It will come to no surprise as those who know me and see me regularly, that the past couple of months have been particularly stressful for me, which is one of the reasons I am going to keep this blogpost short and sweet. This recent period of intense stress comes after a long run (I’m talking years) of chronic stress caused by a variety of different situations and a myriad of causes. You don’t need to be a doctor to know that stress can wreak havoc in a person’s body, and mind, especially if it is chronic. No, what comes next is not an admission that I have gone completely bonkers, not yet, anyhow! I have, of course, continued to follow a healthy diet despite this, knowing full well that letting my guard down during such periods is much harder to reverse and can only make matters worse than they already are. However, what I realised today is that there is another factor at play that has come to my rescue time and time again.
On my way home this evening, after a particularly tough day, I stopped by the pharmacy to use a voucher I received during my last visit. To be honest I wasn’t altogether sure what I was looking for, apart from an iron supplement. As I stood in front of the shelves of supplements and herbal remedies trying to locate the iron, something else jumped at me. I remembered reading up on it recently, and I know this particular root is recommended for a series of things, but for the life of me I couldn’t quite remember why and obviously there were no clues on the bottle itself. Normally, I would put the bottle back down and search for the iron, and perhaps look up the benefits, uses and side effects of said root on my phone. Tonight, though, I trusted my instinct which kept sending me back to the Rhodiola root bottle. Why? Since there was no way that I could buy the large stock of iron I would need to redeem the entire voucher, I took the Rhodiola on impulse. Every cell of my body seemed to be telling me to get the rhodiola rosea, so why not?
When I got home I headed straight to my reference sources and looked it up. Rhodiola Rosea root is purported to be the most efficient adaptogen to combat chronic stress. Among its many uses, it helps balance out hormones naturally, especially cortisol. Wow! My instinct told me what my mind didn’t know/couldn’t remember. Incidentally, it also helps weightloss if your stress levels are preventing you from shedding those few extra pounds. Another (2kg) problem I have been struggling with for a couple of months now!
In fact, if I think back, this has happened to me before at the supermarket and on other occasions. Often, and seemingly out of the blue, I get this instant desire for a certain food. I am not talking about cravings, more like a little voice in my head that says: “get x” or “ eat more y”. This will happen again and again. I have come to trust it more and more, since a little research, days or weeks later, has shown me that what was in fact happening was my body was asking me for what it needed, and it does so in different ways.
I remember that growing up my father always used to say that your body will always tell you what it needs, you just need to listen to it. He wasn’t talking about reaching for that sugar-packed chocolate snack mid-afternoon or after dinner, though. He was talking about flashes of intuition like the one above with the Rhodiola, or that time you had a sudden desire for oranges which turned out to be when your vitamin C levels were low. Your body and mind are connected in strange and mysterious ways, and just because we cannot explain it scientifically, it doesn’t mean it is less real.
The question is: are you feeding your body what it is asking for? Have you learnt to read the signs and really listen? But most importantly, do YOU listen to your instinct?