On a pretty regular basis, I have clients and others asking me what they can take for a specific concern or condition, especially in pregnancy. The typical scenario is that the person has some type of temporary illness or malady–a cold, an upset stomach, a headache–and they want to take something for it. The subtext of the question, “what can I take?” is really, “what can I take that will immediately or at least very quickly make this go away so that I can get on with my life?”
I get it. I’m busy, too, and usually, don’t like being slowed down by my body. But, oftentimes, our bodies are very wise in knowing what they need, and sometimes they make us sick so that we will pay attention. Perhaps, instead of reaching for a tablet, a pill, an essential oil, or an herb, we can pause and take. . .
. . .a break. Our bodies need regular breaks from inactivity and also from activity, about every 90-120 minutes. Stand up and stretch if you’ve been sitting. Sit and meditate or pray if you’ve been busily moving. Breathe some fresh air.
. . .a drink. Are you thirsty? Many pregnant clients discover that their nagging regular headaches resolve after being more mindful about drinking more water.
. . .a snack. Modern life is busy, over-scheduled, and filled with us running from one thing to the next. When was the last time you ate some nutrient dense foods? Not just grabbing convenience items on the way to your next activity or event, but really sitting and enjoying healthful food?
. . .a nap. Even just lying down and closing your eyes in a darkened room for 20 minutes can help you to feel refreshed and ready for the rest of your day.
. . .a walk. Enjoy a vigorous walk to help your body and mind re-set.
. . .a hug. Maybe that nagging headache or the cold that won’t quit is due to stress in your relationships, and seeking connection can help your body to heal itself.
Certainly, we can’t cure all of our ills with simple lifestyle choices, but it’s always a good place to start.
Some cool resources for more information on any of the above:
Dr. Aviva Romm’s blog, podcast, and classes
The Gottman Institute for evidence-based information on romantic, family, and parenting relationships
Dr. Frank Lipman’s book How to Be Well
What resources have helped you to be well?