Healthy Habits

Three Easy Steps to Managing Holiday Stress

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With winter comes some amazing times, such as first snowfall, Christmas spirit in the air, and family and friends gathering

together. It really is the most wonderful time of year. Unfortunately, with these events come stressful moments and our anxiety levels often heighten. As much as we love the holidays and all that comes with them, we can sometimes forget to really fully enjoy them due to the stress we place on ourselves to make it the best holiday ever. So, this holiday season, don’t let the stress that creeps in supress your mental and physical health.

Here are my easy-to-do activities that will help you get through the holidays stress-free!

1. Deep Breaths – Deep breaths are the easiest way to calm your mind and body. Tricks to doing this properly are making sure to fully expand your lungs and breathe from the very bottom of your lungs with each inhale and exhale. Often, we breathe shallow in our lungs throughout our days and this depletes oxygen to our cells. Also, make sure to slow your inhales and exhales down to a slow count of five each time. This is an easy de-stressing tool you can use no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

2. Make time for yourself – With lots of gatherings, hosting, shopping, and the many lists that don’t stop, make sure you are taking time for yourself. When we forget about ourselves this is when our stress levels climb. This time can be anywhere from just 15 minutes to one hour a day. Schedule this time in and make sure this becomes non- negotiable time for you. During this time, you can do anything you wish that brings happiness to you. Make sure you do something you love such as being creative, walking, reading, taking a bath, yoga or meditation. Which brings me to my last tip...

3. Meditate – Even if you’ve never tried it before, the effects are always great for the body. Meditation calms the mind and the physical body. Just following a guided meditation for even two minutes will have a relaxing effect. Anywhere from two minutes to 20 minutes is a typical mediation time. This allows your mind to wash away the stress of the day, forget about everything that has to get done and focus on yourself and be in the moment. You will leave feeling calm, relaxed and energized. For easy guided meditations visit danagoodfellow.ca.

Most of all have fun! Make sure you’re enjoying the holidays; after all, that’s why we celebrate them. Keep up with these three easy steps and you will be able to combat those stressful moments that are inevitable. For more tips and tools that will help you relax and de-stress, you can always visit danagoodfellow.ca. Happy Holidays, everyone!

 

Originally Published: December 14, 2017

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Dana Goodfellow, RMT, Contributor and D.Ac., Meditation Teacher, Owner – Quinte Mind & Body

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Dana is the owner of Quinte Mind & Body, and has been a practicing Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) for many years in the Belleville area. Through Dana’s love of learning and providing superior results for her patients, she has added modalities from her knowledge of the body and medical treatment. Two modalities are Contemporary Medical Acupuncture and becoming a Certified Meditation Teacher and Facilitator. As a graduate of an advanced course of Massage Therapy at Georgian College, Dana takes great pride in treating patients with many different manual techniques. After a year in practice, Dana received her certification from McMaster University for Contemporary Medical Acupuncture.



Why I'm Taking a Month Off

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Have you ever gotten back from a week’s holidays and thought, “that just wasn’t long enough.”? I know I have.

Even though I’m good at relaxing and letting go of work once I’m on vacation, I do always feel like I am still connected to it in a subtle way. I always have my phone with me. I usually check it twice a day in case there are any emergencies that need to be attended to. I tend to be rushing to get things done before I leave, and then I’m rushing to catch up when I get back.

For better mental health, and at the recommendation of more than one person I see to keep myself healthy and balanced, I needed a longer break from my self-imposed workaholic tendencies. So, this upcoming four-week holiday has actually been eight months in the making.

I believe the exact words of advice that were given to me were: “If you keep going at this pace you will burn out in two years.”

Talk about a reality check.

So here are five reasons I am taking an extended vacation and why you should consider it too. You don’t have to jump into the deep end like me, but your vacation should be longer than what people expect and longer than what is comfortable for you, in order for it to be effective.

1. It’s a priority for my long-term health

I became aware that helping more patients become healthy isn’t going to make me healthy unless I walk the talk in all areas, not just the ones I’m good at. I want all patients, including myself, to avoid getting sucked into the culture of cortisol. So, instead of giving myself a raise, I’m giving myself more time off.

2. Parkinson’s law

Originally, Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. For me, even though I love my job, I don’t want work to become the most satisfying thing in my life. I need to make space and time for the “fun stuff” or before I know it another year will have gone by.

3. We all need a “deloading” phase in life

Taken from the world of exercise physiology, it’s a concept that can be applied to other areas of life. In the sports world, it’s a back-off week, or a planned reduction in exercise volume or intensity. The whole point of this week is to prepare the body for the increased demand of the next phase or period of training and more importantly mitigate the risk of overtraining. For me, this means avoiding burn-out!

4. It’s OK to say no sometimes

I have a quote that many patients have seen on the filing cabinet in my office that reads, “You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.” Up until this year, I have planned my vacation around other people, other events, less busy times of year, etc. Instead of having my own agenda, it was determined by default, dependent on everyone else’s agenda. I realized that this was rooted in the limiting belief that saying no was somehow a bad thing. I’m slowly learning to say no when it conflicts with my priorities.

5. The most important thing is usually the most uncomfortable

Being away from my office for a month is kinda scary, not just uncomfortable. My mind immediately started to go to the worst-case scenario when it was first suggested to me. Now that I have had six months to get used to the idea and plan for my absence, it’s getting a little less uncomfortable. I keep reminding myself of the quote from Neale Donald Walsch – “Life begins just outside your comfort zone.”

Now, I would love to hear from you! Which of my reasons for taking an extended vacation resonated with you the most? Leave a comment below!

 

Originally Published: October 21, 2017

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about the author.jpg
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Dr. Michelle Durkin, BSC(H), ND, Contributor and Bowen Practitioner at Quinte Naturopathic Centre

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Dr. Michelle Durkin attended the University of Guelph and obtained a Bachelor of Science with honours in Biomedical Science. With this medical background, she went on to study at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto and graduated as a licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine in 2003. Dr. Durkin founded her clinic, the Quinte Naturopathic Centre. As a Naturopathic Doctor she is very committed to providing excellent individualized health care in a warm and professional environment. Michelle is also a professional Bowenwork® practitioner. In addition, Dr. Durkin holds professional memberships with the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND), the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), and the Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND).



Meditation: Getting started and creating your space

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What you think, you become.
— Buddha

Truer words were never spoken when it comes to meditation.

Our mind is the most powerful entity in our body and has the ability to affect every aspect, right down to the cellular level. This is why we feel physical tension when we are under mental stress. This can reside many different ways in our bodies, such as tension in our necks and shoulders, headaches, upset stomachs, irritable bowels, etc. Our mental stress can also affect our actions and reactions through our daily life. It can cloud our minds and decision making and therefore produce negative outcomes. It is important to control these outcomes and manage how we think and feel. If our minds are practicing positive and relaxing meditations, our physical body will follow suit.

Meditation can be beneficial to the body in many ways. It can help with sleeping, releasing the stress of the day, help you stay focused and productive, and have an overall healthy awareness of your mind and body, to name a few. Starting meditation is easier than you may think. All it takes is the ‘want’ to do it and making time in your day for it. As you practice it more, it will become easier. Your mind will develop with the meditation practice and you will see differences in your life as you continue.

Living in our health conscious society today, we often make time to work on our physical health. We go to the gym on a regular basis, we get outside and become active when we can, and we are aware of eating healthy and making conscious choices when it comes to food. We know the impacts and benefits to eating local and organic foods, and we are even now more aware of possible intolerances in our bodies. However, we don’t seem to make the same amount of effort when it comes to our mental health. We can set aside an hour for the gym and block out our Tuesday nights for our sports team we belong to, but we can’t imagine sitting still for 10 minutes to create a clear mental space. Now that we understand that our mind controls our physical body, doesn’t it make sense to take care of our mind to the same extent, if not more?

So, if you’re ready to experience the mind-body connection with mediation, here are my top five tips on creating the best mediation space to get you started.

Tip #1: Make sure your meditation space is quiet. You don’t want to be distracted by anything. This doesn’t just mean other people; if you are going to hear traffic noise, dogs barking, phones ringing, or anything that will take your attention away, meditation will be a harder task. If you live in a busy household, try using something that creates white noise such as a fan, heater, or sound machine to drown it out.

Tip #2: You want your meditation space to be calming to you as well. It doesn’t matter where you meditate, as long as it is somewhere you enjoy. It can be a designated area in your home, in a room you love to be in, cozy in your favourite chair, or on your back deck in the sun. It can even be somewhere you go; maybe it’s down by the water, on a beach, or a local park. Just make sure it’s completely relaxing and calming to you. Try out different spaces and see what works well.

Tip #3: While finding this space, keep ‘mental clutter’ in mind. If a space is cluttered to you or messy, this is going to affect how you feel in the space. This will in turn create a non-relaxing space and could distract you.

Tip #4: Comfort is important with meditating. You don’t want to be fidgeting. Make sure you have pillows or proper support for your meditation time. I enjoy sitting on a meditation pillow that is more firm and high, or simply using a fluffy throw pillow is fine too.

Tip #5: Lighting in your meditation space is important. Lighting can affect our moods, so keep the lighting soft and dim for a relaxing meditation, or try sunlight for an uplifting effect.

Once you have your mind clear of clutter, and have a calming, comfortable, properly lit space, you’re ready for a great meditating experience! Now that you’re ready with your space, check out danagoodfellow.ca for your guided meditations to get you started. These are beginner friendly and easy to follow, plus, you’ll receive more tips and tools for you to use during your practice. Start today to become a ‘better you’, remember, ‘what you think, you become’.

Happy meditating!

 

Originally Published: August 28, 2017

Author opinion disclosure.jpg

about the author.jpg
Photo 2017-05-20, 8 05 49 PM.jpg

Dana Goodfellow, RMT, Contributor and D.Ac., Meditation Teacher, Owner – Quinte Mind & Body

+ Read Bio

Dana is the owner of Quinte Mind & Body, and has been a practicing Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) for many years in the Belleville area. Through Dana’s love of learning and providing superior results for her patients, she has added modalities from her knowledge of the body and medical treatment. Two modalities are Contemporary Medical Acupuncture and becoming a Certified Meditation Teacher and Facilitator. As a graduate of an advanced course of Massage Therapy at Georgian College, Dana takes great pride in treating patients with many different manual techniques. After a year in practice, Dana received her certification from McMaster University for Contemporary Medical Acupuncture.



Stress Management: The secret to keeping it all together

Healthy Living Now | healthy living | healthy living Ontario | healthy living Canada | wellness | wellness Ontario | wellness Canada | fitness | fitness Ontario | fitness Canada | healthy eating | healthy eating Ontario | healthy eating Canada | mindfulness | mindfulness Ontario | mindfulness Canada | lifestyle | Ontario lifestyle | Canadian lifestyle | family | Ontario family | Ontario family magazine | Canadian family |  David Suzuki | Dr. Natasha Turner, N.D. | Dr. Oz  | living green | green living | green living Ontario | green living Canada | green living magazine | family strategies | family strategies Ontario | family strategies Canada | products new & now | healthy products | healthy products Ontario | healthy products Canada | lifestyle products | lifestyle products Ontario | lifestyle products Canada | healthy living products | Ontario healthy living products | Canadian healthy living products |  beauty | beauty products | Ontario beauty | Ontario beauty products | Canadian beauty | Canadian beauty products | fashion | fashion products | Ontario fashion | Ontario fashion products | Canadian fashion | Canadian fashion products | home | home products | Ontario home | Ontario home products | Canadian home | Canadian home products  |Stress Management |   Summer 2017 | Stress Management The Secret to keeping it all together | Michelle Durkin, ND
Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’.
— Eckhart Tolle

If someone asked me how I was doing over the last three months, I could easily have said “stressed”.

I have taken on a couple of major projects that probably should not have been attempted at the same time; I have had two significant staff changes; and I trained for the CN Tower Climb. Add to that family commitments, full-time work hours, and running my own business and it’s easy to see how my plate got too full too fast.

So what’s my secret to keeping it all together?

Here are three important keys to stress management that I not only practice, but also preach to my patients:

1. Eat my veggies – I imagine how I would feel mentally and physically if I was not eating a proper diet. I can imagine this because I see it in my patients every day. Ensuring half of my plate contains veggies is always my focus and then I build the rest of my meal around that. If I can’t get veggies in at breakfast, I aim to at least have some protein and good fat – like a smoothie with protein powder and avocado, and stay away from high-carb, grain-based things like cereal, toast, pancakes or bagels.

2. Yin yoga – I have switched from doing hot yoga to this slower, gentler version to reduce my cortisol levels by 50 percent each time I practice. Right now, I do twice a week: once a week at a yoga studio, and once a week at home using a YouTube video I found online.

3. Chunking – This involves breaking the projects I have to complete into smaller, more doable steps. I always feel myself getting overwhelmed when I look at all the things I need to get done all at once. Once I break it down into smaller steps, it becomes much more manageable and I’m more productive if I can focus on one step at a time. The other benefit of breaking it down into smaller chunks it that I can decide which of those steps I can delegate to someone else. In recent weeks, this meant hiring a student to come into the office three days a week to do data entry that otherwise would cost me hours of time. The quote I was reminded of before I made the decision to hire was this, “If you can spend money to solve the problem, you don’t have a problem.”

Now I would love to hear from you! What is your stress-busting secret? Leave a comment below.

 

Originally Published: August 14, 2017

Author opinion disclosure.jpg

about the author.jpg
Photo 2017-05-20, 7 45 56 PM.jpg

Dr. Michelle Durkin, BSC(H), ND, Contributor and Bowen Practitioner at Quinte Naturopathic Centre

+ Read Bio

Dr. Michelle Durkin attended the University of Guelph and obtained a Bachelor of Science with honours in Biomedical Science. With this medical background, she went on to study at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto and graduated as a licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine in 2003. Dr. Durkin founded her clinic, the Quinte Naturopathic Centre. As a Naturopathic Doctor she is very committed to providing excellent individualized health care in a warm and professional environment. Michelle is also a professional Bowenwork® practitioner. In addition, Dr. Durkin holds professional memberships with the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND), the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), and the Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND).