A Peterborough health advocate, Flo Levia, one of Canada’s first 20 board-certified lactation consultants, has shifted her focus to mental and psychological well-being and has published a book, There’s a Leak in My Boat! The challenges and gifts of my journey through chronic illness.”
“You can help a lot more with a book,” Levia said.
“The idea of writing the book was to inspire people. When you realize that the money stops at you and you begin your healing journey and actually tell the universe that this is what you want, the answers will come to you bit by bit.
The book was published in October last year, but Levia thinks it’s relevant in a post-pandemic world. It examines how mental health directly impacts physical health and chronic disease, she explained.
“I think when you look at people with chronic diseases, very often the causes are multifactorial,” Levia said. “Probably one of the biggest things people don’t realize is that past trauma affects the nervous system. And you don’t know that because that’s who you are, so it’s normal for you.”
When someone is always anxious, nervous, or upset, their biochemistry is loaded with cortisol and adrenaline, which really spikes inflammatory markers, Levia explained.
“So, your body just doesn’t heal from things very well,” she said. “You don’t sleep well, you don’t feel well, your body can’t fight viruses and stuff like it probably could if it were biochemically in better shape.”
There’s a Leak in My Boat uses the experiences and insights Levia found useful in her own journey to help people calm and rewire their nervous systems.
“I wanted to share the gifts I got and the challenges because the challenges sucked back then,” Levia said. “But later you realize they’ve taught you a heck of a lot if you walk past them. So it makes your life richer.”
Levia explained that she suffered from chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, and chronic fatigue, which eventually prevented her from working at the breastfeeding clinic she co-founded.
“I decided if I was going to have any kind of quality of life, I had to find a way to heal from my chronic illnesses,” Levia said.
This journey inspired her to become a nationally certified and accredited Emotional Success Coach and a Certified Emotional Freedom Techniques Practitioner. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, Levia took a break from the profession as she preferred to see her clients in person.
“So that’s one of the reasons I wrote the book; We must have purpose in this life,” Levia said. “But I’m slowly getting ready to get back in there. One of the first things I will do later, when the mask can be taken off, is workshops. From then on I will be very selective with my clients because I am almost 70 and I like balance in my life.”
Retraining the nervous system doesn’t happen overnight, Levia explained, people have to take baby steps and find what works best for them because everyone is wired in a unique way. She added that her book has several free or low-cost resources that people can access.
“I have a lot of resources in the book because not everyone can afford to take classes or get therapy and other things. But there are so many freebies,” Levia said. “The resources even go chapter by chapter,” she added.
The book and other resources are available on Levia’s website and blog.
“We can learn to regulate our irritable nervous system to gradually achieve more peace and joy in our lives,” Levia said.