Are you having trouble getting back into the swing of things with the new year? Still have that holiday hangover and are dragging yourself around? Or did the winter blahs kick in with the cold weather?
Massage can be surprisingly rejuvenating. It’s kind of like when you’ve had one good night’s sleep after a long bout of insomnia. Your body is reminded about that luxurious feeling of letting go. Then, once you’ve relaxed, you have extra energy. It comes from no longer having to clench tight muscles, grit your teeth, and hold your head upright.
Sometimes you just need to take a little time for yourself before you can continue on. The beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to pause and reflect, with a good massage supporting your ability to step back. Then, when you move forward, it’s with fresh energy and more focus.
This season is a time of wishing for peace on earth. Often, it seems like an overwhelming goal for anyone to even begin! When I’m feeling helpless about how I can affect change in the world in anyway, I remember a question asked of Mother Teresa. The inquiry was how she managed to help all those children over many years. In paraphrasing, her answer was that she simply focused on helping one child at a time. Over the years, the number of people she helped grew very large, but each moment she worked just to help the one child in front of her.
I love that answer because we all tend to get ahead of ouselves. It’s good to have big goals, but it’s also important to break it down into smaller, manageable tasks. In order to bring peace on earth I believe if we all practice to do one thing each day to bring peace to ourselves or someone else, it will grow into a new way of thinking and acting that will seem automatic to generations that follow us.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
“If we are creating ourselves all the time, then it is never too late to begin creating the bodies we want instead of the ones we mistakenly assume we are stuck with.” – Deepak Chopra
Start creating the body you want by showing it a little love and gentleness. Massage is an excellent way to get in touch with how your body is feeling, soothe your nerves, and tone many body systems beyond just muscles. Your digestive and immune system benefit greatly from massage. I bet both you and your loved ones could use the gift of massage.
Have you heard about the new trend in standing desks? There’s a strong reason for it – continuous sitting for long periods of time weakens back muscles which can lead to pain. Back pain is a very common cause of visits to the doctor. It’s the fifth most common reason for hospitalisation and the third most common cause of surgery. Sitting also puts 40% more pressure on your spine than standing. Considering how many hours we need to be at our desks, one thing we can change is how many hours we’re sitting down.
Maintaining correct posture is probably the last thing you’re thinking about when working on a deadline, but there are simple things you can do. Changing the angle at which you sit can reduce compression of the discs in the spine, so lean back slightly every now and then, perhaps setting a chime on your phone for every half hour. Get up and walk around for a couple of minutes every hour. You can even pair it with a trip to get water so you stay hydrated.
You don’t have to go so far as installing a stand-up desk, but incorporating standing, walking, and any other non-sitting poses into your day will help alot. Wiggling probably wasn’t fostered in your elementary school, but it’s certainly good for your back!
According to Jane Pernotto Ehrman, M. Ed., behavioral health specialist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Lifestyle Medicine, meditation not only helps with stress relief, it also boosts your immune system, and decreases anger. It ultimately works on reducing cortisone, the stress hormone, which can lead to health problems including weight gain if levels are too high in your body.
I’m just like you and have a real difficulty finding the motivation to meditate. The easy part is that you really don’t have to worry about doing it wrong. The hardest part is just making time in a quiet place and staying there. Use your breathing, chant a mantra, stare at a flame, visualize a favorite place or some other tool to focus your attention. Your mind will wander. Forgive yourself, even the great yogis have wandering minds. The important thing is to remind yourself to focus whenever you notice your mind is wandering. No punishment, no guilt, just back to your focus. Breathe in and out, fully, deeply, peacefully. It’s really worth it.
To preserve the peace, finish your day with a long, hot bath, says Dr. Kathleen Hall, international stress expert, and founder and CEO of The Stress Institute. Soothing music and dim lights help set a restful mood along with little luxuries like a loofa sponge, scented soap, or a soft bath robe.
A detoxifying bath protects your positive outlook, says Jennifer Davidson Dowd, certified aromatherapist and yoga teacher. Add 8 drops of grapefruit, 5 drops of juniper, and 5 drops of fennel essential oils to Epsom salts before adding it to your bathwater, she suggests. Kick back and enjoy a soak for at least 20 minutes.
After your bath, try the Viparita karani pose, also known as Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose, for ten minutes. When you’re done, drink a glass of water or pour a cup of chamomile tea, and curl up with your favorite book, movie. or music. Place 3 drops of lavender on your pillow before bed and enjoy sweet dreams!
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If you want to curb stress, increase happiness, and improve your cardiovascular health, try smiling and laughing more. It’s proven to help not only your emotional health, but increases your overall success in life as well as your longevity.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that smiling instantly improves your mood and laughing 20 minutes can increase the health of your heart. If you can’t find something to laugh at, try this trick I learned from having a father who taught elementary kids. Being silly makes you laugh and relaxes those around you. When there’s nothing funny going on, sit in front of a mirror and make funny faces at yourself until you laugh. I even wore a clown nose for awhile and thinking about it still makes me chuckle. I have a friend who wore a snorkle while changing her son’s diaper to keep the mood light.
Get goofy, it works. I have stopped my children’s temper tantrums and survived the swings of teenagers by being silly. Even if I don’t make my kids laugh every time, I crack myself up on a regular basis. I know my own goofiness helps me behave with more patience and kindness towards others, but I was pleased to find out it just might be helping me live longer too.
You know those voices in your head? It’s okay, everyone has them, it doesn’t mean you’re crazy. The only bad thing is that most of what they say is negative. They put you down, make you worry, and generally stress you out. Other than tuning out the voices with a good massage, another antidote is practicing gratitude.
Practicing gratitude is easy. Just keep track of what you’re grateful for or even what makes you feel good. You can write down ten things every day in a journal or share them on facebook. Can’t think of ten? Write three or even just one. Each day you start notice more and more as you begin looking for them throughout your day.
There’s several benefits. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that you can lower your levels of harmful cortisol hormones and even improve your memory and critical thinking skills by 10 to 15 percent. You’re less stressed AND more productive. I would even suggest you become happier.
Did you know that essential oils can help keep you hydrated in hot weather? Adding high quality essential oils to your drinking water increases your motivation to down enough water to keep away common symptoms of mild dehydration such as muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue.
Try different blends of peppermint, lemon, orange, or grapefruit to suit your taste buds. Of course, you need to use a high quality, therapeutic grade essential oil in order to be able to use them internally. If you’d like more information, please give me a call or email, or visit www.Lesley.VibrantScents.com I disagree with the most interesting man in the world. Don’t stay thirsty, my friends.