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Being Your Best Self in 2018 – Tips from a Naturopathic Doctor

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{Note: This is the first post in the series: Being Your Best Self in 2018. Dr. Colleen Lehnert, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor who works at the Miramichi Naturopathic Health Clinic. Please see her Facebook page for more information on her practice, or visit the Naturopathic Clinic’s Facebook page for more information on Naturopathic Medicine and what it can do for you! This column is not meant to replace individualized medical advice and it is strongly advised that you meet with Dr. Lehnert or one of her colleagues for a personalized treatment plan.}

As a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, I am hoping to provide a few small pieces of advice to push you in the right direction of working on yourself and your health throughout this coming year. Naturopathic Medicine works by understanding you as a whole person, and getting down to the root cause that might be contributing to your concerns. See my Facebook Page for more information what it is that we do! Although Naturopathic Doctors use individualized treatment plans based on your history, there are a few simple options that will often be beneficial regardless of your concerns.

First off, sleep should be your first priority! This is the year to start getting into a bedtime routine and sticking to it. It is amazing how sleep can affect every area of our bodies, from muscle soreness to energy levels!
Some quick tips for helping you fall asleep at night:
• Do not sleep with your phone! If it is your only source of an alarm, lock your phone and turn the light all the way down – preferably put it into sleep mode and leave it on your bedside table. Try not to scroll through Instagram or Snapchat while laying in bed.
• If you are still really struggling with figuring out your bedtime, book an appointment with me and we can discuss Sleep Restriction Therapy to learn what your body really needs.
• Meditation: Body scan meditations are a quick and often effective way of allowing you to fully relax and fall asleep. There are a few applications you can try with your smartphones. Download them and test them out!
– Calm (My personal favourite)
– Headspace
– Insight timer
For an introduction to meditation, you can visit The Yoga Block every second
Monday of the month where my father, Dr. Tom Lehnert, offers meditation classes in the evenings!

“Supplements” is often a scary word for many people! When looking at a supplement store, it seems like there is everything under the sun and you have no idea what you should be taking. Here I’ve listed a few supplements that are often beneficial for energy and overall health. If you have other concerns, booking an appointment with myself, Dr. Barry, or Dr. Charest is often your best option!
Vitamin D: We live in a climate where sunshine is very limited (and we suffer from      the worst winters around). This is an excellent supplement to help with energy, mood and skin. As an ND, we recommend taking about 5,000-6,000 IU/day from October to April, and using a maintenance dose of 1,000-2,000 IU/day throughout the summer months.
Omega-3s (Fish Oil): Fish oils are an excellent anti-inflammatory for many conditions. They also can be helpful with energy, mood, digestion and skin problems. We recommend 1,000-2,000 mg of fish oils (1-2g) per day.
Vitamin C: If you’re someone who often catches every cold and flu that goes around, getting your dose of vitamin C is key! Most supplements start with 250-500 mg of Vitamin C. If you can take 500 mg with no stomach upset (it can sometimes cause diarrhea), then try taking 1,000 mg as your every day dose. Not only does Vitamin C improve our immune function, it also helps our body heal from the inside, improves skin, constipation, sinus issues and many other conditions.
There are definitely more minerals and vitamins that can help you get back on the right track, but the three listed above are excellent ones to start with and can work on all systems of the body!

Hydrotherapy is another excellent option for improving energy, circulation and immune function. If you have been a patient of mine, you will know that I recommend contrast showers to almost every person that walks through the door! Contrast showers are a quick, easy way to boost your energy for the day.
How to do it: You are doing an alternation between Hot water and Cold water. We recommend doing a 3:1 ratio of hot to cold. For example, say you have a 12 minute shower – do 3 minutes of Hot water, followed by 1 minute of Cold water. Alternate through this 3 times – always ending on cold.
How it works: When we have hot water on our skin, it will dilate our blood vessels allowing blood to flow smoothly through our vessels. When we switch to cold, it constricts the vessels and causes a slower flow. When we alternate, it creates almost a pump-type action allowing our blood to pump smoothly through all of our vessels. This helps increase circulation in all areas of the body!
What is it good for: Muscle recovery, immune function, circulation, energy, sleep, constipation or diarrhea and relaxation.
(Tip: you can start with a very small contrast if a cold shower doesn’t sound appealing to you, and eventually work your way up to a larger contrast).

These are a few simple things to start incorporating into your daily routine! If you have more questions, or maybe some concerns that were not addressed, please do not hesitate to book an appointment with me and we can work on getting you to be your best self!

{Thank you so much to Dr. Colleen Lehnert, ND for being our first contributor to this series! Be sure to check out her Facebook page for more information on Naturopathic Medicine and how it can benefit you. Do you know of anyone who may be a good fit to this self-improvement blog series? Be sure to comment below, or check out the Homemaking on Howard Facebook page}

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