Natural-Born Health

the site of historic boy's fort. georgia, in the fall.

the site of historic boy's fort. georgia, in the fall.

In my backyard growing up, we had a huge pine island in the center of green grass. Beyond that, woods went on for what seemed like miles. On the right side of the yard was Boys Fort, the left, across our neighbor’s yard, was Girl’s. I remember running from one side to the other  (maybe with a water balloon) to the other side of the grass to infiltrate enemy territory. If I try,  I can still remember those days very well - the way the grass felt on my ankles and how dirt was cold to the touch. I remember belonging to the mess, feeling comfortable covered in sweat and the faint smell of the Earth.

Now, I live in Brooklyn. And while beautiful in a different way, nature is harder to come by. Outside my door are miles of sidewalk, not mysterious woods with solemn trees and crunchy leaves. Now there’s green growing in small patches and you have to walk a bit to find a piece large enough to sprawl out on.

It’s crazy, but there may actually be some validating science to that carefree, connected feeling well all had as children. And it’s enough that, in the name of wellness, we should all probably quit adulting for a few minutes to lay in the grass and feel the blades between our gown-up toes.

It’s an activity called, “Grounding,” or “Earthing,” and while it sounds as basic as it gets, the science is a bit trickier. The thought is that our bodies need to connect to the negatively charged Earth, and our current lifestyle has removed this connection. With traditional footwear, houses, elevated beds, and city life, our direct contact with the Earth’s electrons has become close to non-existent.

The science is still up for debate and the studies aren’t extensive, but the case is mounting for grounding as a viable health tool. Small studies show this technique may have some pretty significant effects. It was shown that various study participants slept better, had increased thyroid function, increased immune response, reduced pain and inflammation, and lower cortisol levels. That’s not too shabby for such a simple and easy health practice.

While the science may not be enough to make us immediately buy a grounding mat on Amazon Prime, (mats are a more convenient, in-home way to get exposure to those electrons), it’s definitely worth it to take time to get back to nature. Try taking your shoes off in the grass, walking through the woods, or even just sitting on a bench in the park. No one can argue against nature having some serious healthy powers. Not to mention, it’s a helluva lot cheaper than expensive spa treatments and prescription drugs.

See you in the park.

You Are Here.

“Where do I start?”

This is one of the most debilitating statements of all time. It halts all action before an inkling of traction has a chance. And these days, I think it’s harder than ever to find the starting line.

Overwhelm is real. Information is everywhere. And life is a lot. Not to mention, the state of the world and the political climate we live in weigh heavily on the body and mind.

But here’s one thing that I know – if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. It’s imperative that you prioritize your own wellbeing. I truly believe the world depends on it.

Do you find yourself unsure of how to begin getting healthy? I promise it doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. Get ready for this brilliant nugget of wisdom…drumroll please….

Just start somewhere. Anywhere. It really doesn’t matter.

Decide. And do it.

So, wake up and drink a glass of water. Take a probiotic supplement every day. Walk around the block tomorrow night. Cook dinner with lots of vegetables. Take a week off of drinking alcohol. Try a yoga class. Write a gratitude list. Clean out one corner of clutter... just pick one.

The point is not to start in the "right" place or in the "best" way.  The point is just to simply start.

Somewhere.

Anywhere.

Small shifts have the ability to move mountains. Habits aren’t made overnight and they aren’t made all at once. A lifestyle is developed, not imposed.

So, start here. Pick any healthy action that fits into your current life and actually do it.

And, as much as I’m struggling with this sentiment myself, the same applies for the state of the world. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the stories on the news and don’t know what to do, apply the same logic - small shifts can move mountains.

Smile at a stranger. You never know where the avalanche starts.

Decisions, Decisions

The first thing you must do is decide.

It is that simple, and that difficult.

When it seems we've been dealt an unfortunate hand, victim mentality sets in more easily than not. But the reality is that just standing in the mess will not help to get you out of it. That is just the simple logic. But, trust me, I do know how difficult it can be...

I remember how low I felt when it happened to me, back when I was sick my body was failing me in ways I couldn't understand. I remember ducking into an alley in midtown Manhattan to cry after leaving yet another frustrating doctor’s appointment. I remember how small I felt when handfuls of my hair would fall out in the shower, and curling up in pain next to a toilet in the bathroom of a dermatologist's office after my scalp was subsequently shot full of cortisone. I remember waking in the middle of night to a searing stomach ache and spending hours in the bathroom when I so desperately wanted to sleep. And I very viscerally remember feeling heavy in self-loathing, wondering why it was all happening to me.

Many doctors told me that I had to accept the way that I was feeling, that there was really nothing to be done. But something told me not to believe them. I refused to take the antidepressants they threw at me for no reason, and I refused the severe courses of antibiotics that had no apparent target.

Instead, I remember deciding to take care of myself.

I chose to get hopeful from all of the information I found while researching, rather than overwhelmed. I took screen shots of every wellness center that I passed - tried acupuncture, meditation, and took up yoga. I sat on the exam table of a very wacky and absent minded holistic doctor, and I made the very clear decision to trust his unconventional mind.

I actively chose to put in work and to heal myself. And without that decision, the last few years of my life would have looked very different. 

I would have missed out on trips and vacations, relationships, and nights out with friends. I wouldn’t have started the businesses that I did or be as motivated as I am to teach others what I know. I would probably still be sick. And maybe, even, sicker. And I would definitely still be stuck feeling sorry and very overwhelmed.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to health - genetics, past history, life's given circumstances -  but they matter much less if the decision is made to take care of yourself. No, it isn’t easy. But, then again, neither is being unwell.

Become empowered. Make the decision. Choose to put in the work. You CAN do it.

Trust me. It’s the best decision I've ever made.