Be calm in 2018
Published 30th December 2017
So now that Christmas has been and gone and all that remains is the turkey in the fridge, most of us will now start to think about New Year’s Eve. It’s a strange time when our minds start to think abOut what has happened over the last 12 months. What have we achieved? What would we like to forget?
I thought that in this last blog of the year, I would take the opportunity to share with you a few insights from my treatment room. Although patients come to me with a specific health issue in mind, whether that be fertility issues, back problems, anxiety, stress, what I mainly treat is an underlying emotional problem. Sometimes this physical issue manifests from the emotional problem and sometimes it is the other way around. Either way, I think that it is important to realise that most of the people I treat, do not have perfect lives. There is always something that they are trying to deal with, come to terms with, work through. Nobody has got it all.
I work in an affluent area, the “Golden Triangle of Cheshire”. There are a lot of very wealthy and successful people here. There are also lots of average earning, hard working people here too. It’s really easy to take a look at the people around you and think, “wow, they are so lucky, they really have it all”. In my experience, even they have problems too. I have treated a patient who has no money issues, a beautiful healthy family and yet they sleep with a mouth shield every night as their crippling anxiety makes them grind their teeth all night long. They definitely do not have it all.
Many of my patients have become experts of “putting on a brave face”. You would never know that inside they are struggling to hold it all together. You may see them at parties or on the school run looking perfectly dressed, driving an expensive car but I know a different story. Behind the beautiful exterior is a woman who is struggling to juggle a career that they have worked so hard for, managing a difficult boss who likes to scream in meetings, coping with a child that has behavioural problems and trying to maintain a relationship wth a husband who works 18 hour days. She only sleeps 4 hours a night so is awake early to clean the house and put on a perfect face of makeup. I know it sounds extreme, but I have seen so many patients with a similar story, I have started to call the issue “busy woman syndrome” as it has become so common.
And then there are the guys. High achieving, ambitious men who are torn between working hard to provide for their families, needing time alone to decompress after the stress of work and then feeling guilty for not spending time with their wife and children. They seem genuinely surprised that their health is suffering, can’t sleep, have terrible headaches, heart palpitations, digestive problems. I’m amazed that they haven’t seen this coming.
In my opinion these symptoms are warning signs, the body’s way of trying to catch your attention before something really bad happens. It’s so important that we learn to listen to our body. Have you ever wondered why you get a bad back right at the most inconvenient, busy and stressful time? A sore back will physically force you to slow down and take things slowly. I believe that it’s your body’s way of making you listen properly, probably to a warning that it has been giving for quite a while.
Quite often I have asked patients, “what are you waiting for? Do you need to have a heart attack before you will actually start to look after yourself?”. We have become so used to pushing ourselves to the limits, physically and emotionally and we have forgotten to care for ourselves. I ask you to see moments of calm as a way of preparing for when it is busy. Drop in a few moments every hour when you just stop and breathe, reset your stress level. It’s no good waiting all week to go to a yoga class for an hour, you need the calm much more often than that. I often advise patients to just sit on the loo for an extra 30 seconds, just to have a moment of peace and calm. It won’t affect your productivity at work, the children won’t set fire to the house, just sit and breathe. Please.
So this New Year’s Eve when everyone is asking you about resolutions for 2018 or telling you about their amazing success in 2017, I ask you to smile and remember that nobody has got their life together 100%. Nobody has a perfect life and most people are just struggling through with a brave face on. I ask you to make 2018 the year when you start to really look after yourself and make your health a priority. It doesn’t mean that you are selfish. If you are operating at 100%, you will be a far better partner, parent, friend, employer, employee etc. And maybe, the person who is talking away about how great things are, is the person who needs a hug the most. You rarely really know what is going on behind closed doors. Don’t wait until tomorrow, look after yourself and be kind to those around you.
Lots of Love,