What Does Self-care Look Like In 2019?
Self-care has been quite the buzz word these past few years but only very few people truly understand what it means. Quite simply put, self-care is doing what’s best for your mind and body so you can function at your optimal capacity. This seems like an obvious task – you should take care of yourself, right? And yet, we find that more and more of our patients don’t know how to properly self-care as a result of more demanding work and life schedules, increasing stress, heightened technology use and environmental changes. It’s worth noting that in June, the World Health Organization relabeled burnout as an ‘occupational phenomenon’, which means it’s now considered a work-based syndrome brought on by chronic stress.
Stressing the Importance of Self-care
Stress is a major contributor to many of the health concerns we see at Longiva today. It can negatively affect our skin, hormones, sleep and diet – all elements that affect our overall health and well-being. Our health, both emotional and physical, is like a tower block built with bricks that fit in and onto one another creating a unit.
Stress whether external or internal can knock these bricks out, creating a weakness within the structure. Sure, removing one brick won’t make a big difference but over time the stressors mentioned above, and accelerating ageing will keep knocking out a few bricks here and there, ultimately completely weakening the structure and cause it to topple over. At Longiva we aim to go to the root of the stressors which cause a chain reaction of symptoms and health concerns such as burn-out.
Doing Self-care The Right Way
1. Know what works
Some people only need a long hot bath while others may have to go for a run or need to spend time meditating, in order to unwind and relax. Self-care looks different for everyone and knowing what works for you is the key to doing it the beneficial way. While we admire those that try to go at it on their own, this can be a costly and lengthy exercise. There’s a very good reason why Dr Google has not yet replaced real healthcare practitioners. Every patient is unique so there’s no one size fits all approach which is something that’s at the heart of what we do.
Listening and understanding what our patients’ concerns are, is a key step in finding the right treatment plan. We may also recommend blood and DNA testing that will further demystify what treatment works best for the patient in front of us. These tests allow us to pinpoint the stressors and their impact on the body very quickly, instead of going the old trial-and-error way.
2. You can’t beat a good diet
A healthy balanced diet is a fundamental building block in a patient’s overall health. What we put into our body affects our physical and mental state. Don’t get us wrong, self-care can be eating that doughnut, indulging in a whole pizza, drinking a glass of wine or two. But when these actions become habits, it’s not self-care and it can have serious and long-term ramifications. It’s also easy to jump onto the clean eating bandwagon and drive the idea obsessively to a point where it becomes unhealthy. What we advocate is balanced living and if you don’t know where to start our nutritionist Ezette is here to help.
Ezette Oosthuizen works alongside Dr Gys and applies amongst other modalities, DNA testing to determine the best foods and supplements for your lifestyle and genetic make-up. Many times, we find that patients are following a specific eating plan that doesn’t support their genetic make-up, which impacts their wellbeing without them realising it. Ezette additionally helps her clients to identify lifestyle habits that might be harmful and motivates her patients to find healthy habits that support a balanced lifestyle.
3. Removing yourself from toxic environments
Toxic environments are a lot like the frog in the boiling pot of water story. Many times, our clients don’t even realise that they’re in a toxic environment until it’s affecting their health. And yes, this is implied on both a physical and mental level. Sometimes emotional self-care is as easy as unsubscribing from all the marketing e-mail you receive and other times it could be as hard as breaking off an unhealthy relationship or changing your job. Physical self-care, on the other hand, might mean taking a hard look about where you’re living, your physical working environment and the chemicals you use in your house.
Today a physical toxic overload on our bodies can be detected with targeted testing such as our Biotransformative and Oxidative Stress Status (BOSS) test on the liver. This test is designed to detect oxidative stress levels, interpreting liver detoxification and free radical markers. The liver is an amazing organ, the hub of most detoxification in the body, and can tell us a lot about how healthy or unhealthy a patient is. If the liver is overloaded or impaired in any way, it might be because of excessive oxidative stress, an overload of external toxins or intrinsic liver genetic impairments. And if the liver can’t optimally detoxify, oxidative stress levels in the body will increase which could lead to many chronic and life-altering degenerative conditions and diseases.
So, what does self-care look like in 2019? It’s about being conscious of external environmental stressors and toxins and understanding how your body is affected. It’s about listening to your body and seeing the appropriate professionals and to explore with them the correct interventions e.g lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, relaxation methods, the correct supplements and treatments that will work for you.
Contact Longiva today to learn more about our diagnostic tests or to book a consultation with Ezette or Dr Gys.
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