For years I prioritized getting enough sleep. Then a few months ago, I became a parent. Now I’m intimately more familiar with sleep deprivation, and the immediate effects: I’m having difficulty finding words, my conversational skills are plummeting, and my concentration isn’t what it was before. I wanted to know how much it was impacting my long-term health, so I looked into it, and sleep is even more important than I imagined.
On any given day, there's a lot to do, isn't there? So much happens before we even consider that our day has "started." We go through the motions on autopilot, each Tuesday morning seems like the previous Tuesday morning. But is this true? If so, what are we doing it all for? The weekend, retirement, a big vacation, our name on a plaque somewhere, something else?
When we think we have a lot of time left, we get good at putting important things off - "I'll get to that stuff later." When we think we don't have a lot of time left, we start to question whether we spent our time well - "Should I have put in so much time at the office all those years?" If we're either putting the important things off, or wondering if we did enough important things, when do we really get to live? And what does it mean to really live?
I think this is where the idea of mindfulness can help us. Being mindful of the moment we're in right now, means we're really living right now! Being mindful of ourselves gives us the chance to notice, and decide how to respond to the constant changes in our life.
If you have an interest in mindfulness, but haven't settled into a routine yet, I invite you to try an app like Headspace or Stop, Breathe, and Think. Our phones have become inextricable parts of who we are, so we might as well make friends.
When it comes to dealing with "our issues" (unpleasant emotions, events, or thoughts) many of us believe we should just sweep that under the rug and remain positive. "Keep calm and carry on," right? Unfortunately, this kind of attitude can have terrible consequences on our health.
"So does that stuff actually work?" This question is full of nuance, but the simple answer is "Yes, if you know what you're doing."
Though it may appear that we're not doing much, while we sleep our bodies are carrying out a lot of maintenance to keep us healthy. When we don't get enough (high quality) sleep, our bodies don't perform at their best.
The world's best 'pharmacy' exists inside each and every one of us. Taking full advantage of this internal 'pharmacy' is the most effective way to care for our health.
Talking with people, I've found there's some confusion about why someone might go see a naturopathic doctor. In this post I'll address several reasons that bring patients through an ND's door.
"Wait, you're what kind of doctor? A nat-uro-pathic doctor? What's that?"
We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and recently medical researchers have uncovered a long term health benefit behind the adage.