Three wellness tips to reset your health and transform your life
As an immigrant South Asian child, I didn't have the red carpet laid out for me. We lived in a motel room converted into an apartment, I didn't speak the language and I, for the first 8 years of my life wore hand-me-downs from other immigrant families. I was told that I wasn't good enough to be in the honors classes, and when I tried to get into a special elementary program for leaders, they said I didn't have what it takes to be a leader.
It was hurtful. I was an outsider.
But, like so many of you—I knew better. I knew I was more than what other people perceived of me.
Yet, I felt trapped.
So I stayed in the background just floating through without getting noticed or standing out too much.
I was scared to be rejected again.
Soon I started to learn that there was more inside of me and I had to express it, we all have a purpose and I was starting to recognize mine in nutrition and health. I learned that many people—in books I was reading—were able to elevate themselves out of a life of fatigue, routine and ingrained social constructs.
At home my parents made me feel like I could be different and these books were confirming this.
I soon started to take (SCARY) action. One after another like jumping in a freezing pool. Once I took the plunge, I realized it wasn't so bad, and so, I jumped again.
It was not easy, I shuddered and had anxiety when I used my voice. But I did it. And then with little freedom and confidence, I did it again.
I developed a three-pronged plan with which I was able to go from a mediocre student to attend some of the top schools and hospitals in the nation; from a no-name physician to a writer with a book that was chosen by Fortune as the Top 5 Business Books of 2021; from a tiny, scrawny scared girl, I went on to achieve fitness and mindset goals that were beyond my expectations. Soon, I even went on to build a large product business.
So what got me here? To put it simply, I rejected the old social constructs and created my own. I rejected the unhealthy, but normalized behavioral patterns like competition and jealousy that were crippling people in my culture. Soon my husband, kids and even parents along with my key inner circle followed. I knew I had to share with more.
I learned some incredible life-altering lessons on this journey to becoming an independent, confident and healed mom, physician, daughter and human. They changed the trajectory of my life and that's why I am sharing them with you today.
Whether you are suffering from stress, exhaustion, fatigue, or post-pandemic burnout, here are three tips through which you can regain your lost energy and reclaim your life, just like I did.
GRIT. We hear it all the time but what does it mean? It means staying true to your own voice and persevering on your long-term goals, day in and day out. As you get to a milestone, smile internally, give yourself a pat on the back and then keep going. Take daily action. If you want to be fit—wake up early, get sunlight and work out—make it enjoyable and don't get distracted. For example, I told my kids they needed to find an activity that was both enjoyable and challenging. Not every day will be enjoyable but there should be some joy associated with it.
Remember to choose things that bring you courage, creativity and/or make you feel compassionate. In times of self-doubt, ground yourself and remember why you started. It's easy to look around and see what everyone else is doing (especially on social media where it seems like everyone is crushing it all the time). Stay in your own lane and take your actions day after day. Leading a disciplined life with a long-term vision is everything. The key secret for me is to go at 85% intensity, then 15% enjoyment, play and rest. Gritty with a health focus.
I can not stress this point enough. This means creating TIME for health, creativity and rest. Time to cut toxic food from your diet AND cut toxic people out in your life. Having meaningful relationships, and good uses of your attention and time is the key to a healthy, successful happy life. I always tell my patients that exercise and diet are not the only things that make you healthy—you need restful sleep and stimulating social interactions too. Self-care goes beyond sheet masks and chocolate cake—it's creating a healthy diet, of food, people and information that comes from creating boundaries. This goes completely against the grain of what I was taught in my South Asian culture as a woman.
How do you do this? Say NO often. Recognize toxicity in the "normal" life around you. This is the place you break toxic patterns of the past and create new, healthy patterns.
Develop an abundant mindset
THIS one is KEY. Learn to wish people well and turn envy into motivation. Genuinely help others without expecting anything in return. Scarcity mindset is when you only help people with the direct expectation that they will "pay you back". Scarcity mindset works on the premise that there can be only one winner. So if someone else is winning that means YOU are losing. This is just not true. Look at Coke and Pepsi or McDonald's and Burger King. There is room for many winners.
Once you move away from cut-throat competition and jealousy, the world opens up. Now I am not saying I don't feel competition or I don't ever feel envious, but I MANAGE those emotions. I give myself a pause, tell myself to turn it around and learn from the situation. IF the situation keeps making me uncomfortable, I dig into why and if it's stemming from toxicity, I move away. This is true for people on social media and real life. It keeps bringing up negative feelings inside of you that don't serve a larger purpose of making you a better person.
Learn to manage your emotions, an abundant mindset is one where you believe that there is enough food, money, success and health for everyone. That when you help, teach or engage in moving someone else forward, it does not mean you are left behind. In fact, helping others boosts your joy and further perpetuates an abundant mindset.
I hope that you can take these THREE tips and create a version for yourself. I am always a work in progress, always working on all THREE.
From an immigrant, overlooked child to a physician mom creating new waves is my goal.
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