25 Nov

Earlier in the month, my neurologist gave me a pat on the back for being able to manage my dystonia symptoms with my holistic approach, focusing on nutrition, managing stress levels, as well as going to physiotherapy, and massage therapy.  We decided that I would not get my botox injections and I was to continue what I am doing.   My last treatment was 4 months ago and I have been 3 weeks botox free with minimal symptoms (the worst of it was when emotional stress was high, and my neck felt like a really bad toe cramp which lasted for a day or so).

As a mom, an entrepreneur, and an athlete, life can get pretty busy and overwhelming at times. Managing stress levels both internally and externally are so important for many reasons. It impacts our mood, our motivation, our digestive system and our ability to respond to daily life.  So when my daughter got a stubborn fever that wouldn’t break for 4 days, I got stressed. How was I going to work? How was I going to swim so I didn’t fall behind my lap goals for the week? How was I going to manage appointments that I had scheduled both work related and personal?  Is she going to be ok?  Was this serious?Thankfully, I had lots of support and understand from my family and clients, which made it easier to focus on my daughter Sophia.  My swimming cap came off and my mom hat was put on to take care of my little one. The doctor said it was some type of virus and that she needed lots of fluids and rest.  I was up every 3 hours taking her temperature, cooling her off with a wash cloth, and trying to comfort her.  My sleep was terrible (sleeping on a twin bed in her room wasn’t as cozy as one would think).  By the end of this week, her fever had broken and  she was finally better with only a nasty cough left.

Throughout this time, I felt the strain on my body.  My neck (right where the sternal head of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) meets the clavicular head of the SCM) was starting to felt like a bad charley horse, which radiated down into my chest and arms.  As I became aware of this familiar sensation, I was able to slow down and take the time to do what I needed do so that the this didn’t become a full blown spasm.

When Sophia took her naps, I took that time to:

  • use my diffuser and to do the 4-7-8 breathing technique
  • to do my physiotherapy exercises
  • to do some easy yoga poses (I usually do the sun salutation at a very slow movements)
  • journal
  • short guided mediations
  • take a nap
  • go outside and sit still

While these habits may not work for everyone they certainly help me ground myself and calm my body down.  My symptoms would go away, and I could go back to doing what I was doing.

When I am feeling stressed, I make sure that I am nourishing my body with lots of healthy fats (avocado are my favourite but I will alternate with coconut oils, nuts and seeds), probiotics rich foods, easily digestible foods (soups, lentils,  legumes, rice bowls, buddha bowls, smoothies), taking my All Day Nutritional liquid multivitamin and immune support, as well as herbal teas.

As the next week approaches, I feel strong and capable to tackle what tasks lie ahead.  After a week out of the pool I am excited to get back in the water and pick up where I left off and with only 2 weeks away from my first meet in 4 years, I need to make sure to bring my A game.

Off to the pool!


Sumbul Zafar

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