that not only satisfy, but also nourish and heal my adrenals. I’ve even gotten out of my comfort zone and started using really nice skincare. Every now and again, I buy myself something that’s just for me. These are all physical means of nurturing the self.
However, I’m still not so great at the other aspects of Self-Care. Examples of emotional Self-Care would be listening to your inner voice that tells you when a situation feels good, or doesn’t, and taking appropriate action to feel emotionally safe or confident. Another example is fulfilling our need for shared connection. A third would be living with integrity and standing in your power, even when it feels risky or just plain hard to do. (How do we get there, I hear you asking? Read on!)
When it comes to psychological Self-Care, I may have a slightly better handle on it. In fact, instead of sitting down to write this earlier today, I decided I’d rather tackle a few very dusty piles of paperwork in my office that had been nagging at me for many months. With a clear head, I was easily able to recycle nearly all of it, and file away most of the rest. I wasn’t sure if I was merely procrastinating, or if I was getting something off my to-do list that was seriously cramping my “head space.” That act of double Self-Care (crossing something off the list and creating a more visually appealing surround) most definitely created a bit of mental fresh air.
Self-Care can be different for everyone. Sure, as humans, we all share the same basic needs, but how we meet those needs will be up to you. The important part is to Nike that sh*t. Just do it. Start small. Build up. Make new habits.
And for even more Bay Area fun, join my MeetUp group. We picnic, hike, color, blow bubbles, meditate at the beach, and discuss Self-Care strategies while engaging in Self-Care activities. It’s free!
Easy Tips For Physical Self-Care:
Check in with your body each morning. Sit quietly for 5 minutes and focus on your breath. Let your thoughts come and go. Don’t micromanage them.
Check in throughout the day. Ask yourself, am I thirsty? Good chance you are. Drink some water. It’s not rocket science.
On the flip side, check in as you are eating. Stop eating the moment you start to feel full. Worried about Catholic, Jewish, or starving-kids-in-Ethiopia guilt? Save unfinished bites for later, when you are hungry again.
News cycle got you down? Turn it off! All of it. Don’t worry, it will still be there when you come back.
Feeling super stressed out in traffic? Did some A-hole just cut you off? Why is that person driving so ever loving SLOWLY? See first option above.
Check in with your body. Are you feeling stiff, achy, or sore? Move that old bod of yours. We were designed for movement, gosh darn it. So get your groove on, go for a walk, fly a kite, have sex. Stretch, bend, fold, roll, whatever it takes. Nike it.
“It rubs the lotion on it’s back.” Do something nice for yourself. Bubble bath, massage, lotion up. Paint your toenails. Even if you’re a dude. Or…especially if you’re a dude.
Easy Tips For Emotional Self-Care:
Keep a small notebook of everything you are grateful for. This sounds super corny, I know. But trust me, this works. Or, each night as you drift off to sleep, recount three things you are grateful for that day. Start each day with three grateful events you anticipate coming true. The fact that you are alive counts as one!
Keep a running list of everything you like about yourself in a small notebook. The entries don’t even need to be true. They can be things you would simply like to think about yourself!
Check in with yourself. How do you feel after spending time with someone? Are you energized, brimming with love, or feeling drained? Spend your time and energy in ways and with people who fill you up.
Allow your feelings.
When negatives emotions come up, don’t push them away. (What we resist, persists.) Get curious. Ask yourself where and when you felt this way before. Go deeper. Thank those emotions for keeping you safe and alive until now and tell them you don’t need them anymore. Decide how you’d rather feel and imagine yourself feeling that way! Yes, I know what you are thinking, but neuroscience says this works!
Smile and say hello to strangers! If they smile back, major bonus!
Hold both ends of the giving stick. If you are always giving, start receiving for a change (I know that can feel really uncomfortable). If you are always receiving, do some giving. If we all gave, there’d be no one to receive, you see? We need to practice both to be whole.
Easy Tips For Psychological Self-Care:
Change things up.
Take a new route to work, or to the grocery store. Making new neural networks keeps your experience on this planet fresh and alive.
Clean up your self talk.
If someone talked to me the way I have often talked to myself, I’d probably have punched ‘em right in the kisser. If you can’t clean it up using the Get Curious method above, get some help. A simple diet change, or tryptophan, or counseling can make a big difference here. Ask me how!
It’s not a big deal.
Failure. Everyone does it. Keep going. Keep the self-criticism in check. See above.
Friends. Cherish them.
Make new ones. Cultivate relationships like you would a garden upon whose bounty your life depended. Ask for help when you need it and you’ll find people actually want to help you! Offer it when you think they do.
You don’t have to do everything all the time. Give yourself a break already. Spreading yourself thin shortchanges you and everyone else. Listen to the subtle cues your body is telling you before you over-commit. *Note to self: You don’t need to save the entire world.
Clean it up. It weighs on your mind, nagging at you. Set aside a short amount of time every week to tackle a small area. Little by little, organizing will become a habit, and you won’t feel overwhelmed trying to do it all at once. Hire help if you need to.
Be real. Is everything on your list really a priority? Chunk it down into two lists; one for today (or this week) and one for the future. Put the future list away and after prioritizing the today list, decide what you can do immediately. And then do it. Don’t let the list be a noose around your neck.
Remember, you don’t have to do everything all at once. Pick one thing and start today. Add more once that intention becomes habit.
And by golly, love yourself! Because you’re awesome when you let your light shine.
What are your strategies for Self-Care? I wanna know in the box below!
Wow! I'm way too excited to wait until the new year to start cleansing. I can tell I need a little boost, plus the energy I get from this stuff will help get me through the rest of the holidaze.
Who wants to join me?
Do you suffer from false moods like depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, low self esteem, PMS, food cravings, addiction or an eating disorder? The problem could be due to low neurotransmitters. It turns out that a simple mood questionnaire is a very good predictor of your neurotransmitter levels. Take this 5 minute quiz to find out more about the chemical workings of your brain. Then follow it up by reading The Mood Cure, by Julia Ross for strategies to alleviate the symptoms of false moods.
As our neurotransmitters are created by amino acids (which are only found in high-protein foods or supplements), the basis for good mental health lies in eating three very well-balanced meals daily with at least 20-25 grams of protein at each meal.
The 8 Step Program To Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Problems and Mood Swings-NOW
This is one of my favorite things – affordable, safe, welcoming, community-based acupuncture. Search the POCA website to find a clinic near you. There is a sliding scale, pay what you can, no questions asked. Roll up your sleeves, pull up your pant legs and get ready to get pinned. I’ve been going to Oakland Acupuncture Project on Laurel.
Gut health is all the rage, it seems. And for good reason, it’s a huge concern as so many of us face issues like low energy, fatigue, auto-immune disorders, metabolic issues and more. This program is just what is needed to boost overall gut health. It’s certified, results-driven, plant-based, and clean, clean, clean. I definitely notice increased energy while following the guidelines on the 30 Days to Better Health program. The best part is not feeling hungry during the day and never once waking up hungry in the middle of night due to my (previous) blood sugar instabilities. It was so beneficial for me that I am continuing the program and incorporating it into my lifestyle. I heartily recommend Arbonne’s vegan, cruelty-free, GMO-free, trans fat-free product line.
How it works:
You will replace 1-2 meals a day with a nutrition-packed vegan protein shake, adding a daily dose of Fiber Boost. Digestion Plus once per day will balance your GI tract with beneficial probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes. The 7 Day Body Cleanse will gently detoxify your kidneys and liver with key ingredients like Milk Thistle and Nettle. Our Detox Tea will soothe your system and continue to detoxify you with Milk Thistle, Peppermint, Uva Ursi and more. Our wonderfully popular Energy Fizz Sticks will help you kick your coffee habit in a clean, green way.
I’ll include instructions on how to use the products as well as lots of recipes. You’ll have loads of support as you go through the program!
It starts now! With products that deliver key nutrients like protein and fiber, this healthy combination supplies probiotics and enzymes while supporting energy metabolism and elimination. With these Arbonne Essentials, you’re on the path to healthy living — and beyond!
• 2 bags of Protein Shake Mix (chocolate and vanilla) • Daily Fiber Booster • 2 boxes of Energy Fizz Sticks (pomegranate and citrus) • Digestion Plus • 7-Day Body Cleanse • 2 boxes of Daily Detox Tea • Support Guide