Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Focusing on the non-food aspects of health

This fall I participated in a program hosted by our family's nutritionist, Andrea, Nakayama, called the Girl's Guide to Hashimoto's. It was a tremendous experience for me and a healing experience for me to put my own health front and center for a while, and put Ellie's health on auto pilot (as much as I am capable of, anyway).

The program was a huge undertaking for me and I learned a TON. I learned a tremendous amount about my own phisiology, what Hashimoto's is, how my personal history and genetics got me here and how it expresses itself uniquely in me. The program had an active message board and I benefitted tremendously from the ongoing support from Andrea and her other nutritionists, along with the other participants in the program, who are walking this road alongside me. There is something very healing about realizing you're not the only one who experiences the symptoms you do ... that you're not alone.

One of the big ah-ha's I left the program with was that I have - for years - been over-emphasizing the food element of our health and under-emphasizing the myriad other ways I can support my health. I realized I really needed to step up my own self care, not only to benefit myself, but to benefit everyone else in my family. The food piece had become obsessive for me. I wanted to get it *perfect* and I wanted to arrive at my ideal energy level and ideal weight *right now.* I wanted Ellie to feel amazing all the time. I'm working on letting all that go.

So this winter I'm taking some time to hone in on my own self care. I'm making room for:

hot cups of tea and (vegan and sugar-free) hot chocolate
lingering an extra couple of minutes in bed in the morning
date nights with my husband
getting a massage and going to the sauna
time in nature
reading books to my children by the fire
buying myself a treat here and there - a new dress, a perfect teapot, beeswax candles

One thing I learned from my time doing the Girl's Guide is that I really enjoy being a part of a supportive online community. Especially in these cold and rainy winter months where we can go weeks without a casual chat with the neighbors. Even my die-hard introverted self gets lonely. So I signed up for a different program for the wintertime, this time I'm doing Hibernate through Heather at Beauty that Moves. I really dislike winter, so I was hopeful that Hibernate would help me embrace winter and boy have I been right. It's been lovely. Part of the retreat included creating our own Winter Wellness Recipe. Here's mine:

Each year that passes since having children has drawn me deeper into appreciating and embracing the seasons. This season is slow, quiet, contemplative - all things I love! So why do I hate winter? I'm working on making friends with it.

More than anything I am working on slowing down and appreciating these two children I've been blessed with. They are growing so, so fast. August is 19 months old already and Ellie proudly tells everyone she meets that she's five and a half. These moments where they want all of their mama and nothing but their mama are overwhelming and profoundly wonderful. I am so grateful.

If I can be as excited about life as my toddler is excited about trash day, that's really all I'll ever need :)


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