Staying Healthy as a Woman – Are you looking after yourself?
Staying healthy when we have busy lives can be quite a challenge. As women we spend a lot of time looking after other people and lose focus on taking care of ourselves. We are often bottom of the list, yet we are no good to anyone when we get exhausted, grouchy, can’t think clearly and forget to laugh. So here’s a reminder on what to pay attention to:
Regular checkups. This can be with anyone who can give you honest feedback about how they see you. Your GP, a naturiopath, BodyTalker, health professional, masseuse, kinesiologist or a really good friend all can act as a sounding board to see where you are at. Do you feel tired all the time or do you have lots of energy? Are your glands up? Do you sleep well? What is your menstrual cycle like, is it changing? How is your emotional life, does it have ups and downs, have lots of drama, are you depressed or are you happy and on an even keel? Are you anxious or worried and what about? Are you eating well, gaining or loosing weight? Does your skin glow or does it have a different pallor? Do you feel loved or is life a bit empty at the moment. Do you sparkle or are you dull? What could you do about it?
I believe the key to staying healthy is nourishment. Recently I asked the question “how do we nourish ourselves and where is our source of love that keeps us full and happy?” Often we go outside of ourselves to get filled up: time with our friends, going to an uplifting movie or show, buying a dress, being in nature, dancing, music, spending time with a loved one or our children. When we really enjoy the interaction then we absorb the energy and fill up. Enjoyment seems to be the key – it makes us feel happy and expanded.
During times where our friends and family are not available to give to us, we have to develop new strategies to replenish our supply. I believe this supply comes from within our own being: meditating on our inner beauty, smiling into our bodies, treating ourselves to a relaxing bath with all the trimmings and then basking in the water, taking time out to sit and be still, doing some chi kung, yoga or tai chi, breathing deeply or saying words of affirmation to ourselves. Its an inner loving experience. When we really enjoy the experience, being fully present to it, we are nourished. However if we care for ourselves and still think about the chores or worry about the children at the same time, it just doesn’t work.
In my experience there are certain situations that put us off balance:
We run around after so many people that we don’t take care of ourselves by not eating properly or getting stressed. This means we don’t absorb our food as well and our body begins to lack nutrients and is more prone to getting sick. The stress stops us from sleeping properly and we get tired. Poor nutrient uptake, stress and emotional strain affects our hormones and we can develop a chemical imbalance which leads to feeling flat or emotional swings. In my practice I see several people a year who say their emotions are out of control due to long term stressful situations. After seeing a good natriopath and balancing their hormones through herbal remedies they feel like different people altogether. They can cope with life and their emotions settle down again. When our hormones are off, we are not ourselves!
Movement is a wonderful way to release stress and connect with ourselves. Chi kung, tai chi, dance, walking, any form of exercise which we enjoy can change our state of mind instantly. It enables our energy to flow and we can connect to a sense of inner “lightness”.
On a more personal level breast cancer seems to be around us everywhere these days. Take time to massage your breasts while you are in the shower. It doesn’t take long and it keeps the breast tissue and lymph healthy. Did you know that there is a direct connection from the breasts to the heart. When we massage the breasts the heart releases nourishing/loving energy which makes us feel good – why not spread it around? It’s there anyway, we just need to activate it. Push up bras give us shape but do have some loose bras with no underwire to wear or go braless when you are at home. The lymph in our breasts moves freely when there are no pieces of metal pushed hard up against the vessels and blocking them.
Lower abdomen massage also helps keep our ovaries and uterus healthy. There are some very good exercises which help: squats, forward bends, gentle pelvic curls all assist the movement of lymph and blood in this area. If you work with alot of chemicals or use perfumes and strong smelling creams, have had lots of fillings removed, frequently use hair dyes, its worth getting checked for heavy metals now and then. These sink to the lowest part of your abdomen and affect your reproductive health.
The other part of us which looses tone when we get older is the pelvic floor. With the loss of tone comes incontinence and we actually loose life force energy this way too. So gentle squeezing of the pelvic floor keeps us healthy on lots of levels. It can be done anywhere and only you will know – you can even smile when you do it.
It goes without saying that making healthy food choices and being discerning about the amount of alcohol we consume also has huge benefits to our bodies. I frequently use an affirmation “I make healthy choices about the food and drink I consume”. This keeps my mind focused on getting good nutrients in through my diet intake. I have noticed that sometimes I get a craving for orange juice, spirulina or to eat a certain food. The more I listen to my body and respond to its requests the healthier I get.
Nourishment also comes from being open to receive from our family, friends, pets, nature and even what “life” has to offer. Its a rich tapestry and to receive is to be in the flow.
Nourishment comes from everywhere and taking the time to enjoy its many forms means we stay healthy and have a lot to give. Life truly is abundant when we let it be.
Its not easy building this into your lifestyle on your own. Women’s Wellbeing Courses to assist you to get into the routine of naturally nurturing yourself are being run by Elayne.
Elayne Lane is an instructor of the Universal Healing Tao. She has been teaching and doing bodywork in excess of 14 years.