Three Tips to Quiet Your Mind

If you are not extremely busy in today’s society, you are the exception and not the rule. We are all in high gear; we overextend, overachieve, and overstress ourselves to the point of breaking. This can have lasting negative effects on our health! Here are a few ways to break the cycle:

Gratitude
It is so easy to be upset when things do not go our way. From the moment we spill our coffee, lock our keys in the car, and forget our lunch, a spiral of circumstances can set us off into a tailspin of negativity. We can choose to stay in a state of discontent and let that dictate our day, or we can be grateful for the other things in our lives even if they are not present in front of us right now.

Did you ever notice that when something nice happens, we tend to smile for a moment and then move on? However, when something goes wrong, we feel the need to tell everyone and anyone that will
listen. It is in those exact moments that we need to focus on what we are grateful for, and that is how we can instantly change our perspective and attitude.

Keeping the focus on gratitude offers your mind something to smile about, regardless of outside circumstances. Focusing on people, places, and even things that make you grateful, gives your mind a break from stress!

Stillness
Everyone has a busy schedule; that is a fact. We all tend to create schedules that are overflowing and then complain that we do not have time for ourselves! Take a good hard look at your schedule and see what you can delete and what you can delegate. If you are going to have a healthy mind, you need to take care of it just as you would your body, and that means giving it some rest.

One tip for quieting your mind is to put it on your schedule. Put it in big red pen on your calendar, text yourself a reminder, and place it on your list of things to do this week. Take time for you.

Stay in the Moment
Being in the moment has become a cliché; however, if you really take the time to focus on what it means, you can start to practice quietening your mind. Focus on what you are doing at the exact moment you are doing it. If you are washing a dish, focus on the water, the soap bubbles and the dish in your hand. When you take time to do this, you will be in the moment and not two days from now when something big is scheduled.

Your Mini-Guide To A 1-Day Detox

By Dr. Tiffany Lester

Considering doing a cleanse this fall after a summer of indulgence? Doing a one-day detox after a long weekend or vacation can be just what your body needs to get back on track. If you’re suffering from any of these common ailments, your body is practically begging you to hit the reset button:

Allergies
Bloating, and/or constipation
Weight gain, especially abdominal
Insomnia
Joint pains
Fatigue
Low energy

Why fall?

As the seasons change, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate our habits and cleanse our bodies, homes, and minds. Choose one sacred day this month and devote it to your health. Try to combine it with a digital detox by turning off the phone, computer, and TV and enjoy time alone or with family.

Or spend a portion of the day tackling a closet or drawer that needs to be cleaned out. (Think you’re bad at decluttering? Here’s some motivation.) Choose one physical thing that needs de-cluttering in your life and do it today.

Your Mini-Guide To A 1-Day Detox

Morning

When you wake up: Drink warm lemonade. Mix 8 ounces warm (not hot!) water with half a lemon (freshly squeezed) to hydrate your body and stimulate digestion.

Meditation: Set yourself up for success and quiet your mind with a 10-minute meditation. To settle yourself before you begin, take 10 deep cleansing breaths. Not sure how to begin meditating? Try the Calm app, which has a timer with guided meditations for every mood.

Breakfast: Start your day by flooding your body with antioxidants, thanks to a green smoothie. So many delicious ways to go about this, but go easy on the fruit. A simple rule of thumb is to use three servings of vegetables for every piece of fruit. My favorite combo is the following:

A handful of spinach
A cucumber
Half avocado
1 inch freshly peeled ginger
Pear
Add filtered water or coconut water then blend for 30 seconds.

Mid-morning: Enjoy a cup of matcha tea and a handful of raw, unsalted almonds. This will calm any cravings and the matcha tea will give you a calm alertness for the rest of the day.

Afternoon

Lunch: Avoid the afternoon slump by eating a light lunch. Try a marinated kale salad with a cup of carrot ginger soup. Add as many different colors as you can to your salad including a healthy fat, like avocado. Avoid store-bought dressings as they’re often filled with preservatives and hidden sugars. Dress your salad with extra virgin olive oil and the other half of your lemon from the morning.

Exercise: Go for a light 20-minute walk outside after lunch — without your phone.

Mid-afternoon snack: If you’re hungry, eat a half cup of goji berries with 8 ounces filtered water. If possible, take a 20-minute nap!

Evening

Unwind: To aid your body in releasing toxins, unwind with a hot stone massage or an infrared sauna treatment. This will provide relief for sore joints and muscles while also helping you to relax.

Dinner: Keep it simple while focusing on whole foods. Try roasted chicken with brussels sprouts; cruciferous vegetables are great for liver detoxification.

Nightcap: Drink a cup of hibiscus tea. Filled with antioxidants, it reportedly helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol while also supporting your digestive system. When buying at the store, make sure it is caffeine free as some brands blend with green tea. I like to enjoy mine in a wine glass – it looks just like red wine!

Gratitude: Write down three things for which you are most grateful today in a journal or scrap of paper. The practice of writing versus thinking has a way of activating the pleasure centers in our brain. Go the extra mile, and add in another 20-minute meditation before drifting off to a restorative sleep.

Notice how your body feels after just one day of avoiding common food triggers like gluten, corn, dairy, caffeine, and sugar. I hope you’ll feel fantastic!

Combating Stress

How Much Would You Pay to Combat Your Stress?

Melissa Leong | March 11, 2014 4:39 PM ET
More from Melissa Leong | @lisleong

According to a 2006 study for the Fraser Institute, people spent an average of $365 on massage therapy, up from $211 in 1997 — and almost 60% of the cost was covered by insurance.

Knowing that stress comes with nasty health consequences such as heart disease and stroke, it makes sense for us to spend money to fight it.

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But as our stress levels soar, many of us are reluctant to “treat” ourselves. Even when our company health insurance helps cover the costs, the vast majority don’t fully utilize those benefits.

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Great-West Life Assurance Company reports that even the most basic of stress reduction techniques, massage therapy, is only claimed by 27% of its plan members. In 2001, only 10% took advantage of the benefit.

The use of other paramedical benefits such as physiotherapy and psychology services are used by a still smaller percentage of those eligible. Only 4% of members made claims for psychological services in 2011, compared to 2% in 2001.

Thirty-five percent of respondents to a 2011 Sanofi Aventis Canada Healthcare survey said that workplace stress had been so overwhelming that they’d been physically ill in the last 12 months.

“Stress is a reality for most of us and to think that you don’t need to do things to manage it would be a little irresponsible,” Jasmine Baker, president of For The Love of Food, an event planning business based in Toronto. She works out more than four times a week and once a month sees a massage therapist ($100) and visits a spa ($250). “These are things that allow me to physically keep doing what I love. For me, it’s the cost of doing business.”

Nearly one-quarter of all Canadians (23.5%) aged 15 and older reported most days were “extremely or quite a bit stressful,” according to a 2010 Statistics Canada report. Stress rates were highest for 35- to 54-year-olds.

Yet, a number of Canadians don’t even use their allotted vacation time to unwind. Twenty-seven percent of Canadians in 2013 were carrying over unused vacation from the previous year, an Expedia.ca survey said.

So take time off. Save money throughout the year to fund a relaxing getaway. “Getting away from it all helps to put things in perspective,” says Kelsey Matheson, a Toronto resident and one of the owners of the Anamaya Resort in Costa Rica, which ranges from $795 to $1,895 for a week-long retreat.

Or visit a wellness centre specifically for stress. The Gaia Clinic in Canmore, for example, features a restorative health week which ranges from $3,500 to $5,000. The program includes services such as psychological work, stress testing, brain testing, nature walks, meditation, yoga and massage therapy.

“If I hadn’t it done the investment, what would have been the other option?” says Olympic gold medalist Chandra Crawford who attended the clinic last year to curb stress. “It would’ve been to carry on struggling, carry on diminishing my health and had even more serious consequences in health and lost career time down the road.”

These are things that allow me to physically keep doing what I love. For me, it’s the cost of doing business

At the least, use your work benefits, including any spending accounts that your company might have for health-related expenses, that’s what they are there for. More than 23 million Canadians have supplementary health coverage for things such as massage and psychological services, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association says. (The association says stress and mental-health related problems represent 40% to 50% of short-term disability claims in some of Canada’s largest corporations.)

According to a 2006 study for the Fraser Institute, people spent an average of $365 on massage therapy, up from $211 in 1997 — and almost 60% of the cost was covered by insurance.

Some benefit plans require that you have a doctor’s note for services to be covered. Be mindful that if you ask your doctor for a recommendation to see a psychologist for stress, for example, this could affect your future applications for long-term disability coverage. In their underwriting process, an insurance company could choose to exclude coverage for stress leave.

“If somebody has a boyfriend with a break-up or a parent died or they went through a job change, these are very stressful situations and people often can cope with it themselves or they need some help. If it was a time-bound situation, there should be no problem getting disability insurance without an exclusion,” says Mark Halpern, a certified financial planner with illnessprotection.com who sells insurance.

Meanwhile, some people find spending money stressful and indeed, financial issues are one of the top stressors in people’s lives. In this case, opt for free relief: go for regular walks at lunch, take up meditating and interact more with your social circle.

Another option would be to rejig your budget to cut back on some expenses to make room for more stress-relieving expenses, especially if the stress is having an adverse affect on your health.

Jennifer Podemski says that any extra money she has is going to her well-being.

The 41-year-old Toronto resident was producing a television show and a movie while racing to finish by 4 p.m. to pick up her two and three-year-old from daycare when her stress caught up to her and manifested into a health condition.

One morning in November, she woke up and her legs felt as if they were filled with cement and being pricked by needles. To help de-stress, in December, she purchased a $2,000 infrared sauna for her home.

“These are the kinds of investments that I’m making for my health and my sanity so I’m a better mom, a better entrepreneur, a better person, a better wife.”