Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Looking After Yourself

It is not a surprise that during the holidays our already maxed out adrenals go into super overload because now we are hosting, cooking, shopping, travelling and doing it all with a smile on our faces. 

We can read and agree with everything out there about decreasing your stress during the holidays, incorporating self-care routine, not falling off your health and wellness routine and setting boundaries but nothing will work unless you take serious steps to ensure they do. 

This month, along with others prior to December, we talk about different avenues on how you can look after yourself. We have talked with local 'experts' in the field to ensure we are getting the correct information and providing you with resources to further pursue that avenue if you so choose to. 

Finding healthy ways to help manage your stress, not just in December but year round, is critical for your wellness. The added demands that come in December brings this issue into the spot light and creating boundaries is especially important now. 

We sat down with Tammy from Bliss Counselling and talked specifically about holiday stress which you can watch here. Learn from this month but take these strategies and implement them year round.

Remember : It's okay if you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and anxious

It is not okay to ignore or push these feelings deeper inside. Acknowledge and deal with them. You are doing the best you can and it is okay to feel this way, be gentle with yourself. 

Some ways to decrease the stress can include; 

  • Exercise. Sweat. It. Out. This method will not only help burn off those delicious baked goods but it is also a mood booster. Last year we talked to  Kim Holmes about ways to stay active and healthy during the holiday season. Check out her great advice here . 

  • Yoga. This is the perfect strategy to help you slow down and be present. Yoga helps calm our minds and release tension in our bodies. We have many fantastic yoga studios surrounding us so pop online to see their holiday schedules. Here are a few if you do not have your favourite studio; Modo Yoga Waterloo , Fearless Heart Yoga , Big Bliss, Amma Yoga and Queen Street Yoga 

  • Guided Meditation. This is an easy one to incorporate into your day. You can find a multitude of free, or low cost, meditation apps that can help give you imagery and direction if you are new to this form of stress reduction.  This type of mindfulness has been shown to improve mood, decrease stress, improve, boost the immune system, even improve fertility. Studies are also showing there are huge benefits in children as well. We have summarized a few that you can read about here

  • Breathe. It sounds simple and it is. We just need to pay attention and slow it down. Breathing practices can help support a positive mental and physical state of health. If you practice this slow breathing techniques after a meal, it helps facilitate parasympathetic mode to put your body into 'rest and digest' mode. Follow along with Megan Prenty by clicking here

  • Sleep Hygiene. We know that lack of sleep has a long list of health implications and it is even harder to get a good rest when you are stressed! It is so important to have a routine before bed that takes you out of the sympathetic, go go go phase to a slower parasympathetic state before hitting the pillow. Dr. Jessica goes through the roller coaster of stress and some sleep hygiene tips

  • Pamper Yourself. Set some time aside to have those beautiful social media moments of #selfcaresundays. Where you have lit some candles, put on your favourite Spotify playlist, fill the tub with epsom salts/bath bombs/ bubbles and submerge yourself in the wonder. A warm soak helps 
    • reduce stress
    •  improve your sleep since your body temperature drops after getting out of the bath
    •  helps reduce body aches and paints
    • improves detoxification by drawing out lactic acid. 
The dim lighting also helps calm you and if you use lavender, sweet orange or a relaxing blend essential oil into your bath water, or scented bath bombs your senses will sure to go into relaxation mode. 

  • Spend Time In Nature. Getting outside into the fresh, maybe brisk, air is great for us. It helps ground us and makes us slow down and enjoy the view. Your body will automatically become more at peace when you are trecking through the trails. This is not a social media moment, keep your phone in your pocket and take it all in with your eyes. 

Too many of us feel guilty about sitting down, saying no or scheduling 'me time'. Think about how crazy that is! Self-care is never a waste of time and it is never too late to make some lasting changes. Make this holiday season about the moments, memories and the times together rather than the gifts and the Martha Stewart table placements. Shift your mindset and enjoy the holiday season. 

Happy Holidays 

From Your Friends at The Coach House

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