How Media Affects Women’s Health: 3 Ways To Know What To Listen To

How Media Affects Women’s Health: 3 Ways To Know What To Listen To

When I first got back to the west coast I was having fun hanging out with my mom before she passed. We watched lots of movies on tv, which was a novelty for me since I hadn’t owned one in years. Canadian tv intrigued me. What fascinated me were the Canadian government ads about eating well, and safety advice. Canada actually has a YouTube channel called Healthy Canadians .

I kind of loved it! Most of the media I got growing up came from Cosmo, Vogue and Shape magazines portraying women’s bodies I couldn’t possibly have, nor presume to create. . .though that didn’t always stop me from tryint, at least for a time! Where was Canadian media when I was growing up?

Another Canadian Health Publication has taken on Body Image and the Media, and it says:

“In Canada today, between 80 and 90 per cent of women and girls are unhappy with the way they look. This can lead to serious health problems such as:

  • Unhealthy dieting: Girls are starting to diet younger than ever before, sometimes starting as early as 5 or 6 years old.

  • Taking drugs to lose weight: Some women try to lose weight by smoking, or by taking diet pills and other kinds of drugs to suppress their appetite.

  • Depression and other mental illness: Some women can develop depression and other kinds of mental illness when they do not measure up to the media’s image of beauty.

  • Disordered eating: One out of 10 girls and women develops disordered eating behaviours such as anorexia, or bulimia. These diseases can have serious long-term health consequences on women’s health, leading, in some cases to death.

  • Unnecessary surgery: Any surgery brings about risk. More and more healthy women with normal body shapes are getting cosmetic surgery. This includes breast implants, collagen injections and liposuction ( surgical removal of local fat deposits especially for cosmetic purposes by applying suction through a small tube inserted into the body , or to remove body fat) to name a few.”

Canadians aren’t the only ones concerned about the media’s role in the health of women. The U. S. is too. This article in pubmed talks about the role of social media in health education in Saudia Arabia. (not sure why they didn’t study its effects in the United States.) But the truth is that media of all types does have an influence on us.

What’s most interesting to me about this is that the media more and more is US  . . . not the United States, but YOU and ME. We are the ones posting on Facebook, Instagram and twitter. We are the ones posting selfies, and portraits and words. Words that can offer encouragement, or words that can tear down. Words that are hopeful, or words that are fearful.

Interesting, eh?

And then I came across a blogger who had a similar realization as she was caring for her sick mother. What we say matters. Perspective changes things. These are her thoughts:

“It occurred to me that if I could take something as scary and often hopeless as the journey through stage IV ovarian cancer and turn it into a story of humor, love, hope, and strength, why couldn’t that be applied to everything? Specifically, I saw a need for a change in the narrative of health — which at that point, was mostly a story filled with fad diets, weight loss “secrets,” ab exercises, and bikini body transformations. To me, this was not a narrative that would actually motivate or empower anyone to want to get healthy, and even if they did, they were just being set up to feel like they were failing.”

I say ME TOO. That’s my desire; an authentic conversation about health and well being. A conversation about loving the bodies that we are in is so important. We must listen to our bodies.

Because the body always speaks. It always gives us the information that we need. The media, for the most part does not. The media amplifies the noise that wants to tell us what we “should” want . . . what’ we “should” look like . . .  what we “should” feel like. But there are no “shoulds”. There is only you. You residing in your body. Thinking your thoughts, feeling your feelings, sensing and knowing what it is that you know. Your answers are right there telling you exactly what you need for your health. Now it’s just about honing in your listening.

So what are 3 ways to know which media is okay for you to listen to?

  1.  Does it build you up and allow you to see all possibilities for yourself?  The feminine loves to be seen in her individuality. We are all different. Does the piece you are reading or listening to celebrate our differences?

  2.  Does it help you get clear about your own desires? Does the information give you a push off place for you to have some clarity about what you want, or what you don’t want? Sometimes the contrast serves us. It’s in the dark places that we see our own light.

  3.  And lastly does it make you feel good? This one is pretty simple. You know if you feel good when you are reading something or looking at something. And you know when it stirs up fear or dissatisfaction in some way. Why not avoid it? What’s the worst that can happen? You might feel happier and therefore healthier. Simplistic, maybe. Truth, absolutely.

With all of the media bombarding us everyday, today more than ever we have an opportunity to tune into what it is that we want to hear. I say take on that privilege and responsibility. You are what you eat, and what you listen to and what you pay attention to. Choose good stuff!

Are You a Menopause Wimp? 8 Ways To Stay Sane During The Change

Are You a Menopause Wimp? 8 Ways To Stay Sane During The Change

To hell with hormones!

I blame our “modern” culture for hiding and not highlighting hormonal education, and all things hormone related for why we have such a bad relationship with menopause.

We have no coming-of-age rituals.

Menarche, pregnancy and menopause are deleted from our education. My parents certainly didn’t take any responsibility for informing me about the birds and the bees. And I got no real forewarning about the red spot that one day would appear in my underpants, except in whispered sleepovers with my girlfriends.

I remember as a 10 year-old being in the lingerie department with my mom. She hugged me and said, I think it’s time for you to have a bra. I was shocked! Okay, I’m a bit oblivious at times.

And maybe that’s why I was, once again, unprepared for that next big hormonal shift — after pregnancy, that is — MENOPAUSE.

No one told me about all of the implications of those wacky hormonal changes in my body. And despite being a homeopathic practitioner working with hundreds of women, I was once again disturbed by the havoc hormones wreak on our unsuspecting bodies.

It’s both fascinating and terrorizing when you consider the symptoms you may or may not be host to.

Here are a few:

  • Your hair falls out
  • Everything dries up … EVERYTHING.
  • Hot flashes, night sweats, water pouring out of you (hence the dryness).
  • Early waking or Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pains … my shoulders actually froze
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Painful sex
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Fuzzy thinking

So what’s a woman to do?

I don’t want to say get ready or be prepared, because I don’t want to set you up for anticipatory anxiety. (That’s some homeopathic humor!)

But if you do want to be prepared. Personally, I found a lot of good info on Menopause.org.

I do want you to know that there are options, and there are things that can be done besides just waiting it out and seeing how everything lands.

We mostly want results NOW, preferring suppression over riding the hormonal wave.

But my suggestions are more about supporting your body, rather than suppressing the body doing its best effort to transition you into your next stage of being.

Here are five ways to care for your body during menopause:

  1. Take care of yourself.

    This is not some trite statement. It’s real, and it’s about time. If you haven’t learned how to do this before now, you must now. Really.

    Say no. Take baths. Move in a way that feels good to you. Ask for hugs. Receive help. Take that trip. Only you know what that is.

    Please do it now!

  2. Remember, menopause is a gift.

    It’s in the name. A time to pause. A time to reflect on this transformational transition and decide how you will now use all of the wisdom you’ve gained.

    There are other gifts.

    Be open to what they are for you.

  3. Eat Well. 

    Protein, Essential fatty acids, Green food and water.

    This is simplified but there is lots of information about how good food supports us.

    There are excuses (sometimes that bowl of ice cream is self care) but not good reasons not to know.

  4. Herbs.

    There are many herbs that support hormone production because of their molecular structure, and therefore can help alleviate symptoms.

    Here are some to try: black cohosh, passionflower, chasteberry, wild yam and ashwagandha. Read the instructions or get some help from someone who knows how to take these herbs.

  5. Exercise.

    Moving increases endorphins, which elevates our mood, which helps us feel better.

    Feel better! Move in whatever way you can. Increase that heart rate, and allow your blood to pump through your body.

And to tease you with Homeopathy I offer 3 possible remedies, out of the thousands of great options for helping you cope with menopause.

  1. Pulsatilla: Emotional, weepy and hot. A woman needing this remedy is sensitive with wandering pains and a desire to be outside because she feels better there. She may stick her feet out of the covers at night, and be thirstless. Often has a history of difficult periods.
  2. Sepia Stagnation is the key word for this remedy. A woman needing this remedy is often chilly and loves to spend time in the sun warming up. Exertion also serves her, so a good hard workout helps. She’s irritable and doesn’t want to be touched often because she has already given so much she needs a break.
  3. Sulphur. Hot, hot, hot! And worse in the heat. The heat rises and can be felt in the face. Being in bed under covers is heat producing too, so here’s another one that sticks their feet out of the covers. Sweets are their downfall and by 11am they are hungry, hungry, hungry . . . even if they’ve eaten breakfast!

Menopause is not for the faint of heart.

Hell, being a woman is not for wimps. But there is help. We just need to remember to look for it and then receive it when it arrives!

 
Michele Brookhaus RSHom(NA), CCH, is a certified classical homeopathic practitioner with 18 years experience helping children and adults heal from symptoms as broad as skin issues to feelings of depression and creator of Yoni’s Bliss, a homeopathic lubricating gel.

4 Reasons Why Your Period is a Blessing, Not a Curse

4 Reasons Why Your Period is a Blessing, Not a Curse

Look forward to riding the crimson wave!

You need your period. Sorry, but yes, you do!

It’s become trendy these days is prevent that monthly effusion of blood when possible. Science has come a long way, and now we can take a pill, get a shot, or have an implant embedded in our arm to stop our menstrual flow for 3 months, 6 months … or even a year!

And I get it.

As women, we each bleed for about 6 years total over the course of our lives.

It’s much more convenient not to bleed. It’s far less messy not to have a menstrual period. And, for some, stopping the bleeding definitely takes away some serious pain.

But as we move away from thinking we need or want that once a month bloody outpouring, I’d like you to think of me as that gentle voice in the wilderness offering you some sage advice.

Let it flow baby!

Here are 4 reasons that monthly mess that is your period is absolutely essential to your well-being.

1. It might be hazardous to NOT bleed.

There haven’t been any studies (yet) seeking to determine what the long-term effects taking the pill has on a woman’s bones or breasts, and because of that, we cannot be certain that no negative effects exist.

This is especially concerning in relation to teenage girls who are encouraged to go on birth control for convenience and to avoid menstruation.

I don’t know about you, but I’m highly attached to the notion of keeping all of those parts staying in healthy, working order for as long as possible.

2. Periods mean a stronger sex drive.

It’s true that throughout the month a woman’s hormones fluctuate quite drastically, but that’s what makes us who we are. When we bleed, we have access to a bit more testosterone and progesterone, which helps both our cognitive function as well as our sex drive.

(And yes, it’s okay to have period sex. It may just help those cramps — and, it’s okay to have messy sex.)

3. Our bodies need a good flushing.

All of that bleeding is an opportunity for the body to flush out both bacteria and iron. Bleeding also helps reduce chances of infection and lowering iron levels in the blood helps to reduce cardiovascular disease.

Our menstrual cycles are actually one of the reasons women tend to live longer than men!

4. Our periods are OURS.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Women are our hormones.

Those hormones create a rhythm to our lives and set the stage for our emotions, our health, and our well-being — which includes our menstrual cycle.

In Chinese medicine, menstrual bleeding is understood to be the release of stagnant liver qi, which releases anger and frustration. This is a reason you may notice an upsurge of energy several days after your period starts.

All of this is good!

Take away our periods and life becomes just a little bit more sterile.

And I, for one, like it just a little bit messy … and wild!

About Michele

Michele Brookhaus is a certified classical homeopathic practitioner with 18 years experience helping children and adults heal from symptoms from skin conditions to feelings of anxiety and depression. She has made it her mission to help women connect in with their creative center (think second chakra) through all phases of their hormonal cycles and enjoy the ride!
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