DR. LISA GOODMAN, DC, CCSP, CACCP, CF-L1
January is generally considered a time for resolutions. But this year, I challenge you to think a bit deeper, think about reinvention, recommitting and ultimately, renovation. Of course, most of us would argue that we should make time throughout the year for self-care, but alas, it is the New Year, so let’s talk about renovation!
Renovation, definition: to restore to good condition, make new or as if new, repair, reinvigorate, refresh, revive
In Wash Park and surrounding neighborhoods we are constantly seeing home renovations, which are very likely a reflection of the homeowners who dwell in them. Everything is specifically tailored to the precise use of the families within. Rooms are designed to be beautiful, but functional. Colors are chosen to evoke emotion and closets are designed to organize clutter. Home renovation in many cases stays true to the original time-period of the house. Victorian and craftsman themes are carried consistently throughout the house. All of these lessons can be applied to ourselves.
Rather than making a list of resolutions this year, consider making a plan of your self-renovation. Renovation speaks to a long-term rebuild. Something that might take some time, but will therefore last for a long time. It will be sturdy, stable and set the foundation for everything to come. Over the next 12 months, perhaps choose one or more of the following areas to self-renovate:
Renovate your Health
This does not mean weight loss, diet or exercise. No January gym memberships or 30 nutritional plans. This does mean, set goals and lay out a plan over the course of a year. Is your overall health where you want it to be? If not, the answer is likely not a quick and easy fix. But over a full year of consistency the improvements can be monumental. Start by creating a list of health concerns and for each one, create a goal that is achievable but challenging. Then list the steps it will take to get there.
For example, If your health concern is chronic knee pain, your goal should be to eliminate it (that may be lofty, but doable). The steps it may take to get there include losing weight, reducing inflammation and reducing impact to the knees. That sounds overwhelming, which is why this should be thought of as a renovation, not a resolution. Knowing that this will take a year, in some ways makes it feel much more attainable. Continue by breaking down the steps once more and determining where you may need help. For example, losing weight and decreasing inflammation to reduce knee pain may require the assistance of a nutritionist. It can be extremely difficult to know what foods lead to inflammation and what foods lead to weight gain as everyone is very different. Additionally, often times when someone is trying to reduce impact on their knees, they reduce exercise or cardio altogether and switch to something extremely low impact such as yoga or pilates. The issue is, that cardio is so good for your body and you need it. This could be another area where enlisting the help of a trainer or a gym may be necessary to continue to stay active, but reduce impact.
Regardless of your health concerns, it is important to seek expert advice once your plan is in place. Self-care including massage or chiropractic care can go a long way to assisting in your one-year renovation. In addition, a solid team of health care professionals can also support the work you are doing on your own. No amount of adjustments, medications or surgeries can replace a full year of hard work, consistency and commitment to change.
Renovate your Mental Health
Maybe this is the year that so many of us finally realize that we don’t have to do it all on our own. Life is full of emotional stress and it is really difficult and unnecessary to bear the burden by yourself. Serious stressors such as health issues, divorce or death are often what cause us to seek out mental health advisors or counselors. Have you ever thought about how much common stress and good stress can unravel an otherwise ordinary person? Think about how the normal stress of traffic, cooking dinner, finding time for the gym and making other people happy can wear on you. Then consider how good stress, such as managing kids’ schedules, having too much work come your way, travel to visit family, the holidays and a home renovation can all wear down even the most put-together of us.
A few tips for your mental health renovation include: 1. Keeping a list or journal of your to-do list in a calendar planner. Once your list for the day is complete, you don’t have to move on 2. Set aside 1-2 hours a week to clean out your email inbox. 3. Get on board with a carpool app to reduce your time in traffic. 4. Consider subscribing to a meal delivery service such as ‘hello fresh’ (you still get to cook). 5. Strongly consider establishing a relationship with a therapist or counselor. Trust me, they love helping out with ordinary and good stress!! If you are lucky enough to have a supportive significant other, good friends and family you may not think you need to have a therapist, but a wise therapist once advised me that it is so helpful to have an advisor with no ‘skin in the game’ to reduce your stress. Then you just get to go home and enjoy your family.
Just like with renovating your health, make a list of your mental health needs for 2020, set a goal and create a plan.
Self Renovation vs. Home Renovation
Just like a home renovation requires a detailed plan, can take a long time and use countless advisors (contractors), so does the renovation of yourself! And just like a home renovation, when it is complete, it is much more functional, beautiful and able to withstand several more decades on it’s new foundation. Remember that a true renovation will take time, patience and commitment. Don’t forget to set measurable goals so that this time next year you can take a long look back at how far you have come.