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Archive for the ‘naturopathic medicine’ Category

Showing Up Authentically

Posted on: May 22nd, 2020 by TouchStone Health

by: Dr. Amanda Cressman, N.D.

This post is looooong overdue.  It has been 10 weeks from today that I had been seeing patients in clinic when COVID-19 had changed our lives.

It’s been such an interesting time and for anyone who knows me, you know I love the word interesting as it is a great umbrella word for a variety of experiences.  What’s so bizarre and difficult to wrap my head around is the variance of experiences in the past 2.5 months.  How this virus can be life threatening to some and not to others, how the isolation has been horrendous for some and absolutely welcomed and enjoyable for others and the financial implications for so many people and businesses.  The only thread of consistency is that we are all connected in this, that this experience has affected us all and that among the variances, we are in it together.  We all know that life will never be quite the same hereafter- how businesses will run, how we interact with each other and ultimately how we perceive others.

With so much disruption, it is jarring, especially for those who are wired similarly to myself.

The reason I called this post Showing Up Authentically is that I ask people in my practice to do this.  I value authenticity and to ask it of others, which means I need to always ask it of myself….especially when it’s hard to do so.

When stress happens we often do one of three things.  We fight, we flee or we freeze.  My response when all this began was to fight.  My nervous system was spun.  Sleep was altered with the dreaded 3 am wakeup where my mind racing, the wired but tired feeling throughout the day was present, causing great levels of anxiety, the change in appetite and cravings were not great, to put it politely and the overall heaviness of this new and very unwelcome reality was felt.  But with time, the fight died off and the freeze took over, a feeling very new to me – numbness, fatigue, lack of motivation and deep sadness.  Collective grief was spoken about a lot in that time and was a great analysis of what we were all experiencing.

But like all things, there is a season, thank goodness there are seasons in nature and in life…as that fight and freeze response had passed to the present reality of acceptance and even finding joy with the changes that have come from all of this.

The point of this article is to remind you that you are not alone and that whatever season you are presently in – whether that be fear, joy, uncertainty, anger or ambivalence…you are not alone.  It’s been an honour to connect with people over the last few weeks and months, hearing their experiences, sharing in their story and supporting them…as it’s been really hard for many.  There is so much information out there, that many of us are in mental overdrive.  It’s hard to digest it all, knowing what to trust, wondering when things will change and how it will all look.  With all the mental chatter, it takes work and effort to connect with ourselves on an emotional level, really listening to what we need and giving space to feel it.  For me, as a health care practitioner, I’ve struggled with feeling some of these not so pleasant feelings and grateful to have given room for them to be felt.

Everything has a season and this has been one of the most bizarre seasons of my life.  I think many can relate to that.  The more we share, the more we open up about what is honestly going on in our lives, the more we remind others that we are in this together.  Showing up authentically is easy when things are great but not when things are tricky.  I hope however you are feeling, wherever you are at, that you are remembering your goodness, your worth and that you are not alone.

 

Great Gluten-free Recipes

Posted on: May 1st, 2020 by TouchStone Health

Written by: Amanda Cressman, N.D.

If you are like most people I have spoken with in the last few weeks, eating balanced meals that are healthy has been tricky.   There are so many reasons for this – less access to grocery stores and fresh foods, the sheer stress of shopping and the emotional eating that can occur from the stress and sadness of all the changes to our lifestyle.  Even just being home all day, everyday, where the kitchen is central to the home, it’s easy and understandable as to why many are eating more frequently than we need to.

When stress levels are high, blood sugar changes occur, whereas the body is needing to provide glucose to support the stress response.  Sugar cravings can increase and with chronic stress, weight changes then happen, specifically around the midsection.

For many, the past few weeks have been one of the most stressful experiences that they have gone through.  Supporting your stress response is of vital importance, not only for mental health but also for maintaining the daily habits that keep us grounded and supported in ourselves.

Even though it may not seem to be connected, eating balanced meals and choosing healthy food options supports our stress response.  Avoiding known food sensitivities is also helpful to ensure the body has no additional stress responses occurring.

So, I wanted to share some recipes/resources to hopefully inspire and surprise you with how easy and tasty they are.  They are all Gluten-free and some are also Grain-Free , supporting a variety of dietary plans in this time.  I have no affiliation with any of these sites, just happy to have found recipes that are easy to make and that support gluten-free and grain-free eating.

See what you think and I hope these recipe ideas taste great for you and support all the changes going on in your world.

Breakfast Ideas

Grain-free Berry Granola – Healthful Pursuit

Banana Oat Blender Pancakes – Kitchen Treaty

Coconut Flour Chocolate Crepes – Healthful Pursuit

Sweet Potato Hash – Healthful Pursuit

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal – Oh She Glows

Soft and Chewy Sugar Free Granola Bars – Oh She Glows

Almond Flour Pancakes – Comfy Belly

Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes – Comfy Belly

Quinoa Granola – Comfy Belly

Blueberry Syrup – Nourishing Meals

Gluten Free Raspberry Scones – The Roasted Root

Mochaccino Chia Breakfast Pudding – Joyous Health

Lunch Ideas

Spiralized Thai Salad Recipe – Against All Grain

Sea Salt Rosemary Zucchini Chips – Joyous Health

Veggie Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce – Avocado Pesto

Soft Gluten Free Sandwich Bread – A Little Insanity

The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread – My New Roots

Instant Pot Carrot Ginger Soup – Cook with Manali

Low Carb Irish Soda Bread – Elana’s Pantry

Tahini Glazed Carrots – Elana’s Pantry

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing – Detoxinista

The Best Quinoa & Black Bean Salad – Detoxinista

Raw Apple Cider Vinaigrette – Detoxinista

Honey Balsamic Dressing – Detoxinista

Easy Lentil, Sweet Potato & Coconut Curry – Detoxinista

“Cheeseburger” Salad with Special Sauce – Eating Bird Food

Paleo Chinese Chicken Salad – Paleo Running Momma

Dinner Ideas

Coconut Cauliflower Rice – Healthful Pursuit

Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl – Minimalist Baker 

Spicy Buddha Bowl – Crazy Vegan Kitchen

Sweet Potato Pizza Crust – Blissful Basil

Cauliflower Pizza Crust – Detoxinista

Curried Cauliflower Soup – Cookie and Kate

Dessert Ideas

Black Bean Chia Brownies – Joyous Health

One Bowl Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies – Oh She Glows

Raw Chocolate Cheesecake – Comfy Belly

Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies – Against All Grain

Fudgy Chocolate Tarts – Against All Grain

Banana Bread – Comfy Belly

Flourless Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins – Running with Spoons

Flourless Banana Bread Muffins – Running with Spoons

Fudgy Paleo Beetroot Brownies – The Roasted Root

Raw Tiramisu – Unconventional Baker

Chocolate Avocado Pudding – Pop Sugar

Cassava Banana Bread – Paleo Running Momma

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips Paleo – Paleo Running Momma

Sweet Potato Brownies – Paleo OMG

Healthy Carrot Cake – Detoxinista

Paleo Pumpkin Pie – Elana’s Pantry

Snacks

Chocolate Gelatin Bars – The Healthy You Project

Crunch Raw Protein Balls – The Healthy Family and Home

Homemade Gummy Candies – Healthful Pursuit – Use a juice of your choice

Date Energy Balls – Detoxinista

Mint Chocolate Truffle Bites – A Virtual Vegan

Easy Paleo Snack Bar Recipes – Beaming Baker

March Return & My Less-Than-Perfect Maternity Leave

Posted on: February 25th, 2020 by TouchStone Health

Written by: Dr. Melanie Reidl, N.D.

I’m feeling excited and energized about my return to Touchstone in March. After 6 months of maternity leave, it’s feeling right to step back into a career that brings me joy, challenges me, and allows me to help others.

In this post, I wanted to share a little bit about my time away from Touchstone. The honest truth about this maternity leave is that it’s been HARD. And it hasn’t been because of my beautiful baby girl, as you would expect it to be.  Since our sweet girl entered our lives in September, she has brought more joy, fulfillment, and love than we could have imagined. She’s literally been my sunshine on cloudy days.

Starting in November, my family was presented with several challenges and difficult news. In summary; Our family dog became very ill and we had to let him go, my grandfather’s cancer returned and he passed away, and I faced unexpected complications related to a past injury that required multiple visits to my orthopaedic surgeon, a surgery, and, during that time, left me extremely anxious about my health.

We’re all doing well now and I’m certain we’re through the worst of it. However during those difficult weeks I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘why is this happening?’ and ‘why all at once?’  Now that I’m through it, I feel that it was meant to be a test of my strength and resilience. It also forced my husband and I to work more as a team to care for our girls, to reach out for support from family, and to really APPRECIATE our blessings.

I am more grateful than ever to have my health, my two healthy babies, my husband, and my incredibly supportive family and friends.

I feel more motivated than ever to help you, my patients, through health (and life) challenges when I return to practice in March. If you’re currently facing a health challenge (or other life challenge), I am here for you, I will be present for you, and I will provide the most compassionate care that I can. 

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on: January 9th, 2020 by TouchStone Health

 

New Year’s resolutions… Believe it or not, I’m not a huge supporter of the concept of making goals and resolutions in January.  I would much rather see my patients (and myself) make changes and improve themselves on an ongoing basis, moment to moment. It’s great to have a vision for your new year, however I believe it’s essential to be flexible and continually reassess and modify our habits & goals throughout the year, as it unfolds. Nonetheless, here are three general principles I’m committing to for 2020.

1) BEING MORE PRESENT, MINDFUL & INTENTIONAL.

2) BEING MORE GRATEFUL.

3) BEING MORE POSITIVE & RESILIENT.

The reason I chose these three ‘resolutions’ for 2020, is that they can apply to all aspects of my life: family, community, career, and extra-curricular. I want to focus on living by these three principles so that I can enhance each aspect of my life in positive ways. They are SO essential for our mental health as well, and I will expand on this in a future post. These three guiding principles will be my compass as I navigate the successes and challenges that 2020 will inevitably bring!

Tips for Restful Sleep and Improving Energy & Mood This Winter

Posted on: November 25th, 2019 by TouchStone Health

Dr. Nevena Jovanovic, N.D. & Dr. Melanie Reidl, N.D.’s Tips for Restful Sleep and Improving Energy & Mood This Winter

Do you struggle with maintaining your energy and a positive mood thoughout the fall & winter? Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep?

Here are our top 5 recommendations to help with these common concerns.

1) Serotonin-Boosting Foods – Foods that contain the amino acid, tryptophan, help the body produce more of the hormone serotonin. Serotonin is important for energy, sleep, and mood. Eat salmon, chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts and seeds, and spinach to make more natural serotonin!

2) Sunlight Exposure Daily (and Vitamin D3!) – Getting daily exposure to sunlight, especially in the morning, can support your serotonin levels and sleep-wake cycle. Also, make sure to take a Vitamin D3 supplement to get its energy supportive benefits!

3) Exercise – Regular exercise stimulates the release of the hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These hormones support energy, sleep, and a more positive mood.

4) Supplements that Increase Serotonin or Lower Cortisol – There are several vitamins and herbs that support serotonin production or lower the stress-hormone, cortisol. These include: vitamin B6, magnesium, St. John’s Wort, Ashwaghanda, and other adaptogenic herbs. We can help you choose the best ones and correct dosages for your body.

5) Nervous System Support – Other therapies and practices can positively impact your energy, sleep, and mood hormones. These include: acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices. We hope you have a healthy, happy winter season. Dr. Nevena Jovanovic, N.D. would be happy to see you to help with any energy, sleep, or mood concerns that present.

Foundations of Health…Healthy Food Choices

Posted on: October 27th, 2019 by TouchStone Health

Written by: Amanda Cressman, N.D.

This time of year holds a lot – a lot of excitement and anticipation for festivals, parties, celebrations and events.  Amongst all this, there can be many who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed from the expectations placed upon them by others and most importantly, by themselves.

This past week has been an interesting one for myself and for many that I’ve spoken with.  The changing of the season to real Autumn weather has been hard – many have colds and coughs, the reminder that a new season is now here, where the nights are quickly dark, the wind is sometimes harsh and the temperatures are dropping, making it a little less easy to be outside.

This is a wonderful time to come back to centre, back to self and remember some key things you can do to support your health for a healthier and more comfortable winter season.

This week we are talking about healthy food choices, but I want to take a moment to highlight some key foundational pieces to health that will be highlighted in the coming weeks.

Healthy Food Choices
Digesting your Food/Choices
Digesting your Emotional Experience
Detoxifying your World
Giving your Body the Rest it needs
Inspiration/Breathing
Moving Stress Out
Being Understood
Belonging/Connection

Although these may seem obvious, they are surprisingly hard to do and even more surprisingly have been forgotten by many amongst our busy world.  I’m always amazed at how many of us, myself included have forgotten simple truths, such as – ensuring you are outside, daily…even for a few moments, taking at least one deep breath in a day, ensuring you are eliminating your food regularly, having a daily bowel movement, letting yourself feel emotions when they come up or at least soon after to honour what has been, sweating regularly, doing something you enjoy every day, remembering your body needs to sleep and loves routine of familiar bedtimes, etc…the list goes on and on.  When things are off in our health, it can be a great opportunity to reflect and reassess priorities and goals for oneself. For many of us, we know what to do but the doing can be difficult. Like Dr. Seuss said, “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

So, today’s focus is healthy food choices.  This is one that we are all confronted with daily, yet continues to be hard to accomplish in a world where food prep takes more time than what most people have and the convenience of prepared foods is becoming easier and more affordable.

So, I don’t like to cook.  It doesn’t come naturally, I’m not super good at it and I just haven’t ever enjoyed it.  I don’t enjoy grocery shopping and find it always just takes way more time than I allot for it and thinking about new and exciting foods is stressful for me.  I am working at changing this because when healthy food choices don’t work out, the following takes place.

BAD FOOD CHOICES = IMBALANCED BLOOD SUGAR = INCREASED CRAVINGS FOR CARBOHYDRATES = INCREASED INTAKE OF CARBOHYDRATES = LACK OF DRIVE/AMBITION = MOODINESS = SHAME AND SELF LOATHING FOR BAD FOOD CHOICES.

Obviously, not a great place to be but one that many experience, sometimes daily.  And it can be avoided but it takes looking at your day/week honestly and prioritizing healthy food choices to ensure blood sugar is balanced, helping mood, mental focus, digestion and all the other systems that are positively supported when good foods come in to your body.

I could go on about the benefits of eating local or in-season or organic or non GMO foods…that is all great, but first, looking at the foundations of health, I think it’s important to focus on eating regularly and to do so with whole foods…ideally foods that you or someone you know have prepared.

There are many ways to do this.  In our house we have a weekly menu chart with foods picked out for each day and the designated cook who will make it.  This ensures all foods are purchased for the week on Sunday, as coming to Wednesday night and seeing no vegetables left in your fridge is a sure fire way to eating poorly and generally thereafter feeling poorly.  When we do this, everything is easier and less stressed when it comes to food choices.

Many apps are available to help with this and luckily we live in an era of phenomenal online recipe bloggers, creating new and healthy recipes for all different types of dietary plans and preferences.  I am so grateful for this as I need real recipes and real advice to ensure I can serve something that is edible and delicious.

One thing we enjoy doing at TouchStone Health is putting together meal plans to help with this.  Melanie Reidl, N.D. and myself put together meal plans for those wanting support. We can put together plans for various dietary needs, health or weight goals.  My favourite parts of the plan are knowing it’s all figured out for the week, so no extra mental work is needed trying to be creative mid-week. And the best part is the shopping list, knowing all that is needed before the week begins is purchased or available, brings peace to my mind.  I’ve attached below a 3-day Paleo Plan to show how it works. Please use it, hoping the recipes are easy to work with, delicious and create a more peaceful experience in the kitchen, even if just for 3 days.

We can put together these plans for existing patients, with more information about the meal plans, here.

Even doing just this – ensuring you are eating Whole, healthy foods is a major piece in the bedrock of your foundation of health.  Your body, your mind and your emotional health will all benefit…helping you digest the rest of this busy world we live in more easily.

3 day meal plan

Fall Immunity Boosting Secrets

Posted on: October 11th, 2019 by TouchStone Health

By: Melanie Reidl, Naturopathic Doctor

With the start of fall, there is so much beauty to enjoy. However, along with fall colours and apples, cold and flu season has begun.  To help you avoid your Kleenex box, I will share my top 5 tactics to aid in avoiding cold and flu viruses!

1)  Sleep + Minimize Stress –  I’ve seen it time and time again, those who skip on sleep and go through stressful weeks end up sick.  Stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible, and incorporate stress reducing activities and mindfulness into your daily routine.

2) Avoid Sugar, Refined Carbohydrates + Alcohol - Sugar and high glycemic index foods cause a depression in white blood cell count within 12 hours of consuming them. This means you’re more likely to fall sick since your body doesn’t have the same defences.

3) Eat Foods with Protein, Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamin C – Each of the nutrients listed has an important role in immunity. A mindfully planned whole foods diet will include them, however if you’d like more direction with this, we can create a meal plan for you that includes the right immunity super foods!

4) Supplement with Vitamin D3 in Therapeutic Doses – With less sunlight and lower UV exposure in the fall/winter, it is important to supplement with Vitamin D3 at a therapeutic dose that will give your immune system what it needs.

5) Keep Your Gut Healthy – Eat probiotic and prebiotic foods, avoid sugar, and supplement with specific probiotic strains to keep your microbiome healthy. The healthier your gut/microbiome is, the better your defences will be against viruses + bacteria.

***If cold/flu symptoms do come on, there are lots of amazing natural remedies that can expedite your recovery and have you feeling better!  Schedule to see Dr. Nevena (who is covering for Melanie’s maternity leave) if you need some naturopathic support to fight a cold/flu or to prevent recurrent infections this fall. 

Lessons Learned from my Fertility Journey

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by TouchStone Health

By Melanie Reidl, Naturopathic Doctor

2018 was a difficult year for me, to say the least. One of my fears became a reality, I was struggling with trying to conceive and was experiencing significant anxiety and depression about it. I wanted to share a little about my fertility journey in this article, as I have so many patients, friends, and family members who have had their own fertility challenges and I know it can be a very isolating and distressing experience.

Going through my own fertility challenges has given me insight and compassion for others who are also going through it. The extensive testing, frequent appointments, worry, sadness, relationship stress…I’ve been there. But I do know that your experience can really depend on the approach you choose to take toward your fertility journey. When I started going to a fertility clinic this summer, I was overcome with anxiety, fear, and distrust. I didn’t trust in my body, my decisions, the doctor… and the experience became very scary for me.

Life circumstances required me to take a short break from care with the fertility clinic. During this time, I decided that I was tired of feeling like my fertility was out of my control. I took my health into my hands and I started to take better care of myself. I wanted to do what I could to improve my fertility, naturally. So, I nourished my body with whole foods. I moved my body in ways that felt good: yoga and walking. I made sleep a priority. I took high quality supplements to support my nutritional status, egg quality, and hormonal balance. I started meditating to calm my mind at night and practiced mindfulness. I used affirmations and chose to think more positive thoughts.

After a few months, I felt ready to return to the fertility clinic, but this time I decided to go in with a new outlook. I trusted my body more, felt more confident in my decisions, and trusted my great doctor. I began to feel a sense of empowerment over my health and fertility. I no longer felt anxious about the experience, I felt excited about it. After all, it was leading me to (hopefully) conceiving!

With time and patience, my body responded to all of the self-care I had been doing. I started to get regular ovulatory menstrual cycles again. My bloodwork showed that my hormones were doing exactly what they should be. My ultrasounds showed that my follicles were growing and that I was ovulating. With each piece of encouraging news, I started to trust and love my body more and more for the amazing things it was doing for me.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this journey is to TRUST. Trust is the opposite of anxiety. When you trust in your body, yourself, your doctors, the universe… you will feel calmer and more at peace with your journey. Feeling calmer and more at peace is also exactly the state you want to be in to allow your nervous system to relax and support healthy conception. :)

Please let Melanie know if you have any questions ( MelanieReidlND@gmail.com ).

A Naturopathic Approach to Infertility

Posted on: January 22nd, 2019 by TouchStone Health

by Melanie Reidl, Naturopathic Doctor

For those of you struggling with infertility, I understand the pain. As an ND who has gone through it, I understand the worry, sadness, and stress it can cause. Even finding the right practitioners and the right treatment approach can be a challenge. From my own fertility journey, to the many patients I’ve supported on theirs, I have seen the magic of naturopathic medicine alone or alongside conventional fertility care.

In this article, I wanted to outline the assessment and treatment approach, and modalities that I use when a patient comes to me for fertility support.  In some cases, a specific diagnosis for the infertility has been made, and we would start treatment. In other cases, patients come to me with ‘unexplained infertility’ and I will spend the time necessary to help uncover reasons for the infertility.

In the case of ‘unexplained infertility’, I often run some laboratory tests to more thoroughly check thyroid function and hormones such as cortisol, estrogen, and progesterone. This helps to determine if there are subtle abnormalities with the thyroid or hormones that are impacting fertility. I also have these patients track their BBT (basal body temperature) and ovulation signs so that we can monitor the cycle and increase fertility awareness.

Once a diagnosis has been established, we focus on treatment. As far as treatment goals, they include the following:

1) Optimize egg/sperm quality,  

2) Balance hormones

3) Treat the specific cause of infertility

4) Support mental-emotional health (a very important piece!)

Treatment modalities that I frequently use with my fertility patients include the following:

1) Nutritional Medicine

2) Lifestyle Medicine

3) Herbs/Botanical Medicine

4) Acupuncture

5) Counselling & Mindfulness techniques.

Nutrition involves a dietary assessment, individualized dietary guidelines, and nutrient supplementation. Lifestyle medicine involves an assessment of one’s current lifestyle and introducing changes that support fertility such as exercise and sleep recommendations, and specific stress reduction strategies. Herbs can be very powerful in the treatment of infertility. There are several that have been studied and found to regulate the menstrual cycle and improve conception rates. Acupuncture has also been well studied and has been found to be a great supportive treatment in infertility. I find that acupuncture, in addition to mindfulness techniques can really improve patients’ mental-emotional health and support the relaxation of the nervous system that is needed for healthy conception.

An individualized approach to infertility is so important, since there are so many possible causes and reasons for it. This is why seeing and ND can be so helpful; the holistic and individualized assessment and treatment approach lends itself to fertility care. As an ND who has been there herself, I strive to be a compassionate practitioner who sees and supports you as a beautiful person going through a challenging time, not as an infertility diagnosis.

 

A Promise…

Posted on: January 13th, 2019 by TouchStone Health

Written by: Amanda Cressman, N.D.

The New Years is generally a time of reflection and creation of goals and plans for the coming year.  20 years ago I created a resolution of sorts with myself and have been asked to share it here.  It’s one I have spoken about numerous times in my office and I hope it may be of interest to you, if you’re reading this.

When I was 19 years old, I was in my first year of university and was doing my best to be successful in all aspects of life.  I was in a science program that was challenging, living in a dorm with lots of people and away from home for the first time.  To give you more context, I didn’t know it then but I was a perfectionist…or at least on the spectrum – expecting the best from myself and frustrated and embarrassed when this wasn’t achieved.  I had a ton of friends…I literally was invited to 50 weddings in 7 years.  I was that girl…the girl everyone was friends with, who floated easily between cliques and groups of friends and somehow made connections in them. I was about 30-40 lbs heavier than what I am now and I went to each of these weddings alone…single which was difficult but was my reality.  I share these details to help you gain more understanding as to why this resolution was created.

So, one day in the Math Building at University of Waterloo, I got back a calculus test and didn’t do well.  I did ok, but ok was never enough for me, it needed to be great.  I was known as the ‘smart’ girl growing up and not achieving well in school shattered this core part of my identity.  Upon getting the mark, I did what I always did in times like that….I went for it…and began criticizing and basically yelling at myself.  My inner dialog was mean, harsh, shaming and malicious.  And it didn’t just stop at not achieving the mark I thought I should have, it was relentless and began attacking my body, my personality, every shortcoming it could see, it attacked.  In those moments I would freeze, almost like a child receiving punishment, waiting for it to be over….for my sense of worth to be trampled on before moving on with my day.  But for some reason, something was different this day.  I was struck with a new thought, that this behaviour was hypocritical…that if I were to talk to any of my friends the way I talked to myself, that they would be appalled and I would have no friends.  For some reason, this dissonance was very unsettling and wasn’t ok.  I have always strived to be authentic as best I can and this was the opposite of that.

So, I did something that was very un-me.  I went out shopping and spent money on myself.  I bought myself a ring as rings had represented something very special to me – the symbol of worth.  And instead of waiting for someone to give me this gift, it was time to give it to myself.  So, I bought myself a promise ring and made a commitment to work at being my own friend.  Each time I would catch myself criticizing or judging myself, I would rub my ring and say, “What would you want your best friend to say to you?” and I would say it to myself.  It was actually really hard for the first bit and was challenging as trying to be an authentic person…the compliment felt very inauthentic.  But I kept with it and 20 years later, I’m on my 3rd ring with the compliments finally feeling easy and becoming more of my natural narrative.  It’s still a process, one that needs attention and care but changing anything is just that…a process.

New Years Resolutions are a wonderful symbol of the desire to change but a game plan is needed to implement the change on a day to day basis, especially when it really counts.  I am so grateful for that moment in the Math Building when the realization that the narrative had to change to ensure I was being authentic and able to lead a kinder and happier life.

Happy New Years to you and hoping whatever resolution you have created, that it’s one that creates health and well being for you on all levels.

Amanda Cressman, N.D.

 

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