A little over a year ago, while enjoying the holidays, creating recipes and eating good, I noticed some changes in my gut. Like most people, I ignored it and chalked it up as too much junk. I agreed to start fresh at the beginning of the year and continued to enjoy delicious vegan, holiday food.
At the beginning of the year, I started a smoothie cleanse. Five days in, I was miserable. I called my friend Raven to ask questions. Maybe I was doing something wrong or didn't remember to add something to my smoothie that was necessary. After talking it over, she suggested I stop the cleanse. There was no reason to continue if I was miserable.
Gut health is the key to overall health. --Kris Carr
Of course, like everybody else, I went to Dr. Google. Why was my cleanse no longer working? I found that sometimes smoothies can contain too much fiber and the body won't break it down properly. Juice cleanses were suggested instead. That's exactly what I did. But that didn't work either. Can you say, confused?
At this point, I was miserable. All these juices and smoothies and NOTHING! I was bloated, in pain and uncomfortable. Before giving up, another friend suggested Vacia Detox tea.
I tried it and got some relief. It wasn't what I felt I should have gotten but it was better than nothing at all. After several weeks of the detox (and shedding some pounds), I knew my body still wasn't responding the way I needed. I just had a gut feeling something was off.
I finally gave up and went to the doctor. They suggested over the counter remedies. Nothing. Then prescribed meds. Nothing. I was running out options and patience. Finally, it was recommended that I have a colonoscopy and endoscopy to see if there was an issue we all were missing. Normal.
Back to google I go. This time, I was searching common gut issues and came across a very familiar word: stress. Come to find out, the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Whenever you experience a strong emotion, it can cause issues in the gut. One of the best ways to reduce gastrointestinal issues is to reduce stress. Seems simple, right?
There were several different ways to reduce stress (i.e. practicing self care). My favorite ones are exercising or taking a walk, journaling, therapy, lighting a candle, listening to soft music, practicing mindfulness and saying NO. The last one is my favorite. No is a whole sentence. It's liberating to just say NO. Try it.
There has been a lot of talk about self care. Although it seems rather trendy, it is an integral part of our overall health. We tend to practice self care differently so whatever your practice, just be sure to incorporate it frequently and consistently.
Here's my new routine:
In the morning, I wake up, make my bed, practice 5-10 minutes of mindfulness meditation using the Insight Timer app, journal and spend time with God. Before I shower, I allow the bathroom to get steamy and I light my Essential Aromas Candles before hopping in the shower. This prepares my mind for the day and sets me up to win and it takes about an hour. This means you can't get up at the last minute, rushing out of the house. Create some time just for you.
A stressed out mind and body usually leads to a stressed out gut.
In the evening, when everything is complete, I run a hot bath, light my candle and practice mindfulness. For me, it washes away the struggles of the day and clears my mind for bed. That way there aren't a million thoughts flooding my mind, potentially disrupting my sleep. I get a good night's sleep and awake ready to tackle the day!
What are some of your favorite self care tips? Share them in the comments!