Our bodies are designed to move…a lot. Everything in the body is in constant movement, inside we are like a beautifully designed machine where everything fits together. But the machine needs to work (move) to function. When we move circulation is enhanced; oxygen in, toxins out. There is no other way to do this. When we don’t move the opposite occurs; bad circulation, accumulation of toxins in our system, weak muscles that can’t keep the posture, the skeletal system goes out of whack because there is no muscle support and we end up with a whole array of aches and pains. The way our society is built today does not leave much space for movement. We sit at work, sit in our transportation, sit at home. We take the elevator or the escalator, even if it means waiting. We are constantly stressed and in some kind of pain because the body is not getting what it needs. And when the body doesn’t get what it needs, nor does the mind. When exercising, the brain secretes all kind of yummy, feel-good hormones that make us high and happy.
The benefits of exercise are huge: Less risk for osteoporosis, better circulation, healthy hunger and healthy demands from the body, clarity of mind, improvement of mood, more energy, better sleep-patterns, reduces stress, the list is long. Look at children; they move all the time and their bodies are strong and fit. They don’t have problems with posture, aches and dislocated vertebrae…
If you are not used to exercising, start slow: Take the stairs, take a walk, park your car further away from the mall. Walk those 2 bus-stops (it’ll probably be faster than waiting for the bus), dance. Little by little you add on; walk further, start doing other exercises, run, skip, jump, climb a tree. When you are at the playground with your child, play! Climb, swing and use the playground equipment to exercise. Check out videos on YouTube “playground exercises”.
- Aches and pains: If you have problems with your body, chances are that they will heal or get better with movement. Just be careful not to overdo it. If you have problems with your knees walk the stairs up and take the elevator down. Going downstairs or downhill creates a much bigger impact on your joints. Walk, don’t run or jump. Climbing is good. Push-ups is a brilliant exercise for the whole body and can be done by anybody. If you can’t do full push-ups, start on your knees or against a wall or an elevated surface. Menstrual pain always lessens with movement. Head-aches often clear.
- Time: You can get a really heavy-duty work-out in only 15-20 min. Cardio by running, skipping rope, dancing, step-ups or using the stairs. Strength by using interval-training. This can be fit in any time during the day; lunch break, morning, evening. Instead of sitting through stupid programs on the TV or hanging out with your best buddy – the computer, move! You can even fit in more than one session in a day.
- Expenses: There are none unless you want to. For weights you can use cans, water-bottles, rocks…whatever. You can use an ordinary rope for skipping, your body-weight is already something to work with. You can do everything in your living-room, garden, play-ground, park, forest…use your imagination. If you want to invest, buy some dumb-bells, they are not too costly. I invested in a timer for interval-training, it’s called Gymboss and you can purchase it either in a sports-shop or here. It costs about 20 US dollars. Interval training is hard to do on your own without a timer.
- Body-weight & Balance: When you do body-weight exercises, you use all the muscles in your body because while you are moving, the body constantly has to stabilize and balance itself. I prefer this to working on machines because the machine targets only one area. By using your whole body you get balance, coordination and strength. There is no end to the movements and combinations you can create, so you don’t have to get bored. Besides, you can do it anywhere. I LOVE interval-training (or Tabata); it’s fun, fast, easy and efficient. I do it in my living-room in winter, in my garden in the summer and sometimes in the forest where I can use nature’s equipment.
- Warm-up & Stretching: Always warm up before training and stretch after. This will keep stiffness and soreness to a minimum, keeping you muscles long and supple. Some stiffness is to be expected when you start, or step up, your work-out. The best way to get past this is by exercising. Over time your program will get too easy, then you need to add more movements or weight.
Here is a great video to show how interval training is done:
You will love the look and feel of your new body; toned muscle, good posture, looking radiant and strong. You will find yourself taking every chance to move; walk, take the stairs, turn the house-cleaning into a work-out 🙂 Health is all about loving and respecting yourself.
Posted in Lifestyle, Stress, Wellness
Tagged balance, body, exercise, health, life-style, mind, movement, muscle, self-respect, simplicity, sleep, Stress
Every person has their own rhythm; sleep, energy, hormonal cycles, digestion, that greatly influences performance. Most writers I know write in the wee hours of morning or late at night when all is quiet and there are no interruptions, many athletes prefer to train in the morning. Some people are full of energy in the evenings and some in the mornings. Daily life schedule is usually fixed, no matter how our rhythms look, and this can sometimes become an enormous stressor.
Many people experience sleeping-problems; they can’t fall asleep in the evening, wake up at strange times, are tired upon waking in the morning… Often it is related to their specific sleep-patterns or rhythms. The same goes for our “daily cycles”; our energy moves in waves and at certain times during the day we have “dips” when we feel tired or un-focused. Over time this can lead to tension and stress.
Most people aren’t even aware of their own patterns, they fight a loosing battle trying to fit into a schedule of work, over time getting depleted and stressed. By learning our patterns or rhythms, we can enhance our performance by time-management and scheduling. So how do we learn our patterns?
Keep a diary for 1-4 weeks where you note your findings:
- Sleep: When do you get tired in the evening? When do you feel comfortable getting up? How many hours do you need to sleep?
- “Dips”: Pay attention to when this happens during the day and how often. Note the time.
- Digestion: How do you feel comfortable with eating? What time? How many times? How much? How long does it take you to digest?
- Hormones (more obvious for women): Menstrual cycles; how do they affect your performance?
After a certain amount of time, you will notice a pattern in your diary; this would be your basic energy-rhythm. By knowing your pattern you can also fit it with the life you are living. You need to teach yourself to function optimally.
Balance your sleep:
- Energetic in the evenings, tired in the morning? Do something; take a walk or exercise, prepare for the next day so morning flows easy (get your clothes out, clean the kitchen, pack your bag). Then go to bed. Keep your room dark and cool. Maybe a calming tea or a bath will help.
- Tired in the evenings, energetic in the morning? Get to bed earlier and get up earlier. Do your exercise in the morning, your daily preparation as well.
- Waking up in the night at the same hour? When this is caused by stress it is usually very negative; worry, angst, a sense of doom and extremely black thoughts. Then stress-management is a must. If it is “only” waking up it could be that you have left your deep sleep and moved into dream time. Stay relaxed, breath deeply and stay with your dream. Research shows that to remember a dream, we need to wake up after it and stay awake 1-3 minutes, whis means that we wake up many times during the night without being aware of it, usually we just fall asleep again.
- When you constantly feel exhausted after a nights sleep there is usually stress involved; your brain is not resting and you probably have problems accessing your deep sleep state. Stress-management is needed.
- Heavy or large meals, alcohol, sugars and black/green tea/ coffee in the evening will influence your sleep negatively.
“Dips”: When you have found the rhythm, use the “dip-time” for de-stress by taking a break, a few minutes is usually enough: Drink water (not coffee), move around a bit, do some deep breathing. A friend of mine goes running or walking in the stairs… whatever suits you. Just move!
- When do you need your main meal? Morning, noon, afternoon? This is different for everybody.
- How do you react on what you eat? Maybe you need to change your eating habits? The body needs more time to digest a heavy meal such as steak, pasta, greasy food. If you feel heavy and tired after eating, chances are that you are eating the wrong stuff. Always move after meals; take a walk.
- How often do you need sustenance such as a fruit? (NOT sugary stuff)
Ladies, we are NOT slaves under our hormones!!!
- PMS: irritation, anger? Get fish-oil capsules. Use breathing techniques, balancing essential oils, exercise.
We are made for physical movement; to optimize our performance we need to move many times during the day. This will balance hormones, sleep, digestion, mental clarity and moods. MOVE MOVE MOVE!!!
Posted in Energetics, Lifestyle, Personal development, Stress, Wellness
Tagged breathing, diary, digestion, exercise, flow, hormones, movement, pattern, performance, Rhythm, sleep, Stress, tension, time management
(picture by: pedrosimoes7)
Skin-health is just that; healthy skin. The skin is our largest organ and it does a lot for us; it protects, communicates, informs and keeps the right temperature. It also secretes toxins and other stuff from our body. Lack of skin health can simply be imbalances such as spots, dryness, excessive sebum and/or blotches. But problems that shows up on the skin can also be symptoms of something else:
- Sensitivities to foods, medication or products
- Imbalances in different organs; liver, kidneys, intestine, lungs
- Warning of disease (cancer can sometimes make itself known by random spots on the skin)
- Hormonal imbalances
It amazes me how we tend to see the skin as something apart from the rest of our bodies, as if the only thing that counts is to look good rather than to feel good. Often when there is a problem with the skin we attack it with everything possible, even aggressively, forgetting that it might be a symptom of something else.
While researching substances that are used in skin-care and looking at how people treat their skin I am horrified. The only thing that seems to matter is the whole anti-aging business; you have got to stay young-looking! This is not possible, every system in our body ages; the moment you are born you start aging. True beauty is health – that is what gives that radiant look, not the absence of wrinkles.
The first step to that “radiant glow” is food, sleep and exercise:
- Nutrition: Take 1 month and follow an elimination diet. (a free E.D can be downloaded here) This will cleanse your system and you can determine if you suffer from any sensitivities. You might be sensitive to milk-products or wheat without having an allergy.
- Exercise: Get out there every day and move! It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you get the circulation going and breathe fresh air.
- Sleep: Try to get to bed a bit earlier in the evening so you get enough sleep. Use relaxation techniques to calm down and de-stress.
- Water: The best beauty regime in the world. Dehydrated skin is life-less and dry. Drinking plenty of water helps your system to detox and leaves your skin plump and nice – no matter what your age is. Test: Squeeze your skin between 2 fingers and let go, it should return to normal rather quickly (even if you are older) if not, you suffer from dehydration.
- Oils, fats and waxes: From natural sources. This is by far the most important thing for the skin. It is better to use only a high-quality cold-pressed oil on your skin (both for cleansing and protection) than a lot of products. Remember that a cream consists of 50-70% water… The older you get, the dryer your skin gets and water is not the solution – except when drinking it!
You can not live an unhealthy lifestyle and expect to look good. Alcohol, tobacco, coffee, sugars, aspirin, sleeping-pills… It deteriorates your system and will age you faster than anything else, no matter what you put on your skin.
Avoid too many different skin-care products and try keeping it as simple as possible. As I have stated earlier; it takes about 3-4 weeks for the new skin-cells to reach the top layer and show results from your skin-care regime. For a definite change you need to count 3 months. During this time you should stick to the same regime, to allow for the change. Very often there is a period of problems such as spots for example, this is the skin detoxifying and re-balancing itself from the inside out. Many products give an instant “good look” which can be deceiving since it is not even skin-deep, only superficial – like make-up. Over time this will deteriorate and stress the skin, creating more lines and dryness. (see my last post on mineral oils)
A lot of the stuff that is in a cream does not actually penetrate the skin, since the molecules are too large or the substances are not recognizable by our bodies. Sometimes they will even be harmful, just because products are expensive does NOT necessarily mean that they are any good. Remember: Less is more!
Posted in Skincare, Stress, Wellness
Tagged ageless, beauty, detox, exercise, fats, glow, Nutrition, radiance, skin, skin-care products, sleep, Stress, symptoms, water
To many people this time of year brings an all-time low. It gets colder and darker and our energy plummets. This is believed to occur because the hormone serotonin decreases when there is less light.
There are plenty of ways how to bring energy and joy back into life as the nights get longer (and actually start creeping into daytime…).
- Enjoy the season; This is a time to go indoors; light candles, buy flowers, make your home cozy; this is your space of retreat. Experience the bliss of sitting in the warmth of your home with lit candles, watching the cold darkness outside.
- Pamper yourself: Take warm baths, create a home-spa; rub, buff, peel and moisturize! Go for a massage.
- Un-clutter: Go through ”all that stuff”; pictures, books, papers, clothes. Use this indoor-time to clear your living-space and allow yourself the joy of uncluttered living. Believe it or not, but this is a great boost for serotonine-levels in the brain. Clutter creates stress.
- Meditation: Take time out each day for yourself, 10 minutes is enough. Light some candles, put on relaxing music, lie or sit comfortably, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Really bring the breath all the way down into your belly. Set a timer so you don’t have to worry about the timing. These minutes will feel longer than they are… Great energizer!
- Get outside EVERY day: Even for only a little while. Your system needs day-light and exercise in order to function. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like. Just get out there and walk or jump around for a while. It will boost your energy-levels and you will feel great! (then you can crawl onto your sofa with a steaming cup of tea and a good book, or movie…BLISS!)
- Herbal teas & natural remedies: St Johns wort, Lemonbalm, lavender… Stay clear of too much stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sugars.
- Aromatherapy: Of course. Essential oils are a great help to help with emotions and stress. They also work directly with the hormonal system. Use uplifting oils in a burner or on a tissue to inhale. Great scents for winter are: Citrus-oils (orange, mandarin, lemon, grape…), Lavender, Ylang-ylang, Geranium and/or whatever you prefer. Remember; essential oils are strongly concentrated and only a few drops are needed to have an effect.
- Thought-patterns: When you feel yourself thinking negatively, change your thoughts, think of uplifting things.
Remember: This doesn’t just happen by itself. You are responsible for your well-being. No matter how difficult or un-attractive it might seem to exercise, for example. Just do it and you will notice what an incredible change it makes!
In the times when people still lived in harmony with nature and seasonal changes, this was a time for togetherness and preparation for the hectic spring/summer season. Bedtime came earlier because of the dark.When we remember the rhythm of the seasons and allow ourselves to fit into this rhythm, we handle seasonal changes better. Once spring comes again there will be an explosion of action and energy…then we need to be rested.
For ideas on how to use essential oils, see earlier posts under the “aromatherapy” category.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, Personal development, Stress, Wellness
Tagged bath, candles, citrus, clutter, cold, darkness, day-light, energy, exercise, geranium, herbal teas, lavender, lemonbalm, Massage, meditation, positive, seasons, serotonin, St Johns wort, thought-patterns, winter blues, ylang-ylang
Plenty of people come to me for help with stress, expecting that a session or a workshop will make it all go away, which, of course, it doesn’t. Looking around I am not entirely surprised over this naivete, stress is on everybody’s lips and the definition of what stress actually is has been lost along the way. No matter where the stress comes from or what the stressors are, stress is always personal. Each and every person that comes to me with problems of stress are different; personalities, results of stress, what the stressors are etc. (An informational tid-bit: The word stressor (stress + or) was “created in 1955)
As I have said before, negative reactions to stress is a lifestyle problem. Knowledge and understanding is needed to isolate and understand the problem, and very often some important life-style changes are needed to heal. But this is individual so I won’t go into it here. If you have serious problems you should find a therapist or a coach to help you. For daily measures following advice makes a big difference; if you do this every hour it will take 5 minutes of your time and increase your effectiveness and well-being: But you need to remember to do it, nobody will do this for you…
- Smile, even if it is fake. The mere muscular movement of pulling your mouth into a smile sends signals to the limbic system in the brain to secrete more “feel-good-hormones” and boosts your immune-system: Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine found that laughing also “lowers serum cortisol levels, increases the amount of activated T lymphocytes, increases the number and activity of natural immune system killer cells, and increases the number of T cells that have helper / suppresser receptors.”
- Stretch; stand up and stretch your whole body, really feel how circulation increases in your muscles – like bubbly water, making them warm and free. Do this every hour and you will experience much less tension and aches.
- Check your posture; how do you carry yourself? If you straighten up your body automatically sends signals to the brain, making you feel strong and positive. How to do it: Stand up with your knees slightly bent, arms by your side. Lift your chin and do forward shoulder-rolls, 3 times (really lift your shoulders up and around and release them to feel your arms growing longer), and then do backward shoulder-rolls 3 times. Now your chin should be lifted, your back straight, your arms are longer and your shoulders lowers. Your chest should be open and lifted. Do this exercise every hour and each time you think about it. You will find that it makes a huge difference to your energy-levels. Constantly check your posture in mirrors and shop-windows, correcting as needed.
- Drink water: One 25cl glass each hour keeps you hydrated. You will have better energy, improved mood and no head-aches or heavy feeling. It helps flush out toxins in your body-system, keeping you healthy and balanced. Every cell in your body needs fresh water to function well. With every soda, coffee or alcohol intake, drink extra water to balance the dehydrating effects, and help the body to handle the toxins.
- Breath; 3 deep breaths deep down in your stomach. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keep it nice and slow, really filling up with fresh air and breathing out all staleness, exhaustion, irritation from your system. Do this every hour, every cell in your body needs oxygen, stress and sitting still deprives you of oxygen.
- Thoughts; Pay attention to your thought-patterns. Every time you notice negative patterns, change them to the positive. Think of beautiful places, somebody you love, something that makes you happy.
- Re-connect with yourself; Every hour take stock of how you feel; both physically and emotionally, and give your body what it needs; water, relaxation, movement, nutrition.
- Cut out sugar; this is a tough one, I know, but sugars (especially fake sugars) are pure toxins to the body. It wreaks havoc with your hormone-systeme, digestion, mood… Eat fruit and nuts (unsalted, non-sweetened, non-roasted) if you need a quick fix. Your body and mind will thank you for this.
- Stimulants; coffee, tea, alcohol, cigarettes; try to keep it to a minimum. Go for green tea or herbal teas (mint-tea is great for added energy) Check out all the natural teas in the health food store.
Once you start listening to your body and give it these hourly relief-moments you will also learn what you need. The greatest stressor is not paying attention to inner needs. Nutrition, sleep/relaxation and exercise are the 3 most important ingredients to staying healthy and combating stress. Learn about nutrition and proper eating because everything you put in your body will be used as fuel, so what you eat and drink really matters greatly to your health. Your body and mind are totally connected; all what you think/feel will be lodged in your body, and whatever is going on in your body will affect what you think/feel. Here is a small example; when you feel fear, you round your back, pull up your shoulders and cross your arms in front of you…feelings influence how you use your body.
Remember: All what you do or don’t do to yourself today will influence the quality of the rest of your life.
Posted in Lifestyle, Personal development, Stress, Wellness
Tagged breath, cell, exercise, hormone-system, life-style, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Personal development, posture, relaxation, smiles, stimulants, Stress, stretching, thoughts, water, Wellness