Run Down? Your Gut Can Help!
With Christmas in a week, and lots of other things going on in life, are you feeling run down? I know I am!
When you get run down, it’s almost certain you'll feel depleted, overwhelmed & disconnected. Such a bummer when you want to be really full of energy and present this time of year. It may be a surprising link, but your gut can actually play a huge role in helping you stay vibrant!
There are three main roles the gut plays in your body:
Balancing immunity 80% of your immunity is in your gut!
Keeping you in a good mood 95% of your serotonin (a neurotransmitter that maintains mood balance) is in your gut!
Being a “second brain,” offering it’s gut instinct or what I call inner wisdom Your gut contains 100 million neurons, more than the spinal cord or the nervous system!
These are important on a regular day, but become even more desirable when the holidays roll around. This time of year, you may be fighting colds and crowds, so you need extra immune balance. You want to be cheerful and celebratory, in the most genuine ways, so mood stability is key. There’s a lot of influence on how things “should” go this time of year, but they may not be right for you. Having a strong connection with your inner wisdom really keeps you more happy and healthy by staying connected to your true desires!
To support your gut, in all of the ways, here are my top tips to help your gut so your gut can help you!
Eat to Support Your Gut
- Reduce Inflammatory Foods Holidays bring sugar and alcohol, for most. Both of which are super inflammatory to the gut, and entire body. Instead of refined sugars, use dates, maple syrup and honey for your baking this season. Skip the office party cookies and eat carrots instead (they’re actually sweet). Grab an apple instead of an afternoon pastry. Plain tea instead of a sweetened premixed chai. It also helps you to feel satisfied if you add fat to your snacks (coconut butter with carrots, liver pate or avocado with apple, coconut cream in your tea). Toast a sparkling water with pomegranate seeds instead of vodka. Or vodka instead of wine. Make better choices where you feel capable.
- Eat Fat & Maintain Regular Meals The gut lining heals with complete proteins and loves fat! Supporting balanced blood sugar with regular meals is important for the neurology of the gut. Be sure to eat your daily meals, even if there’s a party or something extra you’re adding to your plate. Don’t think about calories or skipping a meal because you did eat a cookie. Instead, eat plenty of fats, protein and fiber at your meals. Add well sourced collagen to your morning tea and gelatin to your pumpkin pie (those are the MOST gut healing food supplements). Lower your carbs if you’re not moving much, but increase if you’re going skiing or hiking (or dancing) that day. Stay hydrated. And, if you’re drinking alcohol, be sure to have fat or protein with it.
- Prepare In Advance Don’t let your hunger get the best of you and diminish the nourishment you want to give your gut. Be sure to have food ready to go at home this season. Keep veggies and meat in the ‘fridge, to make quick meals as needed. Or, have a batch cooking day where you make a bunch of meals and freeze them (or just have in the ‘fridge for several days). If you can’t get to the grocery one day, ask for help. Use my meals and shopping template to help you plan your weeks.
Relax Your Nervous System
- Prioritize Sleep The gut can get blown out when your body is fatigued. And, it’s impossible to get rested if you’re not sleeping. Even if Elf on the Shelf needs an extreme storyline, get it done by 9pm. Turn off TV, laptop and phone an hour before you plan to settle down. Do whatever it takes to fall asleep by 10pm. Get yourself calmed and ready for sleep, by adding in a hot shower, putting on clean bedsheets, reading a new book, having a calming herbal tea, using lavender oil and decompressing your day into a journal. Remove electronics and phones from the bedroom. Get your room really dark. Find the way you best relax, so rest comes with ease. Honor the support it brings, and rest will help you to release unnecessary overwhelm and toxins.
- Reduce Stimulation “Nerves” often show up in the gut, and are fed by stimulation. Give yourself more breaks than usual this time of year. Get outside more, and get more sunshine and fresh air. Even if it means the car windows cracked with the heated seats on high during your commute, it helps! Give yourself more natural light, and more twilight. Move your body, gently. Take a calming yoga class (without music), like yin or therapeutic. Reduce caffeine, alcohol and sugar. The spike they bring to blood sugar really elevates your tendency towards over-stimulation. Try a rooibos chai (caffeine free), hot apple cider and toasted coconut flakes instead.
- Let Go Energy you hold onto pools in your gut. Letting things go can be one of the most healing things for your gut! “That help isn’t worth it because they won’t do as good a job,” sound familiar? As a recovering perfectionist, I have said this more times than I can count! But, no one ever notices to the depth that you do. No one will know if you borrow a skirt from a friend or care if you didn’t make the gluten free brownies. No one will notice the smudge on the window or the typo on your invitation. Give yourself some breathing room. And, feel your gut soften. Breathe into that as often as possible!
Find Ways to Listen to Your Inner Wisdom
- Detoxify Your Body Your body gets cluttered this time of year. The toxins add up. It may surprise you, but this inhibits your ability to hear your inner wisdom. Even if your indulgences are sugar free, they may still be more load than you’re used to. And it’s simple to support the body’s release. Though it may feel hard right now, go for a sweat. Exercise, sit in a sauna, or lay on an infrared heating pad. Take a detoxifying bath with essential oils, baking soda and magnesium salt. Drink a detoxifying tea before bedtime. And, know that there’s a trick to help out when you overindulge: taking activated charcoal after eating a meal out, having alcohol or too much of something you don’t normally eat, can help absorb and move toxins through your system more quickly.
- Base Your Decisions on Desire Your true desires show up when you listen to your inner wisdom, and let it lead you. Invited to an event that does not sound fun? Decline it. Go to the movies alone (or with your bestie) instead. Feel like you really should make an appearance? Let your significant other go to the party alone. Have them take the kids, if appropriate. Stay at home, with a bath and your PJs. No invites and you’re bored? Go to dinner and sit at the community table or bar. Drive around and look at holiday lights. Really investigate what would bring you the most joy right now (not in a seasonal cliché kind-of way). For real, what would really nourish your soul?
- Digest Your Life Take in your life! Take in all that you did yesterday. Take in all that you have done this year, and all that you are still doing to complete the year. This is one of the best tools I have ever learned. This practice adds so much value to your life and your time and your purpose. So, grab a pen and paper (or keyboard and screen) and start writing. What did you accomplish this year? This month? This day?!! What did you do for yourself, your family, your company? Make this a practice so you can reflect on just how amazing you are! This space you create to acknowledge yourself makes room for you to hear your inner wisdom.