5 Ways You Can Stay Healthy Through The Holidays

During the holiday season many people are overstimulatedover-committed, and that leads to being overwhelmed.  This can leave people feeling emotionally and mentally drained, and certainly getting a lot less sleep than they would like! In my experience, January is a common time for people to get sick…

There are lots of opportunities during the holiday season for indulgent foods and extra alcohol. With the busier pace many people find themselves moving less and workout routines can also slip away. However, this doesn’t have to be how you spend your December! You can celebrate, indulge and still feel good! 

Make a few adjustments in your social calendar and you will enjoy the holiday season and start 2020 in good health.

1. Set intention and stick to it!

See this blog post for more ideas.

2. Be mindful of your food choices.

Eat regularly & prepare for outings. This should be a consideration for all year round, but what happens in the holiday season is that the sheer volume of parties and events can add up to over-consumption. If you are going to  a party or dinner, don’t starve yourself all day in anticipation.  Doing so will  slow your metabolism, leave you ravenous and more likely to overeat later in the evening. Instead, eat small meals or snacks throughout the day and you’ll be less likely to overindulge when you are out. If you are planning on consuming alcohol remember there is sugar and calories in every drink, and if you consume too many your judgement will surely be off.  Be sure to increase your intake of water to compensate for the dehydrating effects. Often we mistakenly believe that we are hungry when really what our bodies need is more fluid. Keep this in mind when you head for the table of food at your next event and try having a glass of water instead.To give your body time to digest and detoxify, consider 12 hour fast overnight. This is an easy habit and if done consistently can make a huge difference! Whatever time you eat your dinner, allow 12 hours before you eat your first meal the next day. (if you finish eating at 7pm, don’t eat breakfast until 7am or later the next day) If you have regularly been practicing intermittent fasting, keep it up!

3. Move your body.

Physical activity makes every system in your body work better. Instead of taking a break from your exercise routine during the holiday season, keep it up! Or consider getting started! You don’t have to wait until January to resolve to get in better shape.  The fact is, exercise is simply something most people have to build into their lives, work into their schedules. You will always find something better to do with your time!(Trust me, I make excuses and procrastinate sometimes too! Ask my trainer!) Exercise helps relieve stress and prevents weight gain.  Moving your body will always give you a boost, even just a some stretching or a brisk walk will rejuvenate your body and mind.

4. Get social, but with intention.

(Again, see the blog post on why this is an important step!) Be choosy about how you spend your social time. Be assertive and learn to say no to situations that will upset you. Decline invitations (if you can do so without grossly offending the invitee) that create unnecessary emotional stress, or will simply burden your schedule and shortchange you of sleep. At the other end of the social spectrum is loneliness. With changing family dynamics, different living arrangements, and simple geography for some people, many are left alone during the holidays. If you feel lonely or isolated consider getting involved in different activities, volunteering your time at seniors homes, food banks or other organizations geared towards helping others. Reach out to people who may find themselves alone during the holiday season and consider including them in your plans. The rewards will be far greater than just the social stimulation.

5. Give your body added support.

During times of added physical demand or emotional stress, it can be helpful to give your body MORE attention. Although I will always remind you to address the cause of stress in your life and in your body, if there are times when it’s unavoidable then helping your body adapt better will help. Keep up your consistent Chiropractic care, consider using essential oils to support your body, take epsom salt baths to relieve muscle strain and help detoxify, meditate, consider supplementation – whatever healthy habits you have used and loved in the past – keep them up or add more of them to your routine for December!

Healthy habits are always a choice!

Healthy holidays ARE possible. If you make a few small adjustments to your habits you’ll feel good throughout the season.

You CAN think about how you want to feel and make choices that align your holidays with that intention so that you make the right choices for you.

The One Thing You Should START Your Holiday Season With

In my experience in practice over the past 17 years, December tends to be a month filled with fun. But it can also be filled with so much added stress!

One thing that I’ve been suggesting for the past few years that has made a profound difference for people, and in my personal life too, is asking yourself this simple question:

What’s your intention this holiday season?

You’ve likely set goals for your health (and if you haven’t – get in touch! We can help!).

You’ve likely set goals within your work life, perhaps within your family life, finances, and maybe around your home for projects. Why not set a goal for the most-wonderful-and-busiest time of the year?

Decide what you want the holidays to mean, what your priorities are, and how you want feel. Then I want you to write it down.

Choose 3-5 words or perhaps write a brief statement or sentence, then put it somewhere you can see it. You can get creative with this! Make it look pretty or decorative if you like, but what really matters is that you will see it and be reminded of what you wrote. Whether you post it on your fridge, put it on your phone, or write it in a journal that you will look at every day, this is the most important step!

When thinking about this, be realistic and consider:

Every year our lives are a little different, and it’s important to change our expectations accordingly.

What’s happening in your life these days? Where are your children or extended family in the current stage of their lives? Given their ages and interests, what do you want the holidays to look like for you?

Maybe you have a holiday planned, or there is someone in your family who having a tough time, or perhaps your grieving a loved one? There may have been a change in your home or work life. Maybe your finances are more strained than usual? Depending on your reflection on these areas of your life and the people in it, you might want to adjust your plans and celebrate a little differently this year.

When you have an intention to refer to, it will help you make solid decisions about how you spend your time and money this holiday season. You’ll feel better about your choices because they will be more realistic with your current lifestyle, and this will ease your mind, and help you find more JOY (and less stress) holiday season. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you!

What’s Wrong With Heels?

What’s wrong with heels? For starters, wearing high heels changes your body’s centre of gravity, and then your body compensates so that you maintain an upright stance. With the foot in a heeled shoe, you’ll put  increased pressure on the forefoot which then causes the rest of the body to adjust to maintain balance. With the lower part of the body leaning forward to compensate, the upper part of the body must lean back to keep you balanced. 

You may also notice (and let’s be honest this might be part of the allure of wearing heels) that in high heels your chest is pushed forward. This also causes the body to compensate by changing the curve in the lower back,  taking the hips out of proper alignment, and adding extra stress on the knees. Also, in order to maintain your balance the hip and back muscles become tense.

Overall, wearing high heels creates an unhealthy posture, and with repetitive wear overtime this can affect the health of your spine! 

Tips for Heels and Spinal Health

  1. Take your shoes off when you can. If you’re at your desk no one will see you without your shoes on! As soon as you get home, take them off.
  2. Avoid wearing heels for long periods of time, and change your footwear throughout the week to give your feet and posture a break. 
  3. Give your feet some love! Use a lacrosse ball or tennis ball and roll it under your feet to increase circulation and relieve muscle tension.

So, there’s no need to throw out your favouite pair of heels. Just keep in mind that your body needs a break every once in a while, and make sure you give your body the help it needs to heal from those heels!

Forget Resolutions, Why Not Set a WORD instead?

Anytime is a great time for making changes in your life, but there is something special about the start of a new year. Whether you feel you need to make some drastic changes, take a few small steps in a new direction, or simply get back into an established routine, commit to doing something  this month to live a better life. I’ve never found resolutions work, and I stopped setting them years ago. Instead, I love this concept and have been implementing consistently. Maybe this year you might want to give it a try!

Think about your aspirations – what do you want for the year ahead? Is there an overriding theme that comes to mind for you? Can you sum up your intentions in a single word? I bet you can.

A great word can set the tone for your actions and keep you focused.  A word can also serve as a reminder of what’s important when everyday  ‘life stuff’ frustrates us. For example, when my sons were young and I wasn’t in practice, my word was “Nurture”.  It reminded me of my focus on raising my sons and looking after myself.  It allowed me to accept that my career aspirations would be fulfilled at a later date, and that the little boys in my kitchen were simply more important for the time being. In other years the words “Grow”, “Balance” and “Focus” have worked well for me.

A great word sets your intention and will help manifest the people, places,  opportunities (and challenges!) to help you achieve your goals.  A good friend recently shared her story of using theme words during the past few years. “Abundance” was her focus at one time and she grew her business substantially. “Love” was her focus another year, and she met the man she married.  Metaphysics aside, what you focus on tends to happen!  The simple act of awareness can powerfully  keep you oriented towards actions that support your goals, and make you more likely to attract success.

Your ‘word’ might come to mind easily.  You may already have one that has been running through your thoughts repetitively, especially if you have set resolutions or goals for yourself. If not, carve out some time in your week to think about it. Sit quietly and reflect.   Journal if it helps you sort out your thoughts, or, on a blank sheet of paper simply write down words that depict your hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Something will pop out at you, or you may notice a pattern in the words you write down. Don’t over-think it!

Friends, colleagues, and people in my practice have shared their words with me for added support and accountability. Here’s some of their theme words to get you started:  Relate, Believe, Focus, Simplify, Build, Mindful, Refresh, Rejuvenate, and Fun.

Once you have your ‘word’ write it down where you can see it regularly. Use it as a password so you have to consciously think about it many times a day. Place post-it notes all over your home if you need to. Get creative and do what works for you – and share your ideas! I’ll tell you my word!

One word is easy to remember. Pick one for yourself and let it shape the months to come.

Set an intention for what you want 2017 to mean to you, choose a word to define it, make deliberate choices and take action! I’m here to help if you get stuck 😉

~ Dr Melissa

ERM 017 Dr. Danielle Eaton: Leading By Example, Living Fully & The Pursuit of Freedom

IMG_0030Dr. Danielle Eaton is a Chiropractor in St. Louis, Missouri.  She’s also a certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist.  Most of all, she’s a wife and mom to two little girls who are 5 and 2, and stepmom to a 13 year old step daughter.

Danielle is quite an accomplished woman! With a multitude of professional degrees, a teaching position at a Chiropractic college and a successful practice, she shares how after investing so much into her 10 year career and building up her private practice, she made the very big  decision to leave it all behind and focus on motherhood.

On this episode, Danielle gets candid about all the emotions that surfaced with that choice, how she worked through them, and ultimately how it has led her to now create a lifestyle that honours both her passion for her career and her passion for motherhood. Danielle also discusses her marriage, the tools she uses to keep herself connected to her values, and how she has learned to ‘enjoy the ride’ and live her life fully in every dimension.

Great insight on this interview today, check it out!

Gratitude & Your Health

ID-100204763With Canadian Thanksgiving and the fall harvest,  we are reminded to offer thanks for the ‘bounty’ in our lives; to reflect on the many blessings, and plant seeds for future abundance. Symbolic and beautiful….but let’s remember that this holiday is not the only time we should be practicing gratitude! Rather, it’s an important part of a healthy lifestyle!

Research shows the feelings associated with gratitude, appreciation, love and caring enhance health. When you find one thing, however small, to be thankful for and hold that feeling for as little as 15-20 seconds, many subtle and beneficial physiological changes take place inside you:

~ Levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin decrease, supporting many organ systems and boosting your immune system

~ Coronary arteries relax, increasing the blood supply to your heart. Heart rhythms become more harmonious, affecting other organs and lifting your mood

~ Breathing becomes deeper, increasing the oxygen level of your tissues

People who regularly practice gratitude report higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy when compared to those who do not.

“A Man becomes what he thinks about all day long.”~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson

What you dwell upon expands. If you focus on what you don’t have, that’s all you will see. Focusing your thoughts on victories instead of defeats will help you develop an attitude of gratitude and a greater sense of self-worth.

Make gratitude part of your life by adopting more thankful thoughts or making the time to write them down. A powerful exercise is the use of gratitude journal to reflect on day-to-day success, or simply take a few minutes to think of 5 things you are grateful for in your life.

Regardless of your current level of health, finances, or relationships, and what you may perceive as limitations to them…thinking, moping or complaining about them is not going to change anything! Find some small things to be happy about, and chances are your list will continue. Changing your thoughts will change your experiences, and this will change your life…

Before you exit this post, right now, take a couple deep breaths and think of 5 things you are grateful for…I’ll bet you can’t stop at 5!

Live Until 100

334229r557apc8fI have been so inspired lately by the people I have been meeting both in my practice and for the Television show. People who are in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and living healthy and fulfilling lives.

I am not surprised by their age, mobility, independence or level of happiness.

What inspires me rather are the choices they are making to better their health and live a vibrant life, in the same manner I am excited by people of any age taking steps to support their body. Sometimes it’s not ‘easy’ to choose good food when our brain craves something not so good; it’s not ‘easy’ to exercise, and it’s not always ‘easy’ to adopt a positive outlook. But, it’s always a choice.

It has been estimated that by 2050 4.2 million Americans will be living until they are 100 years old. It’s also been estimated that our generations are living an average of 34 years longer than our grandparents did.

So our ability to live longer isn’t in question, the questions are how will you be spending your years? And what are you doing now to support your body and ensure you’ll get there with the level of health you dream of? 

While genetics certainly play a role, there has never been a centenarian recorded who had a centenarian parent. Experts claim that in fact, genetics determine less than a third of the factors involved in lifespan.

Our chronological age (actual age) increases every minute regardless what we do, but our biological age (how well your body looks and functions) is much more flexible.  The difference in your actual age and biological age can be as much as 30 years!

We know the requirements for a healthy body: connecting with others, eating good food, getting enough sleep, moving your body, maintaining a happy outlook, and a healthy spine and nervous system! Studies have shown that chiropractic patients in their senior years report better overall health, have fewer chronic conditions, spend fewer days in nursing homes and hospitals, are more mobile in their communities and are less likely to use prescription drugs than non-chiropractic patients.  Even when the demographics were nearly identical, the chiropractic group reported fewer ongoing health problems.

Along with aligning your spine, working with a Chiropractor can help align the other habits in your life to be more congruent with good health.

Invest in your body, It will always offers excellent returns. more you do today, the more your body will reward you later in life with the physical health to allow you to pursue the activities and hobbies you dream of.