Stress Management

Five Tips to Boost Your Energy and Happiness

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Short grey days and long cold nights are back, but this doesn’t have to darken your disposition. These five tips are guaranteed to boost your energy and happiness levels!

1. Get out in the sunshine – even if it’s barely visible through cloudy skies! A brisk 10 minute walk will reward you with a quick burst of energy lasting up to two hours. Warm up with some yoga backbends to stimulate your metabolism. Simply stand tall, resting hands on your low back, and lean back as far as feels good to you. Follow this with a forward fold, reaching toward toes. Ahhhh! Do this daily and within a few weeks you’ll notice your overall energy and happiness have increased. For more benefit, use this time to repeat some positive affirmations, like:

I am now healthy and happy.

2. After that walk carbs may be calling you, but while sugary treats give you a burst of energy, they also quickly lead to a sugar crash. Instead, choose a healthy snack with protein and a big glass of water to keep your energy up. Not getting enough water can make you feel tired and hungry. Pee should be the colour of apple juice. Lighter means you’re drinking too much water, darker means you aren’t getting enough.

3. Colour your world! Surrounding yourself with uplifting vivacious yellow or vibrant orange colours will stimulate and energize you! Dress in these colours, add them to your décor with throw pillows or cozy blankets, fill a bowl with fresh lemons or oranges, even dab their essential oils on your wrist for an uplifting effect.

4. Eliminate stress wherever possible. Practice the fine art of saying no to prevent feeling overwhelmed. Boost your happiness by living in the moment, rather than mentally projecting yourself into the future, which produces anxiety. People who regularly engage in spiritual practices are twice as likely to report being happy, so why not try a simple mindfulness meditation – sitting in silence watching your thoughts without being attached to them. It’s like a mini mental vacation!

5. Nothing zaps energy and happiness like grudges. As the song says, “Let it go, let it go.” Forgiveness is a gift for yourself, it has nothing to do with the other person. Even if they don’t ‘deserve’ it, you do! Try nurturing gratitude instead – it’s my favourite method for boosting happiness. A daily list is a great way to start this healthy habit – why not make it a family practice?

6. Smile! This actually tells your brain you’re happy whether you are or not. While you’re at it, practice being happy for no reason at all! Set a timer for five minutes and celebrate as if you’ve heard the best news ever – fist bump the air, let out a woo-hoo! Not only does this feel good in the moment, you’re setting all those fabulous feelings and thoughts out, and what comes back to you in real life will feel equally good! And remember, spring is coming!

 

Originally Published: December 7, 2017

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Alexandria Barker, Contributor

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Alexandria Barker is a certified life coach and Soul Re-alignment practitioner, providing healing at the deepest level for lasting transformation. She is also an Infinite Possibilities Coach specializing in freeing you of limiting beliefs, enabling you to live the life of your dreams.



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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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).



Escaping the Worry Whirlpool

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Have you ever been caught up in a whirlpool? Everything spins so madly you don’t know which end is up and fighting against it leadsonly to exhaustion. A worry whirlpool is much the same. Something is causing incessant worry, making your head spin. The resulting negative thoughts cause stress and anxiety, and fighting it only draws you in deeper.

Not only that, but because thoughts become things, your worrisome thoughts are vibrating out and matching up with other equally undesirable thoughts, conversations and situations, until it seems your whole life is turned on its head.

If you can’t fight your way out, how do you escape this downward spiral?

The obvious solution is to stop thinking those thoughts, but this is much easier said than done because the Law of Attraction is keeping them coming. It’s much easier to distract yourself by taking a nap, watching a movie or visiting a friend. This will give you the mental space necessary to begin thinking different thoughts. You won’t shift directly from worry to happiness, but you can bridge your worrisome thoughts by repeating phrases such as, ‘things always work out for me’ or ‘I don’t have to think about that right now’ to break the cycle.

Think of a well-worn path in a field. It’s easy to keep going down that path because the weeds have been trampled down. You don’t have to think about where you’re putting your feet, it’s become automatic. When you make the decision to take a new path, it’s difficult initially but gets easier each time you use it, while the old path grows over and is forgotten.

It’s the same with your thoughts. Each time you choose the new path it becomes easier and strengthens your resolve. You are creating new patterns of thought that serve you while simultaneously releasing the negative ones that don’t.

You can take things further with the ‘tell a new story’ process. As the worrisome situation shows what you don’t want, what you do want becomes clear. I recommend sitting with pen and paper and imagining it unfolding exactly as you’d like. You don’t have to know how it can be resolved or even the precise results you want. Just write how happy everyone is with the miraculous solution, holding the feeling in your heart while picturing their happy faces.

If worrying about a loved one, remember we are eternal beings who chose certain challenges each lifetime for the learning it will provide. What we think is a bad thing may be just the experience needed for their spiritual growth, leading to much happier circumstances for them.

If that doesn’t bring relief, consider that worrying gives more energy, thus power, to unwanted things. It is essentially praying for what you don’t want, and robs you of the ability to help. Your best defence against worry whirlpools is to shine your light as bright as you can. This will uplift those you were worried about, and anyone else lucky enough to be around you.

 

Originally Published: September 20, 2017

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Alexandria Barker, Contributor

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Alexandria Barker is a certified life coach and Soul Re-alignment practitioner, providing healing at the deepest level for lasting transformation. She is also an Infinite Possibilities Coach specializing in freeing you of limiting beliefs, enabling you to live the life of your dreams.



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

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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).