Health Tips from Alona Pulde, MD
Dr. Alona Pulde is a board-certified practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental medicine and a family medicine physician specializing in nutrition and lifestyle. She developed the Lifestyle Change Program for her clinic, Exsalus Health & Wellness Center, and is lead author of the book Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole: Your Guide to Optimum Health. Dr. Pulde joined Whole Foods Market in 2010 as a medical advisor for the company’s Wellness Clubs.
It Is About You
January is here and with it comes resolutions, including promises to lose weight, eat better, meditate, exercise, be more grateful, stop to smell the roses, etc. All of these noble ambitions and yet come February, most are forgotten or set aside. What is it that allows us to relegate self-care (one of the most important measures we can take for ourselves and our loved ones) to the bottom of our priority list? Is it because we don't have enough time, have loved ones who consume our attention and resources, are stressed out by the life we have created, or simply because we feel it would be selfish? Regardless of the reason (and many of us find at least one), neglecting self-care is rather costly and can manifest as depression, fatigue, irritability, decreased ability to focus, sleep disturbances, and impaired health. Wishing you all a smooth transition and a happy, healthy, and safe year ahead!
When I think of why self-care is important, I often recall the in flight instructions for applying oxygen masks in case of an emergency. You must put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping anyone else. Although this example may seem extreme, I truly believe it applies to daily living. If we are so busy burning the candle at both ends we will inevitably burnout.
So, head into this new year exploring ways you can gift yourself more self-care.
Here are some ideas that have worked for me:
1) Find some time for yourself EVERYDAY. This might begin with just five minutes but the idea is not quantity at first, it is quality. These five, ten, fifteen or 60 minutes need to be completely about you, doing something you enjoy for yourself. Take a walk, do a five-minute meditation, have a cup of tea on your porch, etc.
2) It's ok to say No. With limited time to fit everything in, it’s impossible to say yes to everything. Identify those events, activities, engagements that are priorities for you and politely decline the rest.
3) Build routines. Most of us don’t have to think about brushing our teeth every morning – we have created a habit that occurs almost automatically. You can create similar routines around meditation or exercise by setting aside a specific time everyday that you will be completing that task. In the same manner that we brush our teeth no matter how busy or how tired or how stressed we are, these self-care regimens can become just as customary.
4) Nourish yourself with healthy and nutritious foods. This is the ultimate self-care gift you can give yourself. Like your car that needs the proper gas to run optimally, you need the right foods to function optimally. So make your next bite count toward pushing you from surviving to thriving!
Have a mindful medicine question for Dr. Alona? Email us & we'll try to get it answered!