No one wants to experience declining health as they age. At the same time, many of us treat our health like an afterthought — a thing we’ll deal with as problems arise, but not something we worry about in the day-to-day. However, it’s exactly that approach that leads to chronic health problems by the time you reach middle age. If you want to enjoy better health for longer, it’s time to make some changes. Here are six ways to get started.

1) Control Your Breath

Odds are, you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your breathing. But maybe you should. Your breath is a powerful tool for reducing stress, improving circulation, and even boosting your immune system, Washington Square Journal reports. Aim to breathe slowly through your nose, expanding your abdomen with each breath and exhaling at a slower rate than you inhale. It’s tough to unlearn habits, especially when they’re as subconscious as breathing, so consider taking a meditation or yoga class to learn better breath control.

2) Go to Bed Earlier

Are you sleeping enough? If you’re like many Americans, the answer is probably a no. However, your sleeping habits affect more than your energy levels. When you don’t get enough sleep, you increase your risk of a wide range of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night, so head to bed at least eight to nine hours before you have to wake up.

3) Measure Your Food

According to MyFitnessPal, most people underestimate their calorie intake. If you can’t seem to lose weight no matter what you try, start measuring your food to determine the exact calorie content of your meals. Measuring can be done with tools you already have around the kitchen, like measuring cups and a digital scale. When you start tracking your food, odds are that you’ll discover a lot of calories you weren’t accounting for! Once you understand what you’re actually eating, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to execute proper portion control and finally reduce your calorie consumption.

4) Eat Your Colors

Many of us don’t eat as much fruits and vegetables as we should. And when we do, we tend to stick to a handful of favorites and shy away from unfamiliar produce. However, monotonous eating habits increase the risk that you’re missing important nutrients in your diet. To get more beneficial nutrients including antioxidants and phytochemicals, aim to include a wide variety of colors in your product choices. From deep purple blueberries to bright orange winter squash, there’s a rainbow out there just waiting to make it to your plate.

5) Watch Your Posture

Modern life has us sitting in front of computers for large portions of the day. If you don’t practice good posture at your desk, you could develop severe back problems. In addition to buying an ergonomic office chair and getting up to move every 20 minutes during the workday, make sure you’re practicing good posture at your desk. Ergonomics.com explains exactly what proper desk posture looks like.

6) Release Tension

Do your muscles constantly feel tight, even when you haven’t worked out? Muscle tension can be a sign of stress and anxiety. If it’s not addressed, that tension could grow into persistent, debilitating pain. Bodywork like massage and myofascial release provide immediate, short-term relief from tension and pain. For long-lasting relief, it’s important to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety in your life.

If you’re reading this, it’s time to stop putting better health off until later. It’s much easier to maintain good health than to fix poor health, and it doesn’t have to mean completely overhauling your lifestyle. Through a series of small, intentional habits like these, you can build a strong body and mind for life.

New Year’s Week is officially underway. This is a time to not only reflect on our past but to forecast our future. In saying so, I want to leave you with this as a side note.

To move forward means you need to forgive, sometimes forget. In the end, you are the only one that controls your happiness.

Cherish the small moments, they may seem insignificant now, but all big dreams were once small.

Attach meaning to things (more so with moments) This is a great way to build memories.

Dream Big – because when it’s all said and done, are you really more upset you tried and failed or never tried at all?

Meet people with intent – Intent to learn, to be empowered or to expand your visibility (perspectives).

Make everyday count – because sometimes in the midst of the counting down the days, we forget to make the days count!

​I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!!!

To 2016, let’s make it count!!

Cheers ~ Becca

Do the holidays have you stressed?

Tis’ the season of joy, comfort and giving…well, not for everyone. Let’s face it – this can be the most stressful time of the year, whether it’s financial stress or the loss of a loved one that puts a damper on your spirits. A recent study from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that three in every four people feel more anxious and depressed during the holidays. Let’s not forget, stress is linked to the following:

  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • depression
  • obesity
  • sleep problems
  • high blood pressure
  • digestive problems
  • chronic pain
  • migraines
  • anxiety
  • autoimmune diseases
  • skin conditions

All of these things can lead to major health expenses and speed up the aging process as well.

The Consumer Report’s National Research Center put together a list of common reasons why people dread the holidays, so I’ve put together a list of solutions you could follow to help you have a happier holiday.

#1 – Crowds and Long Lines

Crowds, crowds, everywhere there are crowds. In fact, 68% of people say they hate the crowds that come with the holidays. Unless you love people watching, this can be your worst nightmare. Take advantage of small-business deals and support them at the same time. You can avoid a great deal of traffic you would otherwise get at local chain retail stores, so it’s a win-win!! Lucky you, you can find just about anything online and most promotions during the holidays include free shipping. “Hello! Thank you. Next!”

#2 – Gaining Weight

That stubborn sweet tooth can get the best of anyone. 37% of those surveyed say they dread gaining weight during the holidays. That’s okay because you might catch the sale going on at your local gym. There’s a good chance they’re offering discounted memberships as an end-of-the-year promotion.

Instead of using a large plate, grab a small dessert plate as your entree plate instead. The key is to not over-indulge. Listen to your inner appetite and go for the things that you only get a few times of the year. Yes, that means you can have that slice of pecan pie. 🙂

#3 – Getting Into Debt

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years is NOT only about gift receiving or gift-giving, especially at the expense of someone who can’t afford it. My 9-year-old understands this, so should any given adult as well. The holidays are intended to get a bunch of loud, messy, mismatched people around a table that don’t get time to see each other or catch up routinely. 37% of those studied say they dread getting into debt during the holidays. Putting yourself in a crunch just to make ends meet around the holidays is a heavy burden I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. I am a firm believer your memories are based more so on events than material objects – meaning if you decided to make a tradition of going Christmas-light watching around nearby neighborhoods, those memories will set well with your kids. That will be more memorable than the lego set with more missing pieces than you’ll be able to find in three months time. Choose a few presents with care and go for quality over quantity.

#4 Gift shopping

Avoid it if you want, but this is an opportunity to create memories with your family. 28% of people say they dread the task of gift shopping the most. Get a group of friends together, hit the stores and make a lunch date out of it.
Homemade gifts save money and give you the opportunity to creatively tackle your gift list. It is also a great idea that can double up as a one-on-one activity with your kids! Whether it’s homemade holiday cookies, a nice gift basket or a few pictures taken over the summer put into handmade frames for Grandma and Grandpa, handmade gifts are never disappointing.

You can always take advantage of massage gift certificate specials! Purchase three and get a one-hour massage for free. You knocked off 3 people from your list and got a little something for yourself in the meantime. Who would be mad about that!?

#5 Traveling (25%)

25% of people say they just don’t like traveling for the holidays, but if you’re committed to going to Grandma’s house two states away, you might not have any other choice. Make the most of your travels. Discover the joys of the small things. Make pit stops and find things you would want to do while on holiday-leave, like stopping at your favorite school playground or a nearby park you remember as a child. These memories can positively impact your kids when you tell them your personal stories. Don’t forget to take pictures!

If that doesn’t work for you either, learn to say “No.” You don’t have to hit every holiday party you’re invited to, you don’t have to go to your sister’s house for New Year’s Eve and you surely don’t have to go shopping with your mom. The choice is always yours.

If there’s anything you don’t want to do, don’t do it. Just say “NO.” It might be a novel concept, but trust me, it’s really liberating.

There are plenty of things that might get our stress responses flowing during the holidays and we need to have a positive perspective and embrace what we have rather then what we don’t have. Have realistic expectations. Often people get stressed around the holidays just because they want the celebrations to be just as good as they remember them from their own childhood. Make the holidays what you want them to be, right now. Don’t put the bar so high that you make yourself miserable trying to reach it. Be here, now. The holidays as we know it can have an everlasting effect on your memory – make use of those strong senses and create them without letting the stress get to you!

Cheers – and Happy Holidays!

Stress IS the root of all diseases. So just how stressed are you?

We produce hundreds of thousands of chemicals for every thought that enters our mine. Which in turn affects the state of our physical body. Just think about what those negative thoughts and the effects can do over a period of time!?!

Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight-or-freeze” reaction, or the stress response.

The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you.

When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.

The stress response also helps you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV.

But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life. In the current day-in-age, we are overloaded with these stress responses that are engaged at all times of the day. You can imagine just how bad this can be for you!!! Taking time out of your schedule to find ways of reducing stress is essential to living a full life. Here at Paradigm Wellness, we offer several ways to implement a relaxing environment, to break free from that rampant and let’s face it, monotonous schedule we call life!!

Massage can be utilized not just for physical health, but for emotional well-being too!

Book your appointment today to see if this is the right step for you!