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.
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.
Homemade Gummy Candies – Healthful Pursuit – Use a juice of your choice
(source: Roxanne Gan and printed with permission)
If you’re like me you’re probably noticing body tension creeping in while you try to work from home. Not being able to have your usual chiropractic, massage and acupuncture appointments doesn’t help either. I wanted to share a short but effective yoga routine that’s been helping me keep my body feeling as good as possible over these last few weeks. I hope it helps ☺
Its always therapeutic and relaxing to start with child’s pose then a couple cat-cow stretches.
Child’s pose – let your body relax over your legs. Breathe deeply 5x while you continue to let go of tension.
Cat-cow stretch – Inhale arch back, exhale round back, repeat 5 times
Squat – release tension in back as you twist and open up the hips too.
Seated twist – Keep spine long. Inhale to lengthen spine, exhale to twist.
Seated – Butterfly pose to stretch the spine & inner thighs. Keep back tall and long as you flex at the hip.
On your back – hug knees to chest keeping shoulders down, using core strength to get hips closer to ground to stretch lower back. Then open legs for happy baby pose to stretch hamstrings and inner thighs.
Rest in supine butterfly for a few deep breaths.
Thread the needle – stretching the glutes help release tightness in the lower back too. Relax shoulders, gently pull leg into tummy and lengthen tailbone down to feel the stretch.
Finish with a good spinal twist, breathing into the belly, exhaling from the lower back.
Hold these poses for 1 to 5 min.
*note: These stretches should never cause pain. If they do, do not continue with that particular stretch.
Yoga for Upper Back, Neck, and Shoulders
During the last month or so I’ve been missing my regular massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture/cupping treatments. I found this yoga video that really helps with upper back, shoulder and neck tension. It is also super relaxing! Enjoy!
Loving Kindness Meditation is one of the of the more popular meditations that has been studied to understand its role on creating calm and well being for the individual practicing it as well as promoting compassion and kindness for others. In this time of uncertainty where stress is high within ourselves but also in relation to others, these are things we could use more of.
This meditation can be incredibly helpful and one that is worth a consideration.
Here are some articles explaining it. See what you think.
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