I discovered lifestyle medicine in my mid-40s, when the meds I was taking for OCD and depression stopped working. With the help of some great teachers, I learned to meditate and use biofeedback, visualization, and other mind-body skills to manage my symptoms, including
chronic pain that I hadn't realized was linked to stress.
At the same time, I started noticing the link between food and mood. I cut back on foods that were leaving me crabby, sick, and sleepy. I also built in daily physical activity (mostly walking). As I've gotten older, I've added stretching and strength-building to my routine, none of it requiring a fancy gym membership. When I am consistent with these habits, I feel great: my energy is high and my mood stable. When I fall back into older habits, as we all do from time to time, my mental and physical health both take a hit.
As it turns out, what's good for your body is good for your brain. And the research backs that up.
Fast forward to today, I have a certificate in Lifestyle Medicine from Creighton University and Advanced Training with the non-profit Center for Mind-Body Medicine, whose work in trauma recovery and stress management reaches people around the globe (visit cmbm.org). Drawing on current research and evidence-based practices, I support clients in optimizing their mental health through lifestyle change. Together, we identify their goals and barriers to better health, including their current habits around food, exercise, sleep, and stress. My clients include people living with depression, anxiety, and OCD, as well as neurodivergent adults and anyone else looking to feel more centered and balanced, calm and resilient, as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jana French is an Integrative Health Coach who works with individuals and groups in Chicago. In her free time, she teaches meditation, volunteers with the non-profit, Chicago-based Reiki Brigade, and sings with Chicago Chorale. Jana is married, with two college-aged kids, a cat named Harry, and a PhD in English Literature that she is no longer using.