In the first chapter of my new book, Bloom (which just hit best-seller status last week!), we address one of the most under-valued yet most critical components of healing: giving yourself permission to heal.
Though an intangible act like this may seem inconsequential compared to the more measurable values of nutrition, exercise, and lab work, the truth is this is the most important step you can take to establish a firm foundation of self-care, healing, and resiliency for life.
It is, in essence, one of the greatest acts of self-love you can give yourself. Yet, we fail to do so; and inconsistent health and chronic disease is the result.
In today’s post, I will cover the simple steps one must take to give oneself permission to heal fully, plus we’ll look into what may be holding you back in giving yourself this most precious gift.
Why You Need Your Own Permission to Heal
It’s a funny thing about health issues, especially with women. Often we notice we don’t “quite feel right”, perhaps our digestion is off, our menstrual cycles are a train wreck, or we’re just fatigued all the time.
Yet we muscle through and ignore body’s warning signals, thinking: “I’m just too busy for this, everyone deals with this sort of thing, it must be a mom-thing, I just need to exercise more and eat less, I’m too young to have a serious problem, going to the doctor is too expensive…I’ll figure it out later.”
Meanwhile, “later” turns from days, to weeks, to months, to years. And what was likely a simple, acute condition that could have been easily resolved turns into a much more complex chronic disease that cannot be ignored.
At this point, you have no choice but to seek help and to agree to take steps to heal.
However, had you known the necessity of giving yourself unequivocal permission to feel well at all times, you would not have reached this point of crisis.
You deserve to feel like yourself all (or most of) the time; healthy, happy, and full of energy.
This may seem like a dramatic example, but it’s what I see in my practice every day. Patients come in with near-debilitating symptoms after years of “just not feeling right”, “having no energy”, and “experiencing digestive trouble”.
Therefore, it’s not a stretch to conclude a primary root cause of ALL chronic disease is: a lack of self-permission to heal…a lack of self love and care.
As an integrative functional medicine doctor and former chronic disease sufferer myself (brought on by years of ignoring my body’s needs), I’m telling you: the time to give yourself permission to heal and live a healthy, vibrant life is right now.
Not tomorrow, not next week, right now.
So, let me ask you…
What’s Holding You Back?
For many patients, the main reasons they have withheld the gift of self-permission to heal, boils down to 2 main factors:
- Time constraints—there just aren’t enough hours in the day to deal with doctor visits, cooking healthy food, etc.
- Feeling as though it is “selfish” to spend time on self-care—this is a big one for women, especially mothers.
- Financial concerns—this often goes along with the previous point on feeling selfish about spending money on oneself.
Though these are all valid issues, there is always a way to give yourself the time, space, and budget to heal. For example…
If your time is limited for doctor appointments, make the most of it by doing your research to find the best physician who understands root cause medicine.
Functional medicine doctors are an excellent resource in this regard, as they have advanced training in intakes and diagnostic tools at their disposal. This means they will be more likely to get to the bottom of your ailments with fewer appointments and running around.
If you’re feeling “selfish” for seeking help with a problem, try asking yourself: “How would giving myself permission to heal positively effect my family/spouse, etc.?”
If you answer this question honestly, you will quickly see getting better has nothing to do with being selfish, rather it will create greater happiness, security, and set a wonderful example of self-care for those you love.
If you’re feeling bad about how much it might cost you—consider this: according to the Centers for Disease Control, chronic diseases (which typically start out as small issues that get ignored and build up over years) like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even some cancers are the most common, costly, and preventable diseases out there(1).
How you do prevent them? Through specific nutrition and lifestyle changes…which a skilled integrative doctor can help you with.
So, by investing in yourself as soon as possible, you can save yourself thousands of dollars down the road, plus you will have the knowledge and tools you need to fend off any future chronic ailments.
The 3-Steps To Giving Yourself Permission to Heal
Now that we’ve addressed the importance of self-care in this regard, and how to overcome the top 3 issues holding you back, let’s look at how to give yourself permission to heal in 3 easy steps.
Step 1: Own it
Write down the words: “I give myself permission to heal…” then jot down main things you wish to fix or improve about your physical, mental, or emotional health.
Next, write down: “Who (besides me) will benefit from these improvements in my health and why?” and write the names of those people why they will benefit from a healthier, happier you.
Finally, sign that piece of paper—like you would a permission slip.
This is your contract of self-care and self-love. Keep it somewhere visible and honor it as such.
Step 2: Make space
Now that you’ve signed your permission slip to heal, it’s time to put some skin in the game (so to speak).
Do this by making it a point to carve out 20-30 minutes (or more) in your day for a restorative activity. Something that brings you joy, relaxation, and grounds you.
For me, that means either gardening, which allows me time to practice earthing, be outdoors, and create something beautiful; meditating (Headspace is a great app for that); or reading which gives me peace and quiet, and nourishes my intellectual side.
Plus, all three of these activities have been proven to help reduce stress which will help prevent nearly ALL disease(2)(3)(4).
It doesn’t matter what time of day you create that space, but try and do it the same time every day as this will help you establish a new routine faster.
Step 3: Partner up/Divide and conquer
Now that you’re committed and have started your own at-home restoration practice, it’s time to take it up a notch by partnering with the right practitioner.
In Bloom, I give specific advice on how to find the right doctor to address your unique health issues.
Though I can’t cover everything in that chapter in this post, here are some tips on seeking out the right doctor for you:
- A functional medicine doctor is your best bet for getting to the root cause of complex conditions. Why? Because we have the training in integrative medicine and allopathic medicine, which affords us keen insights into pathology, nutrition, pharmacology, natural remedies, disease markers often missed by mainstream medicine. Plus access to advanced diagnostic tools and lab work.
- The right doctor will listen to you, spend time with you, and not tell you “you’re fine” when you know you’re not.
- The right doctor will refer you to other providers, such as acupuncturists, chiropractors, health coaches, therapists, etc. to complement their care as needed.
- Though a good physician will hold you accountable for following your health plan, they will never belittle, ignore, or disrespect your process. If they do, regardless of their credentials, they’re not the right doctor for you.
To learn more, check out Bloom Chapter 7: Prune—Getting Unstuck.
I’m sure you can now see it is not radical to suggest a lack of self-permission to heal, stemming from a lack of self-love and care, is a leading cause of chronic disease.
But, you can take the first step in preventing disease and transforming your health by following these steps and giving yourself the greatest gift of all: self love and the permission to heal and live a healthy, vibrant, and happy life.
For those in Texas, if I can help via in-office visit or telemedicine consult please reach out. Otherwise, I recommend visiting the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Certified Practitioner Finder to find a certified Functional Medicine doctor in your local area: at: www.ifm.org.
Now, do yourself a big favor by taking the first step and signing that permission slip!
And to learn more about my new best-seller Bloom: 7 Steps to Reclaim Your Health, Cultivate Your Desires, & Reignite Your Spark, click here to check it out on Amazon.com.