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Women In Wellness: Dr Rose Ngishu On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

That “failures” are necessary for growth. Mistakes are teachers. Just don’t hurt people along the way. It is very fulfilling actually to look back and see that it was in the failing, that I was making progress.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Rose Ngishu.

Dr. Rose Ngishu is a board certified internist, functional and lifestyle medicine specialist, and a wellness coach in full time practice. She has over 23 years of clinical practice. Besides her primary care practice, she helps overwhelmed female breadwinners in high stress and burnout relax, rejuvenate, and take control of their lives.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Absolutely, first off, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to do so. I was born in Kenya, and immigrated to the US in 1998. Having come from humble beginnings, life was not easy. I also had an adverse childhood experience at the age of six and seven, that totally robbed me of my peace and confidence. My healing journey started at the age of fourteen, when I came to faith in Jesus Christ. I had big aspirations. So I worked hard in school, at home, and later on at work. When I came to this country, I was faced with a whole new set of challenges that I was not at all equipped to face. At some point I sunk into deep depression, and would have ended my life. With God’s help, I pulled through. Now, I can honestly say, my faith saved me. I didn’t even have money to seek professional help. That is why I am passionate about the spiritual and psychological issues of wellness .

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Sure! The most interesting story that happened to me since starting my career is the level of personal transformation I have experienced. I started out to help others, however, this has helped me so much more I think. I am not the same timid self I was when I started out. My overall health is better now than when I first started. I did not realize how empowering my personal journey would become to those I am serving now. Sometimes I share it with my patients and clients, and am blessed even further with the breakthrough they get.

Main takeaways are:

  1. Nothing is at all in vain. Your experiences are powerful, and they are tools to help others and your future self.
  2. Seek help, even if you don’t have money, there are still some resources that you may not know of unless you ask.
  3. Lastly, do your best, even if it hurts. You are sowing into your future, and the harvest will be sweet.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Sure! The biggest mistake I made when starting out, and this was scary, was I entered the room of a patient with neutropenia without wearing my personal protective equipment (PPE). They were placed in what we call “reverse isolation” precautions. With my naive understanding at the time, I thought that meant the patient was who needed to wear the PPE and not the healthcare worker. The patient was alarmed that anyone would do such a thing. She asked me to go back and dorn my PPE before I got closer to her. I was surprised, but stepped back outside to do that. Later, I realized I was wrong, and learnt some big lessons:

  1. Don’t assume things in medicine mean the same as they do in ordinary english. If in doubt, double check.
  2. Listen to your patient, they may know something you don’t. Let them advocate for themselves, and clarify things as necessary.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Getting someone well is more than just prescribing a pill. Additionally, it is one of the most precious gifts you can give anyone. They feel lively and empowered, when their whole system is in balance. They contribute better to the world around us all as well. It is a snowball effect. The smiles on their faces, the restored vitality, not to mention the economic impact, when disease, the cruel robber is subdued.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

Hmm! There are many, here are some of my favorites:

  1. Change your language. Even when things are tough, tell yourself everyday that you are a winner. Our thoughts and confessions bring possession. We tend to show up as, and manifest the energy we carry inside. Just think of the millions of eggs and sperms your parents had, you won conception. And in spite of the odds since conception, you are here. I will tell you my personal experience with this. There was a time in my life, when I spoke very condescendingly about myself, and I did not even realize it, until a co-worker at McDonalds in Midland, TX called me out on it. From that point on, I changed my language. It has helped me tremendously, and I am still working on it.
  2. Get six to nine hours of sleep daily. Sleep is the most restorative and empowering thing we can give ourselves. Eliminate whatever it is that causes you poor or inadequate sleep. I have seen how sleep deprivation causes illness often. It is scientific proof too, that sleep deprivation reduces our lifespan.
  3. Take at least one to five, 5-minute brain breaks throughout the day. It is refreshing and boosts productivity. That way we get more done faster, and can have more time to play.
  4. Forgive. Anyone and anything that has hurt you. The longer we partner with and cuddle on the hurt, the tighter it holds us in bondage. This is for your wellness, for your peace. No one is getting away with anything. Sooner or later, your perpetrator pays. So, you don’t have to be the one serving them revenge. Unless they seek forgiveness as well, rest assured, their wrong will find them out.
  5. Eat for longevity, not for survival. No matter how long we get to live, we will be in our bodies long enough to feel the effects of how we treat them. Nourish it as such, and it will be kind to you in return. I remember one time one of my children had a tummy ache from something bad they ate. They were fussy and hurting. They looked at me and said, “this guy is not being nice to me.” I was shocked, wondering who else was around besides them and I. So I asked, “which guy, baby?” The response, “this one,” pointing to the stomach. I almost laughed out loud, but realized my baby was simply trying to communicate with the right words they knew. So, we need to be mindful of what we eat

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would invite everyone who has ever had an adverse childhood experience to consider lifelong coaching. I would also require insurance to provide it as a benefit. Sometimes health related issues come up earlier in life and sometimes they surface later on. While medications are important, that alone is inadequate.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Before I became a healthcare worker, I wish someone told me:

  1. To focus more on the psychosocial factors, because they are the most impactful and yet the most challenging to address.
  2. That no matter how much I have learnt, I will need an ongoing team of mentors or coaches. This is because none of us has figured it all out yet, and change is constant.
  3. To prioritize personal wellness, because those I serve “drink from my cup,” and I can’t afford to have it empty.
  4. It is okay to truthfully say “I don’t know.” No matter how much anyone knows, being a “know-it-all” blinds and harms others rather than it heals.
  5. That “failures” are necessary for growth. Mistakes are teachers. Just don’t hurt people along the way. It is very fulfilling actually to look back and see that it was in the failing, that I was making progress.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health. The mind is the engine of all else. It is in charge of our learning and behavior change. Nothing changes until the mind does. So, it behooves us to work extra hard to help those who have illness in those faculties. It is like they have a double or triple hit.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

  1. www.drrosengishu.com
  2. www.linkedin.com/in/rose-ngishu-md-181b7850/
  3. www.instagram.com/rnngishu/?hl=en

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

Thank you as well. Blessings.

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