Get Healthy: How to Best Care for your Body

Having a healthy body is so important. There are so many campaigns running right now with a Love Your Body theme, and I adore them. I think these campaigns are providing many women and men with the courage and ability to feel comfortable in their own skin, regardless of shape, size, color, or ability.

Our bodies are a beautiful thing, and we should always be grateful for them. Yes, loving the way your body looks is crucial, but loving the way your body works is important too. The way in which our bodies function, move, and thrive is miraculous.

Think about it: our bodies are so complex, and can accomplish so much. From digesting food, to fighting off colds, to being able to chew and swallow, to running, jumping, stretching, and engaging in all the activities we love. They are just spectacular.

Due to working in the medical field, I have grown to appreciate my body more and more each day. I feel that as a young, spry person, I have taken my health and wellness for granted. Luckily, I have pulled away from this ideology and now truly value both the simple and complex things that my body can do.

It can be difficult to appreciate the “simple” things our body does like breathing, mobilizing limbs, or having our hearts beat into our chests, because those things seem so normal. Isn’t crazy to think that our lungs remember to breathe all on their own. It’s an automatic function, and it’s part of this beautiful system that keep us alive.

This system, however, is very intricate, and it can fall apart in an instant…

Having to watch patients struggle with the essentials of staying alive, such as breathing, has helped me see how important it is to take care of my body. I want to be healthy, I want to be strong, I want to appreciate my body each and every day. And I definitely want to dance the funky-chicken at my 97th birthday celebration.

I want to live. I want to thrive. And I want to experience all the joys of life while at my best health.

Here are the ways in which you can best care for your body:

1. Stop taking your health for granted 

As mentioned above, we take these “simple” functions for granted, but they keep us up and running. Every single part of your body has a purpose, and you should value and cherish that no matter what. Love your body for what it looks like, and for what it can do.

2. Eat well

Although this doesn’t mean that you always need to eat all organic, grass-fed food (although that would be ideal), energize your body with healthy food that has adequate nutrients. Eat fresh food. Cook at home so you know what ingredients are going into your body. Have a fridge packed full of veggies, fruits, yogurt, nuts, etc. Nourish your body, and it will work even harder for you.

3. Limit sugars and processed foods

This includes soda. Yes, I love that delicious bubbly too, but it’s really not the greatest thing for your body. Sugars are empty calories and have little to no health benefits.

Processed foods also contain lots of sodium, and typically have a ton of preservatives. Man-made chemicals are exactly that, man-made. Try to consume foods that are produced by the earth.

4. Exercise

Whether it’s every day or once a week, exercise. Allow your body to feel good and strong. Exercise is also great for your mental wellness, as it increases serotonin levels in the brain and can elevate your mood. Make sure to do something you enjoy. Running on a treadmill at the gym is not fun for me, so I go for a run outside instead. Again, whatever it may be, have fun!

5. Limit substance use

Hey, a cocktail or glass of wine now and then is totally fine. But remember that too much of anything isn’t healthy, especially alcohol or other drugs. While you may enjoy using recreationally, make sure that using doesn’t start to affect your health and/or ability to function and participate in daily tasks. If you happen to find that this is the case, for you or a friend, there are plenty of ways to get help.

6. Love your body

If you mentally love your body, you will have more reasons to care for your body. Each and every single person has been blessed with the body they were given. Yes, it’s a blessing. Love yourself, love your healthy body, and be comfortable in the skin that you’re in. The happier you are within yourself, the better care you can take of yourself.

YOU. ARE. PERFECT. JUST. THE. WAY. YOU. ARE.

7. Respect your body

Try not to put yourself down in front of others, or even when you’re alone. Remember that your body is a gift, and it provides you with a safe home. Both body and mind should be connected, so if you struggle with self-esteem, try to say three positive things about yourself each morning. Positive affirmations will help you mentally connect to your body, and also help you accept your body. Aim for a well-rounded love of your body and mind. You are worth it.

Ever have a health scare? Check out some tips on how to cope here.

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xx,

Paula

How to Handle a Health Scare

Needing to handle a health scare can be terribly frightening…

Our bodies are a gift. A gift that is a blessing, and allows us to think, and move, and do all the things that bring joy to our lives. It’s a super hottie gift. And also a gift that we may take for granted sometimes…

I recently experienced some symptoms that were concerning, and actually super scary. A full-blown health scare. Because I work in healthcare, I immediately thought of the worst case scenario. I wondered how bad it could be, and I tried to figure things out. Obviously, the first thing I had to do was go see a doctor. Not my favorite thing to do, like not at all lol. This, in and of itself, is terrifying because physicians are trained to tell you if something is a problem or not. The worst part is when the doctor gets that look on his/her face and says that they’ll need to do further testing. That usually means that something is wrong…

Luckily, nothing concerning was found, and I am so so so grateful for that. However, having gone through this provided me with an alternative perspective. One, as a health care professional, and two as a person with family and friends who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Because I practically live in a hospital, death is now an everyday thing. Illness has become the norm.

My own personal experience helped remind me of how frightening it must be for patients to come in for a health scare examination, come in for a procedure, or come in for their chemo treatments. Because this is now my norm, going through this allowed me to have more empathy for what my patients, friends, and family members might be feeling. The fear, the angst, the anxiety, or even just the thought that something might be seriously wrong with their body.

I also came to find that if you’re the person being screened for a potential diagnosis, having a positive outlook isn’t necessarily the answer. I’ve always believed in the saying “expect the worst but hope for the best,” and that’s what I did.

Throughout this process, the people in my life who were aware of what was happening continued to reassure me that nothing was wrong, and that everything’s going to be ok. Which before you have the final results could be totally true, but what if it’s not?

Because I knew how bad the news could potentially be, I was hopeful rather than positive. I was hoping that nothing would be wrong, but I wasn’t expecting for nothing to be wrong. I took the time to consider potential outcomes for each possible scenario, and try to prepare myself. If the prognosis was poor, how would I process the bad news? If I needed treatment, would I pursue that? And if I needed help, who would be available to help me?

Again, because I work in healthcare I knew that these thoughts could potentially become a reality

I feel lucky to have had such amazing support while all this was happening, and I am grateful that I am healthy. Health is wealth. Having a functioning, strong, well body is so important, and really, all that you need.

Take care of your body, love your body, and cherish all the things that it can do. It could all be taken away with the blink of an eye…

Most importantly, love your bodyIt is beautiful, and it is perfect just the way it is. We spend so much time criticizing our bodies when we should really be appreciating them.

Enjoy your body. Appreciate your body. Love your body. 

xx,

Paula

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Stress and How to Overcome it

Stress can be super rough on the mind, body, and soul. Ever have one of those days where it feels like the sky is falling? You have countless things to do, and have no idea where to start? Yeah, that’s what every day at my job feels like. Even though the things I’m doing are “helping” others, the stress of it can potentially be harming me.

Having those days can create a lot of overwhelm and stress, however, you still need to figure out how to get shit done. It’s important to consider doing only what can be done that day—all while simultaneously managing other projects or cases.

There are many ways to overcome stress. Some more simple than others, some that can help instantaneously, and some that require a lengthy process and a great deal of time. The first step is trying to learn how to manage those mini episodes of tension.

Here are some helpful tips on how to manage stress at the office:

1. Take a deep breath

Deep breathing helps calm the body and also helps you center yourself. Because stress has the same effect on the body as the fight or flight response, your body is preparing itself for potential danger. Per Harvard University, deep breathing is a “relaxation response” that allows the body to fill with o2—this can slow your heart rate and normalize blood pressure.

Even if you need to step outside for a moment, engage in a breathing exercise and allow your lungs to expand. Take in all of the oxygen, and allow your body to feel the relaxation.

2. Put things into perspective

Remind yourself—of the positive reasons—why you’re doing your job. This will help you to put things into perspective, and allow your body and mind to process the reasons in which you continue to put up with this batshit crazy mess on a daily basis.

3. Stay Positive

You’re a baller. Remind yourself that you are good at your job. Sometimes we work on very challenging cases, with very challenging people. This can sometimes cause us to question our abilities and strengths. Remember how great you are at your job. If it will help, write down 5-10 reasons as to why you’re excellent at what you do—keep this in your desk, pocket, or purse so it is easily accessible.

4. Step back and assess the situation

Think: What about this is making me anxious? Is it time? Is it the number of tasks I need to get done? Is it because I cannot find a solution? Whatever it is, it’s okay. Take a step back and break it down.

5. Prioritize your biz

Break down your responsibilities. What is the most pressing item that needs to be completed. Which task has a deadline? Depending on where you work and what your responsibilities are, you know how to set priorities—basically, what is it that your company values and prefers to get taken care of first? You are capable of making smart decisions. You got this!

6. Time management

Set time limits. If you’ve prioritized the 7 million and 23 things you need to do, and there’s still too many things to manage in a single 8-hour shift, then you might want to consider setting time limits on each task. With this, if there are mini deadlines or specific planning that needs to be completed, you can arrange your time in a way that will allow for you to get to everything on your list.

7. Ask for help

 Sometimes our colleagues may have less work to finish than we do. If considered appropriate in your office, reach out to ask if anyone has some extra time to either partner up with you, or completely take the task off of your hands. Even if this is only for a few hours, or to get you to the next step, anything is helpful.

8. Know when to stop

Just because we are scheduled for an 8-hour shit, doesn’t mean that you only stay those 8-hours. Sometimes I find myself doing plenty of overtime. This is okay sometimes, however, it should not become a regular thing. Remember that you need to take care of yourself. Spending all of your time working is not congruent with the idea of self-care

9. Do something for you

Whether this is a daily or weekly thing, make sure to engage in an activity that you enjoy. As mentioned above, self-care is VERY important. When you are able to care for your mind and body, you allow them to rest and revitalize. With this, when you return to work you will be refreshed and productive.

10. Make work-life balance a regular thing

Self-care is so important all the time, not only in times of stress. Maintaining a work-life balance should become a part of your lifestyle. Know when to say no. Know when enough is enough. Be aware of burnout, and make sure that your mind and body are provided with the care that they need.

Be kind to yourself. Make yourself the priority…

xx,

Paula