Soulstice Spa Blog

Seven Ways to Shake Off Stress February 02 2014

 

Stress.  It takes a toll on the physical body, resulting in painful knots, headaches, chronic neck tension and more.  A stressed mind is tired, forgetful, distracted and worn out.  A stressed spirit might be anxious, down, sleepless, full of worry or feel hopeless.  Stress is a root cause of many of our most-common physical and mental ailments, and managing your stress level is one of the greatest gifts you can give your health: body, mind and spirit.

Here are seven ways to keep stress at bay and help keep you feeling your best:

1/ Get enough Zzzz's....  Over the next week, commit to an earlier bedtime than usual, and 10pm at the very latest.  The vast majority of Americans do not get the proper amount or quality of sleep each night, and once you do you'll be amazed at how much better you feel. Everything will feel more manageable once you experience proper rest.

2/ Ditch refined sugar!  Sugar has a multitude of negative effects on the body, stressing the body and lowering our immune response.  For one week, sate your sweet tooth with natural fruits or stevia and see how much calmer you feel on a daily basis.

3/ Breathe deeply.  Most of us unconsciously maintain a stressed, shallow breath throughout the day...  Take five deep breathes --- all the way in, and all the way out --- each morning upon waking and feel the difference it makes. 

4/ Slow Down.  Being perpetually late and in a rush stresses you out as well as everyone around you.  Make a conscious effort to slow your movements (walking... driving... eating... talking) throughout the day. 

5/ Take a B-Vitamin supplement.  In addition to a nutrient-rich diet, taking a B-vitamin supplement will help support your adrenals, which are one of the first lines of defense against stress.  Strong adrenals give us energy, will and resilience whereas weakened adrenals make us feel sluggish, anxious and prone to colds & flus.

6/ Get moving and shake off stress by practicing regular exercise; anything that gets your heart rate up counts!  From brisk walking to yoga, cycling to dancing, you're more likely to commit to exercise if it is something you look forward to every day.  Instead of meeting a friend for lunch or drinks, grab a hike instead.  Take the stairs.  Park in the last row and walk to the entrance of the store.  Exercise is less daunting when you work it into your daily life in easy, manageable ways.

7/ Get regular Massage Therapy.  Receiving massage on a weekly or monthly basis feels great and complements all the other healthy practices, such as healthy eating, better sleep, daily exercise, and maintaining a tip-top immune system. 

There's no such thing as a stress-free existence, but we *can* control that stress and limit the effect it has on our body, mind and spirit.  Give these seven tips a try and in a few weeks you'll notice a calmer, healthier you!


Agua, Acqua, H2O... December 21 2013

Any way you say it, water is vitally important to our heath and vitality.  During the winter months, we're often less inclined to drink water... and at the same time we're consuming more caffeinated drinks to stay warm and alcoholic drinks at holiday parties. Most of us are already slightly dehydrated, and then coffee and alcohol make matters worse by further dehydrating the body.  Why is water so important to our health and vitality?  

1.  The human body is made up of over 70% water, and the body relies on adequate water for all its systems (metabolic, detoxification, digestion, elimination and circulation) to function optimally.  The better hydrated you are, the better your entire body will feel!

2. Water = energy.  If you're feeling tired, resist the urge to reach for an espresso or sugary snack... you may be feeling the effects of dehydration.   Just a 5% drop in fluids results in a 20-30% loss of energy in a person, so instead, first try a large glass of purified water.

3. Dehydration exacerbates inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  If your joints are stiff and achy, reach for a glass of water before the ibuprofen.

4. Water lubricates the joints and allows for fuller range of motion and flexibility.  Better yet, drink water while doing ten minutes of gentle stretching each day - you'll be surprised at how much better you feel with just ten minutes a day of regular practice.

5. The brain is made up of over 75% water... amazing!  Memory, focus, brain function and health is optimized by consuming adequate water.

6. Water is crucial to support our liver in detoxifying our bodies and flushing waste from our systems through perspiration, exhalation and elimination.  Give your body a break and makes its job easier by providing it plenty of H20 support!

Feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth is often the last indictor of dehydration.  More common symptoms are low energy, fatigue, dry skin, back pain, joint stiffness and a general feeling of sluggishness.

How much water should I be drinking, you might ask?  Depending on your activity level and size, the standard "eight glasses a day" might not be enough.  You should consume more water if you're above average in height and/or weight, do a lot of exercise, have a physically strenuous job, or drink quite a bit of caffeinated coffee, tea, sodas or alcohol. 

To make sure you get your water levels back to an optimal level, we recommend initially drinking your body weight in ounces of water daily for one week.  You should notice a big difference in your energy level, skin, and possibly even your hair and nails.  Your digestion should be smoother, and you might find yourself sleeping better as well.  Give it a try!


Sweet Dreams are Made of This... October 17 2013

"A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow" ~ Charlotte Bronte

If you've suffered from insomnia, you're not alone.  More than 1 in 3 people struggle with insomnia in their lifetime and over one half of all Americans lose sleep due to stress or anxiety.  Millions rely on alcohol, prescription sleep aids or synthetic melatonin to fall asleep at night...

The effects of disturbed or limited sleep are powerful:

1/ Lowered immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and flus

2/ Irregular digestion and metabolism:  the mind can confuse the feeling of fatigue with hunger, and instead of taking a nap or going to bed early you'll reach for a late night snack or caffeine boost

3/ Inability to think clearly and remain emotionally balanced: people who are sleep deprived have shorter fuses, are more impatient, and tend to have a yo-yo temperament with high highs and low lows

4/ Excess or fluctuating weight:  insomniacs will often reach for coffee, nicotine and sugar-laden foods (desserts, sodas, etc.) to counteract the physical and mental fatigue they're experiencing, often leading to weight gain

5/ Volatile or unstable mood: fatigue causes crankiness, negativity and sudden/severe mood swings

Do you dream of hitting the pillow at night and sleeping peacefully for 7-8 hours? 

1/ Exercise daily - even a 20-minute brisk walk will help you relax and unwind.

2/ Limit caffeine - especially coffee - intake to prior to 9am only.  If you're desperate for a midday pick-me-up, try green tea.

3/ Eat a balanced diet that is low in sugar and contains adequate lean protein.

4/ Make sure your body is getting enough magnesium; a calcium-magnesium supplement at the end of the day may promote calm and restfulness.

5/ Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea a couple of hours before bedtime.  Skip the nightly beer, cocktail or glass of wine - even one alcoholic drink can disturb sleep.

6/ Take a warm bath or shower an hour before bedtime... it's a great way to rinse the energy of the day away and prepare the body for the many cleansing processes that occur during your sleep cycle.  Try to hit the pillow at nearly the same time every night.

7/ Avoid over-stimulating books, films and television shows right before bedtime.

8/ Diffuse soothing essential oils that promote relaxation, such as pure lavender.

How can Massage Therapy help?

Regular massages are one of the best natural combats against stress and anxiety.  Massage eases the mind, calms the muscles and nervous system and makes you feel comforted and cared for...   Combined with a healthy diet, strategic supplementation and regular exercise, constant and contented sleep is possible for everyone.  Therapeutic practices such as massage therapy, yoga and acupuncture will put you in better touch with your body and spirit.  Disordered sleep and insomnia is very often linked to anxiety and depression, and the more you get in touch with yourself it is more likely you can overcome the root cause of whatever is troubling your sleep.  Full and restful sleep is a powerful force - if you wake up fully refreshed and rested you will make better choices throughout the day, whether it's choosing a smoothie over a soda, driving to work with more patience or communicating with compassion & kindness. 

If you're currently suffering from insomnia, give the above tips a try and commit to receiving bodywork and massage therapy once a week for 6-8 weeks.  The better you feel inside, the more the world will reflect that on the outside... like attracts like!