Wellness and prevention information from the experts at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing

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Make integrative health part of your life

by Courtney Jordan Baechler, MD, MS, vice president of Penny George Institute for Health and Healing

Welcome to the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing’s new LiveWell blog!

I couldn’t be more thrilled to be the first person to write an entry for our new blog.  Our goal is to give you that extra information you want and need on your journey to wellness.  We want you to have an opportunity to read about and ask about topics that may have been missed at an appointment with one of our practitioners or at another provider. You should feel free to ask any questions related to your wellness or your healing.

How can you make integrative health part of your everyday life? That question seems to come up whether someone is acutely ill, recovering from illness, or on a path towards a higher state of well-being or wellness.

I thought I would give you an idea of how I practice what I preach as a practicing integrative cardiologist, a wife, and a mother of two children under the age of five.  Each day might look slightly different, but I find the most important thing I can do for myself, and my patients, is give myself permission to take time for myself.

An ideal day starts with yoga at six in the morning.  If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would have ever gotten up that early to do any sort of physical activity, I would have said absolutely not!  However, I find as my life has gotten busier, this hour of time for myself and my mind is so important. I’m curious if many of you have experienced something similar. Whether it is meditating, listening to music, doing yoga, exercising, or sitting in front of a fire, I find for the first 15 minutes my mind whirls with either yesterday’s activities or today’s plans. But shortly after those 15 minutes, I can’t keep up with those thoughts, and my mind slows and eventually calms into an ultimate state of relaxation.  The second half of that hour is so very pleasant and soothing that I walk away a different person.

Now, I would be lying if I said that I get up every morning at 6 a.m. for yoga.  There are days when I recognize what my body, mind, and spirit really need is sleep.  On those days, I don’t feel like a failure. I simply recognize that for me to be the best mother, wife, and cardiologist, I need to take this time to sleep in order to keep my tank full.

Lastly, on the days that I can’t get in any time for a meditative state of mind or some extra zzz’s, I take a moment (even if it’s 20-30 seconds) to take a few deep breaths and remember that the stressors I’m feeling will pass.  For certain patients, I have written a prescription that reads: “Take care of yourself for1 hour by mind, body, and spirit.  Every day. Refills unlimited.”  Perhaps that’s the best medicine for us all.

Stay well and live well!