Health and wellness is something we take very seriously here at Decor. In honour of NAOSH Week (or North American Occupational Safety and Health Week) in May, we tried to bring more awareness to staff by holding daily health and wellness challenges, as well as extra training and lunch and learns. We worked with Sonia Funk, from The Whole Avocado, who did two seminars for staff on the topic of why so many of us don’t feel as well as we know we could.
When it comes to true health and wellness, the biggest collective mistake we make every day is that we think of and speak of ourselves and our health, in parts. Most of us view our body as being separate from our mind and our emotions and therefore, we don’t see the causes of our physical discomforts as connected and interrelated.
We will talk about anxiety and depression as a chemical issue, or, if our personal experience or professional training is different, we may discuss it in the context of some kind of trauma. Seldom do these two causes get discussed, never mind addressed, as joint issues. Many of us speak of our headaches as an inconvenient discomfort that can be silenced by a drug. We often fail to ask if it is perhaps our body trying to speak to us about an internal physiological issue.
Even less often we fail to ask, as an example, if maybe it was the fear, triggered by that angry person, which caused stress hormones to be released into our bloodstream that created the tension in our neck and gave us the headache. When we have digestive distress we often assume that our body is defunct and doesn’t know how to do its job. Or, if we are lucky enough to figure it out, we blame a particular food. Seldom do we also notice that it could be both a particular food and also the fact that it was eaten at a meal where we talked a lot and didn’t chew. Not chewing properly would send an unprocessed mess to cause trouble in our stomach and down the line in our intestinal tract.
To take it one step further, maybe we even had a stressful drive home after that meal, encountering road rage (ours or someone else’s,) which then pushed our body into ‘fight or flight,’ interrupting our digestion even more. The ‘Fight or Flight’ response happens when stress triggers the body into survival mode: all energy and blood flow is directed away from the digestive tract and towards the limbs and brain – to think and act quickly. Digestion comes to a halt. During this process our adrenals are stimulated to produce adrenaline in case we need to fight the perceived threat, or run away from it. A sad or tragic story on the news can trigger this response in the body, so can an angry boss walking by your desk, an upsetting email or a phone call from your child’s school about something that happened that day.
To truly find a balance for healthy emotions, mind and body, they all have to be seen as connected and interrelated. You cannot have something happen to one part of you that does not affect all the other parts. I believe this perspective is the only way to find balance and wholeness after it has been lost.
Sonia Funk, RNT, is a Nutritional Therapist/Counsellor, Employee Wellness Consultant and Speaker with international experience. She has recently relocated to Morden and is currently accepting new clients into her practice.