I am a firm believer in the mind and body connection. In my experience, there is an undeniable link between emotions, personal mantras that come by way of self-talk and daily routines and how the body looks, feels and even heals. It is for this reason that I really do my best to connect with each of my patients and do my utmost to take the time to get to know who they are, what their daily habits are, their fears and concerns and what their short and long-term goals look like.
It is only when equipped with this information that I am able to create a customized program and treatment plan that will support them in the way they need (and deserve) for it to. Though we live in a world that focuses on what things look like on the surface, it is always important to dig a little deeper. The reality is that the traits we all love such as bright skin, faster healing and vibrant energy are side effects of a positive, proactive and whole approach to total body health.
With this in mind, I would like to ask you all to do a little check in on your self care routines. Perhaps you’re taking good care of yourself (and if you are, I commend you) or maybe this blog will serve as a reminder to slow down and readjust a little in which case, I am here to support you.
Here are three questions I would like for you to answer.
How often are you adequately hydrated?
Now, before you get up in a panic and rush to the sink to chug several glasses as a result of this reminder (which is something I am guessing the estimated 75% of Americans who suffer chronic dehydration do), simply think of ways to introduce more non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic, sugar-free fluids into your life. Whether it’s logging down 10 cups a day on a piece of paper, engaging in a friendly competition with a colleague, adding a slice of lemon to make a glass of H20 more enticing or keeping a liter nearby and refilling the bottle, getting enough water in the body is essential to over overall health for a number of reasons. Not only does parched skin look tired and more wrinkled, but our organs cannot function properly without adequate hydration. This can lead of a host of issues from sleepiness and constipation to confusion, muscle cramps, dark circles and a dull complexion.
Signs you may need more water: Dark colored urine, exhaustion, dark circles, thirst and hunger.
How supportive is your self-talk?
While we all have negative and self-defeating messages that pop into our heads now and then, a constant stream of internal criticisms and put downs is guaranteed to work against you. As a doctor, it is essential that I have a good idea of what each patient’s expectations of the procedure and themselves are so that I can help guide them through the process of treatment and recovery. To get a good idea of how the the tone of your personal dialogue is impacting your health and your quality of life, try this: write down all of your negative and positive thoughts throughout the day in two separate columns. Then, sit down and think about how these words and phrases are helping or harming you.
Signs you may need to change the conversation: You’re constantly sharing things you don’t like about yourself, you feel like you cannot do anything “right” or you’re placing pressure on yourself to be “perfect” and never feel you can live up to your own expectations.
How mindful are you?
We live in a 24-7 world that requires a lot from us. As such, there is a lot of pressure for instant output. This leaves many of us rushing through our moments to “to get things done” without really thinking about what we are doing to ourselves in order to cross off the tasks on our to-do list. Beyond feeling exhausted, frantic living under high levels of stress often results flaring skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne and the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that can lead to backaches, insomnia, weight gain and a host of other issues. Stress is also associated with skin inflammation which can lead to a breakdown in collagen, accelerated aging and inflammation which can increase a skin cancer risk in susceptible individuals. We are also more likely to overreact and less likely to focus when we are rushing through our moments instead of taking one step at time and remembering to breathe. Speaking of breathing, the next time you need to rebalance and stay present, try this: breathe in 7 seconds, hold it 4 and breathe out 8. Do this 10 times to bring your brain into a space of calm.
Signs you may need to be more present: Your shoulders are tight, you are having trouble sleeping, your temper is short or you feel sleepy even after a full night of rest.