I asked 5 of my favorite local health experts their best piece of advice for women to improve their self-care. With all we’ve got going on at this time of year: hot weather, kids headed back to school, and the subliminal “back to business” message of the end of summer (plus the holidays around the corner), a little simplification is a great idea.
Here’s a little bit about each of my favs and what they each had to say when I asked: “What is the number one thing you would recommend to women right now to improve their self-care?”
Expert #1: Lena Ryman, BS, CPT–Lena is a Certified Personal Trainer with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology. She has been training for 25 years and works out of the San Diego’s North County, doing personal in-home and gym training. Lena knows what she’s doing!
Lena’s Tip: Take Quiet Time! Being a trainer for as long as she has, I expected Lena would explain the finer points of core exercises or proper breathing. But she was clear, “Take few minutes in your busy day to seek quiet, silent time alone.” She went on “Whether in a car, outside, on your couch, when you take a time everyday to center, focus and be still, the other things in your life–including self-care–falls into place.” Being quiet allows your best, most clear thinking to reign, which in turn will lead you to the gym or a run.
Expert #2: Suzanne Harper, RN–Suzanne has worked as an ER nurse in San Diego for over a decade. She is an overflowing fount-o-medical knowledge, as well as a personal friend. (She saved my mother-in-law’s life this June, in fact!) She’s also a wife and mom of 2 lovely little girls.
Suzanne’s Tip: Hydrate! “We were riddled w UTI’s in my ER! Women need to drink enough water (and pee after sex).” I can’t help you much with the peeing, but I can share what you may not know about hydration. Suzanne explains, “When it gets hot, people drink more sodas and ice tea, not realizing that each caffeinated beverage actually dehydrates their body a little more.” She suggests for each caffeinated beverage you drink a glass of water. (Or two!)
Expert #3: Delphine Autin-Roy, PT–Delphine has been working with the gamut of physical injuries and rehabilitation for more than 8 years, both here and abroad. (She had her own practice in France until her family moved to the US a few years ago.) She recently went through the rigors of another licensure (California PT), so is doubly qualified to therapize any body!
Delphine’s Tip: Motion is Lotion! Move and massage your spinal musculature. A yoga-type of movement and stretching (like pigeon pose) is optimal, flexing and extending the spine, followed by a foam roll from neck to buttocks. “I deal with a lot of spinal issues because people are not moving and strengthening their spinal muscles.” Delphine suggests a solid foam roll of the entire spine each day. You can find a extra firm foam roller here.
Expert #4: G. Ryan Dominguez, MD–“Ryan,” as I know him, is a Family Medicine Physician with a practice out of Scripps in La Jolla. He has been elected Physician of the Year 5 years running (is my GP). He continues to be a wonderful resource for our family.
Ryan’s Tip: Vitamin D! “The majority of blood tests we take come back as Vitamin D deficient,” said Dr. Dominguez “which really interferes with calcium absorption”. Adequate intake (particularly before age 35) is important because “Vitamin D is the director of the calcium–it tells the mineral to ‘go build up the bones'” Ryan explained.
Get a daily does of the “sunshine” vitamin by either being in the sun for 30 min/day (exposing 60%+ of your un-sunblocked skin to rays) or taking a Vitamin D3 supplement. The NIH recommends 600-4000 IU per day for adults, but check for your ideal age dosage.
Expert #5: Joy Nordquist, MFT & Life Coach–Possibly my favorite of the favorites because, yes, she’s my mom! But don’t let my bias sway you from the validity of her work or skill set. Joy has been a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist for over 15 years and owns a thriving individual and couples Life Coaching business, The Marriage Whisperers.
Joy’s Tip: Get Into a Process Mindset! No matter what the subject: body, money, relationships–basically anything meaningful–we tend to want to arrive at a contrived ideal instead of enjoying the road we’re traveling. “Most people go through life looking for a magic wand,” said Joy. She went on “Using phrases (internally or aloud) like ‘If only I_____’ or ‘Someday when _____’, or even using words like ‘always’ or ‘never’ destroy the opportunity to enjoy the present.”
Nordquist suggests women become conscious of this habit and replace a sabotaging thought with an affirming, process-oriented thought. For example, “Someday when I find the right guy, I’ll be happy” becomes “I’m focusing on being happy, guy or no guy.”
So, there you have it: Sit in the sun, in silence, for up to 30 minutes, sipping a huge glass of water while you’re completely in the process of foam rolling…works for me!