I have wanted to do a blog for a long time. So I am excited to be writing my first post! Since it is a new year, and many people do resolutions in January (yes, I am a little late!) – I thought I’d resolve not to do resolutions anymore! The reason? I listened to a radio show last year on the topic of balance – I think about the show often, because I realized that all my procrastinating over the years really sums up to one thing. Drama. It creates unnecessary stress. It creates the roller coaster of emotions that many of us are addicted to – and for some reason I did not realize that this resistance to making decisions and plans was keeping the drama alive in my life.
I was actually unaware that this was the purpose of being late, waiting until the last minute to decide what would be for supper, not planning out the week so that it ran smoothly. The list goes on and can look like just about anything. Once I realized how much stress this lack of planning – or maintenance created, I decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. It’s the thing that I didn’t know, that I didn’t know.
So why, you might ask am I telling you this? Well, maintenance, is something that we can use to create a really great life. Maintenance is where your career takes off from. It’s where your health just gets better and better. It’s where you actually go on the vacations you wish you’d planned six months ago.
If you are constantly struggling to keep up with your work or putting out fires, there is no room for creativity or expansion. Maintenance allows you to blossom.
If you are seeing a preventative healthcare practitioner like a naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist, or craniosacral therapist – you know that often people go to fix a problem. We are trained by western medicine to see the doctor when we are sick, not well. Many of my patients share this notion. They come to me with a problem – be it constipation, fatigue, weight gain or high cholesterol – the list goes on – and want to fix it. Once it is fixed they often go on their way. Then another problem creeps up and they return wanting to fix it again.
They way we think needs to change. The financial needs of our health care system would be dramatically reduced if everyone shared the philosophy that health was a journey, not a destination. Maintenance sounds a little boring, but it allows for great things to happen!
I often have people come into my office with aches and pains or fatigue and they attribute it to getting old – not so I say. So if all of these people who thought they were getting old could just prevent and maintain they’d see there was a lot more to aging than having creaky joints! They could take the creativity and wisdom that comes with getting older and use it to flourish – because they had lots of energy and felt great.
Drop the drama of problem solving or even suffering with problems and get to the real excitement of life from maintenance and prevention! This does not need to wait until you’re 60 – start when you’re 25 or train your kids to maintain and not to put up with ill health at any age. Most things are preventable and even fixable if you haven’t let them go too far. Become a planner and an organizer.
I am a strong believer that if you understand something you are a lot more likely to do it. We all know the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” But many of us don’t know why we don’t do it. When I realized that some of my lack of planning (although I am a very organized person) was actually masquerading as excitement (in the form of drama and self created stress) I became a much better planner – and things are going much smoother than they have in the past.
So if this resonates with you and you have been putting yourself on the back burner when it comes to health or anything else – give maintenance a try. Correct for weight gain when it’s just one or two pounds, not ten pounds and becomes a big chore. Take your supplements regularly and feel good all the time – rather than stop when you run out and can’t figure out why you’re not feeling so great anymore. Eat well most of the time and respect your body, rather than making healthy eating a short term solution to your weight gain.
Naturopathic doctors and other alternative practitioners are great at helping you keep on the track of maintenance. Even if you’re feeling your best, monitoring labs every few months can indicate a problem years before you feel it physically. And can be corrected for before it turns into anything!
Things you can do to help maintain and have a great life:
- Schedule regular appointments with your hair dresser, dentist, eye doctor, massage therapist, acupuncturist and naturopathic doctor (we like to see people 3-4 times a year for real prevention)
- Do a cleanse 2-4 times a year for prevention (we prescribe different cleanses based on an individual’s need)
- Plan your meals on a weekly basis (either what is for dinner/what restaurant you will go to)
- Decide on your outfit the night before
- Schedule time for yourself into your evening (it could be as simple as reading a magazine or the newspaper)
- Go to bed at the same time every night (and get 8 hours of sleep – your body will thank you for it – this is when your body repairs the damage from each day)
- Put exercise or other fun active activities into your schedule. Don’t think they will just happen!
- Schedule time for your passions – what did you enjoy as a child or young adult that you have forgotten about?
Don’t obsess about planning too many things in the beginning. Just pick a few and see how it feels. Every week or so add something new – good habits are created slowly over time. Taking on to much will make you drop it all before the habit even forms.
Remember, the result you will achieve is to remove the daily stress that the decision making process creates. Creativity and passion will have room to grow – and you’ll feel great doing it because you’re maintaining great health at the same time!