I get it. Water tastes bad and it is boring. But before you pour some sugary flavor into your water or drink another diet soda, let me share some awesome things about water. First of all water is plentiful and it is free. It is readily available and it has zero calories. 60% of your body is water and 90% of our blood is water- that is alot of water! The benefits of drinking water, besides keeping you alive, is it helps your skin look fantastic, flushes out toxins, maintains our body temperature and helps digestion. Water also helps maintain blood pressure, helps with asthma and allergies and prevents muscle cramps and soreness.
Are you drinking enough water? Signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, headaches, irritability, trouble concentrating and muscle cramps. Aim to drink ½ your body weight in ounces, more if its hot outside.
To adjust your taste buds, get used to drinking water by diluting other drinks until you get used to it. Once you adjust your taste it is actually delicious. If you are trying to get off of soda try seltzer, a squeeze of lemon or lime or some fresh mint leaves. Comment below with your favorite way to drink water!
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Most people start an exercise routine for weight loss, but there are many other benefits. Try to look at exercise as a gift to yourself and weight loss being a nice side effect. It will take the pressure off and make it more fun, and more fun means you are more likely to do it and stick with it.
If you are focused on weight loss, remember all the other reasons exercise is beneficial, this will help you stick to your goals. Exercise relieves stress, lowers the risk of chronic diseases and also provides some much needed “me time”.
Keep it simple and make it fun. Be sure to wear good socks and shoes and make an appointment with yourself. Put it in your calendar. Do it first thing in the morning, on your lunch break or even after dinner. It can be as simple as going on a walk or doing some yoga. If you’re walking or running, consider listening to your favorite music or an audiobook. You can even call a friend to catch up! Other ideas include the tons of videos and classes on YouTube or Zoom for everything from dancing to kickboxing. Aim for 3x a week, but for the first month, just aim to make it a habit. Comment below with your favorite form of exercise!
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Actually I’m going to give you more than one because I love to over-deliver for you all. I’m giving these tips not because of Covid-19 but because we can all benefit from making sure our immune system is working optimally. Regular colds, flus and other pathogens are always out there, do what you can to keep your body’s defense system in tip top shape. This doesn’t have to be complicated, try these simple things:
Adequate sleep. For most people this is 7-9 hours a night. To get good sleep shut off your phone and news sources 2 hours before your bedtime and make sure your room is cool and dark.
Regular exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week. Work up a sweat.
Supplements: fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin C all help to boost the immune system. In my house we do an extra dose at the first sign of any sniffles.
Super foods: live, probiotic and fermented foods like sauerkraut. Avoid sugary yogurt.
What difference does this make for you? Please comment below because I would love to know.
The most productive use of time and energy is finding something important and meaningful to you to focus on.
We have limited time and energy, use it on what is actually important to you.
Every life has problems, make those good problems.
Finding meaning in your life will give you the motivation and energy to power through your problems.
There is so much information and resources available we don’t know what to give a f*ck about anymore.
The desire for a more positive experience is in itself a negative experience. Acceptance of your negative experience is a positive experience.
Accepting your life as great is the number one thing you can do for your happiness.
Life is short, everyone is going to die including you. You only have a limiting amount of f*cks to give.
Learn how to focus on prioritize your thoughts and energy on your personal values. This is very difficult.
Figure out what your personal values are.
When a person has no problems, the mind automatically finds a way to invent some.
It’s ok for things to suck some of the time.
Problems don’t stop, they are either exchanged or upgraded.
Happiness is found in solving problems, not avoiding them because they are inevitable.
We get extremes of information from the media, especially social media and this skews our view of reality.
Comparison is the thief of joy - Teddy Roosevelt
The person who believes they know everything learns nothing.
People who are terrified of what other people think about they are actually afraid of all the negative things they think about themselves being reflected back at them.
Comment below with your biggest takeaway!
# 1 BREATHE
The first thing people do when they are stressed
out or anxious is to stop breathing. Our breath has
a direct link to our nervous system. When we are
breathing deeply and regularly its impossible to
feel stressed out. Put your hand on your belly and
breathe in deeply until you make your hand move
and keep breathing slowly and deeply to calm
yourself down. Breathe in for a slow count of 5,
hold it for 5 and then exhale for 5. Repeat for 5
minutes 3x/day or as frequently as you need to.
Give people some grace and practice some radical
forgiveness. Holding a grudge is like drinking
poison and expecting the other person to die.
Don’t forget to forgive yourself. We’re all under a
lot of stress and pressure right now and we all
deserve grace. Hey, that means even you.
If you are by yourself right now, it might be hard to
reach out to others but I urge you to take that step.
Think of 3 people you can keep in touch with daily
by text, phone or facetime and reach out. I’m sure
they would love to hear from you. If we all did this
no one would be alone. And people stuck in the
house with annoying family members? Reach out
to your friends or family who are at home alone.
This is one of my favorite ways to change my
perspective when I’m stuck. Make a list of 10 things
you’re grateful for and read it over several times a
day. It might be something as simple as I’m alive
or there is a roof over my head to start with but I’m
sure once you start writing you will find out there’s
Find a way to have fun and laugh. There’s tons of
funny movies on Netflix. Maybe zoom with some
friends and have a virtual happy hour with your
favorite beverage. Try a light audiobook or
podcast. Maybe a yoga class on youtube. Or one of
those adult coloring books with swear words in it.
Make sure you do at least 1 fun thing a day to keep
1 Thing to NOT Do
Don't be hard on yourself. You are doing a great job. You are balancing a lot: work, family, people’s annoying
habits and I would call getting through the day a win. We’re in unprecedented times
and in the end if your house is a mess, you can’t get google classroom to work and
English is still the only language you speak, YOU WIN. I am proud of you.
Pro tip: Get everyone to agree to follow whoever wins #1 or #2 ahead of time without fussing.
#1 - Flip A Coin.
#2 - Rock, Paper, Scissors
#3 - Share. Pete the Cat says sharing is cool!
#4 - Take Turns.
#5 - Take a Deep Breath and Count to 10. A great tool to use when you feel yourself starting to lose control of your feelings.
#6 - Walk Away. Is someone getting on your nerves? Leave the room.
#7 - Ignore. You don't have to engage with someone annoying.
#1 - Cooking. Get out that pumpkin spice cookie mix from the back of your newly organized pantry.
#2 - Read a Book. Read a chapter book aloud as a family or have everyone read together quietly. We're reading the first Harry Potter and then plan to watch the movie after we finish the book.
#3 - Do a Puzzle. 1000 piece Beatles puzzle from Pop-pop is our favorite.
#4 - Draw a Picture. Get out those crayons and markers and get creative. Maybe some sidewalk chalk outside.
#5 - Have a Dance Party. Ask Alexa to play some classic 90s. Kidzbop Kidz is a fan favorite.
#6 - Play a Game. Need to kill a few hours? Monopoly is the best choice. So many card games too- war, solitaire, black jack, go fish, rummy, 7 card stud.
#7 - Play Hide and Seek In The House. Never telling my kids my super secret hiding spot. (In the shower with the curtain drawn hahaha)
#8 - Make Slime. Make your own or play with glittery mermaid slime.
#9 - Meditation. Great way to relax when you need a break throughout the day or to wind down before bed.
#10 - Work Out With Household Items. Get out those cans and sacks of rice.
#11 - Play Dress Up. Get out your Halloween costumes! What are you doing to be for this coming Halloween?
#12 - Legos. Have a lego contest: biggest tower, strongest bridge, most creative.
#13 - Play With Paper. Make a paper football, a fortune teller or a paper airplane.
Acupuncture is probably best known to help with pain relief. But what else can it help with? What brought you to the clinic? Chances are we can help you. But are you getting the most out of your treatment? This is why we discuss your health history to make sure we are getting the big picture of what’s going on and what your personal goals are. Sometimes people come in wanting to address one big thing and then realize acupuncture can help them with another big thing that they are so used to living with they forgot about it. Sometimes they learn it can help with a bunch of annoying little things! I’m here to give you an overview of conditions acupuncture can help with that you might not be aware of.
We’ll start with pain. Acupuncture can help both chronic, ongoing pain and acute pain that is relatively new, for example a sprained ankle or throwing out your back. Acupuncture can help with chronic pain of any origin, for example fibromyalgia pain all over your body or an aching knee from arthritis or a long ago injury. Nerve pain from nerve damage or diabetes, joint pain, muscle pain. Acupuncture helps with all kinds of headaches: migraines, sinus headaches, hormonal headaches or tension headaches.
Acupuncture helps with emotional pain: grief from losing a loved one, depression, anxiety. It helps with just not feeling like yourself, feeling unmotivated or fatigued. It even helps with a broken heart! Acupuncture is great for people going through a breakup or a divorce. It helps with job loss, problems with family, dealing with stress or trauma. Alot of people find it helps them deal with life in general, giving them a bit of peace and the strength to keep going. It helps to calm down the nervous system which helps other mental health conditions like PTSD but also the inability to relax, trouble sleeping and an overactive mind.
Do you have sugar cravings? Acupuncture can help!
Acupuncture also helps with all manner of female hormonal concerns: whether this is PMS, heavy, painful or irregular periods. It can help a woman with infertility get pregnant and if applicable we will frequently see her male partner too. It helps to safely relieve uncomfortable symptoms during pregnancy like nausea and vomiting, headaches, back pain, sciatica or pelvic pain or heartburn for example. After a woman gives birth it helps to heal her body as well as address post partum depression or anxiety. Acupuncture is great for menopausal symptoms like irritability, hot flashes, trouble sleeping and bloating.
Do digestive problems ail you? Whether its heart burn, bloating, constipation, diarrhea or irritable bowel, we can help. This has been alot of information and its just a small sliver of the conditions we help people with at the clinic. If you have a condition you’re not sure acupuncture can help- please ask us! We would love to hear about it.
Most of the time people feel very relaxed while getting acupuncture and even fall asleep. Sometimes though, people have trouble relaxing during the treatment and even have trouble sitting still. Why is this? Am I broken? I have a secret for you: you are not broken.
Sometimes people have a hard time relaxing while they get acupuncture treatment. First of all, it's OK. I promise. The acupuncture is still working. Whether you fall asleep or not is zero indication as to efficacy of the treatment. Your body is just stuck in a habit of either go-go-go or chronic stress and its going to take a minute for your body to do something different. And that is OK.
Sometimes sitting still is scary. That's OK too. You are not alone. You are safe here.
Here is my advice. Put your phone away. Put the book or magazine away. These things just re-stimulate your brain and our goal is to shut your brain off. Don't keep turning it back on. Let your mind wander. Some people find it helpful to focus on their breathing. You can do that but you don't have to. You can't fail at this. The success is in taking the time for yourself to coax your bodymindspirit to do something its not used to. Taking time to practice self care can be really really hard- you’re doing a great job just by being here so give yourself a break. Changing a habit is hard. It takes many intentional acts before momentum kicks in and the cycle starts to build on itself and take over and become a routine to maintain. This is why it takes about 30 days to form a habit. Human beings are highly adaptable but it takes a little time for change to happen and stick: this is a good thing because if it didn't we would be all over the place.
Give it time. Have patience with yourself. When my kids were smaller, I talked to them all the time about working their "patience muscle" when they want me to do the thing RIGHT NOW, usually when I'm driving or pouring a pot full of boiling pasta into the strainer. I get you though, you don’t want to wait. Be easy with yourself and your body. It’s ok, you're a work in progress. What counts is regular practice, regular treatment, being pointed in the general direction of where you want to go and making tiny steps to get there or at least closer. You might even have some fun and a few surprises along the way.
Progress might be small, regular and incremental or there might be nothing for a while and then suddenly everything at once. Everyone is different. Context is important too. If you are going through major life stuff it might be unrealistic to expect to be completely zen right in the middle of it all- especially in the beginning. But being able to take a couple of deep breaths, peace out in a chair for 30 minutes with needles twice a week and finding the time to take a quick walk can make all the difference. This is the balm to keep you going, to get you through with as few scrapes as possible. You can do it, I have faith in you. Just keep at it. You got this. I love answering your questions!
You’re not alone if you’re wondering- is there something in the needles? The short answer to your question is no, there isn’t anything in the needles. Our needles are solid which means they do not contain any medication or chemicals. That’s really cool because acupuncture works with your body instead of doing something to your body. Acupuncture is a gentle and natural process and optimal results occur over time. There are little to no side effects and its affordable! When you see a doctor, they give you medication or perform surgery which is using something from the outside to help you get better. With acupuncture, we are helping your body to heal itself and utilize that natural healing power in a more efficient and effective way. For example, this is why many times people are able to cut back on their medications because their body will need less to achieve the same result. You would of course do this under the guidance of your doctor.
So how exactly does acupuncture work? Acupuncture works in 3 primary ways.
The first way is that it switches your body from the fight or flight mode into rest and digest mode. When our bodies are under stress, there is a reaction inside our bodies which prepares us for immediate survival. Our muscles tense up, our heart beat quickens and we go on high alert. This is useful when we have to get out of a scary situation- we are ready to fight or run away. However when we have chronic, ongoing stress our bodies can get stuck in this fight or flight mode which makes it difficult for us to relax, sleep or heal ourselves. We become irritable and our muscles become tight and tense. Acupuncture shuts off this stress response and switches us into rest and digest mode which means that we can sleep, relax, digest our food normally and focus on healing.
The second way that acupuncture works is that specific acupuncture locations, or acupuncture points, have specific functions. For example we have points that focus on particular body parts. There is a point on the ankle which addresses the lower back and there is a point on the knee that treats tendons. There are points for pain, to reduce inflammation, promote sleep, even boost the immune system. Your acupuncturist will choose the best combination of points to suit your treatment plan and health goals.
The third way that acupuncture works is that it increases neuroplasticity- or the ability of our brains to change. Our understanding of how the human brain works has increased dramatically - we now understand the human brain has the ability to change, much like a muscle. The more we engage in certain behaviors, for example exercise, the more connections are made around this behavior, creating a habit or a routine. This can also work in negative ways for example when people have chronic pain it creates a feedback loop in the brain to wire the brain to experience more pain. Acupuncture helps to break these negative loops in the brain that chronic pain or trauma can create.
Thank you so much for reading! We love answering your questions.
Meaghan Massella, M.Ac, L.Ac, Dipl. Ac (NCCAOM) is an acupuncturist, business owner and mother of 2.