I had a confronting and enlightening conversation the other day, one that we could all benefit from working through together.
The person I was chatting with is a single parent, having tragically lost her husband five years ago. And she was looking for help.
She had been doing well, actually.
In fact, before COVID hit, she felt like she was *this close* to feeling like herself again.
But suddenly this woman has to be mother, father, entertainer, provider, disciplinarian, problem-solver, decision-maker, health advocate, and refuge for her kids...and now, their educator.
"The weight of the responsibility is crushing me," she confessed, tears shining in her eyes. "I know what I should do. I know I should be getting on my yoga mat. I should be meditating. I shouldn't look at my phone before bed. I know all of these strategies, but I just can't."
Can you relate?
Have you found yourself in a place where everything feels out of control, out of balance, and...
I’m late to the party, and this time I’m ok with that.
This probably isn’t the first article you’ve read about immune health in the past 6 months. And, to be fair, it’s not the first one I’ve written! But I’ve waited a good, long while to tackle the topic of building immune resilience for one important reason: evidence.
I’ve been holding out on you…studying data, gathering research articles, learning from my peers, and watching with great anticipation as the science “catches up” with this pandemic.
Spoiler alert: it’s going to be YEARS before enough hard, reliable research is completed to say what the “best” strategy is for combating a viral outbreak like this one. But there are some things we do know, and these seemingly simple – but potentially critical – factors not only help keep you healthy, but also build immune resilience.
What is immune resilience?
It’s your body’s...
I was chatting with a friend, performing our new "quarantine check-in" routine (thanks, #socialdistancing), when I mentioned a specific source of dismay.
"Despite working out more than usual, I've managed to gain 8-10lbs over the last month," I complained.
"And I just can't see the point of eating anymore," she replied, "I make the girls these beautiful lunches and then just can't touch it myself. Nothing appeals."
That's the sound of my brain latching on to an interesting idea or phenomenon, beginning the search for "The Why."
Thankfully, I've been doing lots of research on the body's response to stress, and the dots began to connect right away.
Why is it that, when under duress, some of us lose all control of our food intake, finding solace only in carbs, and putting on fat even if we're kicking our butts in the gym on the regular?
While others waste away, food turning to ash in their mouths, their desire for sustenance vanishing with...
I've been catching myself gazing out my window lately, lost in thought.
The last few weeks have given some of us more time than we'd like for rumination, introspection, and difficult thoughts.
One of the things I've learned in the process is this:
If you’re upset about our current situation, you have two choices.
You can wallow in the stress and frustration and fear and hopelessness. You can let it take up all your brain-space and tarnish all that is good and happy in your life.
You can play the “blame game” and come up with all the reasons why you’re the victim. You can bury yourself in negativity. In “I can’t” and “I shouldn’t have to” and “this sucks.”
You can spread that slimy cynicism all over the people around you, social media, your workplace, because misery loves company as much as it loves to point the finger. You can stagnate in bitterness and gloom indefinitely.
You can use it as fuel to motivate...
I met Kimberly when I was in grade-school, and have been fascinated by her from the start. To a sheltered, Midwest kid like me, she was impossibly cool...she knew how to crew a sailboat, she'd gone to art school in the big city, she knew all about herbs and natural remedies, she cooked restaurant-standard food on the regular, and she was married to a dreamy, Ducati-riding, still-waters-run-deep man named Kim.
Through work, we struck up a friendship, and as I got to know her more over the years, I realized her coolness went even deeper than all of her adventures. Smart, confident, independent, and endlessly talented, she inspired me to try many new things.
Now the owner, designer, and creative force behind Flow Bathworks, she's adjusting to a new normal in many aspects of life.
Over the last two years, Kimberly gained my respect and admiration on a whole new level.
Her story would take much longer to tell than I have space for here...but I know that if you can...
Friendly disclaimer: this is NOT another “medical opinion” about COVID-19.
If that’s what you’re lookin’ for, just keep on scrolling. No hard feelings.
Because even though I am a doctor, and even though quite a few folks have asked for my opinion on this virus because I’m “alternative” and Functional Medicine-trained, I am NOT going to add to the confusion and clamor of emerging research, half-baked predictions, and misinformation that’s so rampant around here these days.
Of course, I do have an opinion.
I’m frustrated that solid evidence for alternative (non-drug) supportive and preventative treatment for this virus is being overlooked by the broader medical community…things that are simple and safe and effective.
On the other hand, I’m saddened by the folks who seek to take advantage of this situation by hawking magical, cure-all remedies, or who jump on a bandwagon solution without due diligence, only to...
Over the past few weeks, many, many people have asked my opinion about the new coronavirus known as Covid-19. Though I am far from an expert in immunology, nor am I a virologist, nor an infectious disease specialist, I can understand why.
But before we get into all of that, won’t you join me in taking a deep, calming breath? In through the nose…and out through the nose. Maybe let’s do another one, just for good measure. In…and out.
The reason that people are interested in my opinion about this global pandemic is because as a Functional Medicine & holistic doctor I’m expected to have a different perspective on the whole thing.
For those who know me, personally or professionally, I’m often seen as a voice of reason. Someone who eases fears and provides reassurance. Who helps give options for “what to do next” when it comes to matters of health & wellness.
As it turns out, I have lots of thoughts about this global crisis, about...
"...and yet gratefully, as though life could end at any time."
What a profound TENSION this challenge creates!
Many of us feel a similar tension in our daily lives. The challenge of living a healthy, balanced, stress-minimal life even though we feel a lack of control over our circumstances.
You WANT to get more exercise, but you feel obligated to care for your aging parents.
You WANT to eat healthy foods, but you don't want to battle picky children (or partners, let's face it).
You WANT to meditate daily, but you can't find the time between work and happy hour and keeping up with laundry.
You WANT to spend more quality time with the people you love, but you need to make money to support your family.
I've spoken with many women who have made themselves the very last priority in every aspect of their lives, choosing to place the care of everyone and everything before themselves on their "to-do" list.
"Well, caring for others is the right thing to do, Dr. Kate," you might say.
It's almost Thanksgiving here in The States, which means that most of us will find ourselves sitting around a table with our family, reflecting on the things we're thankful for.
If you're like me, a few big gratitudes will come to mind immediately. You know, safe travels, loved ones, and the food on the table.
But after that, you might feel a little pit in your stomach.
Because maybe you've had a tough year. Things are stressful. You're worried about your health. Money's tight. Your mind immediately goes to the never-ending "to-do" list that's only getting longer with the upcoming holiday.
Maybe you feel a little guilty, because life is good...BUT something's not quite right.
In a season of celebrating abundance, you can't shake the feeling that there's NOT ENOUGH...time, money, energy, etc.
And maybe, just maybe, you feel like YOU'RE not enough.
Not motivated enough. Not thin enough. Not capable enough. Not thankful enough. Not a good enough parent, spouse, daughter...Not...
I've been thinking a lot about the women in my life lately...about how important they are to me.
About how much these women affect my daily life. How they inspire me, lift me up, support me, encourage me.
And I try to show my gratitude, but I often wonder...DO THEY EVEN KNOW?
Did Denise, when she shared her story of revival, know she was teaching me that vulnerability is brave and worthy?
Did Cheryl, when she shared her story of healing, know she was inspiring me to rediscover my own mindfulness practice?
Did Mary, when she shared her story of finding her calling in an unlikely place, know she was reassuring me that I, too, would find my true calling?
Do we, as women, really grasp the fact that we are DESPERATELY NEEDED by each other? By our families? By our workplaces? By our communities?
Do we realize that when we THRIVE, we pass along all that goodness to other women without even knowing it?
I believe it goes beyond that, though.
I believe we have a RESPONSIBILITY to THRIVE in...