The dark days of fall are behind us. Those deepening days that find us reflecting, craving comfort food and wanting to go to bed earlier than usual.
Today, the day after the winter solstice, the days begin to inch their way to include more minutes of sun and fewer minutes of night.
We may notice our energy levels rise, our moods brighten and a yearning to take on new challenges.
Nature has seasons for reasons. The more we engage in nature, the more we connect with the natural rhythm of life. We can catch the waves of opportunity just as surfers do. We can also connect with an greater intuitive knowing of when to slowdown, wait, and just be as well.
What do you notice about yourself as the seasons change?
Boo! The season of Halloween is upon us and there are scarier things than witches, goblins and black cats that we may want to beware of. These things are not only scary; they are tricky. So tricky, in fact, we may have been inviting them in to our homes for years. What are they?
The first thing haunts your body in ways we are only beginning to better understand; sugar. Yes, the very thing we love to gather on Halloween night. Recent revelations show that we have been manipulated into thinking fat is the contributor to many diseases when in fact it is sugar.
Sugar is today’s tobacco. It is addictive, found everywhere, and has no health benefit. The World Health Organization recently upgraded their sugar recommendation to less than 5% of our daily consumption or 25 grams. 25 grams, do you know how much that is? Take a look at this table to see how your favorite candy rates in terms of grams of sugar. Be sure to note, they are talking about the ‘fun size’. I don’t know about you, but enjoying just one ‘fun size’ is tough. To learn more about sugar and its health effects, you may want to check out Authority Nutrition. They are a great resource for evidenced-based information about nutrition. I have to thank, Kati Kleber, aka ‘Nurse Eye Roll’ for recommending me to this great site.
Scared yet? No, okay, maybe a little? I hate to be the scrooge of Halloween, but I believe awareness is power. When we are aware of problems we can be proactive in avoiding them rather than get bonked on the head and forced to react to them. So let’s move on to the second really scary thing about Halloween these days; plastic.
If you follow me on social media or have read my second novel, By The Sound Of The Crow, you know about the hazards of plastic. Ridding our oceans of plastic is something that I am very passionate about as I have seen the fatal results of it as whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life ingest it, as they mistake it for food. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, not even “biodegradable plastic”. Experts predict that if we do not stop the flow of plastic into our oceans, over 80% of which comes from land, we will have more plastic in the ocean by 2050 than fish.
All we have to do is go into one of our local retail stores and chances are these two scary things, sugar and plastic, will be haunting and taunting us. If you find that scary too, let’s join together to share ideas how we can enjoy this Halloween season without these two ghosts.
If sugar and plastic scare you too, lets join together and create change. Do you have ideas on how we can reduce sugar and plastic this Halloween? Feel free to share them below. Let’s connect on social media and spread our ideas and increase awareness of these two issues that affect our health and the health of our planet.
I invite you to sign up for my blog as I present some ideas that I have collected. Together we can make Halloween fun and less scary.
No matter where we are in the world today, we may be feeling rising tensions around us: whether it is a bombing in Syria, mass shootings in a mall or a peaceful demonstration that turns into a violent riot. It can feel hard to escape what is going on around us or to us. There are healthy ways we can cope and unhealthy ways. Here are three holistic modalities we can use to get ourselves into a calmer state of mind in order to better problem solve and avoid the hazardous side effects to our health that stress causes.
1. Awareness, also known as mindfullness: the simple act of stopping ourselves in a tracks to check in with how we are feeling and deciding is this how we want to be or do we want to invite something better, more helpful into ourselves. For example: Anger gives us energy. Think about the last time you were FURIOUS! What did you do with that energy? Was it productive or could you have channeled it in a better way?
2. Nature: One of my favorite modalities to calm down and reassess what is going on inside. Taking a walk in green space has been shown to relieve stress. Getting on, in, on top of or near water can achieve a state called, Bluemind. A term created by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols. Water is so powerful for our well-being that a new initiative, Bluemind Rx, #WaterIsMedicine , was recently presented at the #OurOcean conference in Washinton, D.C and shared with over sixty countries.
3. Energy healing: we are made up of a very complex set of interacting parts. Energy being a very big one. Growing information about how our cells react to different energy is showing that unless we are trying to run away from a tiger in the jungle trying to attack us, it doesn’t do us any good to be churning in negative energy. Reiki healers, therapeutic touch and many other energy healing modalities can reset our nerve system. Even drumming circles have been shown effective in taking a group of people and connecting their energy to a calmer, collective state. This process is known as entrainment.
There are a lot more options, more of which I will discuss in upcoming blogs. In the meanwhile, maybe you want to try one of these if you are feeling stressed by all the chaos around us. Even stopping for a few minutes to close our eyes and take some deep breathes will help. Imagine what a more peaceful, cohesive world we all could live in.
If you have a favorite holistic stress remedy you would like to share, please do in the comment section below. The more we have in our healing toolbox, the better we all will be.
Tired of the gym? Want to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, get some Vitamin D, and reap the mental health benefits of engaging in nature? There are a lot of fun activities you can do outside. Sometimes we don’t take advantage of them because we don’t have someone to join us on a hike in the woods or we don’t know how to stand up paddleboard. Here are three resources that you may want to look into to expand your exercise options.
Your Local Recreation Departments
When was the last time you checked your local recreation department’s activity menu? Most towns have one that you can look at online or in a catalog that they usually publish seasonally. Often the classes are reasonably priced or better yet, free. Yoga, Zumba, Tennis Lessons, Sailing courses-you might be surprised what they offer. Don’t see one you are looking for? Maybe you want to contact them and offer to start a women’s walking group or a community garden club-something you would enjoy doing with others.
MeetUp is a website that you can join for free. It sounds like a dating site, but it’s not. “Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.” They offer an immense amount of group activities, including all kinds of exercise groups-hiking, biking, dog walking, the list is endless and includes options for different stamina levels. In my area they have 2227 offerings today!
If you are fortunate enough to have an REI store in your area, check it out. Visit your local store where they will have a display of upcoming activities or check it out online: www.rei.com/learn . Enter your zip code and the mile radius you are willing to travel and you will find a list of outdoor activities and education sessions, such as learning about camping equipment. Many are free or a nominal fee. Members get a discount. It is worth the $20 lifelong membership fee. You will easily recoup the investment with the benefits.
If you have a friend or a family, to bring along to these events, great! Often, however, it can be difficult to match our schedules up with our loved ones. So don’t be shy, take advantage of these opportunities to get outside, get some exercise, and maybe even meet some new friends.
Do you have some other ideas to share? Comments always welcome!
#Exercise #Nature #VitaminN #Health #Wellness