Walking with my dogs is great exercise and also helps me relax.
Coronavirus and lockdown has served to highlight what I believe is a real problem:
How we are advised to look after our health.
Holistic practitioners have always known that health requires a whole body approach.
Holisitic health recognises that all parts of the body and mind are interconnected.
To treat one problem you treat the whole person.
A symptom in one part of your mind or body does not happen in isolation
Conventional medicine tends to focus on individual symptoms.
Those symptoms are then associated with a particular part of the body.
You may see a specialist who will have an in-depth knowledge of that part or system of your body. The potential problem is that they may only see that symptom in isolation. Not as one interconnected part of the whole of you.
My clients frequently tell me they are passed from one specialist to another. Often without a positive outcome.
This way of breaking down the body into separate parts does not promote an understanding of the whole-body (i.e. holistic) approach to health.
Boris's message during the current coronavirus pandemic ignores the holistic approach
The current message from the government is all about social distancing, face masks and washing hands.
Let me be clear that I agree that all of these things are important measures.
It's just that there would be a huge impact if we were all encouraged to boost our immunity naturally. We can do this alongside these other practical measures.
Making better choices everyday means you could improve your health during lockdown and beyond.
You'd probably have more energy and feel happier too.
What's not to like?
And the best bit is that it's not difficult.
It might be different, but it's not difficult
Eat real unprocessed food.
Learn how to get better sleep.
Take a read of a previous blog that explains a bit more of the science behind this. The book I mention below also explains how everything links together really well.
You need to work on all these areas to get the most benefit. That's because, like I said earlier, everything is connected.
Have you ever done that group trust exercise where you all stand in a circle? Everyone looks at the back of the person in front of them.
Do you know the one I mean?
On the count of three, you all sit down on the lap of the person behind you. If just one person steps out of place or sits down at the wrong time the results are not good!
You might get part of the circle holding up briefly, but it won't last.
You need everyone to be doing the right thing at the right time.
I may be stretching the analogy here, but you are a bit like the circle.
Work on your food, sleep, stress levels and exercise and your circle will stay up!
A better way to explain things. ;)
Before I started this blog I revisited the book 'The 4 Pillar Plan' by Dr Rangan Chatterjee. I got it earlier in the year but had only flicked through it until now.
I was so happy to find that his book is about exactly what I'm trying to say! He probably explains it a bit more clearly than me. ;)
His four pillars are: Relax. Eat. Move. Sleep.
Chatterjee argues that doctors should be healing people by treating the root cause of their symptoms. Not just suppressing their symptoms. He recognises that current medical training doesn't teach this approach. He states:
"the future of medicine will be about more doctors being super-generalists, rather than super-specialists. Just as our understanding of the human body is evolving, so the practice of medicine will also need to evolve."
Hearing a medical doctor say what holistic practitioners have been saying for years is a wonderful thing!
Chatterjee explains how it's possible to reverse chronic illness by treating the reason for the disease and not just the symptoms. [Check out his TEDx Talk, it's inspiring!]
He gives examples from his own practice where he is just as likely to give a 'lifestyle prescription' as a drug - it's all down to what the person in front of him needs.
In this way he has helped countless people reverse chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high-blood pressure or irritable bowel syndrome.
But this isn't just for people with a chronic health problem. It's for you and me and everyone else.
This quote sums it up:
"Good health occurs outside the doctor's surgery - not inside. Our lifestyles themselves are often the best medicine."
If you would like to take charge of your health then this book is a great place to start. It would be a great addition to your life whether you are already working with me or not.
It's simple . . .
Addressing these four areas of your life will do so much more for your health and immunity than just relying on a face mask.
The benefits to you will last longer than lockdown. If more of us take this approach it could save the NHS a lot of money.
Now who is going to send a copy to Boris? ;)
p.s. If you found this interesting you may also like to look at some of my other blogs. Here and here.
p.p.s. If you like the idea of what I'm talking about but you don't know where to start, then why not book a free 30-minute Discovery Call with me?
You can book in online here or drop me an email here. :)
Dr Rangan Chatterjee, "The 4 Pillar Plan". Penguin, 2018
You may be interested in some of his other books. I also have "Feel Better in 5".
The Circle of Trust analogy. It's a lot of fun to try this if you haven't before. Perhaps something for when we're allowed to be close to our friends again? ;)
Keeping focused can help to keep you calm and in control
I first wrote this blog a couple of years ago. It was in the lead up to Christmas when everything is even more chaotic than usual.
Our current social-isolation rules means life is quite different right now.
If you're anything like me this situation may mean that now is a good time to remind yourself of some good habits that will help you:
I was inspired to write this post after reading the article 5 Ways to Simplify Today.
The author gives you five different ways you could try and simplify your day/week/life.
What I really like is that he suggests you pick only one of these ideas, run with it for a day and see how it goes.
It demonstrates an understanding that real people - you and me - can't change everything all at once.
It's something that takes time and effort and is a whole lot easier if we can do it a little bit at a time.
It's about more than just being organised
Feeling in control isn't a superficial thing.
Having too much on without enough down time has consequences.
It can affect your immunity, your hormones and your sleep.
Here are some of the ways that I try and keep in control and focused.
I hope that you will be inspired to try one of these things. Or perhaps it will be a reminder to get back to something that you used to do but have drifted away from recently. :)
Keep focused - do one thing at a time
Keeping my focus is something I always have to work on. I'm finding it particularly challenging during lock down. How about you?
I always work from home so that isn't new for me. What I'm not used to, is having everyone else home all day too! I can't imagine what it's like having to home-school younger children.
If you don't need to imagine it because you are doing it, I think you deserve a medal. ;)
It's difficult to keep focused on my own tasks when there is so much else going on around me.
Things that I find help with focus:
Screen time - take back control (and improve your sleep)
I love my iPhone. My life is pretty much on my iPhone.
I can transfer money. I can check my emails. I can access my work documents. I can check what school work my children have. Not to mention taking pictures of the dogs on our walk every day. I could go on.
Smart phones are fantastic things that can make our lives so much easier in so many ways.
But if we’re not careful, they can take over.
More than that, they can have a detrimental effect on your health and stress levels too.
You can read my blog post The rest & digest response and why it's so important if you want to find out more.
Here are some things that you could try to make sure your phone is not taking control of your life!
1. Turn off the notifications on your phone
I no longer have email, news or social media notifications popping up every few minutes. This will have a huge impact on your focus and your stress levels.
I still have notifications for my text messages. I have a personalised alert tone for the important people in my life. So it’s only when I hear my son or daughter's sound (and sometimes my husband!) that I will check my phone. I’ve trained myself not to look at my phone for any other messages until I’m ready to do so.
I also have notifications off on my laptop. I now check emails at various points during the day instead of as they arrive.
This means I am in control of when I see them and deal with them. This helps me to stay focused and be more productive.
2. Have some screen-free time
I try and have some screen-free time every day.
This isn't generally too difficult for me. When I try and get the whole family to join me it can be more difficult. ;)
I endeavour to make meal-times a phone-free zone. Also family game times or if we're out together or watching a film together.
I also encourage my children to leave their phones outside their room when they are working.
Encouragingly, they will often do this without me asking them too - they know how much it helps them to focus. :)
Not only does finding screen-free time help you to focus. It also helps you to 'be in the moment' with the important people in your life.
3. Introduce a bed-time routine that doesn't involve your phone
You are probably familiar with the benefits of some ‘quiet time’ before bedtime - especially if you have children!
In our house when the children were little, this would mean bath-time and then story-time.
Inevitably on some days this wouldn’t happen. That was such a mistake! Trying to put over-excited children to bed is a stressful experience!
I think it’s the same with adults and grown up children too.
If I have my own version of bath-time and story-time before I go to bed, I will generally have a much better sleep.
Not letting my phone be a part of this bed-time routine is half the battle.
Try this - use an alarm clock so you can put your phone outside of your bedroom at night.
I started doing this a few years ago. It seemed a big step at the time but now it's just what I do. It's very liberating once you get used to it.
My children have always had to do this too.
While we're on the subject of bed-time routines, here are some other things to try:
One step at a time
Small changes can have a surprisingly big impact on your life.
Why not pick one thing, try it for one day and see how you feel?
Perhaps you can talk about this with the whole family and decide on something that you can all try.
If it works for you, try committing to it for a week. And then longer.
Having some 'rules' in place will make a big difference and will soon become a routine.
It doesn't matter if you don't manage it every day, but if you have the 'rules' in place it will be easier to find your way back to them.
I hope there is something here that will inspire you to keep things simple and in turn improve your focus. If you manage a few of the ideas then hopefully a more restful sleep and a boosted immune system will follow. :)
Ps. Struggling to stay in control and a lack of good quality sleep are issues that often come up for my clients. Anxiety and stress are likely to be there too.
If these are things that you struggle with, why not book a free 30-minute Discovery Call with me and find out how I can help?
I'd love to hear from you. :)
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash