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Importance of Self-Care for Women: How to Fill Your Own Cup

mom taking care of her son

Stress, who is familiar with stress? If you are not, let me stop you right here and unfriend you. In all seriousness stress is a common experience we all face at some point in our lives, some more than others. I think it is important to call attention to how it can affect our lives if not managed properly. Recently I was asked to speak at a women's conference about this topic, the topic of stress and I decided ( with the help of my marketing manager) to call this talk “Fill Your Cup ''. 

For those of you not following along at home, let me explain. LIFE is your cup and what you choose to fill it with is up to you. As women we are responsible for all the things, shuttling the kids to their 10 activities, getting the groceries, paying the bills, cooking the dinner, making everyone happy. We give, we give, and we fill everyone else's cup but who fills ours?

And the answer is we do. 

woman sitting depressed

To keep filling others we need to fill our own. We need to take care of ourselves so we can continue to take care of everyone else and part of this is to process our stress in a healthy way. When we do not process stress in a healthy way, yes there are healthy ways, it can manifest in our lives in unexpected ways. I see this with my patients all the time, migraines, hives, stomach aches, skin problems, acid reflux, heart attacks, anxiety, depression, back pain, loss of sleep, weight gain, random pains, or traveling pains…. The list goes on….

Sitting in the dark eating a pint of ice cream means you are not processing your stress. When you drop your keys on the floor and just start crying for no reason, you are not processing your stress in a healthy way. The cumulation of all the stresses in your life adds up and puts you in a constant state of fight or flight. 

Why does this matter? Because we are physiologically not designed to live and thrive under a constant state of stress.

Our nervous system is broken up into 2 systems. Parasympathetic and sympathetic aka rest and digest or fight or flight. When one is turned on the other is turned off. The activation of these systems causes different hormones and reactions to happen in our bodies.

Like I said before, we are not meant to stay in a prolonged sympathetic state, a prolonged emergency state! This is literally why everything can seem like so much at times, the keys falling on the floor, the kids fighting, missing the yellow light, and having to wait at a red light !!!! it's just too much, we are taxed, we are stressed, and we are maxed out in fight mode! LOOK  OUT, people. 

woman filling their cups by getting their nails done together

So, how do we fix this? One of the biggest things you can do is focus on what you can control and manage your perception of it. Don't sweat the small things. Look at things as a way to grow or learn from. It's not easy and it takes practice. Everything the body encounters is a stress, either a positive stress or a negative stress.

What's the difference? How do you perceive it? 

Your mind is a powerful thing, how you perceive something is how your body- how your nervous system will react. If you think it's stressful, it will cause a stress response, a fight or flight response which can lead to HA, reflux, weight gain, all the things mentioned before.

We need to be lighter, laugh more, worry less. It's not easy and takes practice. Sometimes I have to physically stop myself, stop my thoughts, and pivot/channel them into a happy thought, a place of thankfulness and gratitude.

If you perceive something as not stressful, well then your rest and digest system stays on instead of your fight or flight. 

Focus on gratitude. Focus on the good and not the bad. Be thankful for what you have, who you are, and what you can offer people.

Do small acts of self care, because it makes you happy and puts your system in that parasympathetic mode. Go get your nails done, do your hair, and prioritize yourself. 

Exercise more, go for a walk, stretch. Movement releases endorphins which are happy hormones that reduce stress. Happy people are less stressed. 

a healthy salad like this one is great for your body

Manage your diet, and remove foods that stress your system out. You know what they are. HINT if you can not read it you should not eat it. If you don't know what it is, chances are your body will not know what it is and it will trigger a stress response. Chemical names and processed foods are the enemy to our health.

Another way to fill your cup and manage your stress is to get adjusted regularly. When we have a subluxation or misalignment in our spines, our bodies know. Like those chemical compounds found in our foods, it is foreign. It knows something is not right, which triggers a sympathetic response in our bodies,  that alarm system. 

In our office, we use a motion X-ray machine and Ired thermography to identify subluxations and the state of your nervous system. If you are too sympathetic you will not heal from anything, cancer, autoimmune disease, or the flu. You will not be able to lose weight. You can not heal or lose weight if you are stressed out, period. 

So ladies, take care of yourself. Fill your cup with rest and digest. Put yourselves first, manage that stress, and do not let it build up. Focus on what you can control and your mindset, focus on gratitude. Exercise, move, stretch, get out in the sun. The little things add up. It's ok to take a step back and breathe. 

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