5 Ways To Boost Your Inner Peace

And help contribute to a better world!

It seems that as human beings we have been searching for inner peace for thousands of years. And I suppose the best way to describe Inner Peace is –  the absence of stress and anxiety.

Inner peace is being fully present in the now, not reliving what has gone on in the past or worrying about what might happen in the future. It might seem more and more difficult to find inner peace in a time of constant stimulation and times of stress and everyday pressures that spike your cortisol and adrenaline (your fight or flight hormones), there are ways that you can help yourselves to create your state of serenity.

Here are five Self Help tools that are simple to implement and are pretty much proven to boost your Inner Peace:

1.   Exercise

If we agree that Inner peace is the absence of stress and anxiety. It is widely accepted these days that exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active will boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from the worries going around in your head.

Exercising helps you because exercise

  • increases your endorphins, your feel-good hormones
  • acting as meditation in motion because it helps you to zone out.  
  • improves your mood, making you feel better and more positive

Exercise is one of the best ways to change your mental state by replacing negativity with positivity. You don’t have to start training for a marathon to benefit from physical activity either! Any type of movement will provide you with a greater sense of peace. The important thing is that you find some form of movement that you like.

Movement for you might be practicing yoga and the breathing techniques that go with the poses, working in the garden, going for a walk in nature and appreciating the smell of the flowers and the hum of insects and birds, or watching and listening to the waves crashing on the sand at the beach.

However, you may enjoy a more vigorous workout as well, such as a dance class, running or swimming. The most important thing is that you find an activity that you can connect with, because when that exercise gives you joy and lifts your spirits you have more chance of keeping it going in your Self Care routines.

2.   Meditate

Meditation has almost become mainstream these days with meditation being introduced to children at a very young age. Meditation is about quieting your mind it’s about creating discipline in your mind where you can learn to switch off that constant chatter in your head.

According to medicinenet.com, meditation is “a simple technique practiced for as few as 10 minutes per day that can help you control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation”.

Meditation produces a state of deep internal relaxation, regardless of what is going on externally in your world.

3.   Set Healthy Boundaries

It can happen that through no fault of ourselves or others we are caught up in being at the beck and call of others. This can eat into our time for ourselves and to unhealthy boundaries

We need to set boundaries to help us take care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. Healthy boundaries are needed to help us find a positive sense of ourselves, trusting in who we are and not allowing others to define us.

Psychology Today explains that the reason we have loosely defined, or unhealthy boundaries are because we want to be accommodating and helpful, we are unable to say no out of guilt, and we want to be liked.

But when we take steps to identify our own desires and put our values first, we are that much closer to inner peace.

Setting boundaries is not about turning our backs on loved ones that need our help.

Setting boundaries is about knowing when we need to retreat and rest to keep ourselves well enough to take care of loved ones that need our help

4.   Socialize and Connect with Others

A Harvard study by Dr. Robert Waldinger suggests that “meaningful relationships are a prescription for better emotional, mental and physical health.”

 There has been over eight decades of research, among 700 men who were teenagers in 1930s (and over 60 men who are still participating in their 90’s) which shows that:

  • social connections appear to be good for health
    • loneliness appears to be toxic
    • relationship quality matters
    • good relationships appear to protect our brains

There are a number of ways to strengthen your connection to others, such as making new friends (by volunteering or joining a club, for example) and working to improve existing relationships with family and friends.

And of course if you do either one or two above such as joining a class for exercise you will also tick off connecting with others and if you are doing something that you love the chances of you meeting up with like-minded people with a common interest increases, a Win Win situation.

5.   Journal

Writing your thoughts down on paper can help with organizing and processing your thoughts, writing can help to clear your mind and help you solve problems.

According to an article published by Michigan State University, journaling can act as an emotional release/escape and help you obtain clarity and rid you of negative thoughts.

A study published in a 2011 Psychological Science journal noted that writing down your thoughts and throwing away the paper can clear your mind and a clear mind, is a mind at peace.

I first heard about this practice when I was studying Dr. Sigmund Freud. It is one of the Self Help tools that has stayed with me to this day.

Each night before bed Freud wrote out what was in his head, a brain dump you might say and then threw that paper into the back of the fire ensuring that he went to his bed with a clear mind.

I hope you have found these five Self Help tools useful and begin to see that establishing your own Inner Peace has a positive ripple effect to what is happening around you and will spread peace to others.

Remember that when you are acting from a place of serenity and inner peace

  • You are more kind, generous, patient, and compassionate.
  • You are less likely to quickly judge others or take offence by their actions.
  • You will find more joy in connecting with others
  • You will raise your vibrations and emanate a frequency that encourages the people around you to feel a sense of Inner Peace.

When you find your own Inner Peace, you will help contribute to a better world!

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Natural Remedies For Aching Feet

Natural Remedies For Aching Feet

Foot pain is something that we have all experienced in our lives. After a night out in high heels, a workout in the gym, a long walk or a long day at work, even working in the garden your feet can be tired, achy, swollen, and heavy.

We often forget how important are feet are to us and how they help us to ground ourselves into Earth energy and how they help us to take a step forward into everywhere we go in life. It is only when our feet begin to ache that we begin to notice the stress we put on our feet.

So whether or not your feet are just tired or achy or you looking forward to sandal season Below are some lovely natural remedies that will ease your sore feet and have you feeling great again.

Alternate Hot And Cold

What to do, Fill one basin with cold water and one with hot water. Find a comfortable spot to sit, place your feet in the cold water for five minutes then, switch to the hot water. Switch back and forth for about of thirty minutes for maximum effectiveness.

How does it work

Alternating hot and cold baths alternately dilates and constricts blood vessels in your feet, this boosts your circulation and reduces swelling and achiness in your feet.

Elevate Your Feet – Elevating your feet for fifteen to twenty minutes on cushions or pillows How does it work  This will increase circulation in your legs and feet and help to reduce pain and swelling.

Epsom Salts –. There are two ways you can use Epsom salts to reduce swelling in your feet. You can either add Epsom Salts to a basin of hot water and soak your feet or add it to your bath and soak your whole body for about 45 to 60 minutes

 A word of caution here you can feel dizzy after an Epsom salt bath so be careful getting out of the bath and if possible go straight to bed. Shower off the Epsom Salts in the morning and all the toxins with it.

How does it work  Epsom salts are made of magnesium sulfate heptahydrate. Magnesium is known to help reduce swelling and therefore ease the pain, it will also draw toxins from your body

Soak In Essential Oils – Essential Oils can be used as an alternative to Epsom salts Add 10 drops of essential oils to a half glass of milk and then add to your bath this will help to disperse the Essential oil evenly

A Word of Caution here Never underestimate the power of essential oils, Choose from a reputable brand, be careful of over marketed brands. If in doubt consult with a qualified Aromatherapist and never mix more than two oils ie. a blend would be 5 drops of each or 10 drops of one oil in a half cup of milk never drink essential oils.

How does it work essential oils, help to increase blood circulation and reduce swelling. Essential oils are used in the same two ways as Epsom salts.

The best essential oils to use to increase blood flow are peppermint oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, and rosemary oil.

Vinegar Soak – The kitchen cupboard remedy If you don’t have Epsom salts or essential oils in the house, you can use vinegar. Vinegar helps to reduce inflammation and can be used in two ways.

First, you can fill a basin with hot water and add two tablespoons of vinegar; it is additionally beneficial if you add some salt to the water as well. Soak your feet for about twenty minutes.

Second, you can put equal amounts of water and vinegar into two basins. Make one basin cold water and one basin hot water. Soak a towel that is big enough to wrap around your feet in the hot mixture and squeeze out the excess liquid. Wrap the hot compress around your feet for five minutes.

Repeat the same process using the cold mixture.

The second process is a little fussy but will give you the benefits of vinegar as well as the hot and cold method to maximize blood flow and reduce swelling and achiness.

Preventative Self-Care Measures

If your feet are constantly sore or you are usually on your feet for a very long time take preventative Self-Care Measures. Invest in a good pair of shoes, stretch and massage your feet throughout your day. Visit a Chiropodist who will remove any pressure points and advise on proper foot and nail care


You can also build regular Reflexology Treatments to your self care plan.

Reflexology is a therapeutic method that relieves pain by stimulating predefined pressure points on your feet and hands. Reflexology promotes healing by stimulating nerves in your body and encouraging the flow of blood. In the process, reflexology not only eases the sensation of pain, but relieves the source of the pain as well. Your Reflexologist will also be able to give you analysis of your feet and suggest some exercises to ease pain.Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinby feather

5 Ways Hypnosis Helps Stress

So much is said about stress and to put it simply there are two types of stress, good, and the bad.

The good kind raises your heartbeat, elevates your blood pressure, and gets you alert and ready for anything. You will easily know the difference between good and bad stress and when it suddenly flares up it might happen during a business meeting, excitement at a sports game or even when you’re driving and someone cuts you off.

This type comes and goes quickly You feel your adrenaline pumping in your veins and you are sharper, quicker thinking and your reflexes become faster.  You will feel your stress going away after a while as your adrenaline levels return to normal and your blood pressure stabilizes.

The stress we really have to be careful of is the second type of stress. This stress is chronic, you feel exhausted and worn out because you have been stressed over a longer period of time and it feels like it you have no way out and no peace of mind.  This creates havoc on your body, and your normal body systems begin to break down sometimes to the point of creating chronic diseases in our body.  Because chronic stress exposes us to cortisol and other stress-related hormones for longer periods of time than short term stress we can eventually find ourselves suffering from any of the following:

  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Lower or Weak immune system
  • Depression
  • Aches and pains
  • Type-2 diabetes
  •  Digestive problems
  •  Cancer
  • Higher risk of heart disease

There are many ways to treat your stress, such as meditation, exercise or massages, all of these will initially help you to relax and unwind and get some relief from your stress.

These practices should become part of your self care plan, however, this is just dealing with your stress on the surface. If you really want to get to the bottom of your stress and your anxiety, you have to dig down deep and find the source, a bit like pulling out the weeds by the roots instead of just trimming the surface.

That’s what hypnosis does, it helps you to get to the source of your stress. Hypnosis is probably one of the least-understood therapy techniques, even though it has helped with many physical and mental ailments over the years.

calm peaceful

What are the benefits of using hypnosis to treat stress?

1. It’s time-efficient.
One of its benefits of hypnosis is that you can get right to the source of your stress usually during your first session, which is quick compared to other methods of treatment.

2. Gets to the bottom of things. Through hypnotherapy, you can find what triggers your stress and anxiety. It could be due to a negative past experience, a certain situation that left its mark, or an illness yours or someone else’s. Regardless, your therapist can help you diagnose and treat your stress through hypnosis.

3. Hypnosis is Holistic. Hypnosis treats your body, mind, and soul as one entity.

4. Hypnosis is gentle and gradual.  Your session allows you to be safe and to explore where and how your stress is manifesting, what you are feeling and where all this is showing up in your body. Hypnosis will help with the self sabotaging thoughts that keep you stuck and because it is gentle and gradual you will be able to do this without feeling lost or alone.

5. You’re in control. In spite of what many claim or believe, during hypnosis, you’re awake and remain conscious the entire length of the session. The only part the licensed hypnotherapist, someone whom you trust, plays during the session is to listen to you, guide your suggestions of how you’re feeling, where it hurts, and how to get rid of the pain. Other than that, while you are undergoing hypnosis you stay conscious and in control the entire time.

The reason why hypnosis is successful is because when you’re in a trance, you’re in a state of deep relaxation.

This is when your brain is open to suggestions. It’s a way for you to unlock and  change your negative thoughts into positive ones, allowing you to break free of negative patterns, and learn how to react when you are faced with stressful situations.

Finally Hypnotherapy can help you change your perception of the stress-triggers that you have identified, in your life.

And since stress is created through your thoughts and perceptions, Hypnotherapy is a great way to lower your levels of anxiety and reduces stress, and if you can lower your levels of anxiety and stress, you are on your way to a happier, healthier, more balanced you.
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Ways to Keep Your Memory Sharp

memory loss, forgetting thingsWays to Keep Your Memory Sharp

 If you find you are becoming forgetful it can often mean that your mind is elsewhere, most likely stressing about things that just might not happen

Your memory is important at any age. You can start minding your mind by incorporating these healthy habits into your life. It is never too early to cultivate a strong memory that will stay with you for years to come.

1. Don’t forget about physical exercise

Believe it or not, when you’re exercising your body, you’re exercising your mind as well. Aerobic exercise gets your blood pumping, which increases the oxygen going to your brain and lowers your risk of disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease that can lead to memory loss. If you can, start with some exercise in the morning. This can clear your head right off the bat to stay focused and alert during the day. Exercises that require coordination are especially helpful for keeping the mind active such as simply throwing a ball back and forth.

2. Make sure you’re sleeping

Sleep is one of the best ways to make sure your brain and memory are in tip-top shape on a daily basis. To get the most out of your sleep, aim for 7.5-9 hours every night. Make sure to shut off the electronics at least an hour before bed to help the mind shut off as well. Try to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake earlier in the day. Both can result in a shallow sleep. For more help on sleeping go Here

3. Keep your brain stimulated

Research has shown that keeping mental stimulation as we age is very important for lowering the risk of dementia. Stay social, interact with others, learn new skills, play mind-exercise games like crossword puzzles or Sudoku. Interacting with others and continuing to learn is vital for keeping the brain healthy at any age.

4. Be aware of your stress

Chronic stress can not only make someone miserable, but also cause serious long term effects. Stress over time has been shown to destroy brain cells and damage the area of the brain that creates new memories and recalls past ones. To avoid memory loss, minimize your stress. Don’t take on too many tasks if they overwhelm you, sometimes it is ok to say no. Make sure you have outlets to relieve stress whether it is physical exercise or talking with someone about your frustrations.

5. Don’t forget about your superfoods

Certain superfoods have shown to be significant in preventing memory loss. Make sure to get your fruit and vegetable servings in, many are filled with antioxidants that help protect your brain cells. Eat more foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna and foods cooked with olive oil. Green tea is another option that has powerful antioxidants to protect from brain damage.

Your memory is important at any age. Its never too soon to start incorporating healthy habits and keep a strong memory for years to come.

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Headaches – How Acupuncture Helps

headacheIf you suffer from headaches, you are not alone. Over 50 million of us experience some form of a severe headache at some point in our lives. Whether you experience minor head pain or severe migraines, headaches can take valuable time out of your day and your life, and leave you searching for relief.

Many seek relief by reaching for drugs and other medications. This may work temporarily and can help you get out of pain fast. Unfortunately, common headache medications do not address the root cause(s), and when used over long periods of time can cause unwanted side effects.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offer a safe and effective approach to relieving headache pain without causing harmful side effects. These healing modalities provide a comprehensive diagnostic protocol that can help your acupuncturist understand and address the root cause(s) of your headaches.

Causes of Headaches: There are many factors in TCM theory that may play a key role in the root cause(s) of a headache. These include body constitution, emotional health, excessive work, social activities and exercise, improper diet, physical trauma and hormones. Headaches can also be diagnosed according to specific symptoms, times of occurrence, location, type of pain, and triggers.

A natural path to relief: Acupuncture and TCM take a holistic, or whole-body approach to health. Your practitioner will take a detailed health history, and perform a physical exam to determine how and why your body’s vital energy, or Qi (pronounced chee), is out of balance and identify what type of headache you are experiencing. To determine the most effective care, he/she will focus on illuminating the root cause(s) of the problem.

It is important to remember that acupuncture is not a quick fix. Changes may occur quickly or over a longer period of time, depending upon your overall constitution and health. Whether it is one visit to address an acute problem, or several visits to address a chronic problem, it is suggested to closely follow care recommendations of your acupuncturist to maximize your healing potential.

Below are a few ways that you can make simple lifestyle changes that may help alleviate or even prevent headaches:

Track your triggers – Try to keep track of when your headaches start. Migraine sufferers may find it especially helpful to keep a diary of symptoms. Certain types of foods and hormonal changes can be possible causes.
Stress relief – Stress can contribute to many types of health concerns, including headaches. Talk to your practitioner about healthy ways to handle stress.
Exercise – Physical activity is an important part of any healthy lifestyle and is a great antidote for stress.
Healthy habits – Do your best to eat healthy, organic foods, stay hydrated and get enough sleep every night.

Skin Brushing to Detox – read about it here.

Download your Self Help Sheet for Headache Pain HERE

Acupuncture care – is extremely effective in reducing the frequency and severity of many types of painful conditions, including headaches and migraines, naturally. By working with your acupuncturist and adopting some simple lifestyle changes, you will be on your way toward a healthier, happier, pain-free life.Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinby feather

Smiling Inside – Healing Meditation

I love this meditation because it brings “it all back home” It collects your energy into your center and gives you an opportunity to tune into you. It is the perfect meditation to do when you hear yourself saying things like  

“I’m all over the Place”,


“Too many demands”

“Too much to do”

“Too much going on”

Based upon Taoist meditation practices, the Inner Smile Meditation can have profound effects on your body and mind. This simple meditation suggests that you “smile” to all of your internal organs and glands.

It is a way of saying “thank you” to your body for working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Focusing your attention and smiling in this way can calm your autonomic nervous system, revitalize your internal organs, and increase your flow of blood and Qi.

Below is the simplest of versions of the Inner Smile Meditation for your main Meridian Organ Systems. It can be used to boost your fertility if you focus on loving kindness to your womb.

I’m including a link here to a utube video for those of you who like more information, You can skip to 27 minutes in if you want a summary. but don’t complicate it there is enough on this page to get you started so I’ve put the link to the end of the page.

Choose a quiet spot and keep warm throughout the meditation. Sit comfortably at the edge of a chair, feet flat on the ground with your back straight. Breathe deeply and relax. Clasp your hands together, put your right hand over your left hand, palms touching, and rest them in your lap.

Close your eyes and feel a connection between the soles of your feet and the ground.
Focus on the midpoint between your eyebrows. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your front teeth. Put a smile on your face and journey down to the wonderfully amazing body that keeps you alive, alert and active.

Heart -See your heart as a vibrant red color. Focus the energy of “joy” into your heart. Feel it pulse with love. Breathe in and exhale with the sound of HAW.

Lungs – Radiate the feeling in your heart to your lungs. Picture your lungs as pure white. Focus on letting go of sadness and grief. Exhale with the sound of SSSSSS.

Liver – Keep the feeling spilling over into your liver, which is just under your ribs on the right side. Picture it as a vibrant grass-green. When exhaling, let go of anger and frustration with the sound of SHHHH.

Spleen – Continue to the left, under the ribs. Shine a vibrant yellow color into this organ. When you exhale, let go of overthinking and worry, and use the sound of WHOO.

Kidney – Focus your attention on your lower back, just below and under your ribs. Imagine a deep blue-purple light. Breathe in courage and exhale fear. When you exhale, use the sound of WOOO.

Once you have traveled through your body, begin to focus your attention on your navel. Smile down to your navel, and focus your attention there.

Mentally move the energy in a spiral at the navel 36 times. Women start the spiral counterclockwise, men start it clockwise. Next, reverse the spiral direction and bring the energy back into the navel, circling 24 times. You can use a finger to guide the spiral motion.

anatomy-254120_1280It is ok if you don’t know the exact locations of your organs. Just bringing awareness to your organs is benefit enough. Your body will love you just the same.

Perform each exercise 9 times, twice a day. These exercises can affect your body and mind, so it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider.

Here is your link to more information,

Mantak Chia’s book, Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality.

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Insomnia self help

Acupressure points for insomnia

insomnia,sleeeplessness,accupressure,stressHere are some tips that you can use to help balance and support your health during this time. Please feel free
to call me if you have further questions or concerns.

Acupressure Points for Insomnia
Rubbing acupuncture points with your finger for 30 – 60 seconds can stimulate and promote the circulation of Qi within your own body, restoring health and well-being.

Pericardium 7 (P 7): In the middle of the wrist crease, between both tendons.

Functions: Clears the Heart and calms the spirit, expands the chest, dispels fullness from the chest, reduces fire from heart and harmonizes the Stomach. Main point to treat insomnia.

Heart 7 (HT 7): With palm facing up, on the inside of the wrist, on the little finger side of the crease where the hand meets the wrist.
Functions: Calms the Shen (mind), pacifies the heart, clears the channels, sleep disturbance, sedates and regulates the internal organs.

Pericardium 6 (P 6): On the inside of the forearm, in between the tendons, approximately 2.5 finger widths below the wrist crease. Functions: Opens the chest, regulates Heart Qi, calms the Shen (Spirit), harmonizes the Stomach, relieves nausea and vomiting, insomnia, opens and relaxes chest tightness.

Here are a few more tips to help you get a better nights rest.
If you have any questions, please contact me

Yogurt – Yogurt contains tryptophan, an amino acid, that is essential to help your body produce neurochemicals to help you sleep.

Paid image epsom saltsSoak Your Feet or have a bath  – Soaking your feet in hot water with a little Epsom salt, or having a bath with a handful of epsom salts helps activate the “relaxation” response and prepares your body for a good nights rest. Do this about 15-minutes prior to going to sleep. (Large bags of Epsom Salts are avalable in the LIttlejohn Centre)

Melatonin – Melatonin is a natural hormone produced in our brain’s pineal gland that helps to regulate sleep and wake cycles. When melatonin levels are low, less of the hormone is released into the bloodstream, and restlessness or wakefulness results. Whether you can’t calm your mind or just toss and turn, a sleepless night can leave you frustrated. Melatonin supplements, may be able to help.

Drink Tea – Drinking a relaxing mixture of herbal tea can help lull you into a deeper sleep. A mixture of Valerian root, Chamomile, Hops, and Passion flower have all shown to be helpful in regulating sleep.

Spritz – Spritz a small amount of Lavender spray on your pillow at night for relaxed and sweet dreams.

Turn off mind chatter  – if you find your mind active and full of mindless thoughts , simply observe withought engaging with them, say not now and return to the following breathing meditation. 

Bedtime Breathing Meditation – Learning to relax at bedtime can be difficult for many people. Here is a simple breathing exercise that can help you relax both your body and mind.

1) Exhale completely through your mouth.
2) Inhale through your nose to a count of four.
3) Hold your breath for four more counts (or whatever feels
4) Exhale through your nose for a count of eight.
Repeat until you fall asleep.


Insomnia, sleeplessness, tiredTurn off technology

Avoid the stimulating effects of late-night exercise, computers, cell phones and television at least 1 hour before you are ready to go to sleep. Avoid eating a big meal about 2-3 hours before retiring to bed.



Schedule your acupuncture treatment for the evening and plan to go striaght home and into bed straight away. Your acpuncture treatment will calm your body and remind your body on how it feels to be relaxed.

I have evening treatments sessions available call me and we can arrange for you to have a good nights sleep.Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinby feather

Spring Time Detox

Garden with some tulips and narcissus

Springtime  –  Time to Spring Clean,

Our mothers and grandmothers had the sagacity to invent Spring Cleaning (I could have said wisdom but then I wouldn’t have learned a new word)  They opened up thier houses, windows and doors, washed everything, pulled out sofas and beds, all in an effort to clear the stagnant energy that has built up over the winter and invite the new energies of birth and regrowth in.

Opening windows and doors cleaning windows all allow light and clean air to penetrate the deep dark corners of the house, pulling out sofas and washing curtains were all about the hustle and bustle of the New Year and beginning of growth. It was the time for de cluttering, sorting through clothes and bedlinen, sorting out what was still good, needing repairing or throwing out or passing on.

Detox your life and body

Winters can be difficult for some and by the time we get to the end of January we begin waiting for Spring to Spring. Give your Spring a quick start by getting on with some de-cluttering and de toxifying our mind body and spirit. Pick a drawer a press any drawer or press and go through it ruthlessly throw out anything you haven’t used or better still save yourself the time and simply tip it into the bin and use your time to go for a walk.


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Healthy Holiday Eating Strategies to Stay Fit–and Still Have Fun

Cakes. Biscuits. Chocolate. Wine. Champagne.

Dublin AcupunctureThe holiday season is filled with good foods. You eat and drink with your friends and family to celebrate how much you care about them. But we all know that too much of a good thing is no longer good. Too many rich foods can lead to extra pounds, digestion upsets, mood swings and a generally “yucky” feeling.

It’s all about balance.

Good, healthy holiday eating can make the difference between an enjoyable holiday season and a miserable one. The trick is to enjoy treats without overdoing them. Make a healthy holiday eating strategy and plan to enjoy the holiday celebrations without feeling bad the next day.

Here are a few strategies to help you eat healthy over the Christmas Holidays

Strategy #1 Moderate

Decide on a moderate way to approach the treats that tempt you most.  Avoid big brash decisions like “I won’t have any holiday treats at all this year.” It’s easy to break unreasonable rules. Instead, make a moderate healthy holiday eating plan.

For example, if chocolate is your nemesis,  don’t mindlessly eat by keeping the box of chocolate beside you and at hand.  Allow yourself one or two and leave the box in another room.  Take your time to taste the chocolate so that you are aware that you are eating and how it tastes. This way you won’t feel deprived and you won’t overdo. Pick your battles to get maximum enjoyment with minimal deprivation.

Strategy #2 Substitute

fruit and nutsFind healthy alternatives for rich, high calorie food. Substitute nuts and fruits (both fresh and dried) for biscuits and sweets. Drink juice instead of fizzy drinks, and herbal tea instead of juice. During a meal, eat mostly vegetables instead of potatoes and stuffing.



Strategy #3 Avoid Hunger

The hungrier you are, the more likely you will binge on bad foods. Remember to eat breakfast. Eat a healthy meal before you go to a party. Start every big meal with hot soup. Fill up with healthy food so you don’t race to the bad stuff.

Strategy #4 Maintain Healthy Routines

Weight control over christmasDon’t stop your healthy habits just because it’s Christmas. Continue to drink lots of water and get enough sleep. Make time to exercise. Spend meaningful time with your family and friends. Take time to meditate or reflect. Get outside for a walk during the daytime hours. Maintain the healthy habits that you already have. When you feel good, you’ll be less inclined to eat foods that make you feel bad.

Strategy #5 Journal

Keep track of what you eat and how you’re feeling. Write about your stresses and emotional upsets and about the good times. Make a list of the great things that have happened in the previous year. Keeping a journal will give you a non-eating outlet for stress, and remind yourself how good it feels to be healthy, happy and creative.

Strategy #6 Trick Yourself

Trick yourself into thinking you’re eating a lot.

Use small plates to make modest dessert portions seem larger. Pour drinks into tall, skinny glasses to drink less. Fill your dinner plate with salad before adding the entrees. Full plates make small portions seem big.

Strategy #7 Partner Up

Get a healthy holiday eating buddy. Partners make it easier to keep your healthy commitments in the face of indulgences. They provide accountability and support.

Strategy #8 Commit

Look through this list of strategies and pick the ones that are the most helpful and the least difficult for you Write down your own list of healthy holiday eating guidelines and pin them up where you will see them several times a day. Commit to following them. Don’t allow yourself excuses to break your rules.

Strategy #9 Tune Up

Now is a great time for an acupuncture tune-up. Acupuncture helps balance your body so it’s easier to make healthy choices.

Call me today on 086 8381017 to schedule your appointment. I’ll help you create a healthy holiday eating plan that doesn’t take the fun out of your Christmas holidays.Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinby feather

How to End Seasonal Affective Disorder and Start Loving Winter

Many people feel down as winter approaches. This is natural. It’s dark. It’s cold. The Christmas holidays can be stressful.

sadBut for some people every winter is unbearable. You are tired and depressed. You don’t want to get out of bed. You snap at anyone around you and you just want to binge on junk food.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) might effect you more than it effects other. Your moods and energy levels fluctuate with the seasons. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understands these cycles but the pace of modern life does not. These days, you are expected to be active, productive and creative at all times of the year. There is no accommodation for a slow, quiet winter.

According to TCM, this conflict causes stress, which can result in SAD otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a type of depression that you can experience at the same time every year. Most often, symptoms start in September or October and you begin to feel some relief in April or May.

The symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Extreme fatigue, lethargy and sleepiness
  • Increased appetite
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Lack of concentration
  • Decreased libido

No one knows exactly what causes SAD but most of the theories involve light. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood, is triggered by light. Some people believe that decreased serotonin is the culprit. Others blame melatonin, a hormone that affects sleep and mood, because it is affected by darkness. In either case, light plays a role.

Western medicine treats SAD with medications, psychotherapy and light therapy.

There are 2 types of light therapy. For bright light treatment, you sit in front of a light box for 30-45 minutes every day. For dawn simulation treatment, a dim light comes on while you sleep and gradually gets lighter.

Many people find light therapy very effective, and a recent Canadian study confirms this. Scientists found that light therapy was just as effective as Prozac for alleviating SAD, with fewer side effects and faster results.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatments for SAD

TCM takes a holistic view of the body and seasonal cycles, and understands the energy behind them. All life is made of qi, or life force. One of the principles of qi is that everything is made of yin and yang. Yin is the feminine side, nourishing, cold and dark. Yang is the masculine side, active, warm and light.

Autumn marks the beginning of the yin cycle of the year. Daylight decreases, temperatures drop and nature takes a rest. Just as animals slow down and hibernate, our bodies slow down. It is a time for reflection and quiet activity.

If your constitution is particularly yin, meaning you are a quiet personality and like to spend time alone or being creative. The yin cycle of winter may hit you harder than others. Contemplation and rest may leave you feeling isolated and depressed. Your winter cycle becomes seasonal affective disorder.

Christmas holidays in the middle of  Winter put an additional stress on your system. At a time when your body wants to slow down, holiday activities speed up. Parties, shopping, travel and holiday celebrations create tension between what your body needs and what you’re doing. This stress depletes your body even more, contributing to exhaustion and cravings for carbohydrates to replenish your depleted energy.

How to stay balanced in the winter and ward off  Seasonal Affecive Disorder

  • Conserve your energy. Practice quiet, yin activities like restorative yoga, Tai Chi, qigong, walking or journaling.
  • Eat warm, slow-cooked stews and soups. Add yang spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, cloves and basil to your foods.
  • Limit cold drinks and raw vegetables. Rebuild your energy to prepare for spring.

Most importantly, make an appointment with me for a seasonal acupuncture treatment. By balancing your qi, your seasonal affective disorder symptoms can be relieved.

Winter doesn’t have to be a time of sadness, exhaustion and binge eating. Give me a call on 086 838 1017 to discuss your treatment options today.Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinby feather