Dr. Chad Sato
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist
Twenty-twenty-one has flown by! Thanksgiving is around the corner and it’s a good time to express gratitude. The one comment I have been hearing a lot these days are: I wish that I took the time to see so and so. Many times, when we don’t listen to that little voice inside that is trying to get us to take action and our mind convinces us to do otherwise, is when we end up with regret.
With the end of the year coming to a close, start reflecting on what has happened this past year and see if there is anything that you need to address or take care of. Getting closure of any issues will create more ease, allowing you to promote more mental and emotional peace.
Assess Your Current State of Well Being
The importance of acknowledging and addressing any fears or worries that might be burdening us is essential as we get closer to the winter season when people might start feeling under the weather or even catch the flu. Since the flu has decided to go AWOL for the past year and a half, allowing COVID-19 and its variants to run rampant, taking care of yourself on all levels is ideal.
My recommendation is to make a self-assessment of where you are in life and see if there is anything that you need to shore up. Friends, family, estranged loved ones that you are meaning to connect with, but haven’t due to the busyness of life and all the other restrictions that have been imposed by the government; make a list of who you really want to see and determine those that you don’t. Anytime you spend time with someone or expend energy on something that you are not inspired or happy to do, it builds up stress which leads to a lowered immune system.
The preparation for the upcoming winter season should start now with the holidays looming and the potential limited get togethers due to the constant, lurking threat of COVID-19 variants. However, self-care is often overlooked. After all the sugary treats from Halloween that wreaks havoc on your immune system and causes inflammation, take the month of November and December to fortify your body physically. Once your physical constitution is shored up, then build up your mental and emotional state. To round it all up, focus on your spiritual resolve by connecting to a higher power, which will help you to deal with any challenges that may come your way.
Physical self-care begins with getting enough rest. The body needs time to rest in order to recover from stresses including physical, financial and familial demands. There have been research studies that discovered if a person is deprived of sleep, their mental and emotional faculties become compromised and resemble that of a person who is drunk from alcohol.
Consistent and regular physical exercise or body movement is also crucial because it helps your blood to circulate and release endorphins that can help lift your mood and mental state. What you eat and put into your body is the next essential action step. Find a nice balance between the holiday treats and dinners with other healthy foods. Take your daily vitamin supplements such as zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and B-vitamins to keep your immune system strong. Go outside and get some sun! Finally, hydrate with at least 8 cups or half a gallon of water per day. Water is necessary for the proper functioning of your body’s organs and nervous system.
Besides thinking happy thoughts and maintaining a positive attitude to keep your mental and emotional state balanced, the perfect timing of Thanksgiving can further help you to acknowledge those who you are grateful for. Gratitude is a powerful action that allows you to accept your life mentally and emotionally, even though you may have challenges from time to time, life is perfect just the way it is. We live our lives according to what’s most important to us and the Thanksgiving holiday usually is spent with family or loved ones giving you moments to reflect and be in a state of gratitude and acceptance. You can also use this time to reach out to family, friends, or peers, where things are unsettled or things that need to be discussed. Anytime there is tension and unresolved issues, that underlying stress zaps you of energy and weighs you down. Finally taking stock of your own body and being grateful for your good health or ability to deal with the COVID-19 variant threats should also be a part of your gratitude list. Self-care is vital and essential at this time and will insure that even if some health issue should pop up, you won’t resent your body but be grateful to it and recognize all the effort you have done to stay healthy. Just know that being thankful for your body’s natural ability to heal and having a hardy immune system is the ace you have in your back pocket.
Whether you are a Buddhist, Christian or Muslim, being around others that are like-minded and having a strong support system can help you navigate when life seems scary and uncertain. Besides a strong support system, it is important to create and strengthen your own inner support system. To achieve this, try to create more moments where you have time to be quiet so that way you can listen to your inner voice, which essentially is your higher self. Sometimes this voice may not make sense and you will find yourself rationalizing or making decisions out of fear. However, what I have learned through the years that anytime you decide out of fear, it never works out well. Usually, things will go sideways or create other problematic situations. Facing your fears or dealing with anxiety is your best course of action even though it is extremely uncomfortable. However, the way to deal with fears or anxiety is to recognize how if that future event should happen benefits, you versus causing more pain or suffering. Once you can see that the future event is good as well as bad, you won’t fear it.
Remember that you have the power to choose how you want to experience the holidays. If you come from a place of gratitude and acceptance, anxiety and fear have a harder time to take root. Choosing self-care, and following your inner guidance and truth, will help to insure you end 2021 on a positive note.
Dr. Chad Sato graduated from UCLA in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned the Doctor of Chiropractic degree with honors from Life Chiropractic College West in 1998. Sato founded his practice, Aloha Chiropractic (alohachiro.biz), in Mänoa valley, O’ahu, on Oct. 1, 1999. He is a sought-after educator, speaker, author and mind-body specialist who helps people reach new levels of empowerment when it comes to their health and wellness by staying present with their body signs, making appropriate life choices and utilizing stress instead of managing it.