Holistic Ways to Care for Your Mental & Physical Health in 2022

by Natalie Kiser

Welcome to Better Sex With Dr. Lexx, a monthly column where sex therapist, educator and consultant Dr. Lexx Brown-James shares expertise, advice and wisdom about sex, relationships and more. Approaching education about sex as a life-long endeavor — “from womb to tomb” — Dr. Lexx (AKA The #CouplesClinician) is your guide to the shame-free, medically accurate, inclusive and comprehensive conversations for you, your partner and your whole family. 

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Welp lovers, it’s just about that time. We, finally, get to say goodbye (maybe good riddance) to 2021 and welcome in 2022. Undoubtedly, the end of the year will bring the traditional increases of folx dedicating themselves to becoming more of the person they want to be. This might mean people dedicate themselves to the gym, to therapy, to making all their personal healthcare appointments, trying to relate to their lover differently, or finally trying that one thing they have been putting off that could bring them joy. It’s all part of a lovely journey to find the self and generate happiness — and it can be vastly overwhelming when trying to navigate alone.

Luckily, you don’t have to do it all alone because there are many ways to support your health and growth. Check out these holistic resources below to help you become the ‘you’ you want to be in the next year.

Mental Health Therapy

As a licensed clinician, I am putting mental health therapy at the tip of the New Year, New You iceberg. Desires to shift behavior, thoughts and/or relationships to get to the best you can surely benefit from a support person who is invested in your wellbeing and trained to help you broaden your scope. When it comes to therapy the most important factor in healing is fit between you and the therapist. Try it and see where it goes.

If you do want to find a therapist you can use Therapy for Black Girls , The National Queer and Trans Therapist of Color Network, Therapy for Black Men  and The LoveLand Foundation (who offers vouchers for free services).

Acupuncture

Acupuncture isn’t some action movie myth or inaccessible fancy treatment that exists solely for celebrities. As an ancient traditional Chinese practice, acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin in specific places on the body. The traditional practice has been known to be used for pain management and also reportedly helps to reduce stress.

When looking for a practitioner you can ask if they have taken and passed National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine exam, use referrals from others, and ask the professional about their process to ensure cleanliness. Lastly, always check with your physician to ensure you’re a candidate for the treatment.

Spirituality

Spirituality is unique for every person. The unique belief systems we cultivate are often a result of our experiences, our families, our communities, and our desires for our own futures. Going through a transformation may require that you seek out spiritual guidance, whatever that may look like. Some people make their way to church or a holy land, others dedicate themselves to some sort of study, others might spend more time in nature or meditation. Taking time to check in with yourself and find inner balance and peace can be clutch in progressing towards being more of who you want to be. Independent study, meeting with a group of people, using a church, a religious leader or elder are all ways to get in tune with

If you feel safe, you can even venture to explore various retreats and utilize some solo or lover time to get in tune with your spirit, deity, and/or ancestors. The most important thing is that you are taking time to cultivate your spirituality and belief systems, which often comes with focus on morals, values, and self-development.

Reflexology

Another eastern treatment method employed in the west is reflexology. Using various pressure points in the feet, this treatment method is used to support pain management, clear sinuses, help with headaches, muscle aches and even asthma. I personally attended reflexology post partum for hip pain and even took my smallest child for help with gut health after dealing with acid reflux and it was one of the first nights we slept through the night. 

Typically used in conjunction with other remedies, reflexology offers a unique way to address challenges and find connection with the body. Whether you’re in pain, looking to destress or fighting seasonal allergies try searching Reflexology of America or talking to your community to find a professional near you.

Chiropractor

A chiropractor is a non-medical professional who are mostly known for spine and neck manipulations. Although popularized as the ‘bone cracking’ doctors, chiropractors work with your body to adjust your appendages and joints into proper alignment. Through these adjustments, chiropractors can help alleviate tension and joint pain that often leads to headaches, clenched jaws, low back pain and more.

In my own experience, I visited a chiropractor postpartum who helped realign my pubis (pubic bone area) after having a tough bout with pubic symphysis after carrying and giving birth to a large baby.

As with all professionals, ask for referrals from people you value. You can always ask a practitioner about how they are keeping up with their continuing education, certifications and if they belong to any professional organizations to ensure care is continual and regulated. The American Chiropractic Association is another place you can find information about chiropractors near you.

Whether it’s therapy, church or an eastern medicinal practice, the journey into a ‘new you’ doesn’t have one cookie cutter approach. Your journey will be as unique as you are, as will your growth and healing. 

Here’s to a 2022 full of rest, rejuvenation, healing and blossoming.

Before you go, check out our favorite mental health apps to give a bit of extra TLC for your brain:

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