Things I wish every woman knew.
Over the past five years as I’ve inadvertently ended up working only with women (I’ve seen only TWO men in my career – I didn’t do this on purpose either!), there are certain things that I find myself desperately wanting these women to deeply know and understand.
Here’s a list of some of them! They’re the things I constantly find myself emphasising, repeating, and find to be so very true, over and over.
Enjoy, and I sooo hope that a few of the concepts / tips / ideas on this list may spark something within you, if you’re on your own journey to improve your health, hormones, or life in general!
1. Your nervous system controls everything.
If you’re in a constant state of fight-or-flight, this will override all the good things you are doing. STRESS is MORE powerful than you believe or are willing to admit. Don’t fool yourself about ‘coping’ if you deep down know that you really aren’t. Seek help. Talk to people. Delegate. Stop being a perfectionist, it’s not doing your wellness any favours.
No matter what amount of great supplements, nutrition and body movement you include in your life … not much will change for you if there is chronic stress present.
2. Your LIVER is your best, best friend.
If you find yourself experiencing breast tenderness before your period, pre-menstrual headaches, bloating leading up to your period, clotty periods, period pain, anger, frustration, irritability / agitation … all on a regular basis – then please see a naturopath or TCM practitioner / acupuncturist to get help working on your liver. It is such an important organ to work on.
3. Wine is delicious, but it doesn’t like your hormones when you drink above your ‘happy’ amount.
Wine (and alcohol in general) raises oestrogen, generally contributing to oestrogen-driven PMS and period symptoms. You DO need to have alcohol free days. And yes, the less you drink the happier your hormones will be. When you have it, only drink it in amounts that serve you and always, always with a meal.
4. Coffee really does affect your hormones.
No matter how many health benefits they find for the consumption of coffee … coffee WILL upset your nervous system, adrenal glands, and hormones in general. Especially where there is already excessive stress present. Listen … I love coffee too. It’s a gift from the Gods (I’m drinking one as I write this!). But be wise about it, ok?
5. When it comes to weight, it’s really not only about ‘what goes in versus what goes out’.
Your healthy and ideal weight (and listen, we are NOT all supposed to be pencil-thin … we just aren’t!) will come when your hormones are happy and healthy. Your hormones will be happy and healthy, when you find harmony between all the aspects of your life that influence them. For SO many women, the constant rush and excessive overcommitment is making this virtually impossible to achieve. No amount of restricted eating and over-exercising can make up for this.
6. Veggies are life!
I definitely don’t tout certain styles of eating, or recommend that people should eat in any certain one ‘way’. Different things work for different bodies. BUT … veggies are life, and a high percentage of your diet should be comprised of them, no matter what your food beliefs or opinions. Veggies are full of nutrients, antioxidants, and fibre that we simply NEED for wellness – and most especially for happy, healthy hormones! If you do nothing else, eat more veggies. Every day!
7. Supplements ARE important, and DO work.
So often I hear people (who have never studied or been trained in nutrition!) go around saying that ‘supplements aren’t necessary’ and that ‘supplements don’t work’. But, it’s a true fact that our soils are extremely depleted … and nutrients do, in fact, come from the soils. So it is extremely likely that most of us have nutrient deficiencies of some sort!! High-quality supplements are an amazing addition to your everyday health regime. Sure – we won’t die if we don’t have them, but their health-enhancing benefits can often mean the difference between ‘feeling ok’ and ‘feeling vibrant’.
In saying this … be mindful that a lot of the supplements available out there are a waste of time … get HELP choosing high-quality, practitioner standard supplements that are indicated for your particular health picture.
8. The oral contraceptive pill is not the answer to your hormonal issues.
I understand why some women choose to stay on the oral contraceptive pill. I never tell a woman to come off it, but I am there to support her in reclaiming her health and hormones when she does. But can I just say, the pill can never ‘fix’ hormonal issues and conditions. It can only mask symptoms, and when we come off the pill, we inevitably need to address these conditions at their root (which can be much more challenging after many years on the pill).
While it may take some effort and work to naturally address what is going on for you hormonally, the rewards of doing so are well worth it.
9. Digestive problems aren’t necessarily caused by what you’re eating.
They can be – of course. BUT, many women I see have these amazing diets and are suffering terrible digestive symptoms. When we’re stressed, blood gets diverted AWAY from our organs of digestion (stomach, liver, spleen, intestines), and towards our arms and legs (this is the classic fight/flight nervous system response, prepping us to ‘flee or attack’). This greatly reduces the amount of essential oxygen and nutrients flowing to your vital organs, thus hindering their capacity to digest the food you’re eating. Again, it comes back to stress.
10. Yoga may just be the answer … to everything.
I know yoga is not for everyone. BUT – yoga healed my anxiety and hormonal issues, and I really don’t say that lightly. When I stray from my regular yoga practice, they both start to creep back in. Yoga is profoundly balancing for the entire endocrine system (which means: all your hormones). It will also dramatically help your digestive difficulties, by flushing fresh blood back to all your internal vital organs. It also switches you out of fight-or-flight and straight back into your beautiful, calming, rest-and-digest nervous system response.
11. Restriction and deprivation rarely work.
I have no health ‘rules’, because I know that the above is true. Rather, we need to work on developing a connected relationship with ourselves on every level – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – so that we can listen in and know what we need in any given moment. There are times to indulge, times not to. Times to push harder, times to rest. When you trust your body, and her signs, symptoms, and nudges … you will begin to deeply honour this. And then, your life will change.
12. Signs and symptoms are messengers, asking you to make change.
Don’t abhor your body for giving you signs and symptoms. It actually isn’t trying to turn against you, despite what you may believe. We ALL experience signs and symptoms at different times, letting us know when we need to start or stop doing something, when we’re off track, when we’ve stopped honouring ourselves. Listen in! Your body is reflecting the wisdom of the internal part of you that knows exactly what YOU need at any given time.
13. The world will not fall apart if you take a step back.
Women often feel like they are the glue that holds everything together in life. Because we are often the epicentre of our world – acting as the support person in the middle of the web – we mistakenly believe that we can’t rest, take time off, and take a step back, because if we do the world will fall apart. But this is simply not true. When we honour our own needs, dreams and desires enough to create space for them within our lives, we give other people the opportunity to step up and support us. Doing this displays courage and trust – trust that everything will still be taken care of.
14. Inspiration is everything.
If you do not have things in your life that inspire you – you need to work on that. In other words, do what you love, do what you love, do what you love. This doesn’t necessarily need to translate into your job (though it is helpful to feel like you at least like your job). But every day should be peppered with small, little things that inspire you. Life is not supposed to be dull, boring, and a relentless drag.
15. You are your own guru.
There is no one that knows you, the way you know yourself. If you feel disconnected from yourself, this is simply an invitation to go within, to reconnect. If you feel lonely, know that this, too, is a symptom of disconnection from your Self, your Spirit, your Soul. You always know what to do, you always know what’s best for you. You just have to have the courage and bravery to act upon it.
16. Everything transforms eventually.
Truly, everything does. Life is hard for everyone, at certain times. Life ebbs and flows. The best we can do is surrender to the hard times, knowing that they will transform when the lesson has been integrated, when the growth has been completed. Trusting this can honestly change everything.
17. Life is truly a gift.
I believe too many people do not realise this. If you contemplate the fact that you are one day going to die … like, really contemplate it … this usually starts to generate a sense of AWE for the very fact that you are here – a living, breathing, human being. It’s quite remarkable. Our busy and uptight schedules often mean that our minds are too full with our to-do lists to ponder the more important concepts.
Which of the above resonate for you?
What area of your life and / or wellness do you know needs some more of your attention?
What are you willing to do about that, in order to reclaim your right to wellness and fulfilment?