Lessons from the field
As a health coach and public health practitioner, it is my mission to inspire and encourage healthful living. I am fortunate (and grateful) to be immersed in professional communities in which leading health science, tips for practice, and general wisdom are shared. In that, I also feel a level of responsibility to translate the wealth of knowledge and insight I am exposed to on a daily basis to every day health consumers, like YOU.
Whether you are afflicted by a chronic condition, generally well, but looking for ways to up your game in healthful decision making, or already consider yourself a “wellness warrior”, it is important to me that you have ability for access to relevant, accurate, and up to date health related information.
Over the past few months, I have noticed a salient trend in various presentations, events or symposiums, and online content. It is one that is relevant to most any time period of life, but certainly applicable as we enter into the holiday season.
What is this trend? Answer: Cultivating community!
Now, this is likely perceived as easier said than done and certainly comes with macro-level applications. However, there are certainly ways in which this applies to each of us.
I like to think of this as a two-fold approach;
This being said, I’m excited to share some wonderful insights from two online health summits I recently took part in (also see key point summary attachment).
The first is from the brilliant Jennifer Fugo. For those who are unaware of her work, she is the founder of Gluten Free School and is an inspirational leader in the health space. Through her work, she has developed practical tools for those afflicted by diseases related to gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Her presentation was part of the SIBO SOS™ Summit hosted by Shivan Sarna. The focus was on communicating with others about personal dietary restrictions.
Although it’s unfair, others may not understand our decision making in health and lifestyle. “What do you mean, you won’t be eating my turkey stuffing?”… for example.
As a leader in our own health journeys, we become very aware of up to date science and what is going on with our own human physiology. However, this is us. Other people come with an array of ideas and perceptions, for example, it’s possible that by us making changes related to our lifestyles, others may perceive that we will judge them for their own lifestyle decisions (note, it’s important to not be actually guilty of doing this). This may arise simply because we communicate that we are following a certain dietary plan with restrictions.
In my personal journey with autoimmune conditions, this has happened to me and, when it did, completely caught me off guard. I never dreamed I would experience a certain social rejection due to the fact that I could no longer eat a certain food or food group! However, I could have also been at fault by not using best communications or understanding for where the other parties were coming from.
As Jennifer reminded, sometimes we have to take a little extra care in how we communicate with consideration for timeliness, appropriateness, and care, ie not coming to a family dinner and loudly interjecting that there is nothing for you to eat there… meanwhile, no prior communication about dietary restrictions was led by you.
Key Take Away Points:
The second is from Dr. Kim D’Eramo who presented in the Healing Hashimoto’s Summit 2017. I was blown away by the similarities in our messages and conversational language. She might be a professional “soul sister” from afar. She presented an amazing mental/emotional centering approach; “ABC”.
This simplified framework centers on the mindfulness for finding harmony within yourself, ie “your truth”, including the internal conversations you have with yourself how you navigate throughout the peaks, valleys, and occasional bumps in daily life. Dr. D’Eramo also related this to yin-yang energy balance.
Key Take Away Points:
This holiday season, I'm excited to be giving a shared presentation to my alma mater, University of Illinois Chicago. The UIC wellness committee has been working hard to engage employees to make healthful choices. It feels fantastic to support them in this mission. Not only that, I get to deliver it with another fabulous health coach from my professional network.
Ashley L Arnold, MBA, MPH