How are you holding up? Does this time of year create stress for you? I've been feeling it, and many of my clients have too. So I wanted to reach out and share some self-care tips that help keep you balanced (at least temporarily) and give you an opportunity for respite among the busy holiday hustle and bustle. See below for my tips and tell me if they helped you.
Also - don't forget to buy your Gift Certificates soon! Our special offer on Gift Certificates is only good through 12/18! We can't wait to give your friend or family member an incredible experience: from our newly updated, serene surroundings to the highest quality treatment session - they will LOVE the gift of a Well Within Gift Certificate.
Take a deep breath. Honor your body.
Choose balance, find JOY!
The Toggle Switch
I like to think about stress as a physiological response, that with practice and various techniques, we can switch off, like a toggle switch that goes between activating stress or activating the relaxation response. Usually the switch gets set to stress as we react to perceived stressors - it is an automatic response that goes on without much awareness on our part. To get your mind/body to toggle over to the relaxation response however, requires awareness and conscious choice. And it takes practice to override the stress response and toggle the switch in the other direction.
As you know, releasing stress hormones in low levels continuously is considered chronic stress and over time, causes damage to our tissues, lowers immunity and is responsible for 80% of illnesses. On the flip side, when we activate the relaxation response, the stress response is turned off, and the hormones responsible for better mood, better digestion, boosted immunity, healing and repair, are released. So the question is - How do we flip the switch??
Find Balance Through the Five Senses
Some of you may know that I am studying Ayurveda and I love using the vast and complex knowledge of this ancient science to guide people to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. One of the simple principles of Ayurveda is finding balance by implementing the opposite. Here's what I mean.
Everyone reacts to stress differently, but if you are someone who feels like your mind is racing, you have too much on your plate, your heart is pounding, and you're having trouble feeling calm, you want to balance that by surrounding yourself with the opposite. Using the five senses, you would want to slow things down, and experience soothing sensations:
Spend time in quiet, or listen to slow, peaceful music with deep tones (Hard rock or fast dance music will only add to the mind-racing).
You would want your food to have grounding, heavy qualities with whole grains and healthy fats as well as plenty of cooked, sweet vegetables like roasted root veggies. (foods that are highly processed, bitter or spicy will aggravate your digestion and your mood)
You'll want your visual experience to be beautiful and serene - taking a walk in nature is perfect, or if you don't have access to that, look at gorgeous nature images on your device. (watching your favorite crime drama will create more stress)
Use grounding, sweet and soothing aromatherapy to help find calm. Lavender, sandalwood or vetiver are good choices, but a quick google search will provide even more choices.
Finally, make sure you stay warm and cozy with soft fabrics, warm food and warm drinks. (skip the ice water, and big raw salad and opt for warm tea and steamed/roasted veg)
Don't forget to breathe. Slow deep breaths for several minutes throughout the day have been shown to activate that toggle switch to relaxation mode.
Switch on Relaxation with Meditation
I can't complete this recommendation of finding balance without mentioning meditation. Here's a really cool fact for you:
There are 4 main neurotransmitters that are related to the healing, calming relaxation response that is so beneficial for long term health. They are: dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and endorphins. According to Chopra Center research, meditation choreographs the simultaneous release of all 4 of these neurotransmitters - something that no single drug can do - and all without side-effects.
Explore Meditation with Veronica Adler and Laura Viale, of Well Within! Perfect for beginners, or anyone interested in exploring different meditation ...
Need Help Finding Your Toggle Switch?
If you need a sure-fire method to flip the switch and turn off stress, we can help. Massage and Acupuncture are automatic toggle switches and will activate the relaxation response with ease. WARNING: Post-treatment bliss is a known side effect, and can last several days - especially when combined with the balancing tips above.