The Goal of the Stroll

The house we grew up in backed onto this amazing park with a soccer field and my elementary school. We had this secret door through the big gate that would open up into a world of imagination, play and adventure. I have so many childhood memories that involve friends and cousins and running out through the gate to the park.

The parks and the mature trees and the friendly neighbours are what I love so much about living in the East End of Barrie. I love asking my daughters about which park they want to go to and they yell “the purple park!”

What’s even better is that there are amazing health benefits from getting outside and connecting with your neighbours. As a naturopathic doctor who works with moms, babies and kids, I love sharing about all the great reasons why it’s great to get outside and chat with your neighbours.

Park Perks

Being outside in nature just makes us feel good and this is a huge area of new research because of how much time we spend indoors and in front of tech toys like iPads, phones and TV.

Being surrounded by trees, forests and outdoor spaces has numerous health benefits for you and your kids. These include:

  • Improved short-term memory
  • Restored mental energy
  • Stress-relief
  • Lower levels of inflammation
  • Better vision
  • Improved concentration
  • Sharper thinking and creativity
  • Immune system boosts
  • Improved mental health

So, just being outside among the trees of your neighbourhood can really make you feel good.

Neighbourhood Networking

The number of neighbours who we actually know has changed over the years. We spend more time indoors and the nightly news gives us lots of reasons why we should hide out at home.

However, being with others is extremely important to our health. Having a social network helps with longevity. There was a Harvard study of graduates throughout their lifespans and they found that strong relationships are the strongest predictor of life satisfaction.

A lack of social ties is associated with depression and later-life cognitive decline as well as increased mortality. This increase in mortality risk is roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. So having strong relationships is really important!

Connecting with others relieves harmful levels of stress, which can negatively affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and your immune system.

So, let’s get outside more, let’s start talking to our neighbours and forming those relationships with each other, we’ll feel better for it.

Dr. Whitney Young, ND

Dr. Whitney is a Naturopathic Doctor and Super Baby Coach who has a special focus on fertility, pregnancy and children’s health. She is the founder of Guiltless Grace – an online community for moms who want to ditch the Mommy Guilt!

Infertility – You Hate Moms Like I Hate Dads

Infertility

Ok, hate is a strong word. But that’s how we feel in the moment.

When all you want to do is see a positive pregnancy test and have your own pregnant belly, seeing other women get pregnant so easily infuriates you.

  • Your co-worker keeps talking about her new pregnancy – you hate her
  • Your sister-in-law “accidentally” gets pregnant – you hate her
  • That young woman walks down the street with a big pregnant belly – you hate her

I get it. My anger is different but similar in a lot of ways.

After my husband died suddenly of a heart attack in September 2015 I couldn’t stand to be around dads.

  • The smiling dad in a family photo on Facebook – I hated him
  • The dad pushing his daughter on the swing at the park – I hated him
  • The dad picking his kids up from daycare – I hated him

But did I really hate him? Was his happiness or his existence really about me and my pain? No. I can’t begrudge other dads for simply being dads and being there. It’s just a reminder of what I don’t have, what my girls don’t have and what Steve’s missing.

Is it ok to miss him? Yes. Is it ok for you to be sad for not having your own baby yet? Yes. It’s ok, your feelings are completely normal. But projecting hate onto others can keep us stuck and unhappy.

So here’s what we can do:

  1. Stop

There are 2 ways you can do this Stop Step.

Firstly you can use the thought-stopping technique – literally say stop in your head. To stop the thought from occurring, then skip to the “Reframe” step below.

Second, try stopping the activity. I had to go off of Facebook for awhile because it was upsetting me to see different photos. I hear this a lot from my fertility patients – that all they see on Facebook is that someone else is pregnant or just had their new baby. You can go off of social media completely for awhile or limit your exposure by not going to your News Feed but instead go to Notifications and only look at what you want to look at.

  1. Reframe

Who is it you’re really angry at? What do you really want to happen? Do you want that particular baby? Do I want that guy to be the dad to my kids? No, I don’t. Likely you want your own baby and are angry it’s not happening for you yet.

So just reframing what you’re really mad about and then using a coping strategy to move out of that moment.

  1. Change

Make some sort of action step, change something up.

I was really nervous about having my daughter’s birthday party after Steve died and having the other dads there. One of my friends asked, why didn’t I just have the kids and moms – a no dads birthday party. The thought hadn’t occurred to me.

If there is an event, a situation, that isn’t working for you, can you think of a creative way of changing it?

For example, could you have an honest conversation with your co-worker about how happy you are for her but that it’s too hard for you to talk about her pregnancy all the time?

If this step is hard, try talking to your partner, counsellor, or naturopath about other ways to take action to dial down the hate.

So, do I really hate all those dads?

No, but I acknowledge my feelings then try to move forward. Life is tough but my hatred doesn’t make it any easier. I love the dads in my life and my girls need other men around them.

I hope you can find some sort of peace with what’s happening in your life. If that sounds like a tall order, I get it. But just move step by step, moment to moment. You’ve got this.

Whitney

Why I prescribe 100 Deep Breaths a Day

Yes, that’s right…I said 100. We breathe all day long without thinking about it. However, we breathe quite shallowly up in the upper part of our lungs. We less often recycle the air in the bottom of our lungs.

But what does that have to do with my fertility?

100 deep breaths a day gives your body a chance to move into the “rest and digest” phase rather than the “fight or flight” phase it is usually in. Women experiencing fertility issues often have very high amounts of stress. One particular study found that 30% of women attending fertility clinics experienced psychological stress illnesses such as anxiety and depression. They also found that as stress increased, fertilization decreased. That’s a stressful fact!

So what can I do about it?

Of course you are going to be stressed out when dealing with fertility issues. It’s a given. However, there are small things you can do to help. Another research study found higher conception rates for women who were part of a cognitive behaviour intervention group (55%) or a support group (54%) than those who were not receiving any intervention (20%). Also, positive moods correlated with increasing chances of delivering a baby. And breathe… 100 deep breaths a day.

How do I breathe?

When you breathe, breathe in your nose deep into your belly so you see it rise and fall instead of your shoulders rising and falling.

How will I fit all those breaths in 1 day?

Do 5 first thing in the morning, do 5 while waiting for your food to heat up, and do some while you are waiting for anything – at a stoplight, in line at the bank. Other great times to breathe are when you are going to lose your cool and yell at someone or something. Breathe.

What else can I do?

There are wonderful tools that we use at Rooted to help manage stress as well as hormone balance. Come see us and we can help!

Breathe Lungs