In an interview in 2007, Ulrich said when she wrote the book, Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History she wasn’t implying women should misbehave in order to be memorable, even though it’s how the quote is often interpreted. She was lamenting the fact that history very often overlooks so many women who have made positive impacts on society.
Whether sparked and fueled by events of tragedy, indignation at discriminatory treatment, or compassion for the plight of others’ misfortune, women have stepped up and accepted the gauntlet of diverse crusades, both past and present. Consider the recent evidence of this:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your permission” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
“When they go low, you go high” ~ Michelle Obama
“What you think of me is none of my business” ~ Terry Cole Whittaker
Are you ready to awaken to your own healing? As a Reiki Master and Medical Intuitive, I help people get to the root cause of the blocks that are keeping them from living their lives to the fullest. You deserve to do more than just survive – you deserve to thrive.
“You, yourself, as much as anyone in the Universe, deserve your love and affection." - Sharon Salzberg
Yes, I know that the February observance is focused on keeping your heart healthy – and I’ll talk about that shortly – however, I’m advocating for self-care,which is about self-love which is NOT self-ish but is self-responsibility. For if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t be of much use in helping others.
Heart disease accounts for 1 in 3 deaths in women. And our symptoms are not the same as men’s. We may experience fatigue, back pain, shortness of breath, even flu-like symptoms, but are not likely to experience the sudden onset of severe chest pain, pain radiating down the arm, that men experience.
I’d like to share a story about a woman I’ll call Patty – at 64 years old, she appeared to be a fountain of energy. On the outside, she seemed to have it all – a lovely home plus a second home at the beach. Lots of friends to socialize with, travel opportunities, three great kids and a successful businessman as her husband. Yet, underneath it all there was an undercurrent of unrelenting stress (I suspect it was at least in part caused by what I observed as her need to control in every situation). And I never saw that she gave attention to her own self-care. Not to mention three back surgeries in the course of five years to relieve unrelenting back pain.
Her first heart attack happened suddenly and without warning. She was rushed to the hospital and doctors implanted a stint in her arteries in order to help with blood flow to the heart and brain. She left the hospital assuring everyone she was fine and then continued to jump back into her go-go-go lifestyle.
Shortly thereafter, I invited her to lunch and she declined stating she was feeling like she had the flu. Three weeks later, while talking on the phone to a friend, she stated she suddenly “felt woozy” and then suffered a massive heart attack which claimed her life.
"Health care without self-care is nothing more than sick care"
~ Roshi Joan Halifax
Why do I share this story? I’m guessing you already know about heart-healthy diet, the need to exercise, get plenty of rest, drink enough water, etc. So I’m not going to waste your time offering those tips – there is a plethora of them on the internet. Rather, I want to encourage self-love and self-nurturing as an antidote to stress.
It releases hormones to help regulate your body’s metabolism (all the things your body does to turn food into energy and keep you going).
If the thyroid gets lazy and starts slacking off on production of its hormone, you may experience:
If the thyroid goes into overdrive and produces too much, then you may experience:
My own experience with thyroid disease began with severe irritation in my eyes – it felt like I had grains of sand scratching my eyes. I could eat like a champ but was losing weight. My hands shook, I couldn’t sleep, and boy, was I irritable.
After several trips to my primary care doc (who kept telling me it was allergies) I was referred me to an ophthalmologist who immediately identified Graves’ Disease (hence the eye discomfort). The treatment to mitigate the symptoms and get the thyroid back to normal functioning was no picnic – it literally took 2 years to get to a place where I felt fairly normal functioning.
So – what’s the moral of this story and why am I sharing it with you? Please don’t put off seeing your health care provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. A simple blood test can give you valuable information about your thyroid levels.
And back to our initial question – no doubt you’ve guessed the connection to a butterfly. So what about the grapefruit and calcium connection? If you are already taking thyroid medication grapefruit may have some contraindications – best to check with the pharmacist.
And I just recently learned that I should not take my calcium supplements within 4 hours of taking my Synthroid medication. Who knew? Now you do.
P.S. speaking of calcium, be sure your supplement contains Vitamin K – you can learn more about what I call the “calcium conundrum” when you sign up for my blog – I’ll send you a free e-book as a thanks.
An excellent resource for up-to-date thyroid information is the American Thyroid Organization: http://www.thyroid.org
“If I’d have known I would live this long I would’ve taken better care of myself!” ~Sammy Davis, Jr.
If you are one of the 34 million care-givers in the US, you may have heard this lament from an elderly family member who relies on you for care. I call it the “if only” syndrome: If only I’d quit smoking, dealt with my stress, exercised, ate healthy foods – you can fill in the blank. I heard it from my mom countless times during the 11 years I was responsible for her care. Unfortunately for her it was too little too late. After she fell and broke her hip she just didn’t have the mental, physical or emotional resiliency to recover. She died just 7 short weeks after that fall.
And so began my mission to inform, educate and empower my caregiver peers about the importance of our own self-care.
Just what is self-care? One definition: “Self-care is the intentional time taken by an individual to nurture him or herself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally on a daily basis”. A dear friend of mine who is currently caring for her mother who requires round-the-clock care told me this definition sounded selfish. I said “no, it’s not selfish, it’s self-responsibility.”
Right about now you may be rolling yours eyes and thinking “easy for you to say”! No, it’s not easy. But think of it this way – there is a good reason why the airlines tell us to put on our own oxygen mask before helping another.
EXERCISE – take a walk, ride a bike, do yoga or tai chi, stretch – even in small increments throughout the day this will help. Two or three 10-minute walks are just as effective as one 30-munite walk.
LAUGH often & loudly, read jokes, watch funny TV shows & movies. I took an art class once a week and I’m sure we did more laughing than painting!
FUN – do something that makes you smile – play with your pet, be silly with your grandchildren, dance, and sing, putter in the garden, go out with friends.
COMPASSION –cultivate it for yourself as well as others. Don’t “should on yourself” – you’re doing the best you can.
ACCEPT – remember the serenity prayer “Grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”. These are wise words.
REST – as a caregiver, you can constantly feel overwhelmed and drained – both emotionally and physically. Give yourself a break - take a nap, get a good night’s sleep, sit in nature, meditate, listen to music you enjoy.
ENGAGE – Get to know the nurses and other professionals that may be caring for your family member. Greet them by name, ask about their families, & most importantly let them know how grateful you are for the work they do. I really do believe my mom got better care because the staff knew that I appreciated them.
Sue Perisi is certified as a Yoga instructor, Reiki II practitioner, Urban Zen Integrative Therapist, and holistic health coach. She has created corporate wellness programs for more than 250 companies, taught fitness classes to seniors and cancer survivors and is devoted to empowering others to create robust health and wellness through mindful practices, nutrition, and self-care. You can learn more about Sue’s background, her integrative therapy work and her signature program Yoga-Nutra RX™
Imagine being taken from your bed by strangers in the middle of the night, transported to a place full of glaringly bright lights, bone chilling temperatures, and ear shattering noises. Then imagine waiting in that chaos for 8 hours, your body wracked with pain, before a surgeon tells you you’ll never walk again without surgery. Imagine how frightening those words were to an 86 year-old woman who had never had surgery in her life.
Despite concerns about her COPD and elevated blood pressure, Mom had surgery the next day.
I then had less than 3 days to find a SNF that (a) had an open bed (b) would accept her insurance and (c) was within 20 miles from my home.
Mom was transferred to the SNF 3 days after surgery and began physical therapy 2 days later. She was so frail and weak the therapists had to strap a belt around her to avoid her falling – even using a walker.
Mom never recovered from that fall. It broke her spirit as well as her hip. Within 2 weeks, she had deteriorated so badly she was placed on hospice. Ten days later another early morning phone call. Mom died, alone in her bed, in the nursing home. I had visited her every day on my way to work, my lunch hour, and on my way home, but I wasn’t with her in those final hours. It was the lowest point in my life.
The grief process was slow and often excruciating. But I am so grateful for the gift my mom gave to me as she allowed me to escort her through those final months of her life. For even in dying, there is wellness. There is healing. Ultimately there is peace.
The journey with Mom ignited my desire to work to bring the care back into health care. It brought me full circle back to my passion for teaching wellness. Now I offer tools and resources to help others take charge of their health. I’m on mission to help others embrace their own self care for without it, health care is nothing more than sick care
Sue Perisi is a Reiki Master and Medical Intuitive and certified as a Yoga Instructor, Holistic Health Coach and Urban Zen Integrative Therapist .
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