Don't let anyone push your 'kill switch'

“Never give anyone permission again to rain on your parade.”
-Og Mandino, inspirational speaker & author

I love cars. I was raised around them for so long I was going to car shows before I was fully developed. I loved the stories behind them, the design, the fact that you could see everything right then and there under the hood, and watching them change through the years as if to define what the world was going through as well. In cars, there’s something called a ‘kill switch’- a device that can be installed that cuts off fluid supply from the battery to the motor, so even if someone broke in and tried to turn the car on or jump the wires, the car wouldn’t turn on. Except if we forget or don't realize that we pushed it, try everything under the sun to start the car, feel frustrated, figure the whole world is against us, and over and over do all that we can and what we know to start the car. Yet we won’t get anywhere.

And we have kill switches in our life. Whether it’s us or others who have told us we can’t proverbially get the car started, we’re [insert insult here] and will never fix this no matter how hard we try. We can leave the car in the parking lot, or go through a presumably arduous process to replace one or all structures in the car where it will most likely work, but this is a lot of time, energy, and effort- and money. Perhaps just junk the car and resolve to public transportation because what if this happens again with the next car (or just don’t get the kill switch). This dialogue stems from what Dr. Martin Seligman, PhD calls ‘learned helplessness’, a sense of powerlessness because you want to succeed to the best of your capability, and you know you can, but somehow you’re hitting this wall that seems so simple, yet super frustrating.

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Imagine a different scenario- you try about 1 or 2 tactics to get the car started, still doesn’t work, and then you step back, take some deep breaths to calm your mind, maybe walk around the block and retrace your steps- when it happened, how your body was positioned, the anatomy of the car, and realize, holy crap!! You accidentally flipped the kill switch. Laughter probably ensues because you knew the answer was so simple.

The answer could be simple, but the process in getting there was not easy. Health is the same way. It’s easy to try to find a way around the issue in whatever it may take, but sometimes the answer is as simple as retracing your steps. In terms of health, it means asking the right questions- which is honestly hard for us to do to ourselves because we are inherently biased. Further, we can’t type our whole health history and family history into doctor google at once for it to turn out an answer. We’re in a day and age where we are taught to ask questions, yet let’s re route this a little bit and just like tracing our steps, let’s turn inwards.

When it comes to your health, here are some questions to ask to turn off your kill switch:

  • “Did I drink enough water?”- Everything from fatigue, headaches, skin breakouts, poor sleep, sugar/carb cravings, mood swings, feeling like you’ve eaten enough, etc. Our body is 70%+ water, and there’s a number of other ways our body releases water outside of sweat- including tears. Alcohol, stress, and caffeine all deplete water. You can go weeks without eating, but only days without water. How much did you drink today? Yesterday? The day before? Check the color of your urine- it should be a light yellow. A light neon yellow if you are taking a B complex (that’s the riboflavin).

  • “Was it something I ate? Or ate a few days ago?”- Ah yes, those moments where we can remember what we had for a meal that day, but 2 days ago? Yeah.. not happening. Those same issues listed above can also be due to something we ate a few days ago, where reactions can be mild (versus going to the ER with an epi pen). These are called intolerances, rather than food allergy (literally different mechanisms). Or if you notice those pants aren’t buttoning, or feel a little tight, maybe even though the food was healthy, it was more than what we usually eat. Myfitnesspal or a diet diary is a great way to keep track of food to hold yourself accountable. Aim for a least a week of recording.

  • “Did I get enough sleep?”- Sleep is so important. Even switching the time back from 12/1am to 10:30/11pm can make a night and day difference- no pun intended. It allows our body to regenerate hormones needed for feeling our best around concerns such as weight, mood, satiety, energy, and allows the day to synthesize so we can wake up even more brilliant in the morning! Ideally, 7-9 hours of sleep per night, with the first 4 being the most important. And no, naps won’t ‘add to the bank’ of lost sleep- yet a power nap can be more powerful than a cup of coffee! If you’re waking up in the middle of the night especially around 2-3am, that’s liver- usually blood sugar related (i.e. ate too late, more carbs/sugar than usual). 4:30/5am tends to be when our mind is spinning- keep a pad and pen on your nightstand.

If we can out-lifestyle a pharmaceutical, then we can out-lifestyle a supplement, so it’s important to get back to the basics and know how turn inwards to trust our gut. Which also means asking the right questions to take us in that direction, being in the right frame of mind too, as stress puts a damper on our memory- literally- it shrinks the part of our brain (the hippocampus) responsible for memory. If you’d like to learn more about the basics and what to look out for, I have a gift for you! I’m all about maximizing all that we can do through our lifestyle because we’re going to go through a lot of crap in life- let’s at least know we can bounce back asap.