BLOG 193: DO THIS ONE THING FOR YOUR FACE, HEALTH AND HAPPINESSDec 12, 2022
I’m taking things back to basics in this post, which is inspired by a conversation I had recently with functional nutritionist, Andrea Nakayama. Andrea joined me on the Face Yoga Expert Podcast to talk about health, happiness, and nutrition. And she had a message that really resonated with me – the one most important thing we can do to make a huge difference to our health, our faces, and our lives.
Spoiler alert: that one thing is to simplify! But don’t worry, I’m going to explain in a bit more detail in this blog post.
If you would like to hear the full conversation, you can find my episode with Andrea here.
In fact, I’ve also been on Andrea’s podcast recently, so if you’d like to hear more from the two of us, check out that episode as well.
But for now, I want to dive a bit deeper into this idea of simplifying and how it can make taking control of our health easier and less overwhelming.
WE’RE OVERCOMPLICATING OUR HEALTH
We live in a time when our healthcare system is very focused on treating symptoms and assigning diagnosis, not understanding us as full people. As a result, it can feel like an uphill struggle for any of us who want to explore alternative healing systems.
However, we often end up overcomplicating the basics of health. Things like nutrition, movement, stress management – things that make such a fundamental difference to our lives – are usually not as complicated as we make them.
Just a note – simple isn’t the same as easy! It’s much quicker to turn to medication than to overhaul your lifestyle, so taking an alternative approach to wellness does require time, effort, and patience.
But we don’t need to seek complex answers or adopt rigid protocols to start making our health a priority. Often, we think we need to do more, more, more – take that supplement, adopt that new diet, follow that hot new fitness trend.
In fact, we need to do less, less, less. We need to bring it back to basics. Simplify the way we eat, the way we move our bodies, the amount we pack into our lives.
Maybe it doesn’t need to be about expensive gym memberships or a specific class, but a simple walk in nature instead. Maybe we don’t need all the fancy mindset hacks, but simply to learn to breathe correctly.
As Andrea said when we spoke, it isn’t a sexy message. Most of the clients she sees want a more complicated answer. They want to hear that their symptoms are caused by mould, or a parasite, or toxicity. And instead, Andrea asks them to slow down and come into that rest and digest, parasympathetic state.
It may not be sexy, but it is the message I really want to spread. It’s all about simplifying and coming back to basics.
And when we do start to do less, not more, it can be a huge relief. Even just giving yourself permission to slow down and do less can help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed.
SLOW DOWN TO TUNE IN
Most of us have a lot of noise going on around our health and especially around our nutrition.
Some of that noise will be external – there’s just so much information out there, which can make it much harder for us to connect with our inner knowing and trust our own intuition.
But some of that noise is internal too. Especially as women, we often have complicated histories with our bodies and with what we eat. Andrea finds there’s usually some untangling that needs to happen before the people she works with are able to tune into their bodies and what their symptoms are telling them.
Once we slow down and simplify, it becomes easier to cut out some of that noise, both internal and external. This means we start to be able to tune in and think, “this works for me, this doesn’t work for me”.
This is when messages from our bodies start to get through.
I love how Andrea describes this process as being like a dance between risk and reward. When we’re able to look at our symptoms with curiosity and lack of judgement, we start to notice how different things make us feel. Then, we begin to make simple changes just by being in that dance.
So, one night we might think, “I’m going to stay up later to enjoy a loved one’s company, even though I know it will make it harder to get up tomorrow because I value the reward more than the risk today”.
But another time, we might have commitments coming up the next day and decide that the reward of staying up late isn’t worth the risk of feeling less than our best the next day.
YOUR FIRST STEP TO SIMPLIFY
I asked Andrea what she would suggest to people who want to simplify and cultivate this mindset of curiosity and openness to their bodies’ messages.
She says that one tool she finds really helps is just to start tracking what’s happening for you. Andrea likes to use a “Food, Mood, Poop” tracker.
Tracking food isn’t about counting calories or monitoring portion sizes. It’s about being playful and starting to make some connections between what is on your plate and the rest of what is going on in your life and body.
When Andrea talks about mood, she isn’t only referring to our mental state, although that certainly plays a part. She also means our physical symptoms. It is just about tracking what’s coming up, without judgement.
Finally, poop is the best diagnostic tool any nutritionist has. So, again it’s just about noticing things. Are you going at least once a day? What’s the quality like? You can use a stool chart to help you track this!
For some, tracking food might not be possible because it can be triggering. In this case, Andrea suggests looking at other things – sleep, for instance, or your cycle, or hydration.
It’s just about starting to gather data and make connections that then let you understand what helps you feel better and what makes you feel worse.
COMING BACK TO BASICS
I’m all about the simple things that really move the needle for us on our health and wellness. What we eat, how we sleep, how we move – coming back to these basics can make such a big difference to how we feel, inside and out.
One of the resources I’ve developed to help you tune into your health is my second book, The Face Yoga Journal. It’s undated, so you can start it at any time of year, and it takes you through 52 weeks’ worth of face yoga techniques, wellness hacks, and motivational quotes.
There’s also space for you to record your goals and track your progress as you go. So, it’s a great tool for cultivating that curious mindset and starting to make those connections between what you do and your health.
The book is available in both paperback and e-book versions. Find it here.