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Things I Have Learned

By Douglas R. Briggs, DC, Dipl. Ac. (IAMA), DAAPM, EMT

About the Columnist
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Heal Thyself: The Necessity of Self-Care

We're all aware of self-care benefits. We are great at making those recommendations for patients and those close to us. We make those recommendations because we understand and believe self-care is essential to healing our whole body and mental wellness. But knowing what to do and actually putting it to action are two different things.

Most likely, the patients you see are in pain, have experienced trauma, or are on toxic overload. They're looking for immediate relief. They're not always ready for daily pointers on how to make their overall lives better. After years of training practitioners to grow their businesses (through the use of nutraceuticals and functional lab tests) I've noticed a common theme. There are high volume performers and high performance achievers.

I've met many practitioners that have busy practices and a (somewhat) steady flow of new patients but are just not happy. They're stressed out all the time; they feel like they don't have time for the things they enjoy. Some even look worn out!

Heal Thyself: The Necessity of Self-Care - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark They mention they're tired all the time, feel like they can't take a lunch break — never mind the idea of a vacation. Their relationships are suffering because they're always in the clinic. Before too long they feel like they have become the patient. Their joy of serving is gone!

Let's face it as a practitioner you're also a sales person, even if you don't own your own practice. We're all sales people in a service-based industry. The idea of  "I'll take time for myself when I need it" is just wrong. By the "time you need it" you may have waited too long. How are your patients going to buy what you're selling (in the form of self-care daily tips) if you're not doing them?

You have to admit there is a different passion conveyed when you're living in your truth. Would you take nutrition advice from someone that has a super-size soda on their desk to get them through the day? Probably not any more than you would take core exercise advice from a fitness professional that hasn't exercised in 10 years. Neither will your patients. We all must make time for ourselves daily.

Think back to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem, self –actualization. Basic human function is self-care. Believe it or not many practitioners neglect these needs.

Five Ways to Care for Yourself

One

Take time to eat real food — nourish your body. How many practitioners skip lunch, grab something on the go, or eat in front of their computer? I know drinking an adequate amount of water is a struggle for me, daily. Energize your body with a quality multi vitamin formulated without fillers, support your natural detoxing ability with milk thistle/silymarin; vitamin E; vitamin D; and CoQ10,  and know your food/chemical sensitivities.  These constant immune triggers can wear your system down right before your eyes.  Your physiological needs should be met first.

Two

Secure your finances — meet with a financial planner and know what you're up against. Many people fear dealing with money. Constant worry or stress can wear the body down. A combination of Rhodiola, Magnolia, Philodendron, Phosphatydalcholine, and MCTs can help support the adrenals and reduce stress. A meeting with a financial expert can help you come up with a reasonable plan and get you on track.  Stressing about finances is not helpful for your health and well-being.

Three

Spend time with your family — love and belonging are the third level of human needs. If we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with: get out and mingle! A walk outside for exercise and sun therapy can do the body (and mind) wonders. Know your vitamin D level.  According to Dr. Russ Jaffe, "40 percent of the population cannot convert vitamin D from their time in the sun".1 Plan a hiking trip with friends or a backyard gathering with family. Do what brings you joy!

Four

Meditation — spend time meditating each day. I am usually good for one solid session but strive to achieve two each day. An l-methionine and Mg combination can help calm the monkey brain for more relaxed meditation and sleep. Mediation or prayer time can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and create clarity. Trust your strengths and ability to work through your challenges.

Five

"What a man can be, he must be." — Abraham Maslow

Exercise living your own truth. Say yes when you mean yes, and say no when you mean no. Reduce the animal protein, support your micro biome, and consider adding sulfur-building foods like: eggs, onions, broccoli, garlic, and ginger. Create a daily routine that supports your goals not a habit of navigating the landmines of other's agendas.

Reference

  1. Jaffe R. "Functional Immunology: 8 Predictive Biomarkers Presentation." Annual Functional Medical Conference, 2016.

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