Apps to Help Lessen Anxiety and Stress

I have witnessed countless acts of kindness throughout this difficult time including wonderful trainers and gyms offering ways for us to keep physically active and motivated while staying home.

But along with taking care of our physical needs we must also nourish our mental self.

There are many strategies that we can employ.  One arena to play in are the many apps that have been developed for just this purpose.

There really are so many terrific apps available to help us strengthen and maintain our mental health but I want to highlight 3 that I use personally.

𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝗵𝗶𝗳𝘁

Developed by Anxiety Canada, Mind Shift is an app that is designed to help you cope with mild to moderate anxiety aiming to change how you think about anxiety.

It is based on proven scientific strategies helping you to engage in healthy thinking. You check in each day to track your anxiety and work with tools in the app.

This is a free app.

𝗖𝗮𝗹𝗺

In 2017 Calm was named iPhone App of the Year. Calm is a wonderful app for everyone including those experiencing stress and anxiety.  The App offers daily Calm sessions and guides you through meditations, sleep stories and breathing programs.

There is a free version and a paid version.

𝗚𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲 𝗛𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗝𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗹

Daily recording of gratitude has been shown to increase happiness and improve mood.

As the Gratitude Happiness Journal app description states:

the app was built out of a personal need to cope with anxiety & depression

This app offers unlimited journal entries and affirmations.

There is a Pro version but I have been using the free one and I love it!


RECIPE

Ashwagandha Milk Tea

(I have published this recipe before and have had many positive feedbacks from it)

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is an Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb.  An adaptogen helps to bring balance and stabiliziation. Ashwagandha is best known for its stress-lowering effects.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp Ashwagandha Powder
  • 1 date
  • 10 Goji Berries
  • 4-5 cardamom buds

Directions:

  1. Add milk, water, Ashwagandha powder, date and Goji Berries to a small saucepan and bring to a boil
  2. Once reduced to about half strain in to a teacup, add cardamon buds and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sustainable Travel Benefits All of Us

The world’s airlines carry over 3 billion passengers in a single year according to the Air Transport Action Group. The International Air Transport Association has the figure at 2.8 billion.  Bear in mind that this is only air travel.  A significant number of people travel by train and car.

With these figures in play it is easy to understand that the tourism industry has a substantial global impact on the economic, social and cultural areas being travelled to.

Wellness tourism and travelling sustainably go hand in hand for me.

Wellness Tourism is about a continuity of our health as we vacation and Sustainable Travel is about mindfully enjoying our experiences without harming the area’s natural and cultural environment.  Our travels should not have a negative impact on the areas we travel to.

The World Tourism Organization specifies sustainable travel as

the management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.”

Sustainable travel melds the activities of tourists and travel companies into the local economy making an effort to enhance the local people, their businesses and their culture and traditions.

So as sustainable travellers we need to be aware of the foot print that we leave in the areas that we travel to.  Are we raising pollution levels? Are we leaving a positive impact on the local people, their businesses and their native cultures?

Tips for Sustainable Travel

  • When packing use reusable containers
  • Look for environmentally friendly hotels
  • Support locally run businesses including tour operators, restaurants and hotels including guesthouses, Bed &Breakfasts and Airbnbs
  • Look for businesses that give back to the community with local projects and fair pay
  • When you are looking for souvenirs, seek out local arts or craft makers

Amazing Apps for Sustainable Travel

Finally I want to give you 3 great apps that promote sustainable travel

  1. Eatwith connects travellers with local people for local unique food experiences
  2. Pack for a Purpose. “Small space. Little effort. Big impact. You go on the website and select a destination or initiative and it leads you in to a world of good things that you can pack to help out the locals of your destination
  3. FairTrip  The FairTrip app is a free collaborative guide that helps travellers to find and share local and authentic places while having a positive social and economic impact on the visited place.

    My Health Hub Podcast with Chris Gonzalez on The Rising Trend of Wellness Tourism

References:

https://www.reference.com/world-view/many-people-travel-year-e644f08d024ae72c https://www.verdemode.com/2012/09/what-is-sustainable-travel/

5 Ways to Support Your Body’s Detoxification Process

Detoxification is an essential process that our body needs to perform effectively for us to be in good health.

Detoxing rids our body of toxins that accumulate both as a by-product of our natural body processes and from external environmental assaults.

Detoxification improves our ability to absorb nutrients and to eliminate waste.  It also stabilizes and improves our energy.

Our body is designed to detoxify.  That’s why we have 7 channels of elimination; our skin, lungs, kidneys, colon, lymphatic system, liver and blood.

We are bombarded every day with so many toxins that our system can become overwhelmed so it really is a kind gesture to ourselves to lend a hand to the process.

5 Natural Strategies to Support Detoxification

 

Sweat it out!

Sweating helps to move toxins out through our skin and helps to get our blood circulating.  Exercising and saunas are 2 great ways to get that body hot!

Get Good Quality Sleep

Our body doesn’t rest when we go to sleep.  It uses this time to detoxify and repair.  This is our liver’s playtime.  So getting good quality sleep is key for successful detoxification.  Here are some tips for a good night’s repose:

  • sleep in total darkness
  • shut off all electronics
  • sleep in a cool room
  • go to bed at the same time each night
  • get 7-8 hours of sleep each night

Keep Well Hydrated

A river runs through us and it’s made of water.  In a nutshell water carries nutrients to our cells and waste from them.  And water is involved in many of the physiological process carried out each and every day within us.

6-8 glasses of good quality water each day is minimum.  You want to make sure that you flush out those nasty toxins and support your kidneys in the process.

 

Move it!

Exercise supports all channels of elimination in particular it helps to flush out our lungs, get our blood circulating and our lymphatic system moving.  And as just mentioned working up an exercise sweat is a great way to help detox.

Eat a Whole Foods Diet

Avoiding processed foods and eating a whole foods diet is the backbone of successful detoxification. A healthy diet supplies necessary nutrients for our body to carry out the detoxification process.

Here are some powerhouse foods that you can start with:

  • leafy greens
  • cruciferous vegetables
  • onions
  • garlic
  • lemon
  • turmeric
  • blueberries
  • chlorella

Be kind to you!

 

 

 

 

Coping with Cancer During the Holidays

Coping with cancer during the holidays can be difficult.

As we approach the holidays, what should be a joyous time of year surrounded by friends and family, can be a challenge for both people working through a cancer diagnosis and their loved ones.

There is no point in denying it, things are likely to be different.  But with some thoughtful planning and a commitment to enjoying on your terms, the holiday season can be a special one if there is open and honest dialogue between everyone.

Tips for Cancer Patients

It’s time to plan your holiday strategy.

Shopping

Nothing shouts out ONLINE SHOPPING more than fatigue and low immunity.

Get your list together and have at it.  In the comfort of your own home tick off everyone on your list with a delivery right to your front door (or theirs!).  No crowds, lots of comfort and you minimize the chance of catching a cold or flu.

Cooking

Delegate, delegate, delegate! Spread out the cooking detail.  Consider having a potluck dinner this year.  If that’s not an option, then there are loads of places that will cater to all of your gastronomical needs.

Rest

Take the time to rest if you need it.  Heck schedule naptimes so all of your guests can build the events of the day around them.

Provide Clarity

Let your people know what challenges you may be facing during the holidays.  Say YES when you need to and don’t be afraid to say NO. They want to support you.  They love you so let them do so.

Throw your Expectations out the Window

Forget comparing to past holidays or lamenting on what you might not be able to do.  Embrace what is and try to be open to experiencing the joy of what this holiday brings.

If Someone You Love has Cancer

If your loved one has cancer understand that this can be an emotional time.  You can’t change that but there are things that you can do to support them and they pretty much line up with what I have just mentioned

Offer to help

Fatigue and just not feeling well can be so prohibitive for those with cancer.  Offer your time.  It’s the best gift you can give.  Shop, clean, cook, write Santa letters.  Do whatever is needed.

Plan events around their schedule

Plan holiday events around their schedule. Be flexible and mindful about planning things around their routine, treatments and according to the overall vitality.   And be understanding if some traditions have to be shelved for this year.

The holidays can be challenging when cancer is in your midst.  But with a little planning and a lot of love they can continue to be a joyous time of year.

 

 

 

 

Dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Turning back our clocks in early November brings an end to our Daylight Savings Time.

For some, this ending and the onset of the colder winter months, when the days are shorter and darker, can initiate a recurrent depressive disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder commonly known by the acronym SAD.

The National Institute of Mental Health lists the main risk factors for SAD as age, sex, distance from the equator (regions farther to the north and south tend to have shorter days and less sunlight in winter) and a history of depression or other mood disorders.

Common symptoms that people diagnosed with SAD can experience include:

  • fatigue
  • oversleeping
  • chronically low moods
  • cravings for carbohydrates (which if satisfied can lead to weight gain)
  • difficulty concentrating

So what can you do if you suffers from SAD to help combat your symptoms?

Light Therapy

Many studies have shown that light therapy is helpful.  Light boxes, dedicated and specifically made to benefit those affected with SAD, are now available on the market.

Suggestions on purchasing the most effective Light Box for SAD

Supplement with Vitamin D

Sunlight is essential for production of vitamin D.  Supplementing with vitamin D during the winter months, when we are getting less sunlight, may help to manage symptoms of SAD.

It is important to check your vitamin D level.  This is done with a blood test.

There is some disagreement in the recommended optimal range of vitamin D levels but generally it is:

75-225 nanomoles per litre (nmol/l) or 30-90 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).

Exercise

Trying to stay physically active can boost energy and improve mood.  Try to get 30 minutes of activity a day.

A number of recent studies suggest that physical exercise may provide an effective and easily accessible treatment for patients suffering from SAD

Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating a well-balanced that includes lean protein, loads of veggies and complex carbohydrates will go a long way to curb the craving for simple carbohydrates.

A healthy diet will also support the production serotonin, the chemical and neurotransmitter that supports well-being and happiness.

Keep in touch with your friends

Seek out your tribe.  Improve your mood by surrounding yourself with positive people.

Socialize and stay involved.

Support Your Circadian Rhythm

Your circadian rhythm influences the physical, mental and behavioural changes that occur over the course of roughly 24 hours.  Disruption to your circadian rhythm can be a mitigating factor in SAD.

Factors that affect your circadian rhythm include:

  1. Light exposure
  2. Food (timing of eating)
  3. Exercise
  4. Sleep Patterns

Many of the tools mentioned about will support the health of your circadian rhythm.

To this add getting outside to the list.  Even though daylight is less during the late fall and winter months, any exposure to daylight is healthy.

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References:

Short exposure to light treatment improves depression scores in patients with seasonal affective disorder: A brief report

Vitamin D deficiency, depression linked in international study

Seasonal affective disorder and exercise treatment: a review

Disruption of Circadian Rhythms: A Crucial Factor in the Etiology of Depression