Oftentimes when I ask women about their health they tell me that it's good, or fine, or even great. But when I begin to ask them more specific questions about how they are feeling in their body, how their energy levels are, how they are feeling emotionally, they realize that their health actually isn't so top-notch. And more than that, they realize that they are not very attuned to their bodies.
Heres why: In our society we define "healthy" as the absence of diseases. That's pretty messed up, if you ask me. We all deserve to be truly WELL and not just not sick. Wouldn't you agree?
My biggest missions is to help women live in alignment and in harmony with their bodies, their minds, their emotions, their relationships, their spirituality, within their family systems... BUT, we cannot do that when we don't know how to tune in and listen to ourselves and our own bodies. That is why I want to give you a short list of things you can pay attention to in order to become a better listener to your own body's wisdom and take "healthy" beyond just the absence of disease.
1. Your skin.
Your skin is an insightful window into your greater health. It tells you volumes about what is going on hormonally, emotionally and even in the relationships in your life or about other stressors. While great, non-toxic skincare is crucial for skin health (which is why I tell my clients about Beautycounter), what you apply topically isn't the only thing that matters. You literally have to go underneath the surface and listen to the whole picture of possible hiccups, imbalances and stressors in your life that are manifesting themselves in your skin.
Ask yourself: What does my skin look and feel like? What is the color or my skin -does it look healthy, dull or even grey? Is my skin too dry or too oily and what might that tell me about me and my life?
2. Your menstrual cycle.
When I work with clients privately, our conversation pretty quickly turns to period talk. Why? Because, like your skin (and, actually! related to your skin as well), your menstrual cycle gives you lots of insight into your hormonal health, your detoxification system, your thyroid health, your toxic load, your stress levels, and of course your fertility.
Ask yourself: Is my menstrual cycle healthy? How long is it? Do I experience pain or PMS? How do I feel emotionally? How long is my bleeding phase and does my menstrual blood look healthy? How can I use what is going on in my cycle as information to improve and change my life for the better?
3. Your energy levels.
I bet you cannot make it through a day where someone doesn't tells you how tired or exhausted they are. In fact, it's the # 1 thing I hear from my clients. And yes, I work with moms who are often sleep deprived, but even once sleep is restored, so many women still suffer from chronic low energy. A number of reasons can be at the root of this including adrenal fatigue, food sensitivity or allergies, poor sleep (even if you sleep enough hours), blood-sugar imbalances, too much stress... to name a few.
Ask yourself: How is my energy level? Do I feel awake and ready when I wake up in the morning? Do I crash in the afternoon? Do I feel overwhelmed quickly when a new task arises? By having low energy, anxiety or a depressed mood, what is my body asking me to do?
4. Your digestive system.
Do you ever notice how parents are hyper-aware of their kids' poop? Well, that's for good reason. Your digestive system is a great indicator for your overall health.
Thankfully people are becoming more aware of digestive issues and our medical community is taking them more seriously. I am sure the term "gut health" is not new to you at this point and that is for good reason. Your digestive system is responsible for harnessing energy and nutrients from the food you eat so your body can use it for a multitude of different jobs. Your digestive system is also responsible for eliminating waste (including toxins, chemicals and used up hormones) which would otherwise build up in your body. With ever more people suffering from constipation and diarrhea, this is an important piece of the health puzzle to pay attention to.
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Ask yourself: How is your digestion? Do you have regular bowel movements? Do you experience bloating or stomach aches on a regular basis? Do you have a tendency to experience diarrhea or constipation? What might that tell you about how you handle your emotions?
5. Your breathe
Try this: Stand in front of a mirror and take a deep breathe in. Is your belly moving outward or are your shoulders moving up? Our breathe plays a massive role in our overall well-being, but we are often not aware of it. Most people take shallow breathes (this is especially true for people suffering from constipation by the way) and therefore restrict the amount of oxygen entering their bodies and feeding their cells. How you breathe tells a lot about how you are feeling in your mental and emotional life in particular.
Ask yourself: Am I aware of taking deep breathes throughout the day? Is my breathe deep or shallow? Does it feel open or restricted? What is the quality of my breath telling me about how I approach life, people and different situations?
Spend the next 2-3 days (or months!) paying attention to these markers of health and see what you find. Do you feel in harmony with your body? Does it feel good, calm and nice to life in your body?
Having a close and intimate relationship to how your body speaks to you is worth so much. If something is off, your body is trying to tell you something. Sometimes it might just be something like "eat more fiber," but other times it might be something like "I need to you to relax and rest more" or "I need you to let go of this person in your life" or "I need you to speak more kindly to me." Pay attention and learn to speak your body's language. It holds tremendous wisdom for you.