Thursday, March 8, 2018

Finding Daily Moments for Self Care

Just this week, I witnessed 3 working women break down with the realization that they haven’t felt they had time for self-care.  One devoted woman has been caring for her chronically ill neighbor since his recent surgery, spending every dime on meals for him and his sister, missing her beloved dog, running from home to hospital to work back to hospital.  Another, a working Mom looking very tired, hair undone, told me she has not had any time for grooming due to sick kids and a travelling husband.  Another, a doctor/mom seeking care for her (made worse by stress) neck pain described her life as if her hands are always holding a plate of marbles only able to focus on the marble that is rolling off. 

With our modern day hectic schedules, we often put ourselves last. Things like exercise, healthy eating, and sleep need to be added to the calendar in order to be accomplished.  And usually there is a trade-off such as less income, less time for relaxation or less time for family.  We can’t create more minutes in a day, so what can we do?

Consider a different approach.  Rather than changing your life, work on changing your state of mind.  Psychologists advise modifying your mental perspective as a way to cope with any difficult situation. Pondering this and my stressful day ahead one morning, I realized that pausing to take my fiber and B complex supplements represents a tiny moment of self-care.  Just realizing this gave me comfort.  

When I had time to think about it more later, I realized that there ARE times we build in our day for ourselves: preparing a delicious beverage, grooming, meals, a phone call to a friend or loved one.   Rushing through these rituals saves only seconds to a few minutes; time we can often actually spare. 

Make this advice your own to re-visit how you see your daily routines and habits and identify those that are purely for you. Smell your coffee, give your hair an extra brush, scrub your back during your shower, call someone who makes you laugh. These seconds of self-love and self-care will pay off with moments of less stress, more happiness, and ultimately, better overall health.  Enjoy the moments!    

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

10 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions You Can Make Your Own

Still haven’t committed to a Healthy New Year’s Resolution for 2018?  It’s never too late to start a new health routine, but the first week of the new year is always inspiring.  If you already are inundated with resolutions, consider trying one of the following out.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t stick to the plan; do the best you can.  Even a little of one of the following ideas will make you healthier.

1)Set a timer to take a deep breath every hour.  This not only opens the lungs and improves posture but is great deep breathing training for both fitness and relaxation.    
2) Stretch for 5 minutes a day while focusing on a beautiful scene (even a photo) works to relax your body and your mind

3) Take the stairs for at least 1 flight each time you are faced with an elevator/escalator to increase your cardiac fitness and calorie burn

4) Try a new piece of equipment at the gym or a new home exercise.  Start with just 10 minutes to relieve workout routine boredom and challenge new muscles.

5)Add an extra work out a week:  this can include a new fun class, an extra walk, a new sport (golf, tennis, bowling!)

6) Each time you drink soda or alcohol, swap half to seltzer.  Add it to white wine or liquors to cut down on alcohol intake.  Both the sugar in regular soda and the chemicals in diet drinks should be limited to 1 drink or less a day!  

7) Walk for 10 minutes after one meal daily.  You will likely eat less as you will limit eating time to include walking.  Your metabolism after eating will increase also!

8) Go to bed 20 minutes earlier.  Sleep de stresses, allows clearer thinking, and lets your body and brain have the rest it needs. 

9) Swap tea for 1 coffee in the AM and 1 boozy drink in the PM  Tea can rev or calm but is filled with cancer preventing antioxidants
and boosts immunity

10)  Feel Grateful for a few minutes at the beginning or end of every day.  Studies show being grateful is directly related to happiness and reduced illness. 

Give your favorite a try for a week or 2.  Don’t find yourself doing it regularly?  Try another.  Repeat as necessary.  Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and more beautiful 2018!!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Five Tips for Staying Fit Through the Holidays

Five Tips for Staying Fit through the Holidays           

Joyous news:  the Holiday Season is here! Is your emotional reaction happy, excited, sad, anxious or stressed?  What about your schedule?  Getting overbooked already?  How can you possibly squeeze in time for mood improving, weight managing, and health improving fitness? And what about time for sleep? 

More joyous news:  you CAN stay fit through the holidays without further stressing your mind or your schedule.   In fact, fitness activities temper emotions and clear the mind, allowing you to stay more efficient.  Feeling fit and mentally clear will make every holiDAY more manageable. Here’s how:

The first recommendation is to re-think what exercise is.  The most beneficial exercise does not require changing clothes, breaking a sweat, joining a gym, or hiring a trainer. This exercise is walking.  And all fitness studies have concluded that walking in 10 minute increments for a total of 20-30 minutes a day increases cardiac, mental and overall health.  Think about that.  10 minutes three times a day.  That equates to parking farther away, zooming around a store a few extra times, walking the dog a few extra blocks, taking a 10 minute walk at lunch or after meals,  or even marching in place while waiting on line.  Instead of coffee, catch up with a friend over a walk! Walking increases your life span and keeps your lower body bones and spine strong.  It is good for balance and an excellent means of transportation...
Family Walking

For those of you with lower body injuries or pain… don’t give up!  If you don’t have time to get to the doctor you can go directly to a physical therapist who will give you exercises and do treatments to alleviate the pain.  Want to heal yourself?  Search WebMD for tips on common causes of foot, knee and hip pain such as plantar fasciitis, patellofemoral pain, and bursitis.  Icing twice a day for 5 minutes can be curative.  Also know that walking for 10 minutes should not make any of these conditions worse. 

Image result for indoor biking photosAnother best exercise, especially if you are injured, is biking.   Consider biking for transportation to town or the train or (just please use a helmet!).  Too cold or dark out? A stationary bike is a great place to read the paper, catch up on emails or social media or have a chat with a family member.  You can purchase a decent stationary bike for around 200 dollars; the perfect early holiday gift. 

If you love the gym like me but don’t feel you have the time, re think your gym workout.  Try to combine exercises such as abs with arm strengthening or leg raises.  Using an elliptical or bike with arm pulls for 20 minutes is all you really need.  You can stretch and do spot toning at home later when watching TV or right before bed while winding down.  Keeping a foam roller and a few weights home will allow you to extend your gym workout to later in the day or early in the morning.    

Finally, use your weekends.  Studies show that you can catch up on both sleep and exercise by binging on both when you have the time.  The results are cumulative over a week.  And don’t forget to stretch on weekends to prevent pain.  Here’s wishing you the happiest and healthiest holiday season!