Recently in the office I gave a workshop on Diet Culture (look for it on YouTube soon!) and how certain ways of dieting can be problematic in the lens of health. Usually we try to focus on health topics as they relate to chiropractic but I spend a lot of time educating patients on different ways of viewing our health in a proactive way, rather than reactive. What locked in that particular topic were the many posts I saw online about different diets and losing weight in general - the methods people were employing largely lacked a proactive mindset. They focused on losing weight as quickly as possible and many recommendations made were not necessarily health-centered.
As I prepared information in the weeks leading up to the workshop, I found a comment on a Facebook post in the far corner of the internet (that I wish I could find again) from a fellow woman Chiropractor who said she explains health to her patients in a D.R.E.A.M. formula.
DREAM stands for Diet, Rest, Exercise, Adjustment, and Mindset.
I was immediately drawn to this acronym because, for one, it was simple and easy to remember but it also is an even more simplified way to describe our 7 Homeostatic Essentials. The 7HEs are the seven areas of focus needed in order to live fully without interference in the body from dysfunction or disease. I'll go through those in a future blog post!
But back to living your DREAM life. What does that look like? Often times many of the people I work with in the office seem to be stuck in a survival mindset, and rightly so. When you're experiencing acute pain it is hard to think past the present moment, to think about doing more than what will get you out of pain as quickly as possible, or even think about anything other than what you HAVE to get done in order to keep the house of cards from falling down around you.
However, the beauty of corrective chiropractic care is that the goal is to get you to a place where your body is stable so you CAN focus on what it is like to live your best life.
So I set to work researching diet culture, where we fail when it comes to traditional dieting, and what habits could make a healthy weight accessible, sustainable, and beneficial for our bodies and I came out with the idea for a template that has the ability to positively affect life in many areas. This is especially effective when you are someone who leads a busy life - as many do!
In the next five posts, I'll be reviewing each topic of the DREAM life in detail. I encourage you to take five or 10 minutes to reflect on what you feel you are missing from your life or what, if you added it to your daily life, would greatly impact the quality of your life!
When I employed this exercise for myself, my dream life revolved around my calendar. As a business owner, a lot falls to me so it can be easy to descend into overwhelm. But I KNOW that I cannot effectively help people heal if I am not taking care of myself. If I can't help others, what I am doing loses its joy and I have worked for the last decade toward nothing. I also see a lot of people who live in the "I'm too busy" trap and spend all of their time trying to catch up. Many circumstances are unavoidable but I don't believe you have to live your life constantly on the run. Below is how I brainstormed what things I decided were absolutely necessary to living my best life:
Once I narrowed down the things that are most important to me, I worked it into my schedule! It's easy to find time for all aspects of a healthy life when you give yourself grace and learn to say yes to the things that matter and no to those that don't. The next image is the mock schedule I created for myself:
After outlining how I would like my day to go I started to implement it over time. Are there days when I don't wake up until 7 and I miss breakfast and I take a nap over lunch because we were up late the night before? Sure! Do I often have days in the week where I work on laundry in the morning when I'm "scheduled" to be exercising and then do a bedtime yoga video that night? All the time!
I'm working toward a goal but I'm still embracing the imperfectness of being human and just trying to be kind to myself. It's much easier to "get back on the horse" when I understand and even plan for occasional slip-ups. Removing an all-or-nothing mindset is something I'll talk more about when I go over the M portion of cultivating a DREAM life but it's important to remember that if you only set yourself up for success you go so much farther than if you never tried at all.
I hope the examples I've given help get you started! It's important to sit down every so often and analyze how your lifestyle is serving you! Look out for the next posts about each individual aspects of D.R.E.A.M. life, I can't wait to share them with you!
It is always my hope that with these posts I can help shift our outlooks on health and life in general so that we are able to thrive and create these changes in our community!
Dr. Tiffany is a chiropractor at Liberation Chiropractic & Wellness in Mobile, AL. Her passion is corrective chiropractic care for all ages that goes beyond just aches and pains to restore the spine to the best condition possible so that her patients' bodies may function properly.