Health Column: Love yourself first this Valentine’s Day
Free Press Health Columnist
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many of us are thinking of ways we can show those we love how much we value and appreciate them. While this is a worth-while goal in many ways, even more important is finding ways to love ourselves (Oh, I know, I said it!)
And often, loving ourselves means putting ourselves first.
You may be asking yourself, “Did she just suggest putting ourselves first?”
Yes, I did.
You may be thinking, “Surely she means after I care for my children, spouse, ailing parents, pets, job and house, then I’ll care for myself first.”
No, that’s not what I mean.
I mean — before feeding the kids in the morning, you feed yourself and you do it because you value yourself enough to do so.
You may be asking, “What are you talking about, lady? What kind of mother would feed herself before she feeds her own flesh and blood?”
After 10 years of clinical practice and helping folks recover from illnesses ranging from digestive disturbances to autoimmune disease to lung disease and more, it is becoming apparent to me that many of these diseases could be prevented by caring for ourselves and putting ourselves first. Caring for ourselves requires finding ways to nourish the body and spirit.
Physiologically speaking from a Chinese medicine perspective, taking care of ourselves relates directly to the “earth element,” which translates on a physical level to the digestive system.
Quite literally, avoiding self-care may result in digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, acid reflux, excess gas or bloating after eating, Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis and more. Furthermore, a weak digestive system negatively impacts all other systems of the body.
Hopefully you are now asking yourself, “How do I put myself first in a way that will strengthen my digestive system?”
Eating well is one of the more obvious examples of how we can nourish ourselves. Eating well includes eating on a regular schedule, eating nutritious and delicious foods, and sitting down to eat in a relaxed manner. Studies show these habits will lead to improved digestive function, improved metabolism, and weight management.
Other forms of self-nourishment include discovering and acting upon that which feeds the soul. Spiritual ritual, exercise, meditation, developing friendships and other healthy relationships, learning to say “no,” and partaking in new and stimulating activities are only a few examples that may fall on the list.
Sometimes we need help recognizing how imbalances in our lives (such as lack of self-love) show up in our bodies, and we could also use a “jump start” to get the digestive juices flowing in a way that optimizes our health.
Seeking care from a trusted health care professional who can and will address your health concerns from multiple angels can be just what the doctor ordered. Acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, help with meal planning, and learning relaxation techniques to promote calmness (the digestive system shuts down in times of stress) can all relieve digestive disturbances wonderfully.
This Valentine’s Day, I invite you to choose to show yourself love first. The choice is yours to make.
April L. Schulte-Barclay is the only doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine between Denver and Salt Lake and is a licensed acupuncturist. She is licensed by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners and is certified by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is founder and clinic director of Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions, located at 2139 N. 12th St., #7. For more information, call 970-256-8449.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Two local rivals may get an early crack at each other in the 3A state boys soccer playoffs as revealed in bracket releases on Monday.