Wellness: Let's get started!

health and wellness Mar 17, 2022

Did you know I have a podcast? I do! And I'm so excited to share it with you. You can listen to it here or read it below if that's more your style. This first episode is where you get to know me and my approach to wellness. I'll also tell you about my own wellness journey and give you some ideas to get started. Here it is!


Hello everybody, this is Dr. Mallorie Cracroft, and I am your host for this brand new podcast. This podcast is called "Uplift for Her", and it's a podcast for everyday wellness for women. And I am so excited to be here. This has been something I've been thinking about for a long time and wanting to get started, and I'm so happy to see it finally come to fruition. So thank you for joining me here with this. I wish you were here in person, so we could just sit and have a conversation, but this will have to do. We are talking about wellness, obviously, and wellness is something I have become very passionate about over the years. It's not something that's always been a huge emphasis in my life, I would say. But over the past couple years especially it's been something that's become very, very important to me. Personally, through my practice, I'm an OB/GYN and have been for about 10 years, and more and more so, I see women who are struggling with various things that don't seem to quite know where to go to get help, so they come to their gynecologist. And sometimes I can help them. But sometimes, within that capacity of being a physician, it's not really something I can help them with, either they're just not feeling like themselves or they're tired all the time, but we can't seem to find a medical explanation for it. And this is where wellness comes in, and that's actually what drove me to start learning more about wellness. I noticed that there were lots of people around me who were doing okay, but not great. And I noticed myself that I was stuck in a rut, that I just felt like I would keep wanting to improve my health and then couldn't do what I wanted to do. Or I wanted to have a different lifestyle with my work and mom life balance, but just couldn't quite get there, and instead ended up driving back and forth from work, thinking every day about how I could change things, how I could change my routine. And it prompted me to learn more about wellness in general, but also thought work and especially root cause medicine. And this opened up a huge new world for me that I've become really passionate about and hope to be able to share with you. And I'm hoping that it will be really, really helpful for you. So thank you for being here. Thank you for your support. Just a little about me. I, as I mentioned, have been an OB/GYN for about 10 years. I studied at, first, Brigham Young University, where I majored in choral education, music education for choir, and was a choir teacher for very brief period of my life. And then I moved on to medical school at the University of Washington and then on to residency, first a year in Virginia, and then the rest of it here in Salt Lake, where I was hired onto a group of OB/GYNs and I've been there ever since. So I wanted to start by talking about wellness how I see it. Now, the most important parts about wellness for me and the approach to wellness is that we keep it simple. It has to be simple. And that's one of the things I see that is the most frustrating to me when I see Instagram accounts or listen to podcasts and it can be so overcomplicated. And instead of us feeling better about our lives and our wellness and our health, we end up feeling either like we're failures and we're never gonna be able to achieve this life that they say we can, or we end up just overwhelmed with information and turn it off and walk away from it. So one of my goals is to provide information and tips and tricks for us to incorporate these aspects of wellness into our lives right now, today, tomorrow, and be able to really start to see big changes with this simple approach. I want us to feel good. I want us to have great lives. And I want us to be able to notice what we can control and learn how to control things, like a lot of our thoughts. And I want to notice what we can't control and let those things go, like our spouses or our children. And this is a big piece of what can bring us ultimate wellness and happiness in life. And I want us to be happy. I want us to do well. And you'll notice that I say us because this is very much a journey for me too. I'm right here with you. I am a woman just like you, who is trying to live well and feel good and accomplish the things that I want to accomplish in the best way possible. So I am right here with you. Now, when I think about wellness, I define it as the routines and the systems that will help us live an intentional, meaningful, and happy life. Now, these words have become fairly overused, I feel like, you know? People will say live your best life or live an intentional life or live a happy life. And it's easy just to say, "Yeah, that sounds great" and let it go to the side, but I want us really to dig in. I want us to recognize that we truly can live our lives intentionally. And that means with choice. We have a choice over how this life unfolds for us, we absolutely have a choice. And we can make it meaningful, I think all of us deep in our core feel like there's this version of ourselves who is destined for something really great. And maybe it's not greatness like the President of the United States, but great in terms of, I know I can do something that is the best version of me. And I want to help all of us explore that and discover that. And I want us to have a happy life, I want us to be able to look back at our lives and say, "That went pretty well. You know, it was messy and it was imperfect and it was flawed and I'm thrilled, I'm thrilled with it." So that's my aim when we talk about wellness is how do we set ourselves up for this type of success? Now I am a little bit obsessed with wellness and partially because I've seen the impact that it's had in my own life, and I've seen the impact that it's had in others' lives. And wellness comes about by putting into place these routines and systems. Now the first word we think of is habit, when we think about routines and systems that help us live our best lives. And I try really hard not to use the word habit because habit can have such a negative connotation for us. I think habit instantly makes us feel like failures. We think like, "Okay, how am I gonna set up these habits to succeed?" And instantly we're like, "Well, I'm just not going to, I've tried to build habits before and they didn't work." So we are going to talk about habits, but I prefer the word systems. Systems, to me, paints this picture of something supporting us, whereas habits come down just to willpower, like, well, if you would just use the right willpower, you wouldn't eat that bag of chocolate chips. But really what it comes down to is systems. If you didn't have the chocolate chips there, you wouldn't eat 'em. If you didn't go into the kitchen when you're craving sweets, then you wouldn't eat them. If you drank enough water and had, you know, the right dinner, then maybe you wouldn't crave the sweets. And that's way oversimplified. But the idea is that habits are just like, on your own, go fix it, go do it. Whereas systems make it smart. You know, we look at our lives and we come up with a smart system that's going to help us build this life that we want to. So what systems can we put into place? Now, before we can even get to systems, we have to know our why. And that is absolutely critical when it comes to wellness is, you know, we might try to paint this picture in our lives that looks just like so and so's down the street, but we are all unique and thank heavens for that, right? I mean, I have different goals and aspirations, I have different personality traits. I have different things that I love and different things that I hate. I have different people in my life who are surrounding me and I have different children who I need to raise really in a way that's unique to them. So we have to be unique, which means me putting into place this exact cookie-cutter recipe for wellness is never going to work for everyone. So the very first thing you have to do is know yourself and know your why. And we absolutely will explore that. And once you know yourself, and you know your why, then, then you can start setting up these systems. So I'm going to use an analogy here. I love a good metaphor. So if we think of ourselves as building a house, my husband and I have been trying to buy a house for the last two years, it feels like 10 years. But we've been trying to buy a house for the last little bit and we've looked at a lot of houses. And there's some cute and some beautiful ones with some charm, but there are a lot of houses that are really ugly or built really poorly or remodeled really poorly, or just have a weird design that doesn't flow. And so it's gotten me thinking a lot about houses. And I think that a house, oversimplified, is very much like our lives. And the houses that we've been through that work really well, they started that way, they were planned out that way, so they have a foundation that's shaped like the way they want the house to look. These other houses, where they started with this foundation and they built a house and then they decided they didn't want it to look that way, so they built on an addition or they built it out to the side. Those houses just don't flow as well and they don't end up looking like the ideal. We want to know what our ideal looks like, what we want, so that we can build the foundation and then build the framework that's going to build this eventual house, right? That makes sense from a builder's standpoint. If you wanna have this big kitchen for entertaining, you can't start with a tiny foundation, you have to start with a foundation that's going to allow for this big, beautiful, entertaining kitchen. So that's kind of how I think about these systems. They're not sexy, they're not exciting, but they are really useful and they make the rest of it so much easier. It's so much easier to decorate a house that was built the way you want it to rather then take an ugly house and try to make it work the way that you want it to. So we talk about these foundational systems. The second step that comes, though, is the decorating part. That's the part where we get to really make it what we want it to be. So once we lay this foundation, then we have to keep coming back to it. We keep readdressing it. We schedule it into our lives, where we do a little self-assessment every month. Maybe it's twice a year, maybe it's just once a year. But we stop and we say, "What do we want out of life? Who am I and who do I wanna be? And how are my systems working to get me to that place?" And by doing these regular self-assessments, then we can start to tweak and really make it what you want it to be. For example, if you want to have a family who vacations regularly, well, you can't just tomorrow be the family who vacations regularly, but you can absolutely break it down to pieces. Maybe tomorrow you start researching your next trip. Maybe tomorrow you plan that week off of work that you're gonna go on a trip. And maybe you don't have money for a trip so you do a staycation, but whatever it is, once you know where it's supposed to go, where it's supposed to end up, then you can back up and figure out these tiny little steps along the way. So I'm all about routines and systems that work for you, you as an individual. Now there's a couple other things you should know about me and that's that I don't support the use of guilt. Now, Brene Brown calls it shame, if you haven't heard her TED Talk about shame or vulnerability, you should listen to those for sure. But she calls it shame, is I don't want to feel guilty about the way that I'm doing things. I don't want to live a life that's motivated by feeling bad about myself or avoiding feeling bad about myself. I also don't want to live a life that's just motivated by avoiding fear or avoiding pain. And this is really powerful and something that we'll talk about at some point is how much of our responses are motivated by pain and fear. I don't want any of that. I want my life to be motivated by joy and light and energy, good energy that leads me to the truest version of myself. So this podcast will not be a guilt-inducing podcast, I hope. It's not intended to make you feel bad about where you are. It's intended to help you start where you are, to figure out where you stand right now, where you wanna go, and what that path looks like in between. So I am so excited, I hope that you'll come along with me on this journey. We are going to do this by looking at how wellness shows up in the different parts of our lives. Things like parenting and relationships, body image, sex, mental health, fatigue, setting goals, ambition, careers, I have so many exciting episodes planned for you. But also money. How do we have a healthy relationship with money? How do we have a healthy relationship with travel and hobbies and our home environment and dealing with illness and grief and trauma and all of these things that impact our everyday lives? So I really wanna get into how we can strengthen those elements of our lives to work for us. I want to talk about the who, the what, the when, the where, the why, and all of the how, too. So I'm gonna bring on some amazing experts and we're gonna talk with real women, too, people who can really help us dig into wellness and how to make it the best version of our, make our lives the best version it can be. It is my goal to make it as directly applicable as possible. So when I say everyday wellness, I mean everyday wellness. I want you to be able to take these things and put them into your lives tomorrow. I hope you'll listen with a response of, "Oh, that's just what I needed to hear." So I'm going to break down wellness into six parts for you, and if you've followed along with me at all, you already know these six parts because I talk about them a lot, but they're important. And in the general wellness community, they're called pillars. And these six pillars are social, and that's your relationships, all of your relationships with children, husband, coworkers, et cetera. Emotional wellness, the emotions that you have in the course of your day, how you respond emotionally. Intellectual wellness, that's all things going into your brain, how you use your brain, how you use creativity, the creative side of your brain. Physical wellness, which would be how we use our bodies and how our bodies are working for us. Spiritual wellness, which is knowing that deepest version of yourself and your set of values and your connection with the great beyond. And then environmental wellness, how do you use the space around you to support you in wellness and also your connection to nature? So these six parts of our wellness are a great starting point. If you are just thinking, "Yeah, Mallory, that all sounds great, I wanna live a good life too, but I'm busy. I don't have time for any of this. I don't have time to sit down and think through the best version of myself." Then choose one pillar, choose one thing and start breaking it down and just say, "Where are you at? How are you feeling about your social wellness? Have you been hanging out with friends? Have you been strengthening your relationship with your partner?" Choose one tiny thing of one aspect of your wellness, one pillar, and we'll just start there. This foundation can help us create these routines that will get us to where we wanna go. Now I'm also a big fan of thought work and my life has changed because of thought work. And this is sort of from the aspect of coaching, or life coaching, right? We will talk a lot about how we have choice over our thoughts and how the thoughts that we have can create these patterns, either for good or for ill. And these thought patterns can help us find wellness that can help us to lead our intentional, meaningful, and happy lives. This is something that I've learned so much about through my own life coaching, and also just through being an OB/GYN and talking to patients all day every day, talking to friends and family members when we struggle. Oftentimes there is a thought pattern in there that is not serving us well and can be harmful. And that's something that we can learn and improve and work towards big changes to help us. Now, part of living our best life is looking at ourselves and our lives, and we need to do this without judgment. We need to just look at our lives and observe and be okay with imperfection, right? None of us are perfect. None of us will ever be perfect. And why is that surprising to us? Somehow, we get surprised when we see someone fail or we get surprised when we ourselves fail at something. What if we just made that the norm? Like, well of course I'm gonna fail. I'm imperfect. And I'm gonna try harder next time. So there is this middle ground. It's not just a matter of either be perfect or be flippant and not care about anything. We can be imperfect and still look at our lives and say, "I'm okay that I made that mistake, I'm okay that I'm not there yet, but what am I gonna do to change?" Another phrase I like to use is observe, don't judge. You just have to look at yourself and learn from it. Be curious about it. Use the word, huh, interesting. That's interesting that I just did that, why did I do that? So we can observe ourselves without being critical of ourselves or without judging ourselves. Now stress is another big component of our wellness. What if we just choose to be less stressed? Now I know, it's not that simple. It's not that simple for me either, I can't just choose to be less stressed. So I have an example of this. I went to a bridal shower last weekend and she wanted me to bring my two girls 'cause she knows my girls. And because I was bringing my girls, everything went a little bit slower than planned. I was running late, I was trying to get them ready and make them look presentable. And then it was raining really hard so traffic was bad. Part of the freeway was closed. We had to stop and get the gift, that took longer. I mean, I know you've been there. I know you've been there when you're running late and you are just sick about it. That's not what you wanted, it's not how you wanna show up, it's not what you want for your life, right? And in my past life, I would have been super stressed by that. My heart would've been racing, I would've snapped at my girls every time they took an extra second because they were making us late. I would've had all of these negative thoughts and I would've shown up to this bridal shower flustered and frustrated and apologetic and just feeling so sorry. And one of the things that's been really helpful for me is recognizing this imperfect nature of life, that life is messy and it's imperfect. And also recognizing that phrase, the use of that phrase, what's serving me well? And when you're already late, you're already there. What good does it do to sit and be overwhelmed and stress about it? And I recognized that this time, I haven't always recognized that, but I recognized that this time. I'm already late. What difference does it make if I snap at my girls or I get unhappy or I honk at the car in front of me because they're taking too long? It's just, it doesn't do any good. So there are ways that we can start changing these thoughts. And one of the thoughts that I had in this moment was, "Okay, well I'm late and that's okay." And it was okay. I showed up and there were lots of people who were later than I was and it just wasn't a problem. But what we realize is that when we have those stresses, that we react to it and it changes our whole mood. And if we have many moments like that, it will change our week. And if we have many weeks like that, it will change our lives. So we start noticing these moments when we do take control and when we can say, "I don't wanna react that way, I don't wanna show up that way." Now I can also learn from this and say, "Okay, next time I have an event I'm gonna wake up earlier and I'm gonna get things ready earlier and I'm gonna get prepared ahead of time. I can learn from it and I can change, but I can also recognize that me being stressed at the moment isn't gonna change anything." So just a silly example, but hopefully it's something you can relate to and something that's been really important for me to be making those changes in my life. Ultimate wellness comes from being in charge of our thoughts and our perceptions and our brains. And we can do this, my friends, we can get there. All it takes is taking good care of our bodies, of our relationships, of our heart, and it's all so doable. I hope you'll join me on this journey. I don't wanna feel guilty around my attempts at wellness. I want it to feel inspiring and peaceful. I want my efforts at bringing wellness into my life to bring more contentment into my life. I truly believe that our wellness should be simple, that wellness, how we live our lives, can lay the foundation for all the other aspects of our lives. Our wellness determines what kind of person we'll be, what life experiences we have, how to show up at work and as parents and as spouses. I've been studying wellness for years and I am living it every day. I'm making changes in my life slowly over time and I am so not perfect and I don't plan to be perfect, so it's okay. I don't do any of these things perfectly, but they have changed my life and they've brought me more happiness, more love for myself, and more acceptance for myself. And that feels better. That's the life that I wanna live. I want to wake up and I wanna feel pretty good about my day. I want to feel good about how I interacted with my family. I want to be able to quickly forgive myself when I make mistakes, and learn from it and move on. I want my body to feel pretty good through the day, to be able to do what I'm asking it to do. And I wanna get to the end of the day and feel pretty good about it. And then I want to get to the end of the week, and the end of the month, and the end of the year, and still feel pretty good about it. If you want to feel this way too, I hope you'll come along with me on this journey. I hope sincerely it's helpful for you. Thanks for listening and come back next time for another episode, and remember, this information is for education only and not intended to be medical advice.

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