An almost-teenager waking with nightmares every night…
Allergy symptoms that reappear after many months of reprieve…
Sudden and dramatic anger outbursts over small things…
A mouth sore that makes eating and talking a little painful…
These have all come up in our little family in the past few months. I’m sure you could make a list of your own. Life gives us new challenges fairly frequently.
Re-Learning How to Respond
It’s easy enough to revert to the solutions that our parents used or that we have become culturally schooled in or that we are just used to. There are over-the-counter medicines for just about everything. For many of us, these may be the solutions that come to mind at these times. And, without knowledge of other options, we may feel that a medicine or ointment or doctor’s visit are our best (or only) options.
Yet, I’m committed to trying a natural approach first, as long as an emergency does not require other action. There are numerous traditional remedies and holistic approaches that give great results and have a general positive effect on the body, rather than causing short or long-term side effects.
When new symptoms or experiences come up in our family, I often get the opportunity to try out natural approaches I haven’t yet experienced for myself. And, over time I have amassed more resources to draw on.
Where to Start
The next problem becomes: Where do you start? If you meet with a holistic practitioner or research options online, you may find many options and feel overwhelmed.
Here’s a secret: I get overwhelmed, too.
There is much we can do to support our health and many different changes can support the shift we’re hoping for. Ideally, we would have the time and money and energy to implement a holistic plan. But, let’s face it. Often we don’t. Life is full, demanding, and overstimulating. Likely, you are juggling the needs of more than just yourself, and a lot can be involved with making certain changes.
Food sensitivities, circadian rhythm, hormone imbalances, leaky gut, genetics, mineral deficiencies, a whole list of helpful herbs and supplements. Do you tend to go down a rabbit hole, like I do?
My Simple Plan
What I learned several years ago is that consistent action is the most effective strategy. I tell overwhelmed clients to focus in on two to three actions they can take and implement consistently.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Research your options or do a consultation with a holistic practitioner.
I really recommend the latter for three reasons:
(1) You’ll get the knowledge and expertise of someone who has worked with many different people and has real life experience and training,
(2) Meeting with a real person and even paying for the session will greatly increase your chances of taking action and sticking with it, and
(3) You’ll have someone to check back in with you if you need to tweak the plan or dig deeper for a solution.
2. Choose two to three actions that you’re drawn to and that you feel able to take on.
Don’t get too caught up in what the “best” action is. Likely, many different actions could work well.
So, if you are drawn to one and feel able to implement it consistently, do that one! Using the resources you already have in your home or readily available is also a helpful way to select a starting place. AND, some issues that come up may require a quick decision, and it is good to learn to trust your intuition on these things.
3. Implement your actions confidently and consistently.
Often, natural approaches take longer to work that medications. Steady action is very important to seeing change. Encourage yourself each time you make an herbal tea or do your calming bedtime routine or choose a grain-free food option (or whatever actions you’ve chosen) – you are supporting your body, you are nourishing your whole self, you are helping all your systems return to homeostasis.
This is also important because consistent action is good for you psychologically. If you take on a plan that is intense and difficult to follow through with, you may feel even more discouraged than when you started – you may end up adding negative self-talk or bad associations with certain changes to the whole mix of what’s already going on. Once you begin to feel better, you will likely have the capacity to make other changes, as well.
Know What You Need & What You’re Able to Take On
Of course, there is a time for massive action. I have clients who come in ready to change their diets, sleep routines, exercise, and thinking. They are ready to jump in with all the herbs and supplements I tell them about. It is worth the money and time and effort, because they are miserable and need change to happen now.
But, there are other times, when we simply cannot take that on. In fact, taking it on would cause undue stress (which never helps) and possibly even more frustration and discouragement. At these times, I find great peace in taking action in this simple, doable way.
When I am worried that the pre-teen is still having nightmares or that I sneezed more than I wanted to today, I remind myself of what we are doing to support physical and emotional health; and, I am able to rest in that. And, usually, sometime a few weeks down the road, I look around and realize that things have shifted, that it’s been several nights since the last nightmare, that my allergies have settled down, that the anger outbursts haven’t happened in quite awhile.
And, I am thankful for a calm, simple approach that didn’t mean turning our lives upside-down. I am thankful for the natural options that truly make a difference. I have often gained a new resource and strengthened my trust in natural options. Sometimes, I have to dig deeper, sometimes I have to resort to medical support; but really, that is rare. This level-headed approach serves me quite well most of the time.
Tell me, what symptoms or behaviors or struggles are getting you down right now? And, what 2 or 3 actions do you think would be a good starting place?