Archives For Healthy Living

a different valentine's dayAnne Lamott, one of my favorite memoir/non-fiction writers, recently composed a great post about Valentine’s Day. She wrote that rather than hating it as many do, that we should think of today as a day to take care of ourselves and others in simple, loving ways.

In other words, she advocates moving it out of the chocolates and sweethearts constraint and letting it serve a wider purpose and audience.

So let me ask you this; who is one person in your life who really needs to be shown some extra kindness and care this Valentine’s Day? What is one kind thing you could do for yourself today? 

Since I am a fan of lists, here’s a simple list of 20 things you can do for yourself or someone else today (or this weekend). The first ten might cost you some money. The last ten are absolutely free!

  1. Buy a really nice card.
  2. Make a care package.
  3. Buy some fair-trade chocolate.
  4. Go out for some coffee or tea.
  5. Get a massage.
  6. Get a pedicure.
  7. Drink a new kind of wine.
  8. See a happy, fun movie.
  9. Bake something fun.
  10. Send a singing telegram.
  11. Send some happy texts.
  12. Dance and play some air guitar.
  13. Listen to or share some music.
  14. Use your Just Wink app.
  15. Write an encouraging note.
  16. Make a card for someone.
  17. Give someone a compliment and a hug.
  18. Watch a Charlie Brown Valentine’s special.
  19. Give someone something that you’ve been holding onto for a special occasion (or just something you don’t need anymore that you know they would love).
  20. Take some time to listen, to walk, to eat, to watch something that makes you happy in nature (or on tv), to read, to journal, to create, and, you guessed it…to breathe.

Perhaps this year we can transform our experience of this day of love we love to hate. So here’s to another February 14th that can spill into spring, summer, fall, and even next winter!

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

New Year SunflowerMore and more I hear people say that they don’t make resolutions for each new year, and I realize that it is as difficult for others as it is for me to keep them for longer than a few days (or hours).

This year however, I am doing fairly well, resolution-wise, but this comes from years of trial and error. Here are five things I’ve learned from making and breaking resolutions (and sometimes just not making them at all):

  1. Make just one resolution. My only resolution this year is to drink more water. I fully comprehend how important it is to my health and well-being to drink a lot of H2O, but I often find myself dehydrated anyway. Dehydration has a ripple effect in terms of fatigue, congestion, hunger, headaches, and concentration, so I figured I’d really be working on other problems too (love the positive end of the ripple effect). Of course it is perfectly acceptable to have other goals, dreams, and intentions for the new year, but it’s better to have one focus when it comes to your resolutions.
  2. Make a resolution that can give you immediate positive feedback. Although there are times when I have to force myself to drink water, I usually feel better right away when I do. That knowledge makes it a little easier to make sure I have water at my fingertips and to periodically choose water over other beverages that might not be as healthy for me.
  3. Put reminders of your resolution all throughout your spaces and your days. I have found that if I put a full water bottle on my table the night before, I am more likely to grab it as I am running out the door in the morning. If I keep a glass of water by my sink, I drink it whenever I am in the kitchen, and if I keep water in my car, I tend to drink it at stoplights. Otherwise I can easily get to the end of the day and realize I have only had coffee or tea or juice to drink. Other ideas that have worked for me include colorful notes, reminders in my phone, and natural roadblocks (putting something right in my way so that I trip over it).
  4. Don’t give up if you miss a day or two. This is a big one for everyone, but especially for perfectionist, all-or-nothing personalities. Although it is certainly gratifying to get a 100% on something, it is usually neither necessary nor realistic.
  5. Finally and as always, keep it simple. I prefer reverse-osmosis water (Culligan or Aquafina) for lots of reasons, but I know that if I get fancy that I will find lots of excuses not to keep my resolution. For now then, I am just sticking to plain and simple tap water in the hopes of developing a habit. After I do that, I can worry about what kind of water I’m drinking.

Whether or not you made a resolution at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, I hope you have had a good start to the new year. Drink water, get massages, laugh, cry, read, write, work, relax, dance, and breathe. Here’s to 2013! May it be healthy and full of good accomplishments and surprises.

photo credit: marcomagrini via photopin cc

Gift GivingThe holiday season is such a mystery. On one hand, the holidays are full of love and peace, family and whimsy. On the other hand, they are also often filled with sadness and stress, disappointment and loneliness.

One of the unfortunately stressful aspects of the holidays is the tradition of giving gifts. Unrealistic expectations, financial issues, stretched schedules, and the emptiness of materialism often makes this tradition a chore instead of a happy seasonal task. This doesn’t have to be the case though.

Here are 5 simple ways to make your holiday chore into a holiday snap:

  1. Keep it simple. Gift cards and money are always appreciated. Add a card with an encouraging handwritten message to make them less impersonal gifts.
  2. Shop sales. A gift doesn’t have to be expensive to be well-received. Stores tend to have big sales in both July and January that can yield some great finds.
  3. Shop fair trade. Since I started giving primarily fair-trade gifts, I am much less stressed about both the money and materialism associated with gift giving. By shopping fair trade, you are not only getting a great gift for your friend or family member, you are also helping someone support her family.
  4. Give practical gifts. Who doesn’t hate to see a gift they bought and gave in the giveaway pile or the trash a few short months later? This can be prevented by giving gifts that are fun but also useful and healthy.
  5. Give the gift of massage therapy. Few people would be disappointed by a gift certificate for a massage therapy session. Giving the gift of massage therapy also matches up with the other four tips:
    • It’s a simple gift to buy. No long lines!
    • A Moment to Breathe is offering 50% off your next massage if you buy two or more gift certificates. Sale!
    • A Moment to Breathe supports fair trade in a variety of ways, so you are indirectly shopping fair trade. Two birds!
    • Giving the gift of massage therapy is both practical and luxurious. It’s a wonderful treat, but it will also help fulfill your friends’ and family members’ health goals for the new year. You just can’t go wrong with this gift!

Here’s to a safe, happy, peaceful, and meaningful holiday season. Happy shopping everyone!

photo credit: allerleirau via photopin cc

Take a BreakDo you ever think about running away from everything?

Do you find yourself dreaming about retirement and finally taking that exotic trip?

Do you need a vacation from your vacation?

Many of us have been trained to think that taking a break is something that happens once in a while. We can have a short break at night after work or on the weekends, but we see most of our breaks happening at certain special times or places, like on a dream vacation or at exotic retirement locations.

I propose that we should take breaks throughout our days and work weeks rather than waiting for an appointed time in the future. Obviously work is necessary, but what if you could take care of your responsibilities and still take mini breaks that keep you from feeling like the proverbial hamster running on its wheel?

Here are ten simple ways to take daily breaks that neither have to impede your progress nor wreck your bank account:

  1. Breathe more slowly every once in a while. Take deeper breaths.
  2. Allow yourself stretch breaks. Your body will thank you.
  3. Listen to music while you work or drive (instrumental if you need more concentration).
  4. Listen to the breeze. Stop and let it play across your face.
  5. Remind yourself that sometimes it really is the thought that counts. It’s fun to daydream.
  6. Without ruining your green goals, take a longer shower or bath (mini spa moment).
  7. Find a book or a television show that you can get lost in for a bit.
  8. Take a Staycation. Stay home and get all those little things done. Enjoy your home.
  9. Do your chores with peace in mind. Even washing dishes can be a “zen moment.”
  10. Light a candle or put some drops of your favorite essential oil around your work zone. Also, have some flowers or something bright nearby.

And of course, get a massage. Once a week. Once a month. Once a year. One of my clients sometimes visits Ireland in her mind’s eye during her massage. Talk about Europe on a budget!

So add taking a break to your to do list. You don’t have to wait.

photo credit: Zoltan Papp. via photo pin cc

Water vs. WineIf you’ve ever gotten a massage, you’ve probably been told to drink a lot of water afterward and to avoid alcohol, but why is that?

The simple answer is that drinking wine (or any other type of alcohol) after a massage is not going to have the effect you would desire it to.  Instead of making you feel more relaxed, it’s probably going to have one of three negative effects: make you uncomfortably intoxicated (think hangover), make you sore the next day, or make you feel dehydrated and ill.  Dr. Steve Jones provides some science behind these effects on Quora.

When you’re getting a massage, you are relaxing, but your body (and your massage therapist) is getting a work-out.  After a trip to the gym or a rigorous run, you obviously don’t reach for the wine; until you’ve re-hydrated with either water or a sports drink, alcohol isn’t even something you desire.

So just think of a massage as a very relaxing work-out.  In fact, you’ll feel so relaxed that you’ll want to save that bottle of Chardonnay for another day.

photo credit: thefost via photo pin cc

Open Doors

August 18, 2012 — Leave a comment

I recently opened the doors to my office for ‘a moment to breathe’. I’m easy to find in the office suite of Aksarben Massage Associates (7400 Building on Pacific). If you’ve been looking for a massage therapist or just need a good therapeutic massage, give me a call at 402-316-2014.