with Flora Chang, doctor of pharmacy and founder of the FLORA GLOW by Flora Cher Organics – CBD You Can Trust
Flora Chang is a health and wellness entrepreneur and founder of the FLORA Glow, a pharmaceutical-grade, organically grown, and non-GMO CBD line that specializes in beauty and self-care solutions. Her background as a pharmacist working with healthcare companies such as Aetna developing projects and research that utilized big data informatics to manage population health helped her see the importance of self-care. Her experience has shown that neglecting self-care creates significant gaps in care with long-term consequences in most people’s lives.
In this interview, I had the pleasure of exploring the hurdles and misconceptions around self-care and what practical steps we can take to establish healthy self-care routines.
Where are people really struggling with self-care?
I can say with confidence that many of us do not take full responsibility of our own health. People are struggling because they don’t put wellness at a forefront of their daily lives. Obviously, everyone is grappling with the pandemic and sheltering-at-home and social distancing. Our routines have been disrupted. Parents are juggling working from home with child-care; people are feeling isolated – or cooped-up with their “pod.” Any time there is a disruption to one’s life, self-care routines can also be disrupted and de-prioritized. Sometimes self-care routines need to be adjusted and sometimes additional support is needed – whether that’s mental, spiritual, or physical.
Overall, a big challenge for most people is getting enough high-quality sleep. Sleep and self-care are essential because they support a strong and resilient immune system, your body’s natural defense system.
What are the major hurdles?
For many people, time is a major hurdle to having a good self-care practice. But self-care is easier than you think, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. A simple change in perception can allow for a healthier self-care routine which will enable you to be more effective in your day-to-day life.
Another hurdle, particularly now, is that some of the things people used to do for self-care are no longer available – activities such as going to the gym, or getting a massage, or even seeing your therapist in person. Fortunately, many of these resources are available online – such as taking a work-out class or scheduling a Facetime call with your therapist. Aided stretching is also something that people can explore that can be a substitute to massages.
Lastly, some people equate self-care with splurging, and, with the current economic situation, many are saving their pennies. This is a perception you can easily overcome. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to take care of yourself, it just has to be something that makes you feel good.
What are the potential ramifications of this inattention to self-care?
Having a strong immune system has never been more important and self-care routines are the easiest thing we can do to protect ourselves from outside stressors. Sleep is primary, in addition to eating well and having a strong support network – whether that’s a weekly online gathering with your closest friends, a support group, or a therapist.
Self-care also supports good decision making. Getting sufficient sleep should be at the top of everyone’s self-care list. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports about 7–19 percent of adults in the United States are not getting enough rest or sleep every day. If you are suffering from a bad night’s sleep (or many nights of poor sleep), it will certainly affect your mood and sharp critical thinking. Not only will this then affect your work, your relationships, your eating habits, and your self-esteem but sleep deficiency is linked to many serious health issues including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity and depression to name a few. It can be a vicious cycle. Self-care is so important that the American Psychological Association included it in their code of ethics in regards to supporting competency.
With so much else going on in the world, why should people shift the focus to something that has the word “self” in it?
Self-care is the foundational first step. You must care for yourself before you are able to care for anyone or anything else. Good self-care supports your entire ecosystem: parenting, partnering, productivity, and overall health. With self-care in place, you’re more available, in a meaningful way, to the people around you. Also, shifting the focus to self-care is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It can be small changes to your routine. Making what might seem like small adjustments, can pay huge dividends to your overall life and in the lives of the people around you.
What are the common misconceptions people have about self-care?
One common obstacle, especially in times of crisis, is the belief that self-care is selfish or self-centered. Clearly, as I mentioned before, this is not the case. When self-care is compromised, physical and mental health is compromised which then impacts the ability to take care of others.
Another misconception about self-care is that it’s something only women care about, and men are often overlooked in discussions about self-care. Yet, when we look at men’s health globally, male life expectancy is four years lower than that of females – and that number is growing. In terms of sleep, men average 5 hours and 45 minutes of sleep per night – well below the recommended 7 to 8 hours.
For women, the misconception is different. Women are thought to have an easier time asking for help and generally, they do tend to go to the doctor and avail themselves to health care services more than their male counterparts. But many women are finding themselves in the “sandwich generation”- caring for elderly parents while also raising children. The APA found that nearly 40% of these women report extreme stress and struggle with taking care of themselves.
What is one thing that people can do today, this week, and this month to establish a self-care routine?
From my assessment and experience, if you were going to focus on one area today, it would be sleep. The Center for Disease Control states that one-third of Americans do not get sufficient sleep and since inadequate sleep leads to poor food choices, abandoned exercise routines, and impaired decision-making, creating healthy sleep habits is the best place to start, and you can start as early as tonight.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Create a bedtime routine. Putting on a pair of pajamas, washing your face, and brushing your teeth all signal to your body that it’s time to wind down.
- Plan your rest. If you’re a morning person, go to bed early. If you’re a late-night person, plan your meetings later in the day. Sleep is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, but you do need 7 to 8 hours in order to reap the benefits.
- Consider a sleep aid. Support your sleep with a cup of valerian root tea an hour before bed or select a high-quality CBD sleep spray. At the FLORA Glow, we have sourced a CBD spray that contains melatonin, GABA, valerian root, and pharmaceutical grade nano-emulsion CBD in nano-sized emulsion particles for increased bioavailability. Thus, it’s fast acting and you need less to be have the desired effect.
What do you think would happen if people took the time to focus on themselves as much as they do on others?
Self-care will not change the world for you, but it will empower you to better handle an ever-changing world. And if everyone prioritized self-care, there would be a synergistic effect on how we all are in the world and everything around us. It’s another version of “it starts in the home,” and then, who knows, maybe self-care can change the world.
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