As women, we juggle many roles. We’re navigating demanding work lives to return home to our most important job–raising supportive, healthy families. And it can seem impossible to take care of our health while navigating so many responsibilities.
But putting ourselves last manifests as chronic health issues: weight gain, unhappiness, and fatigue. Find out if you suffer from Superwoman Syndrome and how to rise above.
Universal programs tell us to eat healthy, exercise, and take care of our health–but what does that mean for each woman?
You can lose weight, have optimum energy, and the vitality to keep up with your busy life if you understand the connection between your chemistry, and physical, and emotional health.
Holistic Wellness Is More Than Physical
The mistake many women make is to power through their lives–meeting every responsibility and expectation, only focusing on checking items off her list.
This may make our To-Do list look great, but on the inside we’re suffering. We sacrifice, sometimes unknowingly, for our kids, our spouses, and we place what we think are self-indulgent self care needs on the back burner. The things that get deprioritized are often sleep, good nutrition, and time to recharge.
What traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda teach us is that emotions, mindset, and energy are all inextricably linked to overall wellness. Optimal wellness is built upon foundations of feeling good, having energy and passion for life, and your physical body manifesting your inward health. It’s not about going through the motions and neglecting your inner peace.
This means the health and glow of your skin, hair, and weight is tied to things like digestion, detoxification, and hormonal balance, which are all influenced by your mental and emotional health (1).
Our Modern Lives & Weight Gain
One of the major consequences of poor sleep and low energy is weight gain. Integrative medicine approaches weight loss by looking at the whole person, not just physical symptoms. Getting hormones balanced, blood sugar balanced, and stress levels managed all play a role in reaching a health weight.
If you’ve struggled to maintain a healthy weight, or have had trouble losing it, your Power Type may be able to give you insight into the hormonal or mental blocks that prevent you from reaching your goals.
Our unique body chemistry makes us prone to certain imbalances, and Power Typing acknowledges these common imbalances based on the subtle feedback your body provides.
Stress is one of the greatest contributors to weight gain in modern society, so adding additional stress about weight is incredibly counterproductive.
A more ancient and holistic paradigm of Ayurveda provides insight into achieving weight loss by restoring balance to the body, and working with our natural energy.
Ayurvedic Tips for a Healthy Weight
- Move a little after each meal – Walk, stretch.
- Eat your largest meal in the middle of the day, and smaller portions at night.
- Eat slowly, focus on your meal.
- Eat fresh, seasonal food.
- Restore balance to your doshas (kapha-dominant types can have trouble losing weight, and keeping kapha balanced is key)
Personalized Wellness Is The Missing Link
Our chemistry and genetics interact with our environment and lifestyle, which means a universal approach to wellness is wholly inadequate. For example, someone who has trouble digesting fats wouldn’t do well on a keto diet, even though many have great success. And if you have the MTHFR gene, you may need to pay extra attention to detox processes and supporting liver health than those who don’t have this gene.
The missing link involved in modern medicine is often emotional and mental wellbeing. To truly achieve optimal wellness, you must pair your spiritual and emotional wellbeing with that of your physical.
We know that symptoms of depression often result in physical manifestations like increased inflammatory markers, and that emotional stress alters immune response. These are only a few of the important ways healing the body’s energy and emotions help to heal the physical as well.
A woman’s Power Type tells her what emotional and physical, hormonal balances she might be at risk for based on her environment, and triggers.
What Mom Can Do Today for Holistic Wellness
We can’t fine-tune without a good foundation, and sleep is absolutely the cornerstone of good health. During sleep, our hunger and fullness hormones (ghrelin and leptin, respectively) normalize, and important cellular repair takes place all over the body. The brain rids itself of toxins and works to store memories.
In my practice I use these three powerful sleep supportive ingredients to help fall asleep, and stay asleep through the night. One of the most common sleep disturbances is waking in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep.
We need anywhere from 7-9 hours, depending on our lifestyle and personal needs, and a consistent schedule is the best way to predict how much sleep your body optimally requires. Develop a nighttime routine that works for you and your family. Get kids to bed, put down blue-light devices, and work to make your bedroom a cool, clean haven to rest.
Make time for movement.
Movement releases endorphins, and helps clear excess cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. If you’re dependent upon caffeine for your afternoon pick-me-up, swap it for a natural boost of activated B vitamins to kick cellular energy into high gear. If exercise feels like an obligation, experts say not to waste your time on movement you don’t enjoy.
Explore your options. If you prefer being in nature, get to know your local hiking paths, or bring a yoga mat out into your backyard. If having an “accountabili-buddy” makes you more likely to get moving, find a neighbor, friend, or coworker to chat with while you walk.
Get rid of what’s no longer serving you. An important aspect of motherhood is learning how to say “no”. Not to your kids (this time), but to activities and other adults that don’t serve your purpose. The company you keep is important–surround yourself with people who build you up, not bring you down.
This also goes for recognizing when you’ve spread yourself too thin. You may want your kids to have every opportunity for sports, music, and social functions, but if shuttling your kids around is becoming too much–opt for fewer activities. Don’t forget they need time to recharge as well.
Schedule time for you, and stick to it.
It’s easy to tell yourself you’ll make time for a little “me time” later this week. You might even go so far as to put it on your calendar or planner. But if you don’t defend that time, it will be pushed aside for yet another task.
When you schedule time for yourself, tell your spouse, tell your kids (if they’re old enough), and then follow through with your commitment to yourself. If you wouldn’t flake on a friend–don’t do it to your most important date–the one with yourself.
Also, don’t feel guilty spending time away from your children, or carving out time to meditate. The time you spend cultivating robust mental health makes your more present for their needs, and a happier, healthier parent.
Remember: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Self care is telling yourself YOU MATTER.
Considered an epidemic among holistic practitioners, stress can have major implications for our health. Chronic stress can lead to systemic, low-grade inflammation that can increase risk for metabolic conditions like heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and many more.
Stress management techniques will look different for every person. For some, weekly restorative yoga or other movement practices are a form of stress reduction. Others rely on journaling to remove heavy thoughts from the mind and get them on paper.
No matter the form of stress management that works for you, be diligent in developing a toolbox you can return to when times are hard.
Get your family involved.
Don’t forget that pursuing your own health isn’t a solitary activity–in fact, it probably shouldn’t be! Instead of sequestering yourself away from your kids during yoga, have them follow along in poses with you, or have them help prepare a new dish for the family. Even little ones can help wash produce, or tear lettuce for a salad!
This is a great way to set an example, and make them feel more in control of new, healthy decisions.
Ayurveda tell us to balance the vata dosha for a busy woman who struggles to make herself a priority. Ayurveda parallels what our modern recommendations tell us, but also provides insight for more that missing emotional and spiritual link.
When vata is out of balance, we can become tense, worried, and stressed. To balance vata, we need a consistent daily routine. This includes sleeping and waking times, regular movement (yoga, walking, or strength training), and consistent meal times.
Eating foods that are easy to digest will soothe a tense vata. Fresh and warm, cooked foods are best. Eating seasonally also ensures a tense vata will receive foods in their most nutritious state.
Mindset has much to do with overall health. Part of realizing our power is learning to choose our thoughts the same way we might choose an outfit for the day. This is a skill we can cultivate over time.
At the beginning or end of the day, recite or write down three things you are grateful for. When we focus on gratitude, it makes it easier to draw strength from it during difficult times.
Use food for fuel.
Stressful lives with minimal outlet often lead to an altered relationship with food. This can be emotionally-driven eating as a response to trauma, sadness, or even just boredom. This is nothing to be ashamed of or feel like you have to hide.
Learning to identify your emotional triggers will help you not only have a better grasp on your mental health, but also your relationship with food as well.
Fueling with healthy, whole food is an act of respect for your body and all it does for you–but eating well also exists on a spectrum. Indulge when necessary, but remember that food is a powerful healing tool.
Find Your Power
As a woman, you have been given the gift of two seemingly contradictory personality traits inside one body: vulnerability and strength–two of the most influential and empowering gifts when we learn how to harness them.
In a busy, demanding world, we can still visualize our highest selves, be present for our family, and crush any goal we set.
But it starts with putting your health first.
If you’ve taken the Power Type quiz, and want to dive deeper into getting to know how leaning into your Power Type can help you build energy, lose weight, and regain passion–check out the Super Woman RX.