7 Strategies to Stay Sane This Holiday Season

Nov 27

7 Strategies to Stay Sane This Holiday Season

By Brigid Elsken Galloway

“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.” -Sonia Ricotti It’s that time of year again. The fresh scent of an evergreen fills the house. Strains of “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells” permeate the airwaves. Once again, I unpack the fragile, ceramic Santa that I made as a gift for my mom when I was five. Suddenly, I’m transported back in time—for better or for worse. The holidays should be joyous times filled with family and friends, but sometimes the very traditions that give meaning to this season also trigger old fears, hurts, and anxieties. (And if you’re prone to Season Affective Disorder (SAD), the lack of warmth and sunshine can zap your goodwill toward men, and women, too.) Then last year—after lots of recovery and mindfulness practice—I determined to navigate the holidays in a healthier manner. I decided to accept the reality of my Christmas crazies and choose to respond differently when things (inevitably) became stressful. Since I was so good at making lists of gifts to buy others and errands to run and obligations to fulfill, why not

How to Reduce Stress by Doing Less and Doing It Slowly

How to Reduce Stress by Doing Less and Doing It Slowly

Jan 07

How to Reduce Stress by Doing Less and Doing It Slowly By Toni Bernhard “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” ~Socrates In April, NPR ran a story titled, “The Slow Internet Movement.” It reported that hipster cities, like Portland, Oregon, are sprouting Internet cafés that only offer dial-up access to the web. These cafés give customers, “Slow pours and slow Internet. Here, you can order your coffee and spend four hours checking your email, all for $.99 an hour.” “Wow,” I thought.” That’s just my speed!” (No pun intended.) But the story didn’t just run in April. It ran on April 1st and was NPR’s little April Fools joke at the expense of gullible people like me. It got me thinking, though. Life would be much less stressful if I embraced the spirit of the Slow Internet Movement. So, here are four tips for slowing down:

1. Double the time you think it will take to complete a task.

How often do you clock in at or under the time you’ve allotted for a task? I rarely do. Take my raised ivy geranium bed. Periodically, the geraniums spill over onto the walkway and I need to cut them back.

Stretches to do at office desk

Stretch Out

Dec 02

Stretch Out A few precautions can prevent future pain You brush your teeth daily because you don’t want cavities or gum disease, right? Well, what do you do on a daily basis to prevent tension in your neck? Brushing your teeth offers you preventive dental care, but what if you could learn to be preventive with the rest of your body? We all have bad daily habits we don’t even notice until something starts to hurt. These bad habits are the root cause of many painful conditions. To help prevent pain, however, we can turn these bad habits into good habits that can be worked into our daily routine. Here is some general advice that can apply to almost every part of daily living. Don’t Slouch. Slouching puts strain on your neck and can give you a headache. Your head weighs roughly 10 pounds-about as much as a bowling ball. Your spine is designed to balance that bowling ball when you’re in an upright posture. If you slouch, your muscles have to do more work to hold your head up, which makes your muscles tight and angry. Sit Up Straight. Sit in a chair with your hands on your hips.

How to Make the Most of the Time You Have

May 12

Without giving up hope—that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.” ~Pema Chödrön There are twenty-four hours in a day. This is true for you, me, Obama, and Oprah. Yet, I often feel like there are things that I would love to do… if I only had enough time. I used to spend my days in a frenzy. At my worst, I woke up at around 4:45 to meditate for an hour, then go to the gym, rush off to my twelve-hour law job worried that I would be late for my first meeting, eat at my desk, cancel coffee dates and dinner dates because something urgent came up, take a cab home at 10:00 or so, go to sleep, and do it all again the next day. There was no space. On the one hand, you could say that I was making the most of my twenty-four hours. After all, I was getting a lot done! But was I really? Each task that I was doing was focused exclusively on getting it done so I could move onto the next one. It was all

There’s No WiFi in the Forest, but You’ll Get a Stronger Connection

Mar 30

The quieter you become the more you can hear.” ~Ram Dass We live our lives at such a fast pace. We seem to be working more hours and juggling more tasks both at work and home, with no relenting. As part of the technological age, we are connected 24/7, and we find it difficult to switch off. It has changed the face of how we live and work. Expectations are higher, the pace of life is quickening, and we’re struggling to keep up. In a world that encourages noise and busy-ness, we find it hard to be quiet and still. I recently left a stressful job in the corporate world to regain balance in my life. I was so busy making a living that I’d forgotten to make a life, and my health was suffering as a result. I am now an advocate for “slowing down to speed up.” Prioritizing relaxation and self-care makes me more alive and more effective, and it allows better decision-making, hence making life easier. We have been conditioned by society to maximize every second of the day by doing something. Some people see relaxing as unproductive, wasting time, and even selfish if we’re taking time

Enchanting Aromas

Enchanting Aromas

Mar 18

Enchanting Aromas by Angela England and Linda Bertaut Nature heals in many ways. Most of us have felt the sense of renewal that comes from walking through a garden filled with fragrant flowers, or sitting under a massive tree, shaded from the burning rays of the sun. Indigenous peoples worldwide believe that each plant has a spirit we can communicate with, to ask for their help in healing. You can tap into “plant spirit” by keeping aromatic plants around your home or wherever you spend time. Whether fresh or dried, herbs and plants can delight the senses and offer varied health benefits. Choosing Favorites Here are some popular herbs, as well as their purported health benefits. When choosing your favorites, take a few minutes to breathe in the scents and try to identify what the aroma does for you. Caution: If you have plant allergies, some herbs may cause a reaction. Chamomile: Euphoric–Soothes nerves, aids digestion, and improves appetite. Good for circulation to the surface of the skin. Induces perspiration. Good as an overall tonic. Jasmine: Magical–Helps menopause symptoms. Antibacterial, antioxidant, and aphrodisiac. May lower bad cholesterol when used in teas. Lavender: Healing–Calming and sedative. Relieves anxiety, depression, and exhaustion.

Massage Invest In Your Healh

Invest in Your Health

Jan 26

Invest in Your Health Massage Offers Excellent Return on Investment “Invest for the long term” is great financial advice, but it’s also great healthcare advice. Never is investing for the long term more important than when you are making day-to-day decisions about your health. There are short-term gains from taking care of your health, to be sure, but the long-term benefits are not to be underestimated. You already know the value of bodywork. For all the short-term stress and pain relief you get from massage today, there are lasting rewards you’ll thank yourself for down the road. Massage therapy as a preventive measure and part of an ongoing care regimen can mean fewer visits to the doctor, as well as fewer co-pays, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications. Ultimately, it means a healthier and happier you. An Excellent Value As you plan the family budget, ponder how massage therapy impacts your ability to make good decisions, cope with extra responsibilities, stay on an even keel emotionally and spiritually, and maintain harmonious relationships with coworkers, family, and friends. Research supports the value of massage. Massage provides many benefits, including improved concentration, energy, circulation, and self-esteem, as well as reduced stress, fatigue, and pain.

New Year's Resolutions

Hate Making New Year’s Resolutions?

Dec 24

Hate Making New Year’s Resolutions? You May Want To Try Some Smart Goals Instead This year, say no to typical resolutions. Conventional wisdom says that when the ball drops on New Year’s, our inner Charlie Sheen should unleash a slew of “winning” ideas for the twelve months ahead. Behold, our New Year’s resolutions are born. But here’s another piece of conventional wisdom: New Year’s resolutions fail. Miserably. Despite all of our good intentions, most of us find that one day’s laziness turns into two, and by June we forget that we resolved to do anything in the first place. So this year, say no to typical resolutions. Instead, do something that will help you make real change: Set goals. And not just any goals—set SMART goals. “What are SMART goals,” you ask? Widely adopted in the corporate world, the SMART framework was developed to remove ambiguity and lead to measurable success. While this is helpful in the workplace, it can pay big dividends in your personal life, too. This works by creating goals that are:


Does your goal have multiple interpretations? Resolutions like “learn a musical instrument” are too broad. Is buying a guitar good enough? Does

New Years 2017 Sacramento

This Surprising New Year’s Resolution Could Transform Your Life

Dec 21

This Surprising New Year’s Resolution Could Transform Your Life by Courtney Sunday Goal setting can be a wonderful thing, helping us create the lives we want. However, feeling like we always have to be “doing better” can leave us exhausted. We wind up glued our phones, while logging our workouts and baking a cake from scratch.

Consider putting your ambition on hold. That itself can be your most important resolution.

Recently, I tested the concept of doing less by simply turning off my phone. I read books with real pages, rather than electronic ones. If I got inspired to write a story, I jotted down the idea and let it be. I let my ambition take a breather. As expected, when I came back to earth, I was more focused and less irate. If you are in the midst of “pushing yourself to do more” mode — in the form of New Year’s resolutions — consider putting your ambition on hold. That itself can be your most important resolution. Sometimes what we really need is to give ourselves the space for our creativity to breathe and for growth to actually happen. Here are five ways to help you

7 Tips For A Stress-Free Holiday

7 Tips For A Stress-Free Holiday

Dec 08

7 Tips For A Stress-Free Holiday

Hard to believe it’s already December, this year has flown by. Have you written your cards? Wrapped your gifts? If the thought of the impending celebrations make you want to cower under the kitchen table, you’re not alone. Follow my tips for a stress-free holiday season! 1. Look after yourself. It’s only natural to worry about everyone else, making sure they have what they need to enjoy the festive period, but if you’re not OK, your family is not OK. Frantically running around during your lunch break searching for the perfect gifts will take its toll on your emotional and physical health. Take time out to rejuvenate. Just 10 minutes of mindful breathing a day will do wonders for your stress levels. Delegate what you can … who says you have to do it all on your own? 2. Give yourself a reality check. You may have a to-do list a mile long, but what would happen if you didn’t do everything on it? The world wouldn’t end if everything wasn’t perfectly coordinated or if the place cards weren’t handmade. Condense your list and don’t sweat the small stuff. 3. Let go of traditions