New Year - Self Care

Over the past year, I’ve dreaded writing and blogging. One of my colleagues/mentors would often ask, how’s the writing going and I’d constantly say, “I’m working on it” and quickly changed the subject. Not exactly something I’m proud of as it’s taken a full year to get to it but here goes.

A new year brings new hopes, new promises, and new goals and in order to move forward it’s often helpful to reflect on what last year’s highs and lows were to see how to improve this year. As many of you know I am in multiple offices. I started my Stamford, CT office after residency and during residency I started seeing clients in my NJ office on Saturdays. In November 2016, I was offered to work at another office in Fairfield and last May my mentor who’s practiced for over 40 years asked me to join his practice in Hamden. Each office is unique and as I navigated through each office’s style, I got exposed to different patient populations – Lyme, ADD/ADHD, autism, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and even more experience with family practice. Very quickly, I realized multi-tasking and building practices in multiple locations could be challenging and my sleep suffered.

I also joined an organization to further Vitalism in Naturopathic Medicine called the Naturopathic Medicine Institute and am currently in the process of becoming a Fellow. This has given me the opportunity to learn from the elders in my profession who have been practicing vitalistic, naturopathic medicine for 40+ years and for that I’m eternally grateful.

I’ve studied and learned from the best doctors in my profession and I found myself constantly wanting reassurance that my treatments for my patients were on track with what they would have done. In a way this helped, but it also kept me from really learning. I’m sharing all of this because somewhere, fear set in. My patients were getting better but I wondered constantly, what more could I have done and I forgot that it wasn’t about me, but about my patients. It’s about their experience and the healing power of nature. My role was to listen, really listen, find the root cause of their condition, remove the obstacles, make sure digestion and elimination were working properly, and to let nature takes its course.

I’d call a colleague in a panic about a case when there really wasn’t a reason to panic at all. One of my mentors would say, “I would do this” – and I’d say, “yeah, that’s what I was doing” and little by little things fell into place. I had to trust – trust in my schooling, trust in my ability to be a doctor, and trust that the patient would follow through on their part. When this happened, the magic happened, and I remembered again why I loved Naturopathic medicine so much.

At the end of the year I took a last-minute trip to Punta Cana and it was the best decision I made. For 4 days, I lied on a beach with my husband, soaked in some sun, ate delicious food, got massages and hydrotherapy, and didn’t check my email or phone once. I reflected on the past year near the ocean as the sun set, remembered the fear I felt, and promised myself all I can do moving forward is do the best I can with each patient - walk with each patient through their journey and develop heart to heart connections. One thing I hear over and over again from my patients is “Dr. Manipon – this is the first time I feel like I’ve been heard” and for me, that’s when the healing can truly begin.

As I sat on the beach my second to last day there, I felt the wind in my hair, the sand under my feet, and heard the rolling waves of the ocean say over and over again the word "abundance".

I wish you blessings of abundance in all areas of your life. May 2018 be full of self-care, love, peace, belly laughs, and joy.