Healthy Holiday Guide for Mind, Body, and Spirit

Posted by on Dec 20, 2017 in Blog, Dr. Dana Marshall, Dr. Susan Joyce, General Health, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Healthy Holiday Guide for Mind, Body, and Spirit

For many, the holiday season is the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ because it brings about family and social gatherings, opportunities to bring people together, outings and events, parties, and presents! At the same time, the holiday season also brings added stress, pressured work deadlines, year ends, extra household and entertaining duties, changes to your nutrition and alcohol habits, and even a lack of sleep! So, the most wonderful time of the year, can also be accompanied by many factors that can put your health at risk – physically, emotionally, and mentally. We all want to enjoy this time of year. Here are our tips for how to manage all of the extra demands being made.  We feel it is critical to being able to relax, have fun, and truly be present this holiday season. Body Wash your hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. Holiday season is also cold and flu season. And with all of your family and friends in close proximity, regular hand washing isn’t just a good health practice for yourself, but it’s also a way to help your most vulnerable loved ones (children and the elderly) stay clear of viral and bacterial germs. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds and follow up with an nice natural hand cream to keep your skin moisturized and free of harmful dryness and cracks. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Even if you’re just running outside to toss out the recycling, or picking up the kids from school, be sure to wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm, loose layers keep you comfortable and insulated, while winter accessories like gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots prevent you from rapid loss of body heat. Be food aware, choose wisely. Holiday foods then to be full of extra delicious things like butter, sugar and wheat and while indulging in this festive season is not altogether bad, you must learn to choose your indulgences wisely to prevent bloating, weight gain, hormonal imbalance, dehydration, digestion issues. Make holiday treats healthy by sneaking in veggies It might sound strange, but we love finding ways to hide vegetables in sweet treats. Feel better about serving your family its favourite cookies and cakes by finding recipes that use healthy pumpkin, zucchini, avocado, or even almond meal to replace wheat flour and/or sugar. You won’t taste the difference but you’ll all be healthier as a result!  Mind Set limits Performing well at work, caring for yourself and your family, AND pulling off a holiday feast can become extra daunting over the holiday season when more demands both personally and professionally are made on you. It’s time to learn that it’s good to say “No” to some things that spread you too thin, make you anxious, put you on edge, or  stress you out. Concentrate on doing fewer things – and ask others to take on tasks to support the bigger picture – and not only will they come out better, but you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour too! Take a break When you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, or out of control – it’s time to breathe deeply and take a break. When all of the tasks at hand seem to carry the same weight and gravity, stepping back to get some perspective is a healthy and supportive way to manage stress. Figure out what you can let go of, find support from others for things that need to get done (but maybe not by you, this time), take time for social...

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The Trouble with Stress

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Blog, Dr. Dana Marshall, Dr. Susan Joyce, General Health, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Trouble with Stress

We often underestimate the power of stress. We like to see stress as natural, and even helpful, in being productive in our day-to-day lives. But the positive effects of stress, like goal orientation, motivation, and even intensified memory or cognitive responses are most beneficial in small doses. Many of us have built up tolerances to living with constant, heightened stress levels, and the temptation to see this as a positive or heroic trait has reduced our natural desire to respond to it. Instead of recognizing and reacting to the core ‘fight or flight’ survival response that stress provides, many of us function with heightened stress for long periods of time without realizing that living under continued high stress can have dire health consequences. How stress works: You’ve probably heard this before, and you’ve certainly felt it: the pounding heart, the rushing sounds in your ears, and an acute and intense desire for action when something has caught you completely off guard. When your brain perceives some kind of stress, be it your move in a basketball game, a heated argument, or stepping off a busy street, it starts producing an influx of epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol hormones. This flood of chemicals produces a variety of reactions to respond to the stress: increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and an acute focus on taking whatever action is necessary to stay safe. Stress can be brought on by a variety of internal and external factors, and it can be a very healthy reaction and necessary to maintain our survival. It’s when you remain in a state of heightened stress for prolonged periods of time, that the effects of stress on your system can become a real medical problem. How much stress is too much stress? Life events, changes in lifestyle, work, family, or even shifting responsibilities such as child or parent care, relationships, and work can directly affect feelings of overwhelm. When the amount on our plate reaches a place of critical mass, we experience overwhelm. That experience can present itself in many ways that signify stress. Emotional stressors like these that remain for a period of weeks, months, or even years can become detrimental to your immune system, and your overall health. Being able to recognize our own stress signals is the first step to finding ways to cope with stress, and dissipate it, to return to a healthy state that will enable you to work through the demands placed on you. Recognizing Stress Responses: There are many ways that stress expresses itself. While some might be more familiar to you than others, a person can experience some or all of these at different times. But, multiplied sources of ongoing stress can lead to larger health issues. If chronic stress is not dealt with effectively, it can become debilitating, leading to an inability of what we want to do most: thrive at work, and in life with our family and friends. Being able to recognize the sensations of stress is the first step to being able to discuss them with your professional health team. Then, they can help you find ways to cope with stress effectively. Stress can feel like: Frenetic energy or restlessness Fatigue, or trouble sleeping or staying awake Digestive issues, changes in appetite, over or under eating Change in use of addictive substances like alcohol, tobacco, or drugs Inability to concentrate or complete tasks Increased frequency of colds or other illnesses like autoimmune disease flares Heightened anger or impatience Headaches, migraines, body aches Increased irritability, anger, or anxiety Lack of motivation, depression, sadness Inability to catch your...

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