LIFE WORK BALANCE

Ideas worth sharing about health, life and work balance. Learning to be more productive and full of energy. 



5 Rituals to Health


Health is our birthright, right? For most of us, yes. But if taken for granted (through neglect, poor diet and continual stress) you will soon experience the insidious nature of illness - mentally, physically, socially and beyond. Learning to catch imbalance as it happens is the fundamental way to long term, maintained health. There's no limit to how good you can feel, or to how bad. Your health is up to you - and the choices you make are the benchmarks to what lies ahead. 

Here are 5 practices to incorporate into your daily routine. Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today. 

I. Meditation

Entering into a state of self connection is first on the list. When we take the time to calm our minds, settle our bodies, feel our support and notice our breath do we truly connect to ourselves. This is a powerful place. Most  of our experienced stress is a mental illusion with detrimental physical effects. But through meditation we can learn to curb the instincts that lead us down the rabbit hole of stress illnesses. The  more you train your mind to enter into a state of presence, the more you'll be in control of the outcome of your life. Your thoughts are designing your life. With so many styles of meditation, there is one that is right for you. Explore the various styles of meditation here.  


II. Movement Movement of our body is so critical to our overall mental + physical health that it must be incorporated daily for basic well being - skip it and emotional stagnation ensues. What is emotional stagnation? It's that frustrating lack of motivation and interest that keeps you sedentary and your agenda chronically unfinished. There are endless ways to incorporate movement into your day. Yoga - a blend of stretching and cardio is a complete exercise and will keep your body limber, muscles toned and mind calm. Learn more about the various types of yoga here.

III. Diet  Your diet is the fuel that determines your energy. Period.  Food is either your medicine or your kryptonite and if you're paying attention, you'll know which foods are healing or hurting you. This is so profound and imperative to the trajectory of your health.

How good are you at noticing the effects of food on your energy level? A good place to start is to take note of how you feel post meal. Are you energized, or tired, foggy?  

When we ignore the warning signs of dietary stress, chronic illness sets in. Most modern day diseases can be traced back to food intolerance that has been overlooked or ignored.  Don't undermine your energy, It's time to up your food game. Plan your meals to avoid hunger temptations that lead to poor choices. Buy quality foods not cheap foods and take the time to prepare it. These extensive health benefits that will effect your long term health. Take it seriously. 

IV. Social Connection Believe it or not,  connection to community is not achieved through social media. As it turns out, looking at your friends on a screen is not the same as being with them. Yet more and more of us are replacing realtime contact for this simulated, virtual connection. The affects can be devastating if not kept in check. Studies show that excessive screen time leads to depression, anxiety and loneliness.  Awareness is the key to noticing if you're on the path to social isolation. Take the time to determine if you're getting the quality of social engagement that you're soul is needing. Are you being challenged? Are you learning? Are you sharing your lessons with others? All of these lead to a depth of happiness only achieved through face to face social engagement.  

If your looking for community, please join one of our classes here.

V. Home Rituals This is one of my favorites. The art of home routines and ritual is where the bulk of magic happens in our lives. How we live in our space plays an enormous role in how our long term health evolves. If you're days are meandering and at the whim of any distraction chances are you're inner life is also unstructured and off point from where you would prefer it to be.  Insert ritual. Here you lay out the routine of your day to be in alignment with you're health goals. Ritual is simply creating the space in your day to incorporate the things that matter to you.  Here is an example of a routine that incorporates self care rituals:

- morning meditation, 10 minutes - morning stretching, 10 minutes - warm herbal potion, 5 minutes - journaling + daily agenda, 20 minutes - mid day meditation + stretching, 10 minutes - dinner with friends (you host) 1x weekly, 1.5 hours - mineral salts bath, 30 minutes - reading (actual paper book), 30 minutes - bedtime golden milk potion, 10 minutes

Take the time to infuse richness into your home routine and the benefits of a calmer, happier life will ensue. 





Bottled Up Emotions at Work Lead to Burnout


You can’t tease out solutions to problems like employee burnout and dissatisfaction without first acknowledging something is off kilter. The core mindful practice — noticing and labelling thoughts — could be key to navigating high stress workplaces.


In many ways, figures like Mad Men’s Donald Draper still reign in the professional world: unsmiling suits, grabbing the next crisp white shirt from a desk drawer after pulling an all-nighter. Many leaders embody the always-on professional robot — that is, until fatigue, stress, and burnout strike.


Research suggests that if we attempt to repress how our work affects us — how our work affects our emotional health — it can lead to increased stress, less productivity, heightened depression and anxiety, and may even lead to a greater risk of heart disease. There’s even some recent research to suggest that emotion suppression is connected to an increased risk of breast cancer.


To say the least, not metabolizing our emotions is making us sick. That’s not how we should be spending the 90,000 hours that we work in a lifetime. For example, it’s okay to feel offended when a coworker crosses a line — it’s the first step to developing healthy boundaries. It’s also okay to feel over-utilized and underappreciated — it can result in finding more empowering solutions. The important detail to recognize is that when issues crop up, you can find the root of the problem and address it in a way that you can feel good about, that allows you to thrive and find routes to well-being instead of becoming mired in obstacles.


How to Recognize Bottled Up Emotions


One of the simplest ways to notice things aren’t alright is to note how you’re feeling Sunday night. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you dread walking into work the next day?

  • Do you hate the thought of turning on your computer and getting started?

  • Have you noticed that you aren’t motivated to work on projects or simply don’t put the same amount of time and energy into things as you once did?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, there’s a good chance that these feelings stem from attempting to stifle angry, upset, hurt, or other negative feelings.

But it’s not always this obvious, either. It’s entirely possible to love the work you do, look forward to Monday mornings, and find yourself in a slump midday or mid-week. When this happens, it’s a good idea to stop what you are doing and go through a quick body scan to see where you’re feeling physical pain or tension.


A Body Scan Practice for Burnout


Start by focusing your attention at top of your head and slowly move down your body. Make sure to stop at every major intersection, from the head, face, neck, shoulders, fingers, and so on. Is your jaw sore? Your neck or shoulders tight or hunched? Is there pain in your back or hips? Where else might you feel discomfort or tension in your body? Stop and investigate the tension: it’s location, it’s texture (tight, hot, cold), and see if you can direct your breathing to that location in order to dissipate some of the stress.



Using Mindful Awareness to Curb Difficult Emotions


Mindfulness doesn’t have to happen solely during meditation. Mindfulness can happen at any moment (in any moment). We can begin to recognize our emotions and physical sensations, trace them back to moments during the day, and develop a habit of paying more attention to how we are feeling.


The truth is that many of us are uncomfortable expressing our emotions at work. We’d rather say nothing and reap the physical or emotional consequences. But this takes a lot of energy. Consider how difficult it is to “keep up an act” with a coworker. If you are in the habit of never discussing your emotions with your coworker, you will constantly be forced to navigate this difficult terrain in order to keep playing the nonchalant part.


If you are in the habit of never discussing your emotions with your coworker, you will constantly be forced to navigate this difficult terrain in order to keep playing the nonchalant part.



Teamwork, communication — these are integral parts of work life that are sometimes prone to emotional spillover. Mindfulness training can help us navigate the boundary between keeping our emotions on even keel and getting our needs met.


Explore this three-step practice to recognize, note, and name feelings. This can be done daily as part of your routine or in moments when you are feeling particularly anxious.

  • Give yourself an emotional play-by-play: In other words, narrate your emotions. How are you feeling? Write down your emotions as you notice them (angry, sad, upset, let down, etc.). If you’re at the water cooler or in a meeting, notice any strong emotions that surface.

  • Notice the mental clamor: What’s the context for the strong emotion? Did someone say something that upset you? What feelings or personal narratives were triggered? Write down what was said, how you interpreted the interaction, what emotions surfaced, and specifically how you are experiencing those emotions in your body. Once we become used to how our feelings manifest in our bodies — and the scenarios that trigger them —we can develop a habit of noting and recognizing them and gain a foothold in deciding how to respond to them.

  • Coach self-kindness: Think about what you might say to another person — a friend or colleague who is upset for a similar reason. How would you approach their situation? What advice would you provide? What kind of attitude would you have toward them? You can visualize this or write it out. The  next step is to apply it to yourself.


(source: www.mindful. org)



Many adults around the world deal with hypertension, also called high blood pressure. Due to the recent changes in guidelines, nearly half of American adults will now be characterized as having high blood pressure. Experts recommend treating the condition with lifestyle changes and medications.


If you’re thinking of trying herbs for medical reasons, whether it’s the whole herb or a supplement, speak to your doctor first. Currently, there are no herbs regularly recommended by high blood pressure specialists. Some herbs, especially in large quantities, may produce undesirable side effects or interfere with other medications.


1. Basil


Basil is a delicious herb that goes well in a variety of foods. It also might help lower your blood pressure. In rodents, basil extract has been shown to lower blood pressure, although only briefly. The chemical eugenol, which is found in basil, may block certain substances that tighten blood vessels. This may lead to a drop in blood pressure. More studies are needed.

Adding fresh basil to your diet is easy and certainly can’t hurt. Keep a small pot of the herb in your kitchen garden and add the fresh leaves to pastas, soups, salads, and casseroles.


2. Cinnamon


Cinnamon is another tasty seasoning that requires little effort to include in your daily diet, and it may bring your blood pressure numbers down. One study done in rodents suggested that cinnamon extract lowered both sudden-onset and prolonged high blood pressure. However, the extract was given intravenously. It’s unclear if cinnamon consumed orally is also effective.

You can include more cinnamon in your diet by sprinkling it on your breakfast cereal, oatmeal, and even in your coffee. At dinner, cinnamon enhances the flavor of stir-fries, curries, and stews.


3. Cardamom


Cardamom is a seasoning that comes from India and is often used in South Asian cuisine. A small study of 20 people investigating the health effects of cardamom found that participants with high blood pressure saw significant reductions in their blood pressure readings after taking 1.5 grams of cardamom powder twice a day for 12 weeks. You can include cardamom seeds or powder in spice rubs, soups and stews, and even baked goods for a special flavor and a possible positive health benefit.


4. Flax seed


Flax seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and has been shown in some studies to lower blood pressure. A recent review suggested taking 30–50 grams of whole or ground seeds per day for more than 12 weeks to get the best benefits. Flax seed may protect against atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease by reducing serum cholesterol, improving glucose tolerance, and acting as an antioxidant.

You can buy many products that contain flax seed, but a better bet is to buy whole or ground flax seed and add it to your home-cooked meals. The best part about flax seed is that it can be stirred into virtually any dish, from soups to smoothies to baked goods. Storing flax seed in your freezer may help it retain optimum potency.


5. Garlic


This pungent seasoning can do more than just flavor your food and ruin your breath. Garlic may have the ability to lower your blood pressure by helping to increase a substance in the body known as nitric oxide, which can cause your blood vessels to relax and dilate. This lets blood flow more freely and reduces blood pressure.


You can add fresh garlic to a number of your favorite recipes. If the flavor is just too strong for you, roast the garlic first. And if you simply can’t eat the stuff, you can get garlic in supplement form.


6. Ginger


Ginger may help control blood pressure. In animal studies it has been shown to improve blood circulation and relax the muscles surrounding blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. Human studies so far have been inconclusive. Commonly used in Asian foods, ginger is a versatile ingredient that can also be added to sweets or beverages. Chop, mince, or grate fresh ginger into stir-fries, soups, and noodle or vegetable dishes, or add it to desserts or tea for a refreshing taste.


7. Hawthorn


Hawthorn is an herbal remedy for high blood pressure that has been used in traditional Chinese medicines for thousands of years. In rodents, extracts of hawthorn seem to have a whole host of benefits on cardiovascular health, including helping reduce blood pressure, preventing hardening of the arteries, and lowering cholesterol. You can take hawthorn as a pill, liquid extract, or tea.


8. Celery seed


Celery seed is an herb used to flavor soups, stews, casseroles, and other savory dishes. Celery has long been used to treat hypertension in China, and studies in rodents have shown that it may be effective. You can use the seeds, or you can juice the whole plant. Celery may also be a diuretic, which may help explain its effect on blood pressure. Researchers believe that a variety of substances in celery may play a role in lowering blood pressure. However, human studies are needed.


9. French lavender


The beautiful, perfume-like scent of lavender is not the only useful aspect of the plant. Lavender extracts have been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure in rodents. Although not many people think to use lavender as a culinary herb, you can use the flowers in baked goods. The leaves can be used in the same way you would use rosemary.


10. Cat’s claw


Cat’s claw is an herbal medicine used in traditional Chinese practice to treat hypertension as well as neurological health problems. Studies of cat’s claw as a treatment for hypertension in rodents indicate that it may be helpful in reducing blood pressure by acting on calcium channels in your cells. You can get cat’s claw in supplement form from many health food stores.


Understanding high blood pressure

According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of American adults now have blood pressure levels that would be described as high.

A number of factors contribute to elevated blood pressure, such as:

  • genetics

  • stress

  • diet

  • smoking

  • lack of exercise

Because it’s largely symptomless, hypertension is known as the “silent killer.” This is why it’s so important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Having high blood pressureincreases your risk of several health problems, such as:

  • heart attack

  • stroke

  • diabetes

  • heart failure

  • kidney disease

  • vision loss

  • metabolic syndrome


Takeaway

Due to its lack of symptoms, high blood pressure can inflict damage before you’re even aware you have it, so don’t neglect regular blood pressure screenings. Sometimes treating this condition involves medication. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you, which may include medication, lifestyle changes, or alternative treatments. It’s important to discuss any herbs or supplements with your doctor before taking them. Additionally, don’t stop taking any prescribed medications without speaking with your healthcare provider.


It’s important to remember that there’s not enough evidence to recommend taking herbal supplements instead of prescription medications to treat high blood pressure. Very few studies with plants and herbs have been done in humans. Research has not been able to establish side effects, doses, or long-term effects of these supplements.


{Source: www.healthline .com}

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