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Winter Reflections

by Jane Kennedy, NP, PC,
(Integrative Medicine Hormone Specialist)

Cold nights, frosty mornings, and hints all around us that winter and the holidays are approaching. Somehow, it is hard to believe we are rapidly moving toward the end of another year! I’m hopeful you will be feeling a sense of balanced health and aliveness as you gather with family and friends.

Improving and uplifting your health and well-being with the steps we have taken together this past year is a gift you have given YOURSELF. Please appreciate yourself for the efforts that you have put out to accomplish this, and realize that you can look forward to the longer term benefits for your health.

Sometimes I am asked whether I do the things that I recommend to my patients. Or sometimes someone will say “And how many supplements do you take a day?” I think they may be hoping that I will let them off the hook a bit because they are sure I must not take as many as I am asking them to take!

The answer is “YES! I do these things too.” I have always believed that I can’t honestly recommend to you what I am not willing to do or to try myself. I have to walk my talk. That means that I take a number of supplements daily to support optimal physiology in my body. It also means that I take hormones, balance my thyroid and adrenals, and practice healthy life style choices.

My daily routine includes a breakfast with protein, and then healthy protein and vegetable intake all day long with low glycemic index carbs. My diet is gluten free. And yes, I have times when I choose a “day off” or a “meal off” the regular plan and indulge in something I think I need! Then, I often will feel sub-par with a headache or hangover feeling reminding me that I can do without that! It makes me go longer before getting off the wagon again. Will I ever stop getting off the wagon? Who knows, but…

I do think it is important to have pleasure in life, and sometimes those pleasures include foods. So if that’s a cup of coffee for you, go for it! It’s all about moderation in life anyway (in most cases).

After a while of taking my supplements, my inner child sometimes tells me she needs a break! And if I don’t listen to her, she starts sabotaging me and I end up wishing I had listened. After we have taken supplements for several months and built up the reserves in our body, I think it is quite ok to take a break for a week from those vitamins, minerals, and herbs that are not replacements. However, please keep going with adrenal glandulars, thyroid, sex hormones, and even glucose support. See how you feel and enjoy the break! One caveat is that I do not recommend this during times of increased stress or irregular eating and sleeping patterns – like the holidays! Just remember your body will need those supplements in the long term to keep you healthy.

Getting daily exercise is another thing I try to practice. It’s easier in the summer than at this time of year, when darkness hits at 4:30 in the afternoon- or so it seems! Some of you may see me out at lunch time when I attempt to get in 15-20 minutes of walking outdoors. If you work in an office like I do, that may be an important part of your day to see the sun. But, get out the exercise equipment at home and utilize it daily during the winter. Or, make it a regular practice to get to the gym.

Deep breathing and meditation are other things I practice daily to lower my sense of stress and to facilitate balance and depth in my life. If you haven’t incorporated these, I would encourage you to do so. A teacher once said to me that when you feel you don’t have time to meditate is when you need it the most. That adage has been very true for me over time.

Recently, I was reminded of how important friends and community are to our health too. In fact, did you realize that not feeling connected to friends/community presents a higher risk for the development of heart disease than does smoking? That blows my mind and hopefully yours! Nurture those relationships!

And, I don’t have everything perfected yet either! There is more to learn, to put in place, to have fun with, to try and change into. But I see that as a gift of life – always something new and possible, no matter where we find ourselves today!

Please join me in this holiday season enjoying the gifts of life – the family ties, the friends, the traditions and the new experiences along with our health and well-being TODAY! Feeling a heart of gratitude for all we have, for what we have given to ourselves and what that then provides for us to share with others.

With gratitude and good cheer to all of us!