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Time & Your Health

Updated: Nov 17, 2021




Time.


When was the last time you felt you had any? Does it feel like it's dangling somewhere just passing faster and faster everyday?


Weekdays are busy. Weekends are busier.


So, we live in a way that helps us perpetuate this way of being.


Eating on the go. Take out. Texting as we walk or God forbid drive. Scrolling in between meetings. Thinking of the next thing before we’re done with this. Like laundry, the dishwasher, one last email. Go, go, go until we can crash on the couch for a Netflix binge. Repeat.


It sounds familiar, doesn’t it?


Here’s the thing:


We are stuck in an epidemic of timelessness. Our epidemic leads us to another one; disconnection. Everyday we are operating from a space of lack and separateness and this is a problem.


It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? We’ve been drowning in news of cases and deaths and vaccines and demonizing these people or those. And I’m talking about epidemics of timelessness and disconnection???


But indulge me.


In other cultures, all they have is time. The Costa Rican national motto, “Pura Vida”, implies a deliberate taking of time. Imagine that. So, why are we conditioned to believe we don’t have any? And worse, what little we have better be filled with doing something productive, like working.


This is so pervasive that exhaustion and a busy schedule have become a sort of status symbol*. If you aren’t exhausted, you’re obviously not doing enough, clearly you’ve been wasting time, you’re lazy, and you’re probably a loser, too.


Well, what if THIS is actually what's killing us? What if this LACK of time, that has led to lack of connection is really what ails us and really what leads us to sickness and unhappiness?


Does the question intrigue you?


My job as a clinical nutritionist is to help my clients find the root cause of their often chronic health issues and to address them so they can live happier and healthier lives. Most of the time this involves a conversation about food (OK, MANY conversations about food) But, when we start to talk about food, the inevitable issue about time comes up. So, we devise strategies to learn how to reallocate the time they do have. To prioritize. To be efficient.





I believe high quality food and good nutrition to be the foundation of good health. Yes, other pillars of that foundation include sleep, exercise, social connection, being in nature, etc.

But as I was walking through the aisles at the grocery store and I happened upon dozens of products, mostly powders in the wildest combinations of superfoods, it occurred to me that TIME is the one factor that underlies all of these pillars.


Why?


Simply because taking time means taking responsibility. It means acknowledging oneself and placing oneself as a priority. It means that you're not putting yourself or your physical health or your mental health on the back burner anymore. It means you're choosing you (and your family) first. Just this alone is a form of self-care. And if you think it's just another buzz word in the ever expanding world of buzz words, think again.


Science is not only catching up but is completely on board with the fact that self-care prevents disease and heals it. This paper sums a lot up quite nicely. We know that self-care reduces overall morbidity, mortality, and health care costs (Riegel, et al, 2021). We also know it leads to improved health outcomes.


A main objective then is changing one’s relationship with time. Because operating from this place of lack (“I have no time”) is not doing us any favors.


So, when we change our relationship with time we can truly begin to heal. Whether we've already manifested chronic illness or are waiting for it to happen. When we can relax the grip on how much sh*t we actually have to do, we realize that the world doesn’t end and that people and deadlines and projects will still be there in 20 minutes, after dinner has been prepared. Because nourishment and healing doesn’t come from a powdered mix of superfoods that you mix in an 8 oz. glass of water. It actually comes from the time you set aside for yourself.

Something tells me you might agree. Even if it sounds impossible.


I’m not unaware that this info comes and faces that uphill battle against a lifetime of being conditioned into believing we don’t have time. But we do. I promise we do.


YOU HAVE TIME.


Actually, tell yourself this everyday, "I HAVE TIME".


You'll probably have to be brave to do this. To set time aside for a walk, or a bath, or to cook. You'll probably face opposition (mostly from that voice inside). But I believe in you. I know you are that important and I know you know that, too.


So, do you have the courage to take a few minutes each day for yourself?


Start there.


When you’re ready to take those extra few minutes to the kitchen, I’ll be here for you.


Baby steps are the only steps that get you there. Take the first one.



P.S. Here’s a very dated article, still being cited, on the importance of self-care. And here’s another more recent one. I hope they inspire you!


*Part of Brene Brown's quote, "It takes courage to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol."


Riegel, B., Dunbar, S. B., Fitzsimons, D., Freeland, K. E., Leef, C. S., Middleton, S., Strombergh, A., Vellone, E., Webber, D. E., & Jaarsma, T., (2021). Self-care research: Where are we now? Where are we going? International Journal of Nursing Studies. (116).


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