This week on Entrepreneur School, we speak with Melissa Deally, a mind and body health coach who will be discussing the impact of stress, nutrition, sleep on the body and mind, and how they impact hormones, causing PMS and menopausal symptoms that too many women tolerate and accept as “normal”.
Melissa Deally is an Integrative Mind Body Health Practitioner, also trained in NLP, Time Line Therapy and Hypnotherapy.
She’s dedicated to helping her clients discover the root cause of their health issues and truly heal while detoxing their physical, mental and emotional bodies.
Melissa also uses the power of functional medicine lab tests mailed to your home, while offering a very high level of support, to ensure her client’s success, as we navigate the path of bringing the physical, mental and emotional bodies back into balance while creating new lifestyle habits to ensure lasting results.
One of the most important things, I think is overlooked and often not connected at all to running a business is health and wellness. I’m excited to have Melissa here to talk to us about that. I recently shared in an email yesterday that I sent out inviting people to this event that there was a time when I couldn’t even wrap my head around the connection between my physical body and feeling healthy and well.
Health isn’t everything, but without it, everything else is nothing. Health is also our greatest asset and to lump it in with our other big assets, our home, and our car — and we look after our car.
We take it in for oil changes, we put the right gas in it. We’re not filling it up with sludge to ensure that it keeps running, you know, regular services, etc. And our home, well, we clean, we vacuum, we take out the garbage, we fix things when they’re broken, we renovate when needed. But are we doing this for our bodies? Very often we’re not.
Yet we can buy a new car, we can buy a new house, cannot buy a new body, and cannot build a business from our sick bed.
When you see that as soon as somebody loses their health, the first thing they say is that they wish that they had that back. It doesn’t seem to be a priority until it’s gone or at risk.
The Dalai Lama said, “Man can have 100 dreams until he doesn’t have his health, and then he has but one.”
Who am I? My name is Melissa Deally. I am the owner of your guided health journey. I’m an integrative mind-body health practitioner, also trained in NLP, timeline therapy and hypnotherapy.
So that’s a whole bunch of big words that probably mean nothing to anyone. So, I love to say that I’m a baggage removalist and toxin slayer. That’s way more fun. And what I do in my role is help create freedom from the chaos of life and life stressors. And let’s face it, life can be chaotic, and life is stressful.
I’m the catalyst to guide you through the most toxic parts of your life. We live in a toxic world, so I help you discover your toxic load, and remove the toxins from your body, but not just addressing the physical body, also addressing the mental and emotional body. So toxic behaviours, toxic food, toxic relationships, toxic thinking, so that you can get back to living your best life and achieving the dreams you want because all this toxicity is holding you back and weighing you down. I also help you get to the root cause of your health issue using functional medicine labs that get mailed to your home. So very easy to do them and send them back to the lab.
And then we see where the imbalances are in your body. I’m not a doctor. I don’t diagnose, I don’t cure. What I do is we see where the imbalances are, what the deficiencies are, and what the toxicities are, so we know how to correct that. And when we correct it, the body comes back into balance, and it will heal itself because that’s what it’s designed to do.
So toxins can be impacting our hormones as well. That is, of course, part of our conversation today. Are your hormones driving you crazy? But I also just want to share that your health is a journey. There is no magic pill.
I hate to bust that for you. It takes time. And initially, it’s becoming aware of the problem and getting into that awareness state. And very often, people just kind of stop knowing they have a problem, and then they don’t go any further. But the awareness state is where we realize, I need new skills, I need help, I need guidance to resolve this issue and where we’re needing to fill the gap and we’re reaching out to other people who can support us, and then we fill that gap.
We learn the skills, we learn what we need to be doing, and then we’re implementing that into our life so that’s practicing those skills. And as we do that, that becomes a habit. We’re managing our lives better; we have the solution and we’ve now resolved that issue. As with many things in our life, you know, as we go through life, one health issue can be resolved and there may be another health issue that crops up. I don’t consider your health journey to ever finish.
But what we can be doing is always choosing to be as proactive as possible so that we’re able to address things quickly because we haven’t got that far out of balance, right? The further out of balance we are, the longer it takes to help heal the body. But the great news is, for most people, we can be rebalancing the body in a period of only four to six months. And that’s not very long, given how long it might have taken you to get to where you’re at today. Nobody goes to bed 100% healthy and wakes up the next day and gets diagnosed with a chronic illness.
That chronic illness has been brewing inside our body for months, years even in some cases. And we may have had symptoms, but society teaches us to suck it up, ignore the symptoms, and push through, we start to write them off as signs of aging, allergies, or genetics and do nothing. I want to invite you to stop ignoring your symptoms because your symptoms are your body’s way of talking to you and asking you to do something differently. And when we create awareness around those symptoms, we become aware of the problem sooner and we can address it sooner.
Key signs of hormone imbalance
Anxiety, irritability, overwhelm, tender or fibrocystic, breasts, weight gain in the hip area, brain fog, vaginal dryness, sleep issues, low libido, abnormal cycles, hair loss, memory issues, and poor recall. So those are kind of the top signs of hormonal imbalance. It doesn’t mean it’s only hormonal imbalance.
We don’t have a place to educate women about going through menopause. And so, as such, the way we learn about menopause is very often by talking to our friends, talking to our mothers, our sisters, etc. And when you hear their symptoms and then you experience it, you think, oh, this is normal, because they experienced, I experienced. This must be what menopause is. But the reality is, is that all these symptoms are telling you that your hormones are out of balance, and you can do something about it.
You don’t have to accept these symptoms as our right through being a woman, and we must tolerate, accept, and suffer through them as we go through menopause. So that’s empowering, just to know that you can rebalance your hormones and alleviate those symptoms. Because our bodies are made so beautifully, we were not designed to suffer. It’s just society that has kind of taught us that that’s the rite of passage of a woman.
Here’s the thing: perimenopause two menopause can last eight to ten years. Do you want to suffer for eight to ten years of your life? No.
And those eight to ten years of our life are very powerful years of our life when, you know, we’re coming into our wisdom. We’re growing as individuals. There are often life changes going on there, and we deserve to be living it at our very best and not suffering through PMS. On the other end, with younger women, even kids in high school, again, it’s accepted as totally normal. You can walk through any high school hallway and hear girls talking about PMS.
I know women I’ve worked with, women who have told me my PMS was so bad, I was afraid to go to work because I didn’t want to talk to anybody because I thought that I might bite their head off, and that wasn’t justified. So, it was easier to stay home and not talk to anyone for those two days every month. So, it’s impacting your life when it’s at that point.
And all we had to do was run a lab, see where their hormones were and rebalance them. I struggled from the age of 18 with migraines that I would get at the onset of my cycle every month, and it was just one or two days. I lived with it. I went to a homeopathic doctor who gave me some homeopathic treatment to help me cope with the pain of the migraine.
But I lived with it, thinking, this is what it is to be a woman. As I got a little bit older, there was a time when suddenly, instead of just getting it for one or two days, I got these migraines for five days in a row. And they were debilitating. I was at work, trying to work, trying to meet deadlines.
My head was pounding. I just wanted to go into a dark room, turn off all stimulation and wish someone would chop off my head. I went to the doctor to say, why are they suddenly worse? Something inside me was telling me to ask why. Because I felt if I knew why I could then change whatever it was that I needed to change so that I didn’t get these daily migraines anymore.
And my doctor had nothing for me other than a stronger dose of medication to get rid of it. Homeopathic medicine was no longer available. It’s prescription drugs at this point, and I didn’t want a stronger prescription drug. I wanted to understand why.
So I gave up on that. I found a naturopath and went and saw her at the end of our intake session. She said to me, “Why don’t we test your hormones?” And I said yes. I didn’t know that was possible, but that’s exactly what I’m looking for because in testing my hormones, we’ll see where they might be out of balance and what we can do.
I learned that my progesterone levels were very low relative to my estrogen levels, and that’s a common trigger of migraines. She gave me this disgustingly, vile tincture that I had to take one teaspoon of it for two weeks of each cycle for two months. And I did because I wanted to get rid of these migraines.
And after just that first month, I noticed that my migraines were much better, and receding. Even my normal two-day migraine before my cycle was so much less intense. I did it for the second month and my migraines went away.
It’s amazing what we can do when we want to heal and when we notice improvement, right? And the beautiful thing about our body is when we create the environment for it to heal, it will start healing very quickly. I had no migraines for seven years. And then they came back.
Our hormones are always changing because our hormones are impacted by all sorts of other things. I’ve mentioned toxins. Stress is another factor, right? All these things in our bodies impact our hormones, so they’re always changing. So, seven years later, they came back.
I went back to the naturopath and said, I need more of that disgusting stuff. She said, “Maybe we need to run the lab test again.” And I said you know what? They’re exactly what they were before. I don’t think I need to run the lab test again.
I think my progesterone is low relative to my estrogen. Let’s do this again. If it doesn’t work, I’ll come back. It worked. So that lasted another however many years, and then I hit perimenopause, and now I had migraines, but they were different.
And so this time I went back and said, can we run that lab again? Because the migraine is different this time. And this time I found out my estrogen was low, my progesterone was low, my testosterone was low, and the naturopath was looking at me going, I’m not sure how you’re still standing right now. But again, we knew exactly where the imbalances were in my body so that we could address them. And that was powerful because I was able to address it quickly.
I’m through menopause now, but my experience of going through menopause was very easy with very few symptoms because I was able to address it early and I didn’t have to suffer. That’s what I want for others. I pay it forward. I educate on this. I share the fact that this is available to people because I didn’t know.
We don’t know what we don’t know, right, until we need to know. If we just go to our doctor, doctors aren’t promoting this. And if they do test your hormones, they’re using blood, whereas testing hormones through saliva is a far more effective test for hormones. We get those tests on the holistic side of health. And interestingly enough, that very same lab I ran the first time with the naturopath, I now run myself for my clients, and I still run it regularly just to make sure, because even coming through menopause, our hormones are still changing, and we can still have menopausal symptoms for two to three years after.
Do you know where your hormones are at? And do you know how they’re impacting your life?
Let’s talk about our liver, and let’s talk about how it’s getting bogged down just based on everyday life in our world today. Our liver is charged with cleansing our blood every six minutes and 500 different chemical reactions in the body that are helping to keep our body clean and trying to get those toxins out. In our world today, though, our poor livers are getting bogged down so that they can’t do everything.
We know that alcohol impacts the liver. So, there’s excessive workload, smoking, prescription, and over-the-counter medicines because it has to break all of those down. Very often, there are chemicals in those that our natural body isn’t used to having to deal with. Infection and illness are impacting the health of our liver. Stress, psychological, and emotional, as well as physical stress on the body.
Processed foods are negatively impacting our liver. Environmental toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides. I just want to point out that since World War II, we’ve had 1440 man-made chemicals introduced into our world that are getting into our bodies through our waterways and our food airways. We’re putting them on our skin through personal care products. What’s also impacting our liver are allergies and food intolerances. We may not even be aware of those.
Every time we put something in our mouth in terms of food intolerances and sensitivities, it’s a trigger that we’re not necessarily aware of. Poor nutrition and poor eating habits, eating on the run, eating in a stressful state, et cetera, are impacting our liver’s ability to do its job, as are coffee and energy drinks. And we are a coffee-addicted society. How many people are having an energy drink in the afternoon to get through our day? As you can tell, we’re bogging down our livers, but we may not be aware of that.
There are also deficient soil systems, which we also have ever since the advent of the agricultural revolution. It’s been take, take, take, from the soil to produce as much as we can to feed the world. We’re not allowing those soils to settle and rejuvenate so that the nutrients are in the soil. If they’re not in the soil and they’re not grown into the food, and then they’re not in the food that we’re eating. So as an example, if I were to go back to, like, the 1940s and pick an orange and compare that to the oranges we get today, we would need to eat nine oranges today to get the same nutrient content from that one orange.
In the 1940s, nobody eats nine oranges in one sitting. You can’t because that’s too much fibre. You would fill up too fast, but that’s just oranges. The same can be said about spinach and all the other food that’s grown in our nutrient deplete soils and how that impacts our liver as well is that our liver detoxes in two phases, and both phases are important. Phase two is where it converts the toxins to being water soluble, so we can excrete them through our breath, through our skin, through our urine, and our bowels.
If the body can’t convert them to being water soluble, it’s very smart. It doesn’t want these toxins in our bloodstream, so it stores them in our fat closets. Where are our biggest fat closets? Well, our brain is largely made up of fat and water. In women, our breasts are full of fatty tissue, right?
If we have additional weight, then we’ve got more fat closets that our liver is storing our toxins in. Our fat is toxic when it can’t get the toxins out of our bodies. If we’re not getting those nutrients into our food, the body can’t get them out. The key nutrients needed for that phase two conversion are not in our soils today. I like to say that our liver is overburdened and undernourished, so we need to be supporting our liver more.
Another thing that I’m going to share, too, is I talked about our breasts being fatty tissue, and that our breasts are also very close to our lymph nodes. One of our biggest lymph node areas is under our upper left arm for getting toxins into our lymph nodes and being drained out of the body. When we are wearing tight bras or underwire bras, it’s trapping the toxins in our breath and not allowing them to move through and into our lymphatic tissue. My recommendation to people is we stop wearing bras as much as possible.
Often we’re told that we must wear bras, so our breasts don’t sag, et cetera. The thing is, again, the human body is such a miracle when we don’t wear bras.
We’re using the muscles in our chest. And it isn’t about saggy breasts. It’s about using what nature gave us. And some of the messages we get are purely marketing messages to sell bras, right? So just think about that. Do you want your toxins stored in your breasts? No. Because look at all the breast cancer we have in the world today too.
The average woman is putting over 200 toxins on her skin every morning before going out the door to work, just getting ready.
From shampoos and conditioners to face washes to moisturizers to makeup, etc. Each of these ingredients has multiple toxins in them. And when we put it directly on our skin, does anybody want to type in the chat how quickly they think that goes into our bloodstream?
It is 26 seconds.
When we do that, it is going straight into our bloodstream and it is not getting even, giving the liver a chance to detox it. We need to be aware of this and once we know things it’s, what do we then do? Right? We have this information, what can we do about it? There are so many companies now that are making really clean products that we can be using instead.
I’m not somebody that says you have to throw everything out and start over. That can be expensive. But as you finish up things, start switching out those things for clean alternatives now that you know what’s happening, because we don’t want those toxins in our bloodstream, because then they are travelling throughout our entire body. On my website yourguidedhealthjourney.com, a resources page and then when you click on Resources, it goes to My Recommendations. And under the My Recommendations page, I list all sorts of clean options for personal care products. Check that out if you’re looking for options for cleaner products because I have several companies that are listed there if you’re looking for help in that area.
Our liver is also charged with detoxing our excess estrogen.
If our liver is bogged down and can’t do its job properly, it can’t detox our excess estrogen. This becomes a problem because it can put us into an estrogen-dominant state. Now we are also getting estrogen through food, and it can be healthy foods as well. And we’re getting estrogen called Xenoestrogens through products that we’re using. It’s in plastics, it’s in a lot of those personal care products, et cetera.
That makes the body think that our estrogen is higher. Plus, we’re getting it in through our food like soy, plant-based foods, flax seeds, nuts, etc. What we need to be doing is ensuring that our body can detox what is deemed to be excess estrogen.
Being in an estrogen-dominant state has a domino effect on our health. What happens in our estrogen-dominant state over time is that it can start to slow our thyroid and that slows our metabolism, which can cause weight gain. One in eight women today is having thyroid issues. It can also put us on the path to type two diabetes, which nobody wants. We tend to think of it as being a chronic illness related to people who are overweight, but it doesn’t always have to be if it’s being driven by an estrogen-dominant state.
An estrogen-dominant state can put us on the path to breast cancer, which again, nobody wants either, but it is a known cause of breast cancer.
If you’d like to know your toxic load score, I have a quiz you can take. The link is there and it’s 105 questions. It’s very quick to fill out. Just asking about your symptoms, and what you are experiencing. Quiz: https://bit.ly/mytoxicload
I want to talk about how stress can impact our hormones because we live in a stressed-out world we were more stressed out than ever before pre the pandemic and then the pandemic just added a whole other level of stress. We’re all impacted by it. We look around and we see other people stressed out, and again, we normalize it and think it’s okay, and we don’t have any idea what it’s doing to our health.
In regard specifically to hormones, what is happening when we are in that stress state? When our sympathetic nervous system or fight or flight is turned on, our brain is trying to set us up so that we can get to safety, right? It is therefore pumping adrenaline and cortisol into our body to give us the energy so that we can fight or flee or freeze and think clearly, right? For our brain to give us that additional energy, it has to shut down other systems in the body that use energy.
It will shut down our immune system, it will shut down our digestive system. It will shut down procreation because we’re not going to stop and make a baby then, right? What happens when we’re in that state on an ongoing basis? The body stops producing as much progesterone because it’s so busy producing cortisol.
It’s called progesterone steal. We become estrogen dominant because the body is still producing estrogen. We may still be getting estrogen into our food through Xenoestrogen toxic sources, and the body’s not producing progesterone. And we have this imbalance. We get into the estrogen-dominant state, which I’ve just explained has this downline domino effect on other aspects of our health.
When I ask people to rate their stress level on a scale of one to ten, they’re very often only thinking about their physical stress and they’re not thinking about the rest of it, which means they’re underestimating their level of stress because they aren’t aware of the rest. When we underestimate our level of stress, we may not be taking action to mitigate that stress because we don’t realize where we’re at.
When the body is under stress, it is increasing cortisol production, which can be associated with weight gain, especially in the belly, or the inability to lose weight or gain muscle, and it is associated with premature aging. It also results in decreased nutrient absorption. This is because digestion shuts down. If digestion isn’t turned on and we’re eating, the body can’t fully break down the food that we’re eating and we’re not getting the benefit of the nutrients from the food that we’re eating.
When our digestive system shuts down, it isn’t producing stomach acid or enzymes to help break down that food, or bile flow from the gallbladder. With digestion shut down, we’re having increased nutrient excretion, meaning it’s just going straight to our body and being urinated out, so we’re losing important minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, chromium, selenium, etc. We can also have decreased gut flora populations. We all know we have bacteria in our gut, and we want to ideally have a healthy balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria.
We have a whole microbiome, a system of microbes in there and there are more of them than there are of our own human DNA. They’re designed to work symbiotically with us to break down our food so that we can get the energy from that food that we need. Healthy intestinal bacteria are destroyed by stress can lead to immune problems, skin disorders, again, nutrient deficiencies and digestive distress. Under stress, we have increased salt retention, which can lead to high blood pressure. We have a decrease in our thermic efficiency, which means your ability to burn calories is diminished, hence the weight gain.
We have a decrease in thyroid hormone, which I’ve talked about already, and then that can again lead to weight gain. We can have an increase in blood cholesterol levels, stress will raise our LDL levels. We can have an increase in our blood platelet aggregation, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. We have a decrease in sex hormones, which results in a lower sex drive. I mean, when we’re stressed out, how’s our libido doing?
We have an increase in inflammation, which some people will say is the root cause of health issues. I don’t believe it’s the root cause because I want to know why we have that. Inflammation and stress are one reasons we can have an increase or a decrease in gastric emptying time, meaning the stomach is pushing food through more slowly or more quickly depending on our digestive system, because stomach acid is not being produced as it should be, and that can then result in either constipation or diarrhea. It can result in bloating because if it’s taking too long to get through the system, it can result in bloating gas and discomfort in our body.
We have an increased swallowing rate. Many people can relate to that if they’re nervous about something, for instance, maybe their throat feels dry, and they start swallowing more often. We can have an increase in food sensitivities and allergies, as I mentioned earlier. In other words, stress is impacting your brain, your hair, your muscles, your lungs, your heart, your stomach, your bones, your sex drive, your digestive system, your skin, your immune system, and everything. 90% of all doctors’ visits are stress related.
60% of all diseases are caused by stress. So, what does it feel like? I have had some people say to me recently they don’t know if they are stressed. They don’t know what that feels like. Possibly because they’ve been stressed for so long, they don’t know what it feels like to not feel stressed and therefore they don’t know what it feels like.
You might notice dilated pupils, reduced salivation, increased heartbeat, dry eyes, less urination, or constipation. You might also notice when your body is flooded by epinephrine or cortisol because it ramps you up, right? Sometimes you can just feel your stress physically rising. Understanding what stress is doing to your body is so important because I feel that can motivate us to act, to do something different. If we realize we’re stressed out, then we know we don’t want all of those health issues or hormonal imbalances.
The great news is that we can do a lot to help ourselves. The reality is that building your own business can also be stressful because everything’s on you. You may be feeling like I don’t have time in your calendar to add anything else in. You may need to tell yourself that to build your business, you have to be healthy, so you have to make time for yourself.
It is a mindset shift in shifting our priorities. One of the things that I love to teach is something called five-seven breathing. This is something that we can do anywhere because we always carry our breath with us. It’s free and it doesn’t take very long.
What I mean by five by seven breathing is we’re going to inhale for five, hold our breath for five, exhale for seven, and I’ll count you through it for five rounds so we can experience it and then I’ll explain why it works and why it’s so effective.
Get comfy. Inhale and exhale. Now inhale 2345, hold 2345, exit 23456 seven. Do five to 10 rounds.
We can do this exercise anywhere. We can do it at our desk, or we can do it in the car. If we’re stuck in traffic and frustrated, if we’re in an office and we’re just feeling stressed out, you can do it at your desk, and nobody would notice. But if you felt like you needed to, you could just go to the washroom, sit in a cubicle and do it right. You can do this in the middle of the night when you’re, you know, wake up and you can’t get back to sleep because your mind’s going a million miles a minute.
It’s also one of my techniques for helping me get back to sleep. Why is this so powerful? What’s happening is that when we’re in that stressed-out state and our brain is thinking it must get us to safety, it’s expecting us to be running.
And if we’re running from a lion. We’re panting and we’re moving our arms and we’re breathing hard, right? But because the exhale is longer than the inhale, in this exercise, our brain goes, I thought I was stressed out, but I’m breathing like a safe person, I must be safe. And it will then turn on our rest and digestion system. And so it’s a great way to trick our brain to get out of that sympathetic fight or flight stress mode and into our rest and digest system, where digestion is turned on, where we’re going to get a good night’s sleep, where our immune system is working at its optimal level for us.
Our hormones are being produced as they should be because we were never meant to live in a stress state. We were meant to live in the rest and digest state. If we were in the stress state, we would get to safety and then the rest and digest state would automatically turn on. But in our world today, we just get hit with one stressor after another after another. That just keeps us stuck in this stressful state.
The brain doesn’t know the difference between us needing to run from a lion or a tiger and us having a day that starts with the alarm doesn’t go off and then now we’re running late, the kids are fighting you to get out the door. Maybe you have a little spat with your husband because it’s just a stressful morning. And then you get in the car and, oh, my God, I don’t have enough gas to even get to work and I got to go to the gas station and I’m already late. And then you hit traffic and you’re going to be late for a presentation and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s one thing after another after another.
We’ve all experienced that and that just keeps us in that chronic stress state. But instead, when we recognize that and we choose to breathe through it, we can switch that state off. Now, it does take about ten rounds for the brain to recognize that we’re in that state of being safe and turn on our parasympathetic nervous system, our rest and digest state, which is why I said doing ten rounds takes less than five minutes. And the other thing that’s happening here that’s powerful is that so often when we’re in a stress state, we’ve got something whirling around in our mind that’s causing that stress or making it worse. I don’t know about you guys, but, when I’m doing this technique, I’m counting the five, five, seven, so I’m counting all that in my head, but I also have to count ten rounds.
And so I’m using my fingers, right, because I can’t count the five, five, seven and the ten rounds all in my head. So, using my fingers, using my brain, and guess what? All that focus on all of this counting has made me forget about whatever else was running around in my head causing stress, right? Such an amazing technique. You can do anywhere to drop out of that stress state.
I want to talk about self-care because that is a piece of self-care. Bringing us out of that stress state is so important and that’s to me the quickest way to do it. But what can we be doing on an ongoing basis to help us stay out of that state as much as possible? Now, back when I was in the corporate world, which is seven-plus years ago now, I didn’t know what I know today.
When I went to health coaching school, one of the first things I learned had such a profound difference in my life. And that was that self-care is not selfish. I thought it was. I was a mom, I had two young children. I thought I had to look after everybody else first, look after people at work first, everybody else first. And if I looked after myself first, it was selfish.
What I learned was that I can’t serve from an empty cup. I am no use to all the other people in my life if I am trying to serve from an empty cup, right? Because when I’m serving from that empty cup in that stressed-out state, I’m short-tempered, I’ve got low energy levels, I’m frustrated, quick to yell. If I look after myself first and my cup is overflowing, I have so much more to give. So, I made myself a little mantra, which is self care is the most selfless act because it allows you to show up and give the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you.
I saw a couple of different quotes and I merged them into that because it was meaningful to me. And to this day, when I say it, I get full-body goosebumps because it is so true. I want to show up and give the world the best of me, not just what’s left for me. I had to change the way I was doing things in my life. I started calendaring my time for me.
I didn’t plan to do it last, and it never get to it. I started making it first for me, it’s generally first thing in the morning for all of us. The activities that we do as our self-care are going to be different. It is whatever brings you joy for me, I am at 58 days out on my paddle board this season because my paddle boarding time, for the most part, unless it’s super windy, is Zen time. I just get to go out, be on the lake, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the calm, paddle around, with no one else around me, and be.
And it’s when I get to go inside and it’s super meaningful to me. So, I make it a priority. I put it in my calendar and know I’m going to paddle board. Sometimes I get to that time I’ve and I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. So, I get on Facebook and start scrolling and waste the time. That is not self-care. There is a direct correlation, in fact, between the amount of time we spend on social media and depression. So, it is not self-care. Get off social media and do something else that brings you joy.
In winter, I downhill ski. I cross-country ski. Other things I do in summer are getting out into nature, walking in nature, backcountry camping and hiking. Because nature is incredibly powerful at dropping us out of our sympathetic state when we give it the chance to do so. So just getting out into nature is incredibly helpful.
There’s also meditation and maybe you’re like, I’m not someone to meditate. Try meditating with guided meditations. I get that you might not want to go from not ever meditating to then sitting in silence for 30 minutes and finding that impossible and thinking that you must stop all thoughts. That’s not meditation. Start slowly.
Start with guided meditation. Acknowledge that you’re still going to have thoughts through your meditation, and that’s okay. And when you become aware of the fact, oh, my mind’s wandered, you can just gently bring your mind back to the guided meditation. No judgment, no beating yourself up. It’s normal for your mind to wander.
But when you just bring it back, focusing again as you do it more and more, you get better. At it. And again, like breathing, you will find that it’s incredibly calming. What else can you be doing? Reaching out and connecting with another human.
We’ve had so much disconnect for the last two years. Getting back and connecting with people is powerful. We are supposed to be connected beings. We are supposed to live in a community.
Other things like reading a book, if you enjoy reading, having a bath, and adding Epsom salts because there’s good magnesium in those Epsom salts that will draw out toxins and help the body calm. Maybe it’s journaling for you, maybe it’s just sitting on a rock with your face turned up towards the sun with your eyes closed. Because again, you’re in nature. And when you do that, you’ll notice the brown kind of colouring behind your eyes. That too is helping drop you into your sympathetic nervous system.
It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, morning, middle of the day, or evening, what’s going to work for you to get you started, really prioritizing your self-care time.
So, when I calendarized it, self-care got done. I was living in a calmer state, and I could be calmer with my family. So that leads me to boundary setting and that is something that I’m still working on. We all can be better at it.
There’s always somewhere in our life where we might be needing to set a boundary. Some examples of those are when you’re feeling taken advantage of and this can be at work, at home, with friends, etc, any aspect of your life, just stop and think for a minute. Are you feeling taken advantage of anywhere? Are you feeling drained of energy? Is there anywhere there’s drama in your life?
If you’re feeling anger or resentment towards someone or some experience, it also means you’ve broken your boundaries. I want to share with you an effective way to set boundaries. It’s a three-step process that you can take away from this and start practicing. First of all, what invariably happens is somebody is asking us to do something, that’s step one. They’re asking for our time, our money, or our energy.
That’s an external someone else is coming to us and asking for something and often we feel we must respond right away, but I invite you not to. I invite you to say, thanks for asking, I’ll get back to you. It just gives you that little bit of space, right? And then step two is for you to go internal and ask three questions of yourself.
Do I have it to give? Do I want to give it? And under what conditions?
And then step three is, having gone through that process with yourself, to then reply to the person with a yes or a no. And if saying yes, provide any conditions. And if saying no, I want you to know that no is a complete sentence. You don’t have to justify your answer.
Sometimes consequences are needed. And it may not be the first time you set a boundary with someone, but if they don’t honour that boundary that you’ve created, then the next time there are going to need to be consequences. If they’re an adult, you have them set their consequence because often they’ll make it tougher than what you were thinking of doing anyway. But they’re an adult, so you have them set their own if it’s a child, you might set it for them with them. And a way to a nice way or an agreement frame, I call it, to create a boundary is to use a phrase I love and appreciate, x and I need y we use and they’re not but, because a but will cancel out the first part of that sentence.
I want to give you an example. For instance, my kids are young adults. They come home from university, and when they’re here, they’re working, and they want to use my car. So, do I have the time, money, and energy, right? I’m asking myself that.
Am I okay with having them use my car? Well, I work from home, so if I’m not using my car, I’m fine with them using the car. If I’m going paddleboarding, I want my car, right? So, as I set the boundary, do I have it to give? Am I going paddleboarding?
Yes or no, you can’t have my car.
I’m not going paddleboarding or I’ve already been paddleboarding. You can have the car for the rest of the day. So, do I want to give it to them? Well, yes, because I’ve agreed with my kids that for now, they don’t need to buy a car to have extra cars in the driveway, etc. So that’s our agreement.
That they can have the car when I have it to give. Right? Under what conditions, do I want that car to come back clean? I don’t want your garbage in the car. I don’t want your friend’s garbage in the car.
If it’s low on gas, I want it to come back filled up with gas. So don’t have the gas fuel light on. So, the next time I get in the car now I have to fill up with gas, right? These are all things that have happened. So, I’ve learned from these things and realized I had to set boundaries.
I could say that I love and appreciate that you have three jobs, and you need to move between your jobs in the middle of the day it’s helpful to have a car to do that and that you’re working hard and being a contributing member of society. And I need my car to come back with gas in it and clean and tidy.
And what’s the consequence? They set the consequence. They are adults and they know that doesn’t happen. The consequence they set is they don’t get the car and they got to ride the bus and it works. But I must set that boundary with them because of course, if I don’t set that boundary, they’ll do whatever they want and I would find garbage all through the car.
I would get in the car and the gas light would be on, right? And it was making me angry. So, I have to set the boundary. We all have boundaries that we can set in our lives. Maybe it’s babysitting grandchildren, maybe it’s babysitting nieces or nephews and setting the boundaries around the time the parents will be home because you might have a busy day the next day and won’t have to get up and you don’t want to be getting into bed at 1:00 a.m.
We don’t have to do everything that’s asked of us. And when we set boundaries, we can again, we’re caring for ourselves. We’re creating a little Zen bubble for ourselves. We’re putting the ball in our court, and we just need to give ourselves that little bit of space. Thanks for asking.
Let me get back to you. So that’s interesting. Sometimes I feel the need to set a boundary for something that I haven’t even been asked for because I just assume or I feel like a natural like I’m going to have to volunteer for this or I’m going to have to participate in that or be engaged in this other thing. And I don’t have to like my kids’ hockey team, I don’t have to do any of that stuff. But I feel bad, but nobody asked me.
I need to set a boundary first because I know I’d be triggered otherwise. And so if we know that and we can do that in advance because we know what our life is like.
There is somewhere that you’re volunteering or providing service in your life because we all naturally want to do that, but we can’t do it all. What I saw through my experience when my kids were little and I didn’t know any of this, I was volunteering for everything for them because other people weren’t stepping up. So, then what, I’m going to burn out because other people aren’t stepping up. And so instead I had to learn it’s okay to say no. And it’s interesting.
That can be hard. The first time I said no to someone, the look on their face was aghast because I’d never been known to say no. And they’re like, what do you mean you’re saying no to me? I came to you first because you’re always the one that says yes. And I’m like, yeah.
And I’m learning to say no. And I said no. And in my head, my brain is going, just say yes. Because you know, you could do this in a heartbeat and you could do it with your eyes closing, your hands tied behind your back. And I’m arguing back in my head silently, no.
I’m learning to say no. And this is a really good way to practice. I’m going to say no, and I’m going to stick to my guns and I’m going to say no. It was organized the next high school career day, and I said no, and I didn’t do it. And guess what?
That person’s never asked me again to volunteer for anything. So, I get to choose what I volunteer for, and I don’t get pulled into everything because I learned to say no. And even though my brain gave me a hard time about it, I stuck to my guns. And so, the next time I said no, I didn’t get a hard time from my brain because my brain knew what it was like for me to say no, right? So, when we change our patterns, we must stick to our guns because our brain will notice the difference and it might kind of argue back with us, like, what happened to me?
We must do this for ourselves as part of our self-care. I needed more time in my calendar for me, so to get that, I had to start saying no and stop looking after everybody else first.
I just want to talk about sleep because sleep is another very important factor in our health and it’s impacting our gut health. It’s impacting our stress resiliency.
So often it’s the thing that we squeeze out of our day. We get busy, busy, busy, busy. And I’ll just do one more thing, one more thing, and then we’re getting to bed later and later. And I encourage people to instead plan their day around their sleep. We all need seven to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at our best.
If you’re getting sick, it’s going to be more along the tune of 9 hours if you’re feeling great, and maybe it’s closer to 7 hours. We need that as human beings to function at our best. And with less than 7 hours of sleep, objective impairments can be measured. And here’s something super interesting too. Every waking moment, we are undergoing very mild brain damage.
Then the brain repairs itself while asleep. I don’t know about you, but I want my brain to be repairing that brain damage every night. I want to get the amount of sleep that is needed for our brain to do this. Also, the brain and body detox while we sleep. And we spent a lot of time earlier talking about toxins and the need to detox.
So let’s let our body do what it is naturally designed to do. And if we get enough sleep, it can do that. Another point to note is if we’re eating dinner too close to bedtime and digestion hasn’t finished when we go to bed. So, we eat dinner and go to bed because that’s the schedule that we’ve created for ourselves. We’re in digestion mode, which means the body can’t go into detox mode because digestion trumps everything.
So ideally, you want to eat dinner two to 3 hours before bed, so digestion is completed by the time you lie down to go to sleep so that you can then get into a deep, restorative sleep. Now, the other thing that’s important to know, is that cortisol and melatonin are inverse hormones. So, we’ve talked about cortisol. What’s happening in the stress state? Now, you know, the body does produce cortisol every single day.
It’s highest in the morning, we’re waking up. We need energy for our day, and cortisol is helping provide that. And we want it. It is naturally lowest at night because now we’re getting into sleep mode. When cortisol is at its lowest, that allows melatonin is at its highest, which is what we need for that deep, restorative sleep.
If our body isn’t calming because we’re in that chronic stress state in the evening, then the body’s not producing enough melatonin. We can’t get into a deep, restorative sleep. 70 million North Americans struggle with sleep. A huge piece of that is stress. Another factor of that is the screens that we’re looking at all day long, every day, which was not an issue 50 years ago, but is very much an issue today because our screens are emitting blue light.
Blue light is the light that we get into our eyes at high noon. So blue light coming into our eyes from our screen in the evening is simply telling our brain that it’s high noon. It doesn’t need to start producing Melatonin to get ready for sleep because it’s the middle of the day. That’s what the brain knows. What we have to do is counter that and we can do that quite easily on our devices.
If you have an iPhone, iPad, et cetera, you can go into Settings and go into Display and Brightness and you can turn on Night Shift and it will automatically put a yellow light on your screen from say, right now for me at 07:00 p.m. to 07:00 a.m., so that I’m not getting the blue light into my eyes. Blue light blocks the production of Melatonin for every hour you’re on a screen. When you get off your melatonin production is blocked for 30 minutes per hour you were on the screen. If you’re on the screen for 3 hours between maybe watching an hour and a half of TV, maybe you were on your computer for an hour and maybe you’re on your phone for half an hour.
Let’s face it, we can easily spend 3 hours on our screens at night. That means when you get off, Melatonin won’t even start being produced for another 90 minutes, an hour and a half. And yet we might turn off the TV, brush our teeth, fall into bed, and expect to sleep on demand. And we’re not. We’re having trouble sleeping because the body hasn’t produced melatonin.
To help us get into a deep, restorative sleep on a computer, you can download something called Just Get Flux. It’s free software, it’s got GPS coordinates in it and it will automatically turn on a yellow light at dusk. And then for television, maybe the new televisions have blue-blocking in them. I haven’t bought a television for over ten years, so I wear my blue light-blocking glasses.
The ideal time for humans to be going to bed is between ten and 11:00 p.m. because that’s when cortisol is at its lowest and our melatonin is at its highest, and that’s when we can get into our deep restorative sleep. We want to be waking up between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m. Because that’s when cortisol is at its highest and we’re going to have good energy for the day. And yet I work with many people who tell me, oh, but I can’t fall asleep until 2:00 a.m. So, then I sleep until 11:00 a.m.
If they’re going past that ten to eleven window, they’re very often getting what we call second wind. And that’s because our cortisol is starting to rise and give us that energy that we think is a second wind. But then we’re sleeping till 11:00 a.m., we’re going to wake up feeling groggy because cortisol is already dropping by then, right? So, we wake up and we don’t have the same energy as if we woke up earlier. We are natural creatures designed to work with the natural rhythm of the natural world and we need to stop fighting it and instead understand it so that we can work with it to optimize our sleep.
When we optimize our sleep, we’re optimizing our ability to handle the stresses that are thrown at us every day. We’re optimizing our gut health and we’re balancing our hormones and reducing the cortisol blood in the body.
In America right now, the average person is spending ten years in a nursing home slowly dying. That is not quality of life, and that is super, super expensive.
I want to help you avoid the ten years in the nursing home and get those ten years back. To do that, we must start taking care of our health and invest in it the way we invest in our car, in our home, and in our greatest assets.
Book your 1:1 health strategy call with me: https://YGHJappointments.as.me/Workshopattendee