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
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.
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.
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
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).