sleep

STUNNED

Absolutely stunned.

I cannot believe what just happened.

I am pretty sure most of you know that the high altitude training I did leading up to my trek up MT KILIMANJARO was done at a gym that is set up in the packing plant of the orchard where I was born and raised.

My brother set this gym up last fall and I remember my first time training out there and how cool it was that I was working out in a room we used to store apples in when I was growing up.  It was our family’s livelihood.

I also remember training day after training day how grateful I was to have that access to that gym and the concept of being able to train at 8,000-12,000 ft above sea level right here in Fenton, Michigan.

Dr Erica Peabody - Stunned - High Altitude Training Chiropractor Fenton Michigan

high altitude training in Fenton, Michgan

Kelly, my mountain sister and training/trek/tent partner, and I would meet out there a few times per week.  We would text each other during the day and share our nerves and how we were feeling and then we would get together regularly and talk each other down from the anxiety during our workouts.  This happened over and over and over, week after week.

We also met each other out there 2-3 nights per week to spend the night at high altitude (which is really where the magic in high altitude training comes from, endurance at the altitude which is what is happening while spending hours sleeping there).

The training days were pretty brutal yet gratifying, but the slumber parties were more like mild torture…for me anyway.  I would sleep for about 5-6 hours and then I would wake up and not be able to get back to sleep.  When you sleep at altitude it is as though the body is working out all night long, and for me it was very difficult to rest.  Couple that with the fact that my comfortable bed in my precious tiny home is roughly 3 miles away and here I am sleeping on a cot in my sleeping bag.

I remember one morning after a difficult night at the gym, I called Kelly in tears that “I am going to fail the sleeping portion of the trek, I just know it!”  (funny thing is I DID FAIL that part if you had a chance to watch my short documentary video log<<—click link to watch.  Ugh life is such a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn’t it?)

Hours and hours and day after day I spent there prepping my body to handle the 19,341 feet summit that is MT KILIMANJARO and because I don’t have a current need to suffer excessively, I sort of boycotted trips back to that gym since I got home a month ago.

Today is a beautiful sunshiny day in Michigan and my brothers and I spend a lot of time out at the orchard when the days are like this.  I was there all afternoon.  I was more focused on the sun, getting a heavy dose of vitamin D, playing with my nieces and nephews, Jeeping and hanging out today that I didn’t go inside.

At the end of the afternoon, I gathered my things and sat down in my vehicle to drive away and then my subconscious chimed in and said “just go and walk in the gym.”

And so I did.

Do you remember the smell of your grandmother’s house when you were little?  I remember the soap smell she had and anytime in my entire life, when I smell that, I warp right back to being a child and all the memories of being in her home (which I always had a great time there with my cousins).

Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - stunned - high altitude sleep training chiropractor Fenton Michigan

high altitude sleep training

The gym has a smell.  It is a distinct “PEABODY HIGH ALTITUDE” gym smell.  It is sort of a rubbery, apple storage, air compressor air kind of smell.  Ok, maybe it really doesn’t have proper descriptor words to tell you about it.

Anyway I walked in, the gym is at 8,917 feet today and I instantly choked up and then burst into tears.  In fact, I cannot stop crying as I write this.

It isn’t a sad cry, it is a “HOLY CRAP!!!  Because of this place, all the training, all the conversations and all the hard work and shitty sleeps, I MADE IT TO THE TOP OF MT KILIMANJARO!!!”

All the planning and plotting and scheming that Kelly, my brother and I did in and around training for the trip GOT ME TO THE TOP!!!  

But then the other layer kicked in…because I was born and raised right here and am part of this incredible family, I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  Because my family had a vision a few generations ago for this orchard life and this land and building that they built, I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  Because my brother is such a crazy out-of-the-box thinker I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  And because I am a Peabody, I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  

Every single day on the mountain I had my brother’s gear on, something of his that I would be proud just to have and I would gather strength knowing that he was rooting for me.  That would then extend my thoughts to the family, the orchard and my many blessings of having Peabody blood and the perseverance that runs far and deep through those bloodlines.

So I sit and think, “could I have made it to the top if I didn’t have that gym to train and sleep and learn the deep meaning of embracing the suffering?”  Yeah, I may have been able to, probably would have found success regardless, however I will never know for sure.

What I am certain of, I am stunned and shocked that a gym could choke me up like it did…and I am blessed to be a Peabody because as a family, we always MAKE IT TO THE TOP!!!

 

 

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NOBODY IS EXEMPT

Daily, for over 10 years, I have been helping people to increase their health and internal resilience through my job as a Doctor of Chiropractic.  Aside from keeping the nerve system free of interference, the chiropractic adjustment, there are NATURAL LAWS OF THE BODY that need to be followed in order to be healthy and remain that way…and nobody is exempt.  It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, in order to be  healthy, you have to do the following:

EAT WELL.

MOVE WELL.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Eat Well

THINK WELL.

REST WELL.

Some of you are doing an exceptional job at committing to health and I don’t want to make a blanket statement but I do want to review what is necessary.

Let’s start with the first…EAT WELL.  The body heals by replacing cells.  The body and all the cells in it are replaced on a regular basis.  The body grows new cells by the building blocks you ingest.  Ingest a bunch of junk and you will have weak structure and usually a lot of inflammation.  Ingest good healthy food and you will have strong building blocks to construct your cells. AND DRINK YOUR WATER!!!  Every single day, yes ALL OF THE DAYS, EVERY SINGLE LAST ONE, you need to DRINK WATER.  It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, in order to be healthy you have to EAT WELL AND DRINK WATER and nobody is exempt.

Second thing you need to do daily…MOVE WELL.  The body is built to move.  Every joint in the body is nourished through movement.  If we were supposed to be sedentary we would not have nearly as many joints in our bodies.  Circulation increases when you move your body and with that oxygen increases as well.  Circulation is how nutrients and oxygen are transported though the body and delivered to all organs, tissues, muscles and glands.  Muscles also need to be moved and stretched every single day.  It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, in order to be healthy you have to MOVE WELL EVERY SINGLE DAY and nobody is exempt.

Our quality of life is determined largely by our attitude towards it.  Wake up with a smile or wake up with a frown, it is going to set the tone for your entire day.  The days add up to weeks, weeks add up to months and then years and life goes by rather quickly.  Life is only a fraction of what happens to us, and mostly our reaction to it.  Be grateful.  Even when things don’t seem to be going your way, be grateful for something.  Take some time to express gratitude silently to yourself and maybe even out loud to those around you.  It doesn’t matter how old our young you are, in order to be healthy you have to THINK GOOD THOUGHTS IN YOUR LIFE and nobody is exempt.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Smiling Flower

Have you ever really taken time to think about sleep?  At night, we literally leave this conscious state and step off to some place while our physical body rests.  Sometimes this is to dreamland and sometimes it is quiet and
uneventful.  Either way, we sleep.  Our body shuts down and goes into restoration mode.  It is a time for rebuilding, regrouping, integrating and healing and our bodies require it.  Every.  Single.  Day.  It doesn’t matter how old our young you are, in order to be healthy you have to REST WELL, take some down time and rest and nobody is exempt.

Patients come to the Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic Center every week for over 10 years and I help them through the chiropractic adjustment.  The greatest thing about chiropractic care is that the adjustment helps keep the body connected to it’s power source, the brain and nerve system, and allows it to do everything it is supposed to do, better and more efficiently. I also do my best to help my patients understand the NATURAL LAWS OF THE BODY.  I ask things like “How much sleep have you had lately?” and “How much exercise have you gotten today?  This week?” and “How much water have you drank today?  This week?” and “What are you doing to handle stress in your life?”

Some reply a resounding “YES!  LOTS!!” and I realize that so many are committed to their own health.  However, some reply with answers that DO NOT follow the NATURAL LAWS OF THE BODY as described above.  These are not laws I just made up…this is really serious business and involves your body and your life.

WE HAVE TO DO WHAT WE KNOW WE NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO BE HEALTHY AND THAT’S IT!!!

There are no shortcuts.

There is no easy way.

There is no magic pill.

I talk about water on most of your visits because the importance of being properly hydrated is underestimated.  But now you have to go out there into your life and DRINK YOUR WATER!!!  You have to, that is all there is to it.

I love you and this is why I am expressing to you the fact that it doesn’t matter how old or young you are, in order to be healthy you have to FOLLOW THE NATURAL LAWS OF THE BODY and NOBODY IS EXEMPT!!!!  Got it?  Now get out there and get to work!!!  🙂

 

 

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SUGAR

It starts with Halloween and ends with New Years Day….SUGAR, SUGAR EVERYWHERE!!!  Notably this is also considered “COLD AND FLU SEASON”.  Guess what?  Sugar is a major factor in decreased immune system function and when that happens, the “invaders” (viruses and bacteria) have a chance to take over.

Let’s learn some physiology…Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Sugar
White blood cells are a HUGE PART of your functional immune system.  They travel through the body and convene around areas of “invaders” and do some clean-up work.  White blood cells need Vitamin C in order to activate and do their job of phagocytosis (in essence “eating up”) of the viruses and bacteria.  Sugar and Vitamin C have a very similar structure and compete for the same activation/binding site on the white blood cells.  If sugar is around, Vitamin C doesn’t get to do its normal work and your immune system becomes compromised.  When you decide to eat sugar, you can think of your immune system becoming a slug and slowing down to a crawl…every year…around this same time and going all the way through the New Year.

Certain minerals are required in order to process the sugar you eat.  Because refined sugar doesn’t contain those minerals, chronic ingestion of sugar can lead to depleted levels of essential minerals in the body which creates further problems and compromises health.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO KEEP A STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM?  
Great question!!!  Let’s take this little bit of awareness in to this holiday season and see how making a few better choices in what you put on your plate and in your mouth can have a drastic effect on your energy levels and immune system function.

WAYS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM: Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Adjustment

  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat your vegetables
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Exercise/move your body daily
  • Take your vitamins
  • Steer clear of sugar
  • Steer clear of alcohol
  • Keep up with your regular chiropractic care
  • Get outside for some fresh air
  • Laugh often and take some time to play
  • Keep a positive mental attitude

The nerve system and immune system are interconnected (some will say they are the same – neuroimmuno system).  When the nerve system is compromised, so is the immune system.  REGULAR CHIROPRACTIC CARE will help maximize your potential for health by keeping your nerve system clear and your immune system strong.  Swing in to the Café of LIFE Chiropractic Center!  We would love to help you and your family have a wonderful, HEALTHFUL holiday season!!!

 

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A SMILE

Never underestimate the power of a smile.

Did you wake up smiling today? Have you smiled yet? Why? How many times? At who? In what setting?

I am realizing as time ticks by, and the wrinkles start to set into my face, the most noticeable ones are my smile lines and I am pretty alright with that.

“A smile is the shortest distance between two people.”

Fenton Chiropractor Smile

Scott and Danielle 2012

A smile stands for connection, joy, hope, happiness, love, compassion, peace and understanding. However, it can also portray nervousness, anxiety and uncertainty. The default expression that crosses my face for any and all of the above is a smile, hence by deep smile lines, often accompanied by giggles or uncontrollable laughter. That is just my style.

I see a lot of pregnant mothers in my chiropractic practice and I get to watch as they spend their first weeks together with their new babies. I think the first time the baby smiles is one of a new parent’s proudest moments. But once they start doing it, they usually do a lot of smiling. That is what we do as humans and it gets to a point that the initial excitement wears off a bit and smiles become a normal part of life, we begin to take that expression for granted.

The last blog post I wrote was about My First Best Friend and how my cousin’s husband suffered a brain bleed and we almost lost him. I shared a bit of their story and I wanted to do a quick update so that you know that he is alive and slowly recovering.

His recovery is being facilitated by his beautiful wife and today marks their 3rd wedding anniversary. They will spend the day in the hospital, as all the days of the past 6 weeks have been spent there. He is nowhere ready to move or be transported yet…and so he is there in his bed and sometimes in a chair…and she sits. She spends endless hours talking to him, encouraging him, doing small movement exercises with him, cheering him on as he responds to commands and just loving him. It is the essence of true love and is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

My life does not allow me to visit daily but I keep in touch and let her know I am supporting from a distance. Yesterday I got the following message from her:

“I finally got him to smile. It was the most wonderful thing I have ever seen…”

This message made me realize how much we take smiles from our loved ones for granted. We walk on by and maybe smile back, maybe even hold back a smile out of resentment or disdain. I never realized how important a smile was until that message yesterday.

There are so many hours of silence in that hospital room. In 6 weeks time, there are only so many one-sided conversations to be had, but that doesn’t stop her. She plays music for him and reads to him while he wakes up a bit and falls back to sleep.

Many people have sent cards, well-wishes and inspiration and one wall has a small collection that they review on a regular basis. It is one of the things that really stimulates him so I would like to make a simple request. If you are reading this, please take a blank piece of paper and write them a little encouragement and put it in an envelope and send it in the mail to:

Danielle and Scott Hawkins
C/O Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic
521 N. Leroy St.
Fenton, MI 48430

For the cost of a stamp (of course greeting cards are always welcome as well), we can hopefully collectively encourage these smiles and healing moments inside of him.

As I wrote in my Facebook status last week, to most of you, Danielle and Scott are perfect strangers. I promise, promise, promise that if you knew them, you would love them too.

Please send a smile to them, a little encouragement, a little love…and then spend a little more time in your smile mode today and in the future. The great thing about smiles is you will never run out. Spread them around!!! We only get one chance…

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HELPING OTHERS

For the past 6 months of so, I have found myself awake and staring at the ceiling (when I should be sleeping) a little more than usual.  There doesn’t seem to be anything too different happening in my life that is creating a little more sleeplessness however I get to that time of the night and I just do not seem tired.  Of course, life still goes on and regardless of how little sleep I have gotten, I have to get up and start my day.  So I have turned to helping others…

Helping others?  What is she talking about now?

I am going to take you all the way back to elementary school and this idea of “You get what you give”, isn’t there a song called that?  If you are playing nice and you decide to share something with a classmate, that classmate will think of you next time they have something to share.  When you give out a good or bad attitude, you usually attract the same in return.Fenton Chiropractor Sleep

So what on Earth does any of what happened back in elementary school have to do with sleepless nights?

Some time ago, during one of the Cafe of LIFE Book Club meetings, we were reading a book about creating happiness and how if you are searching for happiness, reach out and help another person be happy and the Universe will step up and help you in return.  Likewise, if you are looking for a relationship, reach out and help someone else find a relationship and the Universe will step in and help you.

So due to my recent challenge to find zzzzzzzz’s when I need them, I decided to help other people fall asleep…and I don’t mean with chiropractic care, however sleep improves tremendously under chiropractic care.

Let me side track for a moment.  Have you heard of the concept of visualization when you are trying to manifest something in your life?  Do you ever take a moment to visualize an event or situation you are involved in before you get there?  …and then you realize that it turns out in real life exactly how you planned?  The brain will fire the same neuron connections and pathways wether the situation is actually happening in real life or if it is just a figment of the imagination.

So getting back to my sleep challenge…I lay in my bed, and instead of staring at the ceiling, I imagine myself getting a small hand lantern and walking down the road to each of my neighbors homes and visualize myself helping them fall asleep.  There is nothing that I actually do (I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to put someone to sleep), I am just there setting an intention for them to fall deeply and peacefully asleep and having a very restful night.

Funny thing is I have yet to make it past the 2nd house and I am out like a light.  Also my final thoughts before that rest were helping others and that has to be a good thing.  I can tell you one thing, it has changed the evenings for me and I have been doing this for a solid 3 weeks now with ridiculous levels of success.

This past weekend I was in New York City at a Hay House conference called “I Can Do It”.  I was with a couple girlfriends and we shared a room.  If you know me, you know I have anxiety about sleeping in the same room as other people (hmmmm…may be a good hint why I am still single, just sayin’) but that is the set up and it saves us loads of money to share a room together.

This time I had strategy and I spent the first 2.5 minutes or so mentally walking the halls and standing outside other people’s doors and helping them to fall deeply and peacefully asleep and having a very restful night.  I say 2.5 minutes because honestly, it is such a short time of helping others and I am out.

This may seem like a really small thing to you, like it is no big deal.

This is a REALLY BIG DEAL to this gal.

I keep checking in with myself the following morning to see if I remember my last thought from the night before…and it is always helping others fall deeply and peacefully asleep and having a very restful night.  It is a really peaceful way to end my days.

If there is something out there that you want more of in your life, spend some of your time and energy helping others to have that and the Universe will help you.  I am living by a whole new motto  “Forget counting sheep, help others fall asleep!”  …I am going to go and do that now.

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I REMEMBER…

Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - I remember... - Dr Erica PeabodyI remember this feeling. I am in a new house and a new bed and I have yet to move the rest of my furniture into the new place. Over the past couple days I have had some upper back stiffness and I feel really hunched over and locked up. I am sitting at my desk at my office Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic and trying to remember when I felt this last…and then it hit me…it was prior to the purchase of my Sleep Number bed.

I remember waking up for years feeling like I got hit by a truck while I was sleeping. I was (and am) working out, drinking lots of water, stretching and doing yoga on a continual basis and at that age (and this age), there is no way my body should have felt (and currently feel) like that. (I am not trying to be a commercial for Sleep Number by telling you all this.) I purchased my bed 2 years ago after stopping in a store on a recommendation of another chiropractor. Everything they were telling me was making sense and when I got it home and tried it for myself, I was really, really impressed and amazed with my ability to rest and feel rested in the morning. It is one of those things that after sleeping on it for so long, I had forgotten the difference…until the past 2.5 weeks.

The biggest challenge I have now is that my Sleep Number bed I have at home is a queen and my new master bedroom has a king and requires a king…so I am going to have to go and purchase a king Sleep Number in the very near future. People that come in and get adjusted at my chiropractic office ask me all the time what bed I recommend. I always give them my personal experience because what else can i possibly talk about besides what I have done myself.

We spend a third of our lives in bed and it is important to make an investment in the quality of sleep we get. How can we possibly move through our days and do what we need to do feeling like we got hit by a truck sometime during the night? Just for the record, there are many really good quality beds on the market. Everyone is slightly different and our bodies have different requirements when it comes to relaxation and sleep. The best advice I can give on sleep position is to make sure your spine is as neutral as possible…making sure there are no twists, extra stress or sagging occurring…and I am grateful to know what I need to do about this and where to go to return to happy sleeping!!!

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