Archive for Wellness

What’s It Going to Take?

What’s it going to take to make your health a priority this year? I don’t mean just avoiding getting sick but how to achieve good health. With all the present fear surrounding the virus, perhaps it’s better to focus on the basics of good health and how to keep it, maintain it, and treasure it.

So what can you do? 

Here are three tips to help you focus on what’s important:

Tip #1 Keep It Simple. Trying to do too many things at once may cause all your best intentions to backfire.

At the beginning of a new year there’s a mad rush to get out and start breaking in your new sneakers, or peddling around the park on your new bike, or how about that great home exercise equipment – Peloton anyone? 

Or maybe you found a bright new shiny Vitamix under your Christmas tree. You might want to jump in and start everything at once. I encourage you, however, to choose just one thing to start. Pick that one thing and stick with it for a period of time. Once you’ve mastered it you can then move onto the next.

Tip #2 Give Yourself Credit. Making changes is not an easy feat. It takes courage, focus, and determination. Sure you often have to make changes throughout your day – requiring you to pivot or feeling like you have no control. But what about changes you really want to have in  your life? Consider the changes that will make a difference in your life.

What change will help you achieve the health goals you desire? To start making a plan is essential. Without a plan you won’t have any clear and won’t know where you’re headed. Regardless of the occasional derailment, give yourself credit for creating a plan and moving forward with it. Feel good knowing you have a path that’s your very own and one that can always be refined and adjusted at any time. Create it and keep going.

Tip #3 Learn how to make it stick. If you decided to give up junk food or processed food this January, to help you in this effort, make sure you don’t have it around your house. It will be easier if it’s out of sight and out of mind. With everyone ordering online these days it’s easy to just press “add to cart” when you have a craving. But here again you want to plan – even your purchasing

Try doing your food shopping at the beginning of the day after you’ve eaten a nourishing breakfast. You’ll be more satisfied and less vulnerable to the sugar and carb (snacks) craving cycle which often occurs in the late afternoon and early evening. These cravings are often caused by low Serotonin, an important calming brain chemical. Stock your home with healthy foods so you will be prepared for those daily biochemical fluctuations. 

Plant the seeds for a healthy and nourishing new year this month. 

 

A Holiday Season Like No Other

As we face lockdowns during this most festive time of year, something we’ve never had to experience in lifetimes, it becomes clear that self-reflection is key to making it a positive time for you. The impact is worldwide, as we know. Actually I have to rephrase that because I have friends in Australia and New Zealand and things are pretty much back to normal over there. What we can hope for is that we get back to something similar to our friends down under or even better, soon. As my 99-year-old mother always says “Hope is all we really have”. And she also says: “Treasure your health because it’s tough when that goes”. Wise words that I cherish.

So here are FIVE WAYS to add hope and appreciation to your celebration this year:

  1. Make Love Matter. Love is the best ingredient for wellness that I know of. Sharing in any way you can this year with friends and family will strengthen you and help you feel lighter and connected. If you are able to help the less fortunate, by dropping off food or gifts, would be a gesture of love and compassion for your fellow travelers. I’m sure there are ways to deliver goods in your local area that will be safe for all involved. Call your neighborhood charitable organizations and check to see how you can help. Love is never about giving gifts, Love itself is the REAL GIFT. Open your heart and be present this holiday season. Share with those dearest and nearest how much they mean to you.

  2. Make New Traditions. Try and take some of the more traditional holiday foods like sweets, alcohol, and snacks off the table this year or at least limit them. With COVID you’ve had an opportunity to either get healthier or go in the other direction. You always have a choice. Since you won’t be inundated with a myriad of parties and gatherings this year it could be the best opportunity for you to cut back on some of your unhealthy consumption patterns. Why not give yourself a week of cleansing instead? Wouldn’t it be great to end your year feeling refreshed rather than desperately trying tackle your bad habits in the New Year? Without all the normal holiday activities this is a perfect time to slow down regroup and recharge.


  3. Take Your Immune Enhancing Supplements. Yes you do need to take care of your immune system and yes there are supplements that can help you do just that. Vitamin D is a nutrient everyone is talking about right now. Have your Vitamin D levels checked by your Dr. to see if you could benefit. Vitamin C if our regular immune booster and should be taken daily for insurance.  Adding a Zinc supplement will help keep your immune system strong during what could be a very challenging winter. Use food as your first line of defense and add some of these therapeutic nutrition supplements to your daily routine as well.


    4. Be Present. It’s really easy to distract yourself with online shopping, Netflix, home renovations, or what have you. This time, as I’ve mentioned, is a great time to go inside and reflect on just what you’ve learned this past year. Even though I would suspect most of the goals you had at the beginning of the year have been altered drastically, ask yourself what are some of valuable things you’ve learned this year? Whether it’s having more time to rest, an opportunity to study something you have always been interested in or learning a new technology whether you wanted to or not – it’s still a new skill you were able to pick up. I hope this crisis has helped you discover your inner strength. Or maybe now you have developed a greater appreciation of nature. This great Reset may have helped you review what’s most important in your life.

    5. Make New Friends. Since we haven’t been able to go out much you’ve mostly likely spent more time online meeting people on Zoom. I know for me doing a five week cleanse in November was not only really great for my health but I also met so many people from all over the world committed to improving their health as well. Building these types of connections is becoming the new norm. Have you met any new people this year? Have you met people you would never have met if you were going about your “regular” life. Again this is a great time to reflect and appreciate all the new people, experiences and discoveries you’ve made this year.


    Wishing you a Blessed Season.




Are Healthy & Happy Holidays Possible This Year?

Things have changed dramatically this year and certainly, drastically, since the original Thanksgiving. Today we are inundated with “too much”. Too much to do, too much news, too much food, too much technology, and so on. We can, however, be thankful that most of us have survived such a crazy year.  

So how can you honestly have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving during this strange year? Here are 5 tips to help you manage that very thing.

Here are Your 5 Happy & Healthy Holiday Tips:

  1. Make Sure Your Gut is Happy. Take your probiotics, digestive enzymes, and HCL (Betaine Hydrochloride) to help manage your digestive tract. A note of caution: if you experience an inflammatory digestive condition like heartburn, ulcer, or other upper digestive issues to be safe avoid these supplements until your condition is healed.  Did you know that your digestive tract is also comprised 70-80% of your immune system? So if you make healthy dietary choices especially during this feasting time of year you will be less likely to have a compromised immune system. Don’t overeat, mix too many types of foods at one sitting or dilute your naturally occurring digestive enzymes by drinking too much liquid with your meals.





  2. Holiday Rest. This is a must or else your body will eventually breakdown. In normal times the holidays are synonymous with hectic days and increased stress so it’s important to take whatever time you can to shut the door and stop the world for a few minutes or hours. Believe me, you want to do this. I say this all the time: if you want to be more effective and productive, you must learn how to rest and relax your mind and your body. I’m not just saying to have a good night’s but also try some meditation, breathing exercises, or a timed visualization session. It doesn’t have be for a long period, could be as little as 5 minutes all the way to 30 minutes. Rest and relaxation is a must for overall health and self-preservation.


  3. Forego the Holiday Desserts. Savor your holiday sweets but indulge only sparingly or if you can make a commitment to get it out of your diet altogether that would be even better. When you consume sugar the brain produces huge surges of dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical, which is one of the main reasons it is so hard to give up sugar and sweets once you start eating them. Sugar makes you feel good initially but that feeling doesn’t last and soon you’re looking for your next fix. Sugar also depletes your immune system – something you definitely do not want to compromise at this time. 

  4. Use Pre-biotics. Adding sauerkraut, not a typical Thanksgiving food, can prepare your digestive tract nicely for good digestion. I know, I know sauerkraut – maybe not everyone’s cup of tea. I grew up in a German household where my mother lovingly made a barrel of it on a regular basis, but it was never one of my favorite foods. If you, too are not a friend to this traditional food of Germany, there are many other cultured or fermented foods that will provide the same health benefits such as yogurt, pickles, kimchi, and olives for example. 

  5. Choose Mostly Vegetables.  Vegetables ought to be your best dietary friend by far. This Thanksgiving choose more of the Brussel sprouts, green beans, carrots, salads, sweet potatoes (without the marshmallows), squash whatever is colorful, and from the garden. 



    If you load up on these high powered gems you won’t have as much room for the desert table. You need your daily fiber and vegetables are packed full of it. These garden treasures are also loaded with the essential minerals and vitamins you need for your body to feel good and work well. If you want to be healthy and not sick; think of vegetables as always being your very best friends.  

    Enjoy the wonderful bounty of the Season!

Are You Feeling Hug Deprived?

Since Covid began many of us have been hug deprived. There are great benefits to hugging and touching. Touch is one of our five human senses so without it we will definitely feel out of whack. The other senses are, of course, smell, sight, sound, and taste. If we lose one of our senses we feel something is missing. Touch increases oxytocin which creates a powerful feeling of love and connection.

So what are some of the remedies when hugs can’t be found?

Here are 5 Simple Remedies for Hug Replacement:

1.) Your pets: There’s nothing like stroking your beautiful cat or hugging your dog after playing catch with him in the backyard. Pets bring such great comfort and joy especially now when we’re craving more tactile connection. 

2.) Self-massage: I just purchased silk massage gloves. And they are divine. Self-massage using these types of gloves before your morning shower is a very ancient practice from Ayurveda. It increases circulation, improves cellulite, and it feels really nurturing. If you don’t have silk gloves (easily found online for under $15.00) you can also use a dry brush. By ridding your body of surface dead skin, these techniques will leave your skin healthy and glowing.


3.) Silk pillowcases: Maybe you think I’ve gone mad for silk … well, maybe I have. Silk pillowcases are a luxurious addition to your slumber they add beauty, coolness and richness to your bed chamber. They are also known to be really good for skin, face and hair. And they feel really good, too. Go ahead pamper yourself – you deserve it. 

4.) Taking a bath: Speaking of pampering. Take advantage of this very nurturing and nourishing activity. You will feel relaxed, clean, and comforted. Add some oils, bubble bath or Epsom salts and your body will love it. This wonderful and simple activity with soothe your skin and your soul. Anyone say relax?

5.) Skin care: Whether it’s a mask, a great cleanser, or moisturizer it’s good to find products that work for your skin type. Lubricating oils and moisturizers are not only for your face but for your whole body. Your skin will feel hydrated and nourished. You will also feel the touch and massage effect when you apply your lotions and potions.

Hope that helped you get some ideas about how to bring the benefits of “hug therapy” back into your life in ways you may not have thought of. 

Sending you Big Hugs.

Have You Gut This?

Funny I was looking for images of the stomach symbolizing digestion and all I could find were of people holding their stomachs in discomfort and misery – like this one to the left. It got me wondering – what are we thinking when we think of our gut?

So in today’s article, I wanted to focus on having a healthy gut and not being in misery.

I saw a great ad for a digestive supplement today and it said:
You Gut This” Cute – right?

Even though it is taken from my least favorite, overused expression “you’ve got this” I couldn’t help notice how clever it was. So when it comes to your digestion Have You Really Gut This” or is your digestion gutted and in bad shape?

So what is your gut anyway? Your gut represents everything you consume, digest, process, and eliminate. And it isn’t exclusively just about the food you eat. Everything you consume whether its food, fluids, ideas, thoughts, needs to be digested and needs to be digested well in order to maintain good health.

Certainly, many herbs and foods help your digestion.

Rule of thumb: if the food is hard to digest it’s going to take longer to break down and it’s going to sit in your digestive tract longer, too causing disruption. Best to choose foods that are fresh, whole and come from the garden. Avoid processed foods that come in bags, boxes or containers with ingredient lists a mile long. These “foods” are most likely synthetic and something your body will not breakdown very well, if at all.

So how can you heal your gut and make it happy and make it say
“I’ve GUT this!”

Always look to nature for healing.


Five Herbs That Help:

1) Ginger: is a remarkable food/herb and has been used in cooking and healing for centuries. It is said that ginger has over 100 healing attributes; one of them being digestion. If you ever enjoy sushi you will always see pickled ginger offered as a condiment helping you digest the fish. It is used in many cooking traditions throughout the world. It is a pungent and healing herb, so you will want to avoid it if you have any burning caused by gastritis or acid reflux until those conditions are healed. Ginger also is excellent for nausea.

2) Cumin: This herb is often used in many dishes especially in Indian and Mediterranean cooking. Its flavor has been described as earthy, nutty, spicy, and warm. Cumin has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Cumin aids in good digestion and reduces food-borne infections. Also, new research indicates benefits in promoting weight loss and improving blood sugar and cholesterol. This herb improves indigestion and any inflammation in your gut. It is helpful to eat or even make a tea with it for excess acidity as it has a marvelous cooling effect.

3) Coriander: Coriander or cilantro has multiple health benefits and is a wonderful source of dietary fiber, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It can also be an appetite enhancer as well. It is a digestive aid, diuretic and promotes healthy elimination. Although the leaves are cooling the seeds are slightly warming. Coriander not only aids in digestion but it also boosts metabolism – both are important when you want to lose weight.

4) Fennel: is very soothing to your digestive tract. It can help with bloating, gas, heartburn, and acid indigestion. By adding fennel seed to your cooking you will be assured better digestion. It’s cooling and sweet properties strengthen your ability to digest. Chew a handful of fennel seeds when you are experiencing digestive issues and in no time you will have relief.  Fennel also combines well with cumin and coriander – all three are cooling digestive herbs. Use it as a spice or as a vegetable – steam, cook or bake or add it to soups. It has a bit of licorice type flavor and it’s yummy.

5) Turmeric: A very popular herb/spice found everywhere these days. This herb is well known to help reduce any kind of inflammation in the body. It has many medicinal benefits such as increasing your overall energy, reducing gas, improving digestion, dissolving gallstones, and even reducing the inflammation associated with arthritis. Again, this herb is used in many South Asian dishes – namely curries. Avoid using Turmeric if you have acid reflux or other burning in your digestive tract.

And remember Your Kitchen is Your Pharmacy!

Wishing You and Your Gut happy days ahead.

Are You Digesting That?

 

Digestion is not the same as metabolism. You may think good metabolism means you don’t gain weight. Well maybe, if your body is breaking down the food you consume effectively. If that’s the case and you are making good food choices then you should be able to maintain a stable and good weight.

Digestion is how your body breaks down food in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and then eliminates the food waste through the intestines.

Metabolism is how your body digests or breaks down what it ingests and effectively uses the nutrients for energy and functioning of your body.

You must digest your food before you can metabolize it. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “you are what you eat or what you digest”? 

And maybe you’ve even heard: It’s often not what you’re eating but rather what’s eating you, as I mentioned in my book Skinny Jeans Lifestyle.  

I’ll take it a little further here, you are not only digesting your food but also your thoughts and emotions every day. In the ancient Indian form of medicine called Ayurveda it is believed that your digestion is everything

You will not be well if your digestion is impaired.  

There are several way to ensure this first off make sure you eat in a restful state. Avoid standing, reading, watching TV, having a heated conversation but rather be present, pay attention and simply enjoy your meal. 

In ancient cultures eating food was considered a sacred activity. There was an inherent respect for the food you were eating. 

Here are a 7 Quick Tips you can improve your digestion today:

  1. Eat when you’re calm
  2. Eat at regular times
  3. Eat diverse foods – colors, textures, etc.
  4. Eat slowly
  5. Make sure its hunger you have and not thirst
  6. Eat early in the day – dinner eaten between 4-6 
  7. Sit and eat in a relaxed environment not on the run

Slow down and enjoy nature’s bounty!

Discover How to Change your Bad Habits Part II

 

  • The brain wants everything to be efficient and automated
  • The brain doesn’t want to have to go through a difficult mental process every time it decides to do something.
  • The brain always asks “how fast can we do this?”
  • Our routine needs to be dismantled to create a new habit
  • You can’t just get rid of an old habit and be done with it. There’s a void that the brain wants to fill immediately with a replacement

Consider the Habit Loop 
– the 4 Elements of a Behavior
  1. Cue – time of day you do a particular habit. This environmental cue reminds the brain that this habit you are trying to change is what you will automatically go towards. However, at this point there exists an opportunity to ask yourself – what can I choose instead?
  2. Craving – is the discontent this cue creates. It’s a feeling or emotion of “I want to relieve this discontent or discomfort”. The brain has a craving it wants to alleviate. So instead of the pleasure of that chocolate cake how about creating the feel good chemicals like endorphins when exercising or oxytocin when connecting with others.
  3. Response – You  first get a cue, then you have a craving. Next your brain feels unsettled, so it chooses a particular action. You (your brain) may initially choose something not satisfying your craving so you choose something else to build the right brain response.
  4. Reward – once your craving is adequately met you feel a sense of satisfaction. You have now been able to relieve the stress you were feeling in your craving state. The result is that the craving is gone and your discontent is gone.

Creating a New Habit
  • Re-create new cues and tell your brain that it’s OK to change
  • You can make changes with small steps – 10 minute workouts or a small dietary change
  • By starting small you can in fact make a big difference
  • When you decide to start making changes you may need help – a coach or support group
  • You need to practice over and over again
  • Change + reward = habit

Celebrate your Small Wins

Here’s an example of a substitution for a Craving
  • You crave chocolate so you find an alternative. Maybe melt chocolate and dip some fruit into it – kind of like a fondue. Or have a chocolate protein shake in the morning. Know that you are actually craving the flavor of the chocolate and not actually chocolate.
  • With this fruit example we used above you will get the added benefit of healthy fiber, pectin, and bio-flavonoids and with the protein shake you will have additional protein and other valuable nutrients

Make it Small
  • Unfortunately, our culture works against us – the message is you should want fast, bigger and better i.e. – Biggest Loser, extreme sports
  • Small wins will sustain you day in and day out
  • Want a doughnut eat a handful of almonds instead. Or modify have 1 doughnut once per week or every 2 weeks  rather than daily or freeze them for future or give them away. Eventually the craving will go away.
  • Frequency of making a that one small change will soon develop into a habit further down the road

Drama Sells
  • Lose 50 lbs. in 4 weeks
  • Overnight results don’t last
  • You want something to work longterm
  • 5 pound sustained weight loss is better than the yo-yo cycle of gaining and losing and gaining again
  • Build a foundation of small wins

All or Nothing Mindset
  • Gain and cycle often makes you feel like a failure
  • Stopping consistent weight gain is something to focus on every day
  • During a crisis it’s the perfect time to incorporate a small and slow step strategy
  • Change evolves it doesn’t happen all of a sudden
  • Ask yourself did your past experience of using an all or nothing approach work for you
  • So often when a new diet or exercise program is started within 2 or 3 weeks most people quit
  • Change One Thing at a Time whether its exercising for three days per week or adding a salad to your day, or getting to bed an hour earlier, shutting off your computer two hours before bedtime, or eating dinner earlier. All you have to do is just Pick One.


True Change Evolves It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Create a New Cue
  • How can I start craving this new habit?
  • How can I make my new habit attractive?
  • Get one new behavior under your belt by sticking with it and then go onto the next one
  • Making one change at a time builds your confidence
  • Incorporate small and doable steps
  • Connect your new habit with something meaningful
  • Get to the root of why you want to make the change in the first place – more energy, save money, less stress, be more clear-headed, reduce heart attack risk etc.
  • Small actions build confidence and motivation

Don’t Beat Yourself up if:
  • You’re not getting as quick results you had hoped for but you’re moving in the right direction
  • You’re not being perfect
  • You feel like quitting
  • No need to judge yourself just decide to hang in there no matter what

Good luck on your road to making the changes that will enhance your life today.

Discover How to Change Your Bad Habits Part I

Discover How to Change your Bad Habits

Do you suffer from any of these 10 most popular bad habits?

1)     Missing meals

2)     Snacking

3)     Getting hooked on sugar

4)     Eating too late at night

5)     Drinking enough water

6)     Not taking or forgetting to take your supplements

7)     Not getting enough sleep and going to bed too late

8)     No time to fit on exercise

9)     Can’t find the time to distress with meditation or yoga or something else that helps

10)    Saying yes to too many things or the “Putting Too Much on Your Plate Syndrome”


How to Change Bad Habits – 5 Steps


1)     Acknowledge the bad habit in the first place. Admit it’s a bad habit instead of believing it’s just the way it is. Don’t let it remain an unconscious behavior.

2)     Deciding to take action once you’ve admitted your habit of omission or inclusion i.e.: Plunking yourself in front of your computer for hours and realizing that you haven’t eaten dinner. Time can be a black hole – set a timer.

3)     Get an accountability partner. It’s tough to change habits on your own. Having a partner will help. A buddy system is extremely effective – keeps you on track and you get the support you need. Even just texting each other with the word DONE helps.

4)     Stick to it. Don’t give up too soon. Before a habit gets integrated you make get too comfortable and start taking your new found habit for granted. Soon it may slip away before you’re aware of that happening. Then you might be ridden with guilt. It’s difficult psychologically to muster up the resolve to start again. The solution is – just don’t quit. Get back in the saddle as soon as you can.

5)     Be open to suggestions. Don’t be stuck with only one way of doing things – try a new way. Try making it a game to see how doing things differently might be better. For example – (a) tough getting to bed at a good time? Try making your bedroom more luxurious and relaxing by buying a few new throw pillows – it’s simple and effective or (b) Want to drink more water? Buy a colorful water bottle. This is an easy and inexpensive habit-altering step you can take.

Immune Health 101


I have been receiving so many requests for information regarding immune health and stress management. To help you, I thought I would send you a few quick tips you could add to your day right away.
 
 
Here are 4 Quick Tips for Immune Health:
 
Sleep
Poor sleep is linked to heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity and will certainly have an effect an your immune system’s ability to function well.
 

  • Excellent supplements for sleep are magnesium and melatonin
  • Zero computer, phone or TV usage one to two hours before bedtime. However, if you wish you could try using blue blocking amber tinted glasses to help shut out the  blue light emitted from your computer, phone and TV screens. You can also choose blue blocking lenses which you can easily put over your prescription glasses. A good brand is Elements Active. It’s the blue light that will disturb your sleep cycle.
  • Choose a comfortable and cool sleeping area.
  • Try not to have any work in your bedroom i.e. books papers files etc. Make it your personal sanctuary
  • Try using blackout blinds in your bedroom as well – they are ideal for preventing any light from coming through the window. The darker your room the better for sleep.
  • Try not to drink water or other liquids like tea too close to bedtime – it may cause you to wake in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom thereby disturbing your sleep cycle.
  • Try to have a regular sleep time and wake time.

 
Supplements
 
            Vitamin D

  • Sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D, of course. Try to get at least 10 minutes of direct sunlight in the morning.
  • Supplement with the recommended dosage of 5000 I U’s per day. Some recommend only 500 I.U, per day – I think that’s insufficient as most people tend to be deficient in vitamin D.
  • Choose Vitamin D3. 
  • Foods high in vitamin D are: fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, halibut, and tuna, Beef liver and egg yolks are also good sources. Foods fortified with vitamin D such as dairy, some orange juice and soy may also be good sources.

 
            Zinc

  • Supplement with zinc picolinate,
  • Rich food sources of zinc are: meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts and seeds, dairy, eggs.

 
Hydrotherapy and Sauna

  • Alternating hot and cold showers was proven effective during the Spanish flu. Run hot water for 3 to 5 minutes, cold for 30 to 60 seconds, try alternating three times. Do not use this method if you are diabetic. Many who have diabetes also suffer from a condition called neuropathy causing an inability to feel the sensation of hot or cold. This condition caused by nerve damage usually affects extremities primarily feet. Diabetics must be careful as this technique may burn their skin.
  • Saunas are an excellent source of detoxification, relaxation and will help with circulation

 
Stress management:
All of the following have a calming and immune enhancing effect

  • Prayer
  • Restorative Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Connecting with loved ones by phone or Zoom
  • Also, sleep ***

 
Wishing you safety, health and strength.
Many Blessings,
Monika 

How to Stay Grounded During This Trying Time

Here are some tips on how to ground yourself at this very challenging time:

1) Journaling. I get to anchor my thoughts and anxieties when I journal. So as to not have my thoughts all over the place, causing further wear and exhaustion, I write it all down. This helps me focus on what’s important even only for an hour or a day. Now it doesn’t need to be an actual journal, it could also simply be a scratch pad – somewhere you could write things down. It has been proven that the act of physically writing things with your hand can have a deeper and more therapeutic effect than simply composing on your computer, iPhone, etc. There appears to be “a brain/hand connection’ if you will, that connects you physically to what you write. In fact, I first wrote the draft of this article in my journal and then transferred it onto my computer. I use my journal for everything – I call it “My Book of Life”. I get to figure out problems, be creative, rant, and even write poetry in it. Yup, it’s all in there. But that’s my way – find your own way of getting things out of your head and onto, preferably, paper.

2) Talking/Chatting. Talk to those who really know you. If you have good relationships with your family, and certainly with your friends too, talking with them in times of need is very nurturing. I’m fortunate to have a close knit family – we can easily talk, connect, laugh and even worry together. Even though they all live in Canada – the phone has always been a bridge for us. And, of course, talking with really good friends provides a great deal of comfort and relief no matter what is going on in my life.

3) Pets. Not sure how I would have survived the past five years caring for my husband if it wasn’t for the daily comfort of my little Mitzy, who I often call my “Comfort Cat”. Brian, our other cat, sadly passed away in 2016 – he was so loving as well. They are sweet and loving little companions for sure – keep them near.

4) Sleep. Perhaps not necessarily grounding in and of itself, however, I find it if I don’t get the best sleep possible – the next day I am unfocused and unproductive. I call this the magic and necessity of sleep or “Vitamin S”. Not only is sleep so important for overall health but also for your immune health – which we need to strengthen now more than ever. Turn off your computers and TVs by 10 or 11 PM and get some sleep.

5) Meditate. Meditate if you can. I’ve had the fortune of learning transcendental meditation some 35 years ago and I’ve been practicing it daily since then. Don’t get me wrong; some days I do miss out but I would say I’m able practice my mediation consistently at least 95% of the time. It’s a must for me. If meditation is difficult for you just slowing down your mind for 10 minutes once or twice a day can do wonders. By slowing down the raciness and even fears in your head it can actually improve your stress response, improve brain function and balance your blood pressure. You can also try deep breathing – close your eyes and slowly count to 6 as you inhale then another 6 as you exhale – slowly. Do this for about 5-10 minutes. Miraculously you’ll feel calmer. Of course, listening to relaxing music will also do the trick. If the phone rings or you hear a text coming in ignore it – you can attend to it when you’re done. Even during this crisis you need to give yourself a break.

6) Sunshine. Let the sunshine warm your body. If you are able to go outside – away from others – and just sit in the sun for 5 to 10 minutes that would certainly be good medicine for you. Getting vitamin D, which sunshine provides, onto your skin will increase your immune system considerably. Try and do this practice early in the morning. I know it’s still winter for many so if you can try and do this. Exercise is OK but hanging out outside for no reason is not OK.

I hope these tips will calm and center you a bit more. This is a time to slow down, for sure, we really don’t have any choice in the matter. Perhaps this is one of the best gifts coming out of this pandemic. We do need to slow down and really assess our lives and discover what’s important and what’s not. 

Getting to the essentials of what matters IS What Matters. 

Thinking of you and sending many, many blessings, 

Monika

   

P.S. Social Distancing doesn’t mean not connecting online, by phone, facetime, skype etc. Stay tuned in.