Wellness expert Caz Butler breaks down how to select the professionals you want on your team and tools to use at home.

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Start with a good GP and health team that suits YOUR needs.

How do you do that? Take note of what your health needs really are and choose based off that

  • Do you have any issues with your period (pain, flooding, intense week or so long PMS etc)? Seek out someone with an interest in women’s/menstrual health.

  • Is mental health your priority? Then look for this in their bio. Given the year we’ve had, I’ve certainly noticed clinically that more and more people are requiring a mental health plan and the support of talk therapy. If you feel a bit off and are unsure whether you are eligible, talk to you GP.

  • The best way to choose someone is usually word of mouth. Ask your friends, family or community who they like and trust. If you have a specific condition, there will probably by a Facebook or Instagram community who will help to guide you to someone who is capable and listens.

  • Remember to trust your gut. Sometimes you may need a second opinion. And if you don’t feel as though the therapeutic relationship is serving you, find one that will.

Are there other health professionals that might help you?

  • Everyone has differing needs and preferences. There are so many allied health and complementary modalities out there for us to choose from! Chinese medicine, osteopathy, naturopathy/nutrition, massage, myotherapy… the list goes on.
  • Know that you can be choosy. Again, word of mouth can pay in dividends. Look at their social media or website, read their bio. Have an open mind, but trust your gut – I can’t say that enough.

If you require specialist care for a chronic condition, do consider asking around for recommendations from people with the condition or complimentary practitioners who are in the know. Not all specialists are created equal, as with any other professional.

Back to basics

Sometimes the simplest things are the easier to forget about! This is the advice that I never stop handing out clinically, because often we all just need a little reminder.

Are you drinking enough water?

  • No, seriously. And are you thirsty? If you’re not thirsty, are your tummy and bowels feeling ok? Look into that if they’re not.

Are you eating fruit and veg regularly?

  • What we eat doesn’t need to be perfect, but if you’re going from toast for breakfast to a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner, that is a lot of filler and not lot of substance.

Are you getting enough sleep?

  • Are you looking at screens until bedtime (this is my downfall that I need to peel myself out of occasionally)? This will really feed insomnia.

  • If you have ongoing issues with insomnia, whether you can’t fall asleep, stay asleep OR no matter how much sleep you get you’re always exhausted, please investigate.

Move your body with some regularity.

  • It doesn’t need to be for long and it doesn’t need to be intense, it just needs to be movement. I don’t even mind if you don’t call it exercise. Go for a walk (or a wander), do some stretching in front of the telly. Weight bearing exercise is beneficial for a host of reasons, but it you’re currently not really doing anything, any movement will do.

Find 5 minutes to yourself each day!

  • If you tell me that you don’t have 5 minutes to yourself in the day, I won’t believe you. If you’re overwhelmed and all you’ve got is time to sit on the toilet and have a cry while life goes on outside the door, take it. There is always time; sometimes you just need to be creative. 
  • If there is a self care thing that floats your boat, make it a part of your routine. I love journaling in the morning, some people love getting out in nature, others love a float tank or a manicure.

Pause and take a breath right now as you read this. Thank you.

    Always cold? This is for you

    I have included this section, because I cannot TELL you how many patients I see who are cold all the time, but don’t think of these little things. You’re welcome. 

    Keep your feet warm!

    • Thick socks or slippers instead of bare feet when you’re walking around the house and have tiles or floor boards.

    Kick smoothies to the curb.

    • Beginning your day (or snacking) on a cold smoothie is only going to further cool you down. Swap it out for porridge or another yummy warm breakfast or drink it warm – yes, this is a thing. If you really must, drink it warm and add some cinnamon or ginger to it.

    Give tap or cold water the flick and sip on warm water throughout the day. Get yourself a thermos and keep warm and hydrated.

    Think about the tread on your shoes in winter.

    • If they are thin little sneakers, the cold from the ground will come up into your feet and cool your whole body down, no matter how thick your socks are.
    • Pick a shoe with a more solid sole. I love a flatform, or anything that isn’t just a thin strip of leather. Give it a go – I swear you’ll notice a difference.

    Do you catch colds regularly?

    See the advice above for cold people.

    Keep your neck warm!

    • Wear a scarf please. In Chinese medicine it is of utmost importance for us to keep our necks warm as this is where a pathogen can enter from.

    Consider speaking with a trusted complimentary health professional to seek out answers before self-prescribing a myriad of supplements.

    • Consider looking into blood-work to ensure everything is right as rain.

    Caz Butler is a Chinese medicine practitioner in Collingwood and Mornington who adores menstrual health and mental health. Her passion is to bring joy to body literacy. She believes that education and open communication around health and our bodies is a social and political responsibility.

    You can find her on Instagram at @caz.butler_tcm.dr

    June 18, 2021