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Dana Frost is an aromatherapist and Holistic Master Health Coach to seekers of optimal living.
Wellness has been a personal mission of mine for years. In my twenties, I determined that my family history of adult onset diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and later Hashimoto’s would not have an invitation to the party of my life.
I certainly did not view it as an invitation toward “wellness.” It was more like sprinting from my DNA.
I quietly sat out to live a healthy lifestyle that originated in my kitchen and holistic remedies for myself and my family. In hindsight, I probably had the poster women’s version of a wellness kitchen before wellness was a buzz word.
I started juicing in the early 90’s during The Juiceman Juicer’s craze. (Did anyone else join that trend?)
I made soy nut milk from scratch, a skill taught to me by my Korean neighbor and friend, Francis.
I bought no pre-prepared foods…E V E R.
I was (notice past tense) a homegrown baker full stop since baking was one of my expressions of love and a stress reliever. I confess a wicked sweet tooth until my mid forties, which will be explained in a few moments.
When I noticed slight arthritic pain, through research, I discovered the possibility that it could be food based inflammation Through personal experimentation I discovered which foods produced the inflammatory response in my body. When I noticed joint pain, primarily in my fingers and one hip, I reevaluated my food intake and made necessary changes.
These were the years before there were online courses like Integrative Nutrition and certifications for Health Coaches.
By now, you probably want to toss tomato juice in my face.
Hang tight because I’m not suggesting bragging rights rather setting the stage for what happened in my forties…
That’s the juicy story.
I was doing really well until I was eight years into a long stretch of stress on the home front.
Stress has a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it.
Our bodies are intricately designed to handle stress through our Central Nervous System, specifically, the autonomic nervous system, which just means, it’s on auto-pilot. However, it calls upon nearly every physiological system in your body and therefore, prolonged stress, whether real, perceived or reverberations of stress, overtime, negatively impacts the Endocrine, Digestive System, Cardiovascular, Reproductive, Immune and Urinary Systems in addition to the Endocrine and Nervous Systems.
Eventually…the body talks.
Has yours talked to you?
Well, mine screamed at me in July, 2011.
Remember my obnoxious poster woman’s wellness kitchen? The one I reckoned you might want to toss tomato juice in my face over?
If stress is allowed to take up residence in your life, all the healthy habits and wellness practices in the world may not be sufficient to stave off a health crisis.
I had allowed a stressful relationship with my adopted daughter to rule my interior world. I gave way to anger and regret and it eventually extracted a toll on my health.
And I’m not alone in my situation. Thousands of women suffer in silence about a situation in their lives about which they may feel shame because it’s not going as they had planned, desired or dreamed.
During those stressful years with my daughter I was simultaneously working and raising my four other children. And…I think I was successful in both arenas That’s totally possible.
Focusing on a responsibility outside the stress or challenge can be a temporary savior.
But eventually, we go back to the body talking.
Which is where I found myself the summer of 2011.
I had cut myself while pitting an avocado. I was “hangry” after a long day at the museum with my kids and family friends and naturally, I was committed to having a healthy snack. (Lest we not forget my wellness poster worthy kitchen!)
I’ll shorten a long story and share my heart was barely beating at 36 beats per minute, which eventually led to a pacemaker implant at age 46. The electrical conduction of my heart had worn itself out to the bewilderment of my medical team. It’s a prognosis seen in much older women and I’m talking grandma-aged women. To this day, my medtronic device paces at almost 100% of each heart beat.
Imagine the surprise of my family members and even myself. I was the poster child of health and wellness.
This can’t be me!
But it was.
The implant was not the end of my health crisis because I still had a shit relationship with my daughter. I was also in peri-menopause and pre-diabetic.
Primarily, I felt overwhelming fatigue.
The western model message from my Electrophysiologist was that I should feel fine because the device was working, but I did not bounce back.
Thus began a new phase of wellness in my life that included curbing my sweet tooth to avoid diabetes, acupuncture for hormonal balance and organ support, and HeartMath to heal my Central Nervous System and stress response.
I’ve mentioned this on my coaching blog but it’s noteworthy…the ONLY suggestion from my gynecologist was anti-depressants.
I’m not against anti-depressants and although I wanted solutions, that was not one of them. I had already worked with a handful of clients who had been on anti-depressants and had very little noteworthy shifts attributable to the prescription medication.
Wellness is a purposeful plan that is adaptable and organic to your unique situation. You know your body better than your doctor. For me, wellness requires me to be my own first responder.
The experts at Dictionary.Com define wellness as:
“The quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.
An approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life as opposed emphasizing treating diseases.”
In all my efforts, I had not prevented this particular diagnosis but my life long approach of deliberate effort toward being healthy led me to even deeper knowledge, understanding and appreciation about preventing dis-ease and feeling vibrant and healthy.
My wellness toolbox grew exponentially learning how to recover from Adrenal Fatigue and unraveling the relationship with my daughter.
That’s the hard part.
Because I had to create space in my life to heal which meant s l o w i n g down and saying “no” in the short term so I could say “yes” in the long term.
Reestablishing my health required me to resolve the underlying relational issue and my mindset around it. That’s probably the most challenging aspect of wellness: dealing with the stories of your situation and thought cleansing by speaking truth…even if it hurts.
Eventually, you land on the story of love and grace thus overcoming pain and suffering.
Wellness is a whole person experience.
It requires attention, time and dedication.
It’s not a buzzword or a fad.
It’s a lifestyle that will add years to your life.
Most of all, it’s a body, mind, emotion and soul contract with yourself.
And there’s no one in the world worth committing to more than her.