Category : Holistic OB/GYN

Spring into Health




Physical and Mental Effects of Disorganization

We are all products of our environments, and vice versa, since the environments we create reflect and affect our physical, mental, and emotional health. When life becomes messy or disorderly, our physical as well as mental/emotional health can also get muddled and we become less energetic and less efficient.

An excellent example of this is the digestive system. When digestion is functioning optimally, it is a highly efficient and meticulously organized sorting process. A strong and healthy digestive system dictates what to keep as nourishment, where to send nutrients, and what to excrete as waste. As an integrative physician, I find that when patients describe their lives as messy, disorganized, or inefficient, they often experience symptoms of bloating, congestion, inflammation, and poor digestion. If left untreated, these symptoms can progress to more serious health conditions . When people clear their clutter, discard unnecessary items, and detoxify their surroundings, the spaciousness and resulting efficiency they create can offer more energy, in addition to improved digestion, detoxification, and overall vitality.

This process involves not just the physical clearing of “stuff,” but a much more subtle process of quieting down the mind and allowing for self-reflection. By doing this, we can reach a heightened level of clarity and insight, as well as deeper compassion for ourselves and others. In this space, we can have a better understanding of where our disorganization may stem from and how to overcome it in order to create a life that is peaceful, spacious, and functional.

The Stress Factor
Over time, being surrounded by clutter slows us down, makes us feel mentally and physically fatigued, and causes stress and anxiety. If we have a cluttered, disorganized living space, letting go of the stresses of work, finances, relationships, and other areas of our lives can be virtually impossible. Similarly, if a workplace is in disarray, it can be difficult to complete tasks well and on time. Just sitting in a cluttered room can create stress, as the clutter provides a great deal of information for the eyes to process and visual reminders of how much work is left unfinished. This constant, low-grade stress can subtly and steadily drain our energy, leaving us overwhelmed, exhausted, and ultimately, physically ill.

We know that long-term stress contributes to many chronic illnesses. Some of the most common conditions aggravated by chronic stress include:

Heart disease
Digestive problems
Sleep disturbances
Autoimmune diseases

In addition, the clutter that populates a physical environment can encourage an abundance of mold growth, bacteria, and other toxins. These pathogens can cause inflammation, respiratory conditions, and toxin buildup, leading to chronic illness down the road.

Getting There
The first step in organizing for better health is clearing clutter from your external environment. Making small, daily steps to clean and organize can provide you with the space to engage in stress-management activities, such as yoga or meditation, while also bringing about a sense of satisfaction. Studies show that mild to moderate exercise—yes, even in the form of housework—boosts mental health, reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes healthy circulation. Getting organized in our physical world will carry over into other parts of our lives as well, facilitating the ability to make changes in areas like exercise and diet, which tend to need some revising after a winter spent mostly indoors.

With the rising energy of spring, we often feel a sense of regeneration and renewal, coupled with increased motivation and enthusiasm. This renewed energy is reflected in the budding of trees and the sight of the first flower bulbs emerging to show their colors. So take advantage of this naturally arising internal energy to engage in a mild body cleanse, and give all of your living and work spaces a spring cleanse as well.

Health Benefits of Becoming Organized
Organization of our external environment leads to clarity, efficiency, and less energy consumption on all levels of our being—physical, mental, and emotional. From an integrative medicine perspective, these three levels are inseparable. With better clarity and organization, all aspects of life are less congested and health flows more smoothly.

On a physical level, strong organization means better blood flow and less inflammation, less hyperviscosity, and less oxidative stress. Strong organization allows for the right nutrients to get to the right place. We also have better antioxidant protection, which helps beat back every chronic condition, from cancer and diabetes to cardiovascular disease and depression. When we are more clear and efficient, our energy lasts much longer and our health can benefit on all levels.

Once they become better organized, many of my patients report one of the most important aspects of a successful cleanse: the emotional process of “letting go.” If you de-clutter your mind, your emotions, and your physical space, you’ll undoubtedly experience a sense of lightheartedness and freedom as you unpeel your internal and external layers of obstructions. This process allows for the unfolding of a more authentic, essential “you.”

Overall, a simplified, organized life allows you to realize what is truly important to you. By eliminating the physical and mental clutter around you, you are able to focus on the bigger picture, spend more quality time with the positive people in your life, and accomplish the goals you couldn’t have otherwise. Clearing the tangled cobwebs of disorganization in all aspects of life can allow for profound freedom in health and vitality. And that’s one of the essential keys that can open the door to true healing.

Enjoy a wonderful spring season in the best of health!


 Author –Isaac Eliaz, MD, MS, LAc

HO-HO-Holistic Holidays

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How to Survive the Holiday Season

Some people simply love the holidays.  Others utterly despise them.  The rest of us fall somewhere in between.  Food, family and festivities are all part of the holiday season and contribute to our own personal reasons for loving, hating or love-hating the holidays.  This article will provide you with some simple, natural strategies for surviving the holidays; body, mind, spirit and planet.

Body:  Our bodies take a huge hit during the holidays.  We definitely eat foods that we don’t typically eat and we often eat more food and more often than usual.  In addition, due to the chaos of holiday shopping, holiday parties, holiday cards, holiday cooking and holiday decorating, we often sacrifice our exercise routine to make time for these events.  While we’re on the run, taking steps to complete the tasks just mentioned, we may not take the time to prepare healthy meals. We may find ourselves eating at the drive-thru or the food court.

Body Tips: Pack a brown bag of easy to eat, healthy foods to eat while you’re on the run.  Assorted, raw nuts are a great, healthy snack that will give you energy, protein, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants to help combat the effects of stress.  Throw a couple of apples or pears in there too.  Baby carrotswhole grain crackers and a container of hummus also make for a quick and healthy snack.  Be sure to drink plenty of water (half your body weight in ounces) to support your health and immunity – especially during times of stress.  When it comes to the holiday table, as crazy as it sounds, use smaller plates and serving utensils to reduce portion size.  Even using a smaller fork will help you to consume less food.  The mistake many people make is they take a portion equal to what they would eat at a normal meal.  The problem is there is usually about 3-5 times as much food as usual so you end up taking insane amounts of food.   Using a teaspoon or tablespoon instead of a serving spoon will allow you to taste everything without over-doing it.

Mind: The mind probably takes the biggest hit during the holidays.  With so many things to remember and do, we get overwhelmed very easily.  Combine this with the shorter daylight hours, and you have a recipe for holiday depression.  Many of us are so busy making sure that everyone else enjoys the holidays that we over-extend and over-schedule ourselves to the brink of insanity.

Mind Tips: Sit down and make a list of everything that you usually do or try to do for the holidays.  Prioritize those items as: “Do”, “Drop”, or “Delegate”.  Then take the “Do” items and prioritize them as “Must Do” and “Nice to Do”.  Focus on the “Must-Do” items first.  On the “Delegate” list, make a list of who you will delegate the task to, write the date that you delegated it, and the date they agreed to get it done by.  Follow up on that date or simply trust them to get it done.  This is a great time of year to edit your external influences.  Stop watching or reading the news.  Listen to some classical or spa-type music in the car or while cooking, cleaning or wrapping.  Holiday music is fine too, as long as it puts you in a good mood.  Understand that others are stressed out too and, even if they rub you the wrong way, wish them “Happy Holidays” and move on.  Take some Vitamin D because you probably won’t be getting any sunshine.

Spirit:  It’s funny when people talk about the holiday spirit because from what I can tell, it’s not the Spirit of Christmas Past, Present of Future; it’s the Spirit of Christmas Insanity.  Let me start by saying that if it doesn’t enrich your holiday experience either don’t do it at all or, if you feel obligated, do it to the minimal level possible to protect yourself from negative influences.

Spirit Tips: If you hate your work’s holiday party, don’t go.  If you can’t afford gifts,write a note detailing a fond memory you have of that person.  Thank them for being in your life.  If your family drives you crazy, come late and leave early to the holiday festivities.  No one will give you a hard time if you skip out to visit a nursing home, hospital, or homeless shelter.  I guarantee that you will have a lot more holiday spirit by putting a smile on a sick child’s face versus trading scratch-tickets and bottles of booze at the Yankee Swap.

Planet:  During the holidays, we create a lot of waste that will end up in landfills.  We use a lot of extra fuel running around from mall to mall and having presents shipped across the country.  Try to keep the planet in mind as make your holiday plans.

 Planet Tips: Buy food from local farms or as local as you can get.  If you live in Connecticut, buy potatoes from Maine.  If you live in Colorado, buy potatoes from Idaho.  Don’t buy tinsel;decorate pinecones instead.  String popcorn and cranberries instead of using foil garland.  Send gift cardsinstead of heavy boxes.  Grab a friend and carpool to the mall.  You will have more luck finding one parking space than two and you can divide and conquer.  One of you takes a list to the toy store, one of you takes a list to the department store and you rendezvous in the lobby at a certain time.  If there are questions, there are cell phones.

The holidays are supposed to be a time for cheer.  Take a step back and evaluate your holiday schedule and ask yourself which parts enrich your life, and which parts impair your life.  Make choices that will enhance your holiday experience; body, mind, spirit and planet.



This article is credited to  PATTI BARTSCH, PH.D



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