Thrive In Uncertain Times

In March 2020, governments responded to the rapidly spreading coronavirus by shutting down the world. Schools closed. Non-essential businesses locked their doors. Travel was restricted.

Essential workers (doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, police officers, postal workers, truck drivers) faced exposure while everyone else sheltered at home, either alone or with direct family.  Many workers were furloughed or lost their jobs as bars, restaurants, non-essential retail, hair salons, hotels, and more ceased operation. Others quickly learned the technology required to work remotely.

Closed sign
Woman Working at Home with Kids around her

Many parents of school age children suddenly had to both work from home and homeschool their kids. Many parents have developed a new appreciation for their kids’ teachers!

 

Normal flies out the window and in its place is fear of getting a serious illness, working in a different way or unemployed in an uncertain economy, with children constantly under foot or being completely isolated.

Over the months, the number of cases and deaths have grown. Rapid opening leads to spikes in case, followed by spikes in deaths. 

 

Fear for our physical and economic health plagues us.

 

Can you say stressful?

Handling Emotional Stress

How did you handle the swirl of stress and emotions? Is a newly found passion for baking treats and enjoying those creations helping to sooth the anxiety (emotional eating to the rescue)? Since the gyms are closed, has exercise ceased (motivation to move disappeared)? Have you caught up on all of your favorite shows and discovered a number of new ones (couch potato time)?

 

Having an emotional temper tantrum is a reasonable response to these extraordinary circumstances. Eating without concern for calorie count or health helped many handle the relentless pressure. Cocooning on the couch compensated for the disappearance of their routine.  Watching amusing entertainment provided many the needed escape from the frightening daily reality.

Did emotional eating and other less than healthy coping methods help you to navigate these first few months of living in the middle of a pandemic? Now, over four months later, is the realization that this is our new normal dawning? The understanding is growing that our lives are not being upended for a short stretch, but instead we are in the middle of a marathon.

Baking Cookies

Surviving (Maybe Even Thriving) Today

 

What do we need to do to survive living with this potentially deadly disease in our world and communities for the duration? 

Coronavirus Health Guidelines

Continue Following Health Guidelines

First step, we all need to follow the medical guidelines to wash our hands, wear masks in public and maintain a physical distance from each other to reduce the spread of this virus.

Dust Yourself Off

Second step, time to stop having an emotional temper tantrum and embrace a healthy response to the constant stress, unease, and uncertainty. Don’t strive for perfection or make “a chocolate will never pass these lips again” declaration. Time to pick yourself off the floor and move towards a healthier response.

Moving Matters

 

The goal here is a healthy balance. A funny comedy followed by a dance party in the living room. Want to feel better? Move it! Start or end the day with a gentle yoga routine and/or stretching and/or cardio and/or strength training. There are wonderful online yoga and exercise classes. Many gyms have created virtual exercise classes. Call your gym to see if they have online classes. 

Here are some resource to give you an idea of what can be found to help you get strong, flexible and in shape (let them know that Calmglow told you about them):

Moving Matters

A Little Zen

Moving your body helps release stress and other stress management techniques such as journaling, meditation, and taking a moment to breath deeply are great help towards reclaiming a healthier you. A moment of calm can even help you sleep. And with a solid night of sleep under your belt, you can handle so much more!

You Are What You Eat

 

Next we turn our attention to what’s cooking in the kitchen. After all, food is the foundation of our health.

 

Getting creative in the kitchen

One of the benefits of working remotely is that we have more time to spend in the kitchen creating tasty, healthy food. While many turned to experimenting with baking and desserts when the lockdowns began, let’s now challenge ourselves to make delicious, healthy, comfort food. The Mediterannan Diet is one of the healthier diets with an added benefit that it is not based on elimination of a category of foods, such as carbohydrates.

The Mediterranean diets incorporated the traditional foods enjoyed in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. While most are more familiar with the foods of France, Greece, Italy and Spain, there is inspiration to be found from each country: Morrocan Tagine, Turkish Chicken Kebab, Lebanonese shawarma bowls and more.

When you are planning your cooking adventure, think about adding a rainbow of color to your plate: red peppers, purple cabbage, orange sweet potato, green broccoli, and yellow squash.

You can make your diet more Mediterranean-style by:

 

  • eating the rainbow of color of fruits and vegetables (organic, if possible)
  • eating whole grains and legumes 
  • eating lean proteins (fish, chicken, plant-based)
  • eating less meat and dairy products
  • choosing healthy fats, such as olive oil and nuts

 

To enhance the flavor of your meals (and the fun of your culinary adventure), add fresh herbs and spices. A tip: before starting on this kitchen adventure, purge your spice cabinet of old spices. Spices lose their flavor as they age.

 

A tip: watch your portion sizes. Too much of even a good thing can undermine your efforts.

A Mediterranean Feast

 

You have finished with your emotional temper tantrum. You are shaking your tail feathers, finding zen moments in the midst of COVID chaos, and dining on delicious (maybe even homemade!) dishes. One more area to improve: the home in which you are sheltering-in-place.

 

Pictures of rooms in a home

Make Your Home A Comfortable Nest!

Surround yourself with the objects that bring you happiness. Clear the clutter and the chaos. Play music that brings you joy or soothes your soul. Fill a vase with fresh flowers. Diffuse citrus, floral or spicy oils. Open the windows. Put a bowl of summer fruit on the kitchen table. Chill a pitcher of water with slices of cucumbers and mint to enjoy when the temperature rises. Toss a soft throw over the back of the sofa so you can wrap yourself in warmth on a cool morning. Place twinkle lights inside to enjoy once the sun sets.

 

Your home is your sanctuary and now you are spending more time there than usual. Make it a place you hate to leave.

Do not plan to change everything at once. Let go of your emotional temper tantrum. Make changes to bring balance back. Consistent, small steps create huge improvements. Create the health lifestyle that supports you during this new normal. 

 

To your health.

Dianne Hinton NP, PA, IFM-C

 

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Stress Relief Methods That Work

Stress is ever-present. In today’s new norm, anxiety and stress are reaching epic proportions for much of our population. While we cannot get rid of troubling news, we can employ techniques which are proven to reduce stress.

Meditation

1. Meditation

Meditation has been around for a long time. According to Wikipedia, in India, there is wall art from approximately 5,000 BCE showing individuals meditating and written evidence from around 1500 BCE. The practice of meditation stills one’s racing thoughts, brings mental clarify and reduces stress.

How To Meditate

There are many different meditation practices: Hindu, Buddist, Chinese, Christian, Guided, and more. There are podcasts and Youtube channels with guided and other mediations. Once the shelter in place recommendation is lifted, there are in-person retreats and meditation centers. While seeking the practice which best suits you can be useful, getting started with a basic daily habit now to start reducing your stress. Here are beginner meditation steps:

 

  1. Set aside time in your day, even a few minutes a day of consistently practicing meditation will reap a huge reward.
  2. Find a quiet place and time (maybe in bed right before you go to sleep or just as you wake up).
  3. Sit in a comfortable position (or lay down).
  4. Close your eyes.
  5. Focus on your breath.
  6. As your mind wanders, refocus on your breath.
  7. To end your meditation, open your eyes and hold the feeling of calm for a moment.
  8. Tip: you can sprinkle moments of meditation throughout your day to calm your mind, reduce your stress and gain more mental clarity.

 

2. Yoga

According to the History of Yoga, while the practice of yoga can be traced back 5,000 years, some believe that yoga maybe thousands of years older. As with meditation, there are many types of yoga: Hatha, Iyengar, Kundalini, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Bikram (or hot), Yin, Restorative, Anusara, and Jivamukti yoga. As with meditation, it is useful to find the yoga practice or practices which you best enjoy. 

 

Beyond reducing stress and anxiety, the practice of yoga can improve heart health, reduce chronic pain, promote better sleep, and increase flexibility and balance. A YouTube search reveals many different types of yoga videos. Try a few different ones to find the teacher and type of yoga you enjoy.

 

Yoga Pose
Woman napping

 

3. Take A Nap

 

As discussed in our blog on naps, even a quick 10 minutes nap reduces stress. Sleep allows the brain to clear toxins and reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. Schedule a 10 to 20 minute power nap to help reduce your stress.

4. Stress Relief Techniques

  • Deep breathing. Stress causes short, rapid breathing (preparing you to outrace a tiger). Take a few deep, slow breathes from your diaphragm and reduce your stress.
  • Visualization. Picture a peaceful place. Use as many of your senses in creating your peaceful place. When tension strikes, close your eyes for a moment are visualize your peaceful place.
  • Progressive relaxation. Start from your toes and slowly work up to your head, relaxing each muscle as you move up your body.

 

Relaxing

5. Turn Stress On Its Head

 

Feeling out of control can spike anxiety and stress. Sheltering in place and working from home for the first time can be very stressful. Once the technical side of working from home has been resolved, step back and see if you can turn the negative around. Have there been projects you have not had the time to tackle? (Think of the feeling of accomplishment once that project is done!)  Are there skills you have been wanting to learn or pick back up any neglected passions? (Do something fun!) Have a desire to be creative? (Being creative lower stress.) 

While none of us can change the events happening in the world, we do have control over our perceptions. For those of us fortunate enough to not be fighting for our lives, let’s take a moment to be grateful for our health. An attitude of gratitude not only lowers stress;  it also improves our lives by reminding us of all that do have.

 

What else are you grateful for today?

 

To your health.

Dianne Hinton, NP IFM-C

 

Fun activities: reading, scrapbooking, baking bread, cleaning a closet
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What our
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Always get clarity and understanding…

Dianne has always help me understand the complicated issues of hypothyroidism, understanding the symptoms and long term effects. She has helped with my dietary needs and overall well being. Highly recommend if you are still feeling the symptoms even if your on traditional medications.

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The best part of talking with new patients…

I have worked with Dianne Hinton at Calmglow for 4 years. I receive calls from new patients every day. I think the best part of talking with new patients is that I give them the knowledge and hope in knowing that I–like all of Dianne’s staff–was her patient before her employee. I think that says a lot about Dianne as a practitioner. She is very compassionate and caring towards each individual patient.

— Cindy Toste

Diane Hinton saved my life!

After over a year of traditional doctors misdiagnosing and mistreating my illness, Diane immediately got it right. She identified the root cause of my illness, and I went from being chronically ill to healed and healthy in less than a year. Diane listens to and cares for her patients like no one I’ve ever known. I highly recommend her for diagnosing the true health issues, rather than just treating your symptoms.

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My husband and I just love Calmglow …

Just what is Functional Medicine?  Simply put…. I call it getting to the “cause” of a health issue. Rashes, High Pressure, Arthritis, Obesity, Insomnia, and Fatigue are a few of the issues she’s helped us with.  But what I really like best is; she doesn’t say “here, take this pill” and it’ll “treat the symptoms”.  She treats the “cause” of those symptoms so they truly go away without requiring “pills”.  Our bodies are healing, and the we feel we’re the healthiest we’ve been in a long time! What we’ve discovered about the manner in which our bodies “had been” functioning previously, from the in depth tests she recommends, was pretty astounding. We’ve learned so much since starting to see her as our practitioner, I would never choose to go back to an Allopathic doctor!