Taking the first steps forward on any health journey can be a wee bit intimidating, scary even. Fear of failure, of wasting money or of choosing the wrong path is a reality that many people know intimately, but it need not be scary, hard or overwhelming.
There are no mistakes, only new experiences; and every one of them is priceless.
I was not ready to start our health journey, but our first born demanded action, yesterday. Our family was in a highly reactive situation with no wellness education or support, but I followed my maternal instincts, and the necessary small steps appeared before us like magic.
- Environment - I noted that certain foods caused unusual behaviours in our child, then we discovered that he was reactive to strong smells like perfumes and laundry liquids. These made him cranky and irritable, and he flat out refused to walk down the laundry aisle at the grocery store. The meltdowns, skin breakouts, and nervous diarrhoea became my road map for discovering what things to avoid, and for that moment in time, we navigated food, places and situations that caused reactivity. We focused on spending more time outside in nature as it seemed to calm or regulate emotions.
- Physical body - I observed that physically William was floppy and lanky, he had poor muscle tone, a high pain threshold, and he was sensitive to light and sound. So I sought out chiropractors, osteopaths, kinesiologists, and behavioural optometrists to get his body aligned and functioning as well as it could. Our health team analysed stool, hair and blood samples to gain a picture of what was going on internally.
- Emotional connection - I made changes in how I approached both my children as a parent. I focused on how I felt about myself and how I connected with them. I figured that some of their behaviours were probably learnt or conditioned from watching me. We engaged the kids in household activities where they could "copy" or model our actions and praised them for following along and most important we sat in their presence without any expectation or outcome; this removed any pressure and William specifically started to want to interact with us again.
The simplicity of making small changes brought about a profound shift in both of our children. Our journey started with taking notice, observing our surroundings, and making minor modifications. These changes led us to the profoundly different life we live today.
Our autism recovery still sends me into a tailspin. I can’t believe that we have had such incredible success with making small incremental changes.
Here's a short list of things that you could act upon for yourself:
- Drink filtered water
- Eat fermented foods
- Learn about mindfulness
- Buy a natural deodorant or make one from essential oils
- Buy locally farmed produce