Five Healthy Ways to Reward Yourself

By | General, Nutrition | No Comments

For many of us, when we think of a treat or a reward, our minds turn to food: our favorite chocolate cake at the local bakery, or a big, cheesy slice of pizza. If food doesn’t do it for you, you might want to reward yourself with some other unhealthy habit such as expensive purchases or overindulging in alcohol.

When we’re looking to treat ourselves, it’s usually to reward a positive change or goal we’ve reached through discipline and consistent effort. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence, turning to an unhealthy habit to reward good behavior can possibly un-do your hard work; at the very least, you’re taking a step back from your healthy change instead of taking a more positive step forward. If you want to find ways to treat yourself that won’t impede your progress, read on to discover five healthy ways you can reward yourself for a job well done.

1. Relax & Rejuvenate

There might be no better way to spoil yourself than a massage or day spa treatment. Schedule yourself for a massage, a facial treatment, a mud bath or a hot stone massage. You might also want to visit a hot spring, where you can relax surrounded by nature in warm, geothermal pools.

2. Get a Makeover

A makeover is a great way to celebrate hitting a goal. Get a manicure, a new haircut or hire a professional makeup artist to create a new look. You can also consult a personal stylist to help you update your wardrobe.

3. Enjoy Some Alone Time

Some alone time might be just what you need to treat yourself. Take a day off work and plan a “stay-cation” for yourself. Take a bubble bath, find a new podcast to listen to, have a cup of hot tea or coffee while you curl up with a new book or binge-watch some shows on your streaming service. You can also go out by yourself and enjoy a movie or visit an art gallery.

4. Plan a Night Out

If spending time with loved ones is something you crave, plan a fun night out with friends. Find a comedy club, a festival, concert or sporting event to attend.

5. Take a Day Trip

Plan a day trip to a locale you’ve been meaning to visit. Plan a mountain hike or a visit to a beach or lake and enjoy a swim and a healthy picnic. If you’re looking for something more active, consider canoeing, horseback riding or a bike ride. If something relaxing is more your speed, take a long drive and spend the night out under the stars with a loved one.

Changing out our bad habits for healthier ones takes time and effort. By learning to reward ourselves in a more positive way, we reinforce our newer, better habits while discarding the old habits that held us back.

If you’re trying to make positive changes in your life and need guidance and encouragement, a licensed professional can help. Give my office a call today, and let’s schedule a time to talk.

4 Exercises to Help Teach Young Children Mindfulness

By | Children | No Comments

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your body and feelings in the present moment. If you’re silent for a moment, you will notice the subtle smell of your freshly washed clothing, the sound of your breathing, and watch a small leaf blow past your window. Mindfulness is an incredibly calming, relaxing practice that can help adults in numerous ways, and it may surprise you that it can help children, too.

Studies have shown that children who learn mindfulness practices showed better grades, increased patience and improved coping skills. When taught in schools, mindfulness increases optimism in classrooms while decreasing bullying and aggression.

It can be remarkably simple to teach a child mindfulness. Here are four exercises to get started.

Muscle Awareness

Teach your child to become aware of their body with a muscle awareness exercise. Sit down on the floor and do some exercises where they focus on one muscle at a time. They can point their toe and hold, and as you do the same ask them what they feel and where exactly they feel the tightening of their muscle. Hold for a few seconds and release, then repeat with other muscles.

Breathing Buddy

Have your child lie on her back with a favorite stuffed animal on her belly. Have her watch the stuffed animal, which will naturally rise and fall as she breathes in and out. Teach your child to breathe in through their nose slowly, to hold their breath for a few seconds, then slowly release the breath as they watch their stuffed animal rise and fall to match their breaths.

A Mindful Walk

Take a mindful walk around the block or at a local park with your child. Take in the sights, sounds and smells. What does your body feel like as you’re walking? What muscles do you feel working the most? Notice sounds you may hear, especially subtle sounds like a leaf skittering across the grass, or the crunch of a leaf as you step in. This will help them relax, get in a little bit of exercise and learn to appreciate all their body does to keep them moving.

A Mindful Snack

Have a mindful meal or snack with your child. As you eat, do so mindfully. Focus on the food. What are the colors? How does it taste and smell? Have your child describe what happens when they chew and swallow. Have them notice what muscles are moving as they eat or bring the food to their mouth.

Children learn what they see at home, so by modeling mindfulness practices yourself, you will benefit them greatly.

Are you a parent looking for unique ways to cope with challenging parenting issues? A licensed therapist can provide the support and guidance you need. Give my office a call today and let’s schedule a time to talk.

Are You Doing Self-Care All Wrong?

By | General | No Comments

The topic of self-care is one that has been discussed openly and often over the past decade. But for many, the concept of self-care is one that is still a bit mysterious, if not downright confusing.

What Is Self-Care?

First, self-care is a practice and a commitment we make to ourselves. It is any activity we do deliberately to support our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Not only does the right kind of self-care improve our health and life, but it can also improve the relationships we have with others.

Some examples of self-care might be:

  • Creating better habits
  • Eating right
  • Getting plenty of quality sleep
  • Exercising
  • Meditation
  • Spending quality time with loved ones
  • Making time to enjoy a hobby
  • Learning something new

Self-care isn’t always fun or easy, but you do it anyway because you know that the activity is what is BEST for you. In this way, self-care is a bit like acting as your own parent, making sure you do the things you don’t necessarily feel like doing because it is what your mind, body, and spirit need.

What Self-Care Isn’t

Self-care isn’t necessarily about making yourself feel better.

Person A has had a very bad day. They practice proper self-care and, when they get home, they change clothes, go for a 3-mile run, then cook a healthy dinner that refuels their body.

Person B has also had a very bad day and practices phony self-care. On their way home, person B stops at the store and gets a 6-pack of beer and a gallon of ice cream, then spends the entire night on the sofa drinking and eating poorly in an attempt to make the bad day go away.

This phony style of self-care is very immature. It is not parental but something a child does. If the parent insists you eat your veggies because they are good for you, the child will eat only candy bars when the parent isn’t looking.

Self-care is about making decisions based on what is good for you, not what you FEEL like doing at the moment.

Self-care should also not be confused with pampering. While there is nothing wrong with getting massages and pedicures, these again tend to be quick fixes we give ourselves to make ourselves feel better in the moment.

At the end of the day, self-care is a commitment to yourself to live, grow, and evolve in healthy ways. It means making choices that will lead to your best self and greatest potential.

 

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Find Relief from What Ails You with Acupuncture

By | Chiropractic | No Comments

If you live with any type of pain, you know that it can negatively impact the quality of your life. To make matters worse, people often experience negative side effects on top of the pain when they take prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications.

It is for this reason that many people are now turning toward alternative and natural pain remedies. And this is when many discover the benefits of acupuncture.

What is Acupuncture Exactly?

Acupuncture has been used as a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice for thousands of years. The practice is based on a simple premise: all health issues stem from a blockage in a person’s life force energy or ‘qi’.

By inserting very thin needles strategically throughout the body, an acupuncturist can restore a person’s flow of qi and balance their system, thereby stimulating the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

While Western researchers still don’t fully understand how acupuncture works, there are many different theories to account for its many benefits. One ideology suggests that it’s so beneficial because it stimulates the release of endorphins; your body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.

Another suggests that acupuncture works so well by balancing our autonomic nervous system (which controls our regular bodily functions) as well as releasing the chemicals that regulate blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and calm the brain.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is a United States government agency that explores complementary and alternative medicine, has found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for a variety of ailments and conditions such as:

  • lower back and neck pain
  • osteoarthritis
  • joint pain
  • headache and migraine

In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) put together the following list of conditions acupuncture has been proven effective for:

  • nausea/vomiting caused by chemotherapy
  • gastric conditions such as peptic ulcers
  • allergic rhinitis
  • painful periods, morning sickness, and even inducing labor
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • sprains/strains
  • body aches/pains, including sciatica
  • dental pain and facial soreness
  • hypertension and reducing stroke risk

Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture offers some impressive benefits. To start, if performed by a trained specialist, it is an extremely safe procedure with little side effects. It can easily be combined with other, more traditional forms of treatments. It has also been shown to control some forms of pain, which can be very beneficial to those for whom pain medications are not suitable.

If you or someone you know would like to explore acupuncture for an illness or health issue you are dealing with, please call or visit our office.

 

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