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HOW ARE YOU PREVENTING THE “PREVENTABLE” DISEASES AND ILLNESSES?

Health is wealth! This common saying holds a lot of weight. Whether you have ever had health problems or not, the experiences we see around us attests that when health begins to fail, we lose the best and the fundamental gift we have in our life. We, therefore, need to identify those negative or bad behaviors and habits, which cause or worsen our health status and slowly replace them with healthy and positive ones, which promote good health and wellbeing.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, which is why we want to be intentional in identifying healthy behaviors that in the end become habits that will promote our good health and general well-being.

The integrative medicine physician Irina Todorov, MD, offers tips on how to prevent diseases and how to take care of yourself so that you can live your best and healthiest life. The tips themselves are not new at all, consistency in what we know is good for us and our health is paramount if we need to have a healthy life. Some of these tips are as follows:

  1. Make healthy food choices – stay away from highly processed food and instead choose homemade meals, if possible those locally produced so as to find them still fresh for consumption – with basic ingredients. Choose and eat what your body tolerates, listen to your body, and do not force anything on yourself if you know it will make you unwell.
  2. Have enough rest – a good sleep restores your strength and has a huge effect on how you feel in the arc of the day. Hence, having difficulties in getting sleep is a major cause of many health problems. Some of the potential problems associated with chronic sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Other potential problems include obesity, depression, and impairment in immunity and lower sex drive; consequently, you need to have some prior preparations towards this. One way of doing this is the 3:2:1 ratio, i.e., avoiding work that requires too much concentration and energy three hours before going to bed, eating at least two hours before going to bed and then one hour before, avoiding electronic screens. Research has shown that daily exercise improves sleep in patients with insomnia. Another way is that of listening to calm music, practising mindfulness or meditation, reflecting on positive moments of the day, reading a book, having a cup of camomile or practising 10 minutes of yoga are perfect ways of overcoming insomnia but also of having a restful and regenerating night which is key to our being health and well-being.
  3. Avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, excess alcohol drinking, poor diet and dehydration, lack of social connection, among others
  4. Manage your blood sugar (the concentration of glucose in the blood) – you can do this primarily by cutting down all soft drinks, candy and sugary desserts, which can cause an increase of blood sugar. It is also fundamental to avoid too much of carbohydrates (carbs) which is what causes blood sugar rise. During periods of stress, people may participate in behaviours that could lead to high blood sugar such as emotional overeating of refined carbohydrates or foods that are high in added sugars. Failure to exercise is another cause of an in blood sugar. One important thing to be noted here is that the Blood Roller Coaster causes stress both in your body and in brain.

Many diseases and illnesses can be effectively prevented, curbed, or even reversed through healthy behavioral choices, habits, and lifestyles. Indeed, it is never too late to start, for if you do not begin today, then when? We only need to choose to be intentional about the path we want to take, i.e. a more healthy lifestyle. So often we opt for fast food over homemade food for convenience even though we are very aware that this comfort comes with its own negative consequences concerning our health. Which path do you choose, if you have not yet done?

PS// We will not stop discussing this subject as you and I want to see us all live healthy lives.

Please share with us in the comments below, the types of habits that help you live a healthy life, and thank you in advance.

You can also find us on, zipmaureen.healthcoach@gmail.com

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CHRONIC PAIN? ONLY THE BEARER KNOWS THE MAGNITUDE!

“The stigma of chronic pain is one of the most difficult aspects of living with chronic pain. If you have chronic pain, people can sometimes judge you for it. Specifically, they can sometimes disapprovingly judge you for how you are coping with it. If you rest or nap because of the pain, they think you rest or nap too much. If they catch you crying, they become impatient and think you cry too much. If you don’t work because of the pain, you face scrutiny over why you don’t. If you go to your healthcare provider, they ask, “Are you going to the doctor again?” Maybe, they think that you take too many medications. In any of these ways, they disapprove of how you are coping with pain. These disapproving judgments are the stigma of living with chronic pain.”
(Murray J. McAlister)

There is no greater challenge in life than to find someone who recounts his or her experience of a pain that is almost identical to the one you suffered in the past, especially when you have supposedly forgotten about it. This is exactly what happened to me, with respect to the constant headache that I experience, meeting somebody who is experiencing constant headaches; whether it is a cephalic, migraine or similar pain is of less importance because pain is always pain and only the sufferers know its magnitude.

Today I had the honour of meeting Mrs Lucia (not her real name) and having the opportunity to share her long-sufferings with regard to constant headaches that have lasted for more than eighteen years now but with absolutely no solution available. In short, since she started having these pains, she has been going back and forth between different hospitals and doctors who are specialists in this field and all they tell her is that you just have to survive on medication because the chronic cluster headache you have is not curable. What a huge frustration! This is especially so when you receive this kind of information with such disinterest. What bothers Lucia the most is that the doctors do not seem to care at all even when she ends up in the emergency room? She has used nearly every conceivable medicine called ‘headache medication o dug’ but none of it has succeeded in curing her.

Lucia have been having hard time reconciling her family duties, her work and her personal life. Although I have had a similar experience though probably slightly less serious than hers, the only thing I could manage to express to her is that I could comprehend her and could relate in almost every one of her words. Perhaps it might have been helpful in letting her know that she is not alone, that there are people who have had a similar experience or are going through it now by sharing my experience with her, but we have not had enough time for that. For this reason, I would like to share a little of my experience regarding constant headaches with the intention of giving a voice to those women and men, or those having family members, friends or relatives, who suffer from chronic pains of any kind because pain is always the same no matter from which part of the body it originates. Therefore, I would stop at the “headache”, namely the pain, then doctors and physicians will give it a scientific name, but here we are focusing on the pain and what it does to both those who suffer from it and those around them.

About ten years ago, I suffered from what some doctors called a cephalea and others a migraine and yet others both, but none of them ever managed to give me what could relieve that damn pain that disrupted my days and my life in a way I had never thought possible before. There was not a day that I woke up without a headache, I needed more than thirty minutes of time to slowly orient myself and get out of bed sometimes with the fear of facing the heavy days I had. However, since life had to go on anyway, I encouraged myself to face the same (heavy) days with a smile and try to lighten up.

Nevertheless, when those wretched pains would begin, that smile would suddenly disappear like snow in the sun. In addition, there I was, straight into the bedroom, all windows closed, and lights off, away from any noise and under the blanket to face the truth of my pains. Yes, if the pain were not yet chronic as the doctors call it, with a little rest it can pass otherwise it would take medication. In my case, at the beginning, all I needed was a little rest with all the above-mentioned contours, but slowly I started to take the painkillers prescribed by the doctor, from the less strong ones to the strong ones, to a point where my body no longer responded to any painkiller. At this point, maybe out of pity for me, my first doctor started prescribing me drops ‘in case of need’, which by the way there was always a need.

It happened that in those days of the peak of my struggle against the headaches, I had to change my place of residence and consequently also my doctor. Wanting to continue with the treatment and maybe some tests, I went for the first visit to my new doctor who was surprised to hear my case because, according to him, no doctor should prescribe such strong painkillers at all. Therefore, I had to be recovered for eight days of cortisol to clean the blood of medicine taken until then.

It was not a walk in the park, but after so many years, I thank God for having regained my health after so many years of struggle I could not believe that I could ever wake up without a headache. It took a lot of patience in working with doctors who did not attribute the causes to just biological; doctors like a friend of mine who practices Tibetan medicine and got to understand my body insofar as nutrition and lifestyle is concerned and how managing stress of any kind helps to reduce these cases.

What I would like to say not only to Mrs Lucia but also to those who every day fight the different types of pain and to those who stand beside those who suffer, do not close yourselves to pain, and do not restrict the search for solutions to only modern medicines. There is need to scrutinize the other multiple causes of ill-health, and to find what works for us and that it is not said that it works equally for another person who suffers from the same disease because each person is unique and so must be seen and treated with his dignity so that he recovers the lost health. Talking about it also helps a lot in identifying those nodes that we hardly can see and articulate by ourselves. For a long journey, though, experiences like these require the need to seek for other experts in the field, like a specialist coach on the subject that can accompany and can act as a cheerleader towards achieving your desired goal, i.e. good health goals so that you can have your normal life back and live well and better with your loved ones.

“If your body is screaming in pain, whether the pain is muscular contractions, anxiety, depression, asthma or arthritis, a first step in releasing the pain may be making the connection between your body pain and the cause. “Beliefs are physical. A thought held long enough and repeated enough becomes a belief. The belief then becomes biology.”
( Marilyn Van M. Derbur).

Chronic pain is real!

Every pain is unique,

respect and honour it! Health Is Wealth!

If you need help or if you also want to chat, on topics like these, do not hesitate, write to us at:

zipmaureen.healthcoach@gmail.com

Living in toxic relationships? Lethal to your health

When a relationship stops being a source of joy and a safe place where you can feel ‘at home’, where you can freely and confidently express yourself, a place where you feel loved and accepted for who and what you are without any pretense whatsoever, then it is certainly harmful and poisonous to your health.

Relationships do indeed define us; they give us the reason and the sense of living as well as help us to become who and what we are meant to be. When you begin not to be yourself in whatsoever relationship, then either problems are beginning or they already exist and the sooner they are addressed the better for both parties.

So when can a relationship be termed as toxic or harmful and therefore poisonous to our health?

In the first place, ‘relationship’ is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as the way in which two things are connected; the way in which two or more people feel and behave towards each other; the way in which things are connected or work together. Just to cite but a few. Being in a relationship, therefore, goes beyond just the link between two people (example, in love relationships) to encompass the connections between the various social actors, both within the family and in the wider society. Hence, relatedness is that fundamental concept in the human person’s essence and action in a given society that makes the individual the principal actor insofar as he/she, in primis, is in relation to him/herself, to others, to the cosmos, and to the Divine. Vera Araujo rightly argues that the centrality of relationship leads to defining man as a “relational being par excellence” in other words, suspending a relationship with others means suspending a relationship with self. Consequently, society does not exist if not “in relation” so is the human body, which in itself, is related, if one part is unwell, the entire body is unwell.

If man/woman is by nature a relational being, here we intent the ‘healthy way of relating to self and to others where does discords, violence, hostility, disrespect, intimidation, etc. comes from?

Even though our societies are increasingly becoming more aware of the need for healthy practices on nutrition, fitness, clean environment, etc. we still do not realize or take into account the magnitude with which our relationships, especially those unhealthy ones, affect our health. According to research carried out on the effects of negative relationships, findings showed that men and women having unhealthy relationships were at a greater risk of a cardiac event, including a fatal cardiac event compared to their counterparts.

Two main characteristics distinguish a healthy relationship from a toxic one:

  • Healthy relationships are characterised by compassion, safety, freedom of thinking, listening, mutual love and caring, healthy debates and disagreements, respectfulness, etc.
  • Toxic relationships, instead, are characterised by insecurity, abuse of power and control, demandingness, selfishness, egoism, criticism, dishonesty, distrust, demeaning comments and attitudes, jealousy, etc.

The above distinctions can be applied to whichever type of relationship. In breve, you are in a healthy relationship if that relationship you are in leave you feeling happy, energized, and looking forward to always having that experience or meeting the person again. On the other side, you are in a toxic relationship if the experience you have of the relationship leaves you feeling depressed and depleted and wanting to avoid another possible experience or meeting with the person again. So, watch out for these signs.

Coming out of toxic relationships can be quite hard especially if you have been in it for a long time and if it apparently seems that you have NO WAY OUT but the first and import step is that of RECOGNISING that you are in one. Many individuals (groups) involved in unhealthy relationships are often in denial even when friends and family members draw their attention to dangers they may be in.

Healthy relationships are based on a mutual desire to see the other succeed in all areas of life; it is based on the desire for the other person that which you would desire for yourself. This is too much for s/he who is up to the building and growing a healthy and long-lasting relationship. After recognizing that you are in a toxic relationship, the next step is to firmly believe that you deserve to be treated with love, respect and compassion. Low self-esteem, a feeling that one does not deserve anything better is the greatest enemy to getting out of toxic relationships towards a healthy relationship, which begins, with having that positive and healthy relationship with our own selves first before other types of relationships outside ourselves. So, believe that you deserve love, respect, and compassion because you are also in a positive to love, respect, and have compassion on the other person.

The next step is that of addressing the problem, which you should

Do in a way that does not offend or hurt the other person, telling the truth of what you feel with delicacy and if possible with some charity thus giving room to the other person to express him/herself and give his point of view and what s/he feels about the issue. If you feel unsafe or insecure, reach out to a competent person for some assistance. If, after having done all these, still nothing changes, consider distancing yourself from the situation or the source of the toxic relationship for a while to see if there will be some difference towards a better you. In cases, which distancing might be difficult, then, try having less contact. Hence, it is import to have the courage to say STOP or No and be okay with it.

The bottom line here is that we have the POWER in us to create and choose healthy relationships, which promote our entire well-being and that of our loved ones. Positive relationships, in fact, are an important part if not the basic formula for a healthy, well-balanced life. Make sure to always create and foster healthy relationships first with yourself and second with those around you.

Remember, Health is Wealth, and for the sake of my health, I will choose healthy relationships over unhealthy ones.

How about you, what is your take?

PS// Identify the kind of relationships you are in, thank those people who make you feel loved, accepted, and understood. Appreciate those people who always want the best for you, those who are always there to celebrate your success but also present to support you in difficult moments. Those are like rare gold, hold them, dear.

Give us your comments on the topic and thanks in advance:-)

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION? INSTEAD, CHOOSE QUALITY AND INTENTIONALITY.

It is true that a new day, a new week, and especially a new year is an exciting opportunity to start afresh, to re-build that which we never accomplished in the previous year. There is magic in new beginnings, which makes it the most powerful, most-awaited, with feasts, celebrations, artificial fires almost all over the globe to celebrate the beginning of the New Year despite the current restrictions of gatherings in most of the countries.

With the present pandemic of Covid-19, we have had a difficult time, many of us are simply tired of all the consequences brought about by the crisis, yet most of us long for this New Year to begin with renewed hope and for this to be a better year. Although the challenges of the past year have generally been faced at international, national, and community levels, however, many people have been affected directly or indirectly and we all yearn for a year free of such repeated experiences. We want to rebuild and improve our lives and our health and that of our loved ones and our society.

It is never too late to invest in yourself and this includes not only what you spend economically but also your personal time, or sharing quality time with family in a relaxed mode. If you cannot take a day off during the week to just relax and do those things you enjoy most then this New Year is just but another opportunity because it is never too late to become who you want to be.

Before making resolutions, it is necessary to first ask ourselves whether we actually need to make one or a few, even if it is true that in life we need to have a plan in some way, but we need, for example, to measure our own strengths and capabilities (I cannot make a resolution to go on a journey to the Moon if I know it will not be possible). In other words, we need to make resolutions that are attainable and that can not only be of great value to us but also to those around us. By the way, if you have not yet taken a position on the subject, then there is still time, we are still on the second day of the year.

If you think of a healthy future of a peaceful or serene future life, what comes to your mind? What is that which you can see from now, what are your feelings of such a healthy and beautiful life? If you can put your thoughts in writing, how would your vision be like? What needs to be in place in order for you to obtain your desired vision? Can you try to complete this phrase while filling the plank spaces with your desired goals or visions?

“I want to achieve ____________ so that _____________”

Below are some examples of how the phrase could be, but you try to insert your goals, desires, visions, and what you would be the benefit of having or attaining that.

  • “I want to face and overcome my fears so that I can live a peaceful and fulfilling  life”
  • “I want to lose weight, so I have more energy to enjoy life.”
  • “I want to be physically fit, so I am no longer out of breath.”
  • “I want to have better balance between my work and personal life, so I have more quality time for myself and for my family.”

Consequently, we need to:

  1. Identify the goals you want to achieve – identifying the health or life vision you want to achieve narrows the long and often vague list of many “I want this or that” because it is something trending online. We need to keep in mind that our needs are never the same, not even the diets, workouts, etc. we are all different and so are our bodies.
  2. Identify your Motivating Factors – Identify some few anchors that can serve to remind and motivate you, whether it is something visible, or something you can do that makes you stay focused on achieving your vision.
  3. Accept challenges – Challenges will never fail, but that should not stop you that is why you have anchors, which will remind you of your commitment. For this reason, you need to work on strategies together with family, friends or like-minded people who can be supportive.

On top of what has just been said, this year, I choose not to make too many resolutions as has been in the past. I instead choose to be intentional in living my life every new day, in practicing healthy habits and sharing more time with the people, I love.

We live once, the present is ours, yesterday is far gone and tomorrow is yet to come, As a result, we only have today to express our love, care, and compassion to ourselves, our family members, and those around us. What do you choose?

PS// Give us some feedback on what you are planning to achieve in this new year, and which projects you think we can engage in to improve the quality of our health and life.

Thank you so much

May this New Year be a Year of Peace, Serenity, Prosperity, and Good Health; for you and your loved ones.

Happy New Year!

Health Is Wealth!

THE ART OF RELAXING. IT’S BENEFITS FOR HEALTH AND LIFE

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves” (Buddha).

Studies have shown that those who take the time to smell the scent of the roses and view nature are able to lower their blood pressure and reduce their stress. Just sitting on the beach can be a great way to relax your nerves. Relaxation is an essential way of reducing stress and symptoms of mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Relaxation also has other related health benefits, including lowering your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. It also reduces muscle tension and chronic pain.

Perhaps no one needs to be reminded that Rest and Relaxation are fundamental because they seem pretty simple and easy, but have you ever reflected on how you relax? Are you conscious and in touch with yourself when you are resting or relaxing? There is a variety of things both within and outside of us that can prevent a restorative rest, and the truth is that many of us are not able to relax correctly so that our entire being – body, mind, and spirit – can be truly able to relax and regenerate effectively. Indeed, for many, relaxing is easier said than done, but believe me, this skill deserves to be perfected because we all need ways to recover from the many stressors of everyday life, for the sake of our good health and a more peaceful and better life for ourselves and those around us.

Being stressed is a pathology in itself no matter how much, for example, you eat a nutritious meal if you are in a state of stress, it will not do you good unless you first relax so that your body is able to take in the nutrients from the food you eat in an uncompressed way. Another example is going to bed, stressed to the hilt, even if you sleep for 12 or 20 hours, you will get out of bed feeling more exhausted than before. Succinctly, in everything you do, constantly ask yourself if you are relaxed; be it when eating, working, or sleeping, relaxing is essential. Many people are not very discerning or creative about how they spend their downtime. According to Ryan Howes, a clinical psychologist, “people often think they’re resting when they’re really not,” staying on the phone while you are having your free time and calling it rest is a lot more stressful. Rest is Rest! Though we need to figure out what rest means for us and if need be, reframe it as the best option if we really want to reach the maximum of our health and well-being. If you are resting, close everything else and seek that one or a few things, which will help you, reach the pick in relaxing, for example, meditation, taking a warm bath, doing yoga, taking a nap. Relaxation is not a one-size-fits-all, choose what works best for you.  

For relaxation to be effective we should be intentional, we need to commit to it. The fact that there is day and night, 12 hours of light to work and 12 hours to rest is no coincidence, but unfortunately, women and we men want to work for 24 hours and never have to take a rest or sleep provided we work and make money. Indeed, they say that time is money, so what use is it if you have no health and not only that if you have to spend it all going from one medical doctor to another in search of treatments for preventable illnesses and diseases. Although it is important that we be productive citizens and put in time at work, maybe we need to respect the importance of leisure time and relaxation a little more (Sage Wilcox). We must not forget that prevention is better than cure and therefore be intentional, choose to organize your time, and find that ‘holy quality time’ for your relaxation.

Fellow women, it is okay to spend time taking care of others (family members, relatives, neighbors, colleagues/co-workers, etc.) but there is a lot of need to focus on their good health. Remember, taking care of your own health is crucial because if you are not in good health you cannot even help others who need you. So, what do you prefer? Neglect your health to help others that according to you cannot survive if you do not intervene to fix everything that goes wrong or if you are not the one to do everything. Think about this carefully, what if what you believe is not true because of the fact that you have never attempted to engage them in the game and get them to be responsible in what concerns them.

However, if you do not have health, your help and your presence may be lacking, and as a result, not only you but also those around you will suffer, which is precisely why we need to prevent this from occurring. Can we, then, try to reorganize our time in such a way that both we and the others equally have the necessary time to relax and recharge our body, mind, and spirit so that nobody suffers in terms of lack of health due to burnout or stress? As we conclude this year, 2021, let us be courageous enough to plan well the coming year and own our health and life because God has already blessed us with it. So, the ball is on our side. Never ever forget that health is wealth, if we lose it regaining it might not be that simple unless we are strong and intentional enough.

Ps// Hey guys, how do you practice your “relaxing” or “resting”? How are you concluding the year 2021? Stay blessed, safe, and healthy

Wishing you all happy feasts and,

a happy and prosperous New Year 2022!!

Festive stress? Handle your holidays; do not allow them to handle you!

“Vacations mean a change of pace, a gentleness with ourselves, a time of rest and renewal, and a time to stretch ourselves and encounter new people, new lands, new ways, and new options.” (Anne Wilson Schaef).

Stress and depression can ruin not only your holidays but also your health and living or work in this state is not at all easy neither for the subject nor for those close to him or her such as family members. For this and many other reasons, we absolutely need a break, we need a vacation. according to E. Wilson, a vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking and of the few vacations during an entire year, is Christmas.

Christmas is an annual feast commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ ( thus a Christian feast) celebrated by billions of people around the world as a religious and cultural festival that risks losing its true essence as we race on and worry about material things such as gifts, festivities but especially food. Over the centuries, the material aspect of Christmas has almost become synonymous with Christmas itself, due to the growing materialism in the world such that if you do not have what to offer in terms of gifts, it seems as if ‘christmas’ becomes less important. If Christmas is the joyful anticipation of Jesus’ birth which is characterized by peace to the world and to the brokenhearted, time of joy, serenity, simplicity, essentiality, thanksgiving, etc. time to pick up the pieces and rebuild what really matters, time to be together, then where does the stress, anxiety, and depression come from?

Festive seasons have been proofed by several studies to often bring unwelcomed guests such as stress, worries, anxiety, depression, mental health, etc., this is why there is a call to being vigilant and not letting the holiday stress control us but us controlling them by knowing which our priorities are. These past years have been quite challenging for almost everybody due to the Covid-19 pandemic thus making us more prone to extra stress, having to worry about our health, life, and that of our loved ones, which is not an easy task. Feeling overwhelmed during a season like Christmas is not only common but also normal if it is not too much to make us pray to that excess fatigue. It is not enough to know that the above-mentioned challenges exist, we need to find ways we can release them or channel them towards something positive when possible.

One of the ways to prevent stress is that of acknowledging our feelings, recognizing our feelings and emotions, and calling them by name is such a great step towards overcoming them. It is ok to take time to cry (if you feel you need to cry it out), engage in some physical exercises, or express them through dialogue by sharing our sadness, worries, or grief with other people or friends. Never ever, shut yourself off because eventually, because the problem will blow over, the sooner you share the better since when it becomes too complicated to deal with, it will be quite difficult and may even blow over before you realize it. Reach out if you feel lonely or isolated, we are not islands, we need others and the rest of the world needs us as well. Today’s technologies have made it easier for people to reach out, allowing them to find different groups and/or associations that help those with different health or life challenges, however, this (online meetings) should never replace the offline meeting, which should be preferred and privileged above all others. Be realistic. Holidays do not have to be perfect (whatever perfection may mean to you). Every person, family, community, society, nation, continent, culture, society, have a different way of doing, celebrating, expressing, or celebrating rituals, etc. but all these changes as time goes by, flexibility should be accepted while putting in mind that the cultures, rituals, feasts, are at the service of man and not a man at their service. No man or woman should be a slave to any of them. Be realistic, seek what really is important for you and that which makes you happy, small or big. Learn to say NO to anything divisive, discriminating between you and other members of your family, community, workplace, society, etc. Stick to your budget and avoid going beyond what is available to you. Finally yet importantly, do not abandon healthy habits. Do not turn your holidays into a chaotic situation, as over-indulgence leads to increased stress.

It is never too late! Try planning the remaining part of this holiday season intentionally. Saying ‘yes’ to everything will not do you any good, instead, it will exhaust and deplete you. Choose a few things that really matter, the rest can wait, set a few minutes to look deep into your life and determine what are your priorities at this time in life and then be willing to let go of everything else. Busyness makes us unfocused on the real reason why we have these holidays, to why we need to recollect and the entire year so as to thank God and ourselves for the achievements made and also identify those areas which need to be strengthened in the coming new year.

It is important to choose those few things that are important in terms of relationships (love, family, friends, etc.), work and spirituality and say NO to any other things that may cause you to stress rather than happiness and serenity. This does not mean that we should neglect holidays, neglecting holidays in fact is equal to neglecting success because every success needs an accumulation of positive energy, time to recharge our energy, and our whole selves to continue our mission with renewed strength. It is worth noting that “each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us” (Maya Angelou).

Never allow the holidays to become something that you dread, instead take measures to prevent anxiety, stress, and depression from occurring during the holidays. It is fundamental to be in a position to identify holiday triggers, such as financial pressures, family or personal demands, business demands, etc. so that you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and positive thinking, it is possible to find peace and joy during the holidays.

NB//

Let us not forget the three Christmas ingredients during this festive season; Joy, Prayer, and Gratitude (Pope Francis)

Share with us how you are handling your holidays -:)

FEAR AND/OR ANXIETY ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE SAY OR THINK ABOUT YOU? WATCH OUT, YOUR HEALTH AND LIFE ARE AT STAKE!!

Healing of the physical without the change in the mental and spiritual aspects brings little real help to the individual in the end. How true, because the mind and the body imprint and imitate each other. What we think, we become. What we become, we think. It is an insidious process that can predispose us to illness or it can lead us to health (E. Cayce).

If you had to give an answer to the question as to whether what others think of you or say about you bothers or influences your way of living, what would be your reply? I guess the response is Yes, at least if you are sincere with yourself because it is in our nature to care about what others think about us but the big question is, to what extent should we allow ourselves to be subject to this especially if our life and/or health is at stake? Caring about what other people think or say about us makes us their prisoners and destroys our health and our life. I have experienced it in my own flesh. I have seen loved ones suffer for the same. I have seen friends, colleagues, relatives, and neighbors slowly give in so as not to lose their reputations, for example, and in doing so they lost not only the best gift they had, i.e. health and life, literally or symbolically but also the reputation they originally wanted to safeguard. Until when will we allow ourselves to be conditioned by others, especially those people who do not care about our well-being?

The most absurd thing is that we are often fully aware that these kinds of people do not bring good to us but only harm, but still we resist until we are no longer able to withstand when the situation is or almost is irreversible. One thing we are more than sure of is that people never stop talking about us for better or for worse. Mr. Joel Kimetto, a well-known Christian singer, rightly sang that it is impossible to prohibit birds from flying over our heads BUT we can prohibit them from nesting over our heads. And he is absolutely right. We will never have control over what people say, we cannot forbid them not to speak about us, but we can forbid their words from destroying our health, our lives, our relationships, our families, communities, and societies in general. It is up to us to decide, it is in your hands to decide. In this context, it is necessary to identify and distinguish the different types of anxiousness and their causes even though we are not going to analyze at length the difference between the two (fear and anxiety) but only point out some particularities between them.

Fear is defined as an emotional reaction to a specific, real danger, and anxiety is an excessive and unfocused fear that may be triggered by a variety of stimuli. When you feel afraid, the five senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touch translate information happening in our immediate environment; an example is when you unexpectedly come face to face with an animal like a lion, a snake, etc. and our emotional brain immediately switches on fear without being commanded to do so. It happens automatically, as they say, we do not command emotions. The response, therefore, is the one called the ‘Fight or Flee’ response. Chronic fear of living under constant threats has serious health consequences as if it weakens the immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. Fear can also impair the formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus which makes it difficult to regulate fear and can cause chronic anxiousness in a person, and can also cause clinical depression, among others. Though anxiety and fear feel similar, anxiety is a reaction to our emotions versus danger in the environment.

There are different types of anxiety having different causes, as mentioned earlier, for instance, anxiety caused by stress may persist for a long time after the trigger has been removed or arise without any trigger at all. Individuals suffering from anxiety disorders often have intense, excessive, and persistent worries and fears about everyday situations. Anxiety disorders are characterized by repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that peak within minutes, sometimes even to the point of death in case the person has other health problems. Feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with the daily activities; they are often difficult to control and are not proportionate to the real danger as well as persisting for a long time. Under anxiety, we can mention what is called, social anxiety disorder (SAD) and it is common in the general population with a lifetime of 2-5% in adults.  Epidemiological studies in the USA report that about 7% of the population is affected by social anxiety at any time, and the lifetime risk of the disorder is around 13%. SAD rates among the South American populations are similar to those of the USA, whereas Korea, China, and Japan show extremely low rates of 0.6%, 0.2%, and 0.8% respectively. Generally, high rates of SAD are found in Russia. It is further estimated that around 70–80% of those with SAD also have comorbid anxiety, mood, and substance-related disorders. Different studies have demonstrated that women are as twice likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorder and the prevalence of anxiety disorders higher than men are, this is said could be because of the differences in brain chemistry and hormone fluctuations in women and girls but can also be due to the sociocultural factors.

Most of us are not very aware of how dangerous this situation is, both for ourselves and for others, because if we were we would minimize its causes. Most SAD patients are not even aware of their condition, and only consult their doctor after suffering for a long time. Chronic SAD is associated with a higher risk of comorbid conditions, which can hide the underlying social phobia and that it requires a careful holistic analysis of the situation and life of the patient but it also demands the cooperation and a resolute determination of the patient to get out of it and embrace a healthy life. Most of us are not very aware of how dangerous this situation is, both for ourselves and for others, because if we were we would minimize its causes. Most SAD patients are not aware of their condition, and only consult their doctor after suffering for a long time. Remember that your worries may not go away on their own, and they may get worse over time, seeking help as early as possible may save not only your health but your entire life and that of your loved ones.

Dear friends, let us avoid being the cause of other people’s unhealthy lives, the Bible warns us to do unto others, as we would have them do unto us. On the other hand, let us stop worrying about what others think or say about us and focus on enhancing our own lives for the greater good.

  • Avoid places or situations to prevent these feelings
  • Life gets easier when we stop caring about what others think about us
  • Follow your heart, listen to your inner voice and stop caring about what others think

BEING OKAY WITH SAYING “NO”, BUILDING HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

Half of the problems of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough (J. Billings)

Giving a “no” for an answer can be quite difficult for most of us. In fact, whenever we are faced with a request that would require a ‘no’ as the only answer, we feel as if with that ‘no’, we offend the other person and end up saying ‘yes’ even when in our heart the answer remains a ‘no’. We often rush to say yes because we cannot bear the short-term pain of saying no but this actually can never be of any help to us. Think of those few or many times you had to give a ‘yes’ answer instead of a’ no’ just to please the person or simply because you did not want to disappoint that person. How did you feel during and after saying that yes whereas deep down, your inner self was shouting a big NO?

Giving up on saying yes simply because you do not want to offend the other person is not at all the best way, to be honest, both with ourselves and with other people. But, who told you that the other person would be offended by your no if you have never tried to do so before? Saying ‘no’ when you mean it is a way of being honest both with yourself and with other people. Definitely, learning how and when to say “no” while letting people take you seriously for who and what you are and in every word, yes or no that comes out of your mouth is fundamental in a world like ours in which there is a strong tendency to follow currents in order to be accepted by others.

We tend to think that saying yes always makes us seem like good people and easy to be accepted by others but the truth is the opposite; you can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no, because learning to say no does not make you a bad person. Being good and being bad are social and cultural making and may change (except some common ground across the globe) from culture to culture, from society to society, and even from person to person. As a result, more attention needs to be paid when people react with anger and hostility to the boundaries we set because those who pretend that we always answer YES to their every request have no regard for our uniqueness as persons, nor for our freedom and ability to choose what is appropriate for us. And so, learning to say ‘no’ and to mean it implies the need to draw a boundary beyond which no one should cross, which in turn implies both courage and determination to always stand up for what we believe.

Moreover, when you say ‘No’, do not complain and do not explain. Every excuse you make is like an invitation to ask you again in a different way. There is no sentence more complete and self-explanatory than a “NO”. Intelligent people do not require many explanations for this, and since we all have the freedom and right to choose, the other side has no other alternatives but to honor and respect my “NO”. It is worth noting that being brutally honest in today’s world may get you a handful of enemies but one thing is for sure, that those few friends or people around you are most likely genuine and likely supportive in whatever choice you make. Yes, those are the kind of persons to have around.

Why are boundaries important? Firstly, boundaries are guidelines, rules, or limits that a person creates to identify for himself/herself what are reasonable, safe, and permissible ways for other people to behave around him/her and how he/she will respond if someone goes beyond these limits. (outofthefog.net). There are different types of boundaries; we have, for example, emotional and intellectual boundaries which protect our sense of self-esteem and the ability to separate our feelings from others. Weak emotional boundaries for instance can lead one to be easy and in a great manner affected by what other people think, say, do, etc. hence ending up so wounded, feeling bruised, and battered. Some of the major emotional and intellectual invasions are sacrificing one’s plans, dreams, and goals in order to please others, difficulty in separating one’s feelings from that of the other persons and allowing the mood of the other (s) to dictate yours. Another one is that of not taking responsibility by blaming others for your problems and shortcomings.

As we mentioned previously, boundaries need to be defined and respected, nevertheless they are frequently violated, so why? Some of the reasons could be the following: fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of confrontation, guilt, for safety, or even because we were never taught healthy boundaries. Our fears and denial of who we are drive us to cede space to others who may not even know that we are sacrificing ourselves for them while destroying ourselves, our lives, and our health. Many illnesses start with a small feeling of not being accepted, welcomed, or loved, and grow to a point where they become complicated and require a lot of time and care, and often someone reaches a point of no return in health complication.

I wonder if it is worth it to suffer so much when you can proudly love yourself for who you are, without any apology, and surround yourself with those people who sincerely love, accept and appreciate you for who you really are. For this reason, “Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious.  You get to choose how you use it.  You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept” (Anna Taylor).

PS//

  • Be Okay with Saying NO
  • Start Small Building Healthy Boundaries
  • Love Yourself and Let Others Learn from you How to Love You
  • Practice Self-Esteem and Self-Acceptance
  • You MATTER Always
  • Health Is Wealth

WOMAN, SAY “YES TO SELF”!

In order to be able to say “yes to self”, we first have to give the (right) answer to the question “who am I?” not who others say I am or should be because the expectations of others never match ours. Often the question above arises in moments of crisis; such existential questions require deep reflection and sincerity in responding to them, especially if we want to seize this experience of crisis as a chance to open up and get to know ourselves in-depth to be able to make a change of direction towards the right one. The aforementioned questions are some of those that situate us on one side and others or the world around us on the other side.

We are not only our thoughts (Descartes), society (Voltaire), a manifestation of the Spirit (Hegel), structure (Marx), or being thrown out (Heidegger) but in relation to the many experiences that make us perceive ourselves as being-in-itself, that is, our distinct identities. Our self-identity called into question if it is met by what is different from itself, what contradicts our self-consciousness that is opposed to what we see in others, different from us. We, therefore, come to ask ourselves the question, who am I or what am I? Why am I not like others or why am I not doing as others do. Outside of ourselves, other factors influence our answers to the questions posed. We have factors such as cultures, societies, beliefs, etc. that are part of our histories, histories of relationships (with myself, with other than myself, with the cosmos and with the Divine), and of a continuous search for identity. On the other hand, one can hardly talk of history without discussing the body.

Your body, my body, everyone’s body has its own story inscribed in its flesh (but also impacting on the human spirit) that is often not recounted either in writing or verbally whether because we choose not to or because we don’t have the courage or just because we want to bury and forget no matter how difficult it is to forget. It is frequently very uncomfortable to ask the question about one’s identity because we lack the courage to look into the eyes of those parts of our self that we escape or perhaps it is just because others, our culture, or society believe that this part of my self is wrong to be talked of, must change or worst of all must not exist. The so-called body or character shaming arises precisely from this. Another reason that commonly comes up is that we are too busy dealing with so many other obligations (especially those who are very altruistic) towards other people, family, friends, charities, etc. and we often forget about our interests, our health, most and ourselves importantly our well-being.

You know better than I do that we cannot serve others well if we are not in good health, we cannot even be fully present with serenity for our loved ones, the saying goes that you cannot give what you do not have; therefore we must say yes to self and shift our focus instead to what is truly essential in life, we only live once, so let us not just live vivaciously but live a worthy life and savor it to the full. Giving oneself a treat or self-care is not a bad thing; indeed, we should be consistent in doing so. A certain K. Baskin, a journalist and a wellbeing expert in the USA, while citing a public service announcement stated “putting yourself ‘first’ does not mean that everything else has to fall to the wayside, or that you’re weak, or that you’re selfish. It means that you are taking the time to attend to your needs and refuel…which is human, and ultimately will help you do a better job at taking care of everyone and everything else”. Getting in touch with ourselves, our emotions, our feelings, our thoughts, helps us identify the kind of ‘treat’ or ‘care’ we need at that moment. We are used to always running after time, but we clearly know that there is no day that we will say yes, we have reached and finished all our commitments. Therefore, lying on the couch and reading a relaxing book, a novel, a movie, taking a walk along the river or in the green, with the intention of relaxing is a perfect way to regenerate your strength and to be able to continue serving both family and society in general. The ‘yes to self’ invites above all to say no to others when the former is questioned, so there is a need to give limits over which one does not cross.

You, my fellow women, claiming that ‘we women are multitasking’ and making us the ‘superwomen’ who never get tired but often end up stressed, depressed, and suffering what they often call ‘normal illnesses’ of women caused by lack of self-care has to stop. When you realize the good you bring to your loved ones in being well, you cannot but decide to say ‘YES’ to yourself. In other words, if you really want to feel great and live a more healthy and fulfilled life, learn from now on to say ‘yes to yourself’.

Our body is a text not written in ink but full of stories from our past experiences recounted every day, we just need to be attentive in listening to our body.

Be mindful of yourself and say ‘YES’ to self for a BETTER and HEALTHIER self, family, and society.

HEALTH IS WEALTH!

@zippymaureen

zipmaureen.healthcoach@gmail.com

TOXIC OR HARMFUL RELATIONSHIPS? A POISON TO YOUR HEALTH.

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when a character is lost, all is lost (Billy Graham).

A toxic relationship is by no means easy to define because to some extent it is in the eye of the beholder, however Dr. Sherric Bourg Carter, an author, and a blogger at psychology today.com acknowledge some common traits and behaviors such as abuse of power and control, demandingness, self-centeredness, negativity, criticism, dishonesty, demeaning comments and attitudes, and jealousy. Another psychology expert, based in California cited by Times, Dr. Lillian Glass defines a toxic relationship as “any relationship between people who don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there is competition, where there’s disrespect and lack of cohesiveness”.

In the first place, a relationship is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as the way in which two things are connected; the way in which two or more people feel and behave towards each other; the way in which things are connected or work together. Just to cite but a few. Being in a relationship, therefore, goes beyond just the links between two people (like in love relationships) to encompass the connections between the various social actors, both within the family and in the wider society. Relatedness, therefore, is that fundamental concept in the human person’s essence and action in a given society that makes the individual the principal actor insofar as he/she is in relation to him/herself, to others, to the cosmos, and to the Divine. Vera Araujo rightly argues that the centrality of relationship leads to defining man as a “relational being par excellence” in other words, suspending the relationship with the other means suspending the relationship with the self. Subsequently, society practically does not exist if not “in relation”. The question that might inevitably arise is, at what point, therefore, can a relationship be considered toxic or harmful?

Well, a key aspect to understand about harmful or toxic relationships is that not just one behavior that characterizes them, instead, there is a combination of behaviors that are the root causes and others are the results of such behavioral patterns. The statement ‘relationships are difficult, quarrels are normal and difficult times are normal’ has been normalized and this has on the other hand legitimized the causes and perpetuation of toxic and harmful behaviors and habits in people’s social and romantic lives. Sadly, in the 21st century too, in some places and cultures of the world, even in so-called developed or civilized countries, it is perfectly fine to shout at women, children, the elderly, the disadvantaged, etc., briefly, it is very normal to be toxic and harmful towards others. People who constantly belittle others or cause them harm, consciously or unconsciously, often have reasons – which often are not genuine, because no reasonable person can cause harm or pain to another if they care – even when they do not express them openly. So what are the effects of toxic or harmful relationships on health? Toxic relationships cause feelings of low self-worth, helplessness, insecurity, fear, anxiety, paranoia which causes health problems like high blood pressure, high levels of cortisol, obesity, diabetes, depression, heart attack, and stroke. All this is because there is a connection between the human body and mind.

As to whether toxic relationships can change, yes, they can change but if and only if both actors and partners, in the case of couples, have to commit to overcoming them through open communication, honesty, self-reflection, tolerance, acceptance of others’ limits, creating space for each other, possible professional help such as a coach or other. Certainly, there is a wide range of research suggesting that strong social (family) ties are linked to a longer life, while loneliness and social isolation, on the contrary, are linked to poorer health, depression, and increased risk of early death, such as through suicidal acts. Again, we are all different, but the impact of whichever kind of harmful behaviors can affect anybody, you and I included. If you can, avoid those relationships that compromise your health and family stability even though sometimes these toxic relationships happen in the family context, in this case, it is necessary to seek extra help from an expert as already mentioned above. We can briefly assert that there are toxic and harmful relationships, and perhaps you are experiencing this right now. We already know that they can be avoided through the already mentioned means or by turning our backs on them and starting a new page in an unremarkable new life. No amount of reasoning can give any one-person reasons to belittle the other. Toxic or harmful relationships whatsoever is a poison to your health.

Never lose heart, always remember that if we are in harmony and in peace with ourselves, so shall we be with others.

Health is Wealth!

What is your take on this topic? Let me know in the comments.

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