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Stress Awareness

 

“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances.” ―Andrew Bernstein

 

To show up as your best self and not feel stressed out about your boss, kids, traffic, etc. it would be beneficial to incorporate stress management into your daily routine. If your stress level is already high at the start of your day, anything added to your plate is just going to continue to enhance your stress. However, if you incorporate stress management into your day, when the unexpected happens, because it will happen, you will be better equipped to manage it.

 

Stress Management Techniques

* Practice deep breathing – it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which sends a signal to your brain to tell the anxious part that you’re safe and don’t need to use the fight, flight, or freeze response.
* Move your body – in nature if possible! Exercise is a great stress reliever.
* Guided Meditation – practicing guided meditation is a healthy distraction away from life’s stressors and helps you to be present at the moment.
* No screens before bed – I know, you’ve heard this before! But screens before bed keeps your brain stimulated and delays REM sleep.

 

Stress is stored within our bodies and can lead to long-term health problems if not dealt with. We can feel stress in the body show up through low back pain, stomach pain, neck/shoulder tension, fatigue, and/or numbness. This is why it is important to incorporate stress management techniques into our daily routines.

 

How can we help?

The staff at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre can help you manage stress through our variety of practitioners!

 

*Our Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Katie Thomson Aitken, has a Tranquil Minds program that offers stress and anxiety management. As well as acupuncture to help alleviate anxiety.
*Our Chiropractors perform adjustments which can release tension held in the muscles, which relaxes the body and increases the circulation of blood flow.
*Massage Therapy can lower stress levels and feelings of anxiety. If you experience depression, or anxiety, or are just overloaded with extra stress, massage therapy can be an effective part of treatment.
*Osteopathy can help to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems to relieve symptoms of prolonged stress.

 

If you feel that you’re experiencing chronic stress and it’s showing up in your body, you’re not alone! Our practitioners would love to help you find relief and live a happier, healthier life. Call the clinic today to book your appointment. New patients are always welcomed. 519-827-0040

 

By Kelly Verstraete, CHA

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March is National Nutrition Month

“Let food be thy medicine” – Hippocrates

 

The foods we consume have strong healing properties. Some of which our Naturopathic Doctor Dr. Katie Thomson Aitken touches on in her book, Create Calm. Certain foods can make anxiety worse rather than help to make it better:

 

- Sugar can worsen anxiety as it causes blood sugar to go up and then crash leaving you with jitteriness, lightheadedness, and uncomfortable feelings.
- Alcohol is another, it depletes glycogen, which is sugar stored in the liver, that is used to keep blood sugar balanced.
- Caffeine wakes up your adrenal glands and sends out adrenaline. It makes your heart rush, your body jittery, and your bowels move.

 

Some foods can help to ease anxiety symptoms as well! These foods include:

 

- Eggs contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps create serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep, memory & behaviour.

- Pumpkin seeds are high in potassium which helps reduce symptoms of stress & anxiety.
- Dark chocolate is a good source of magnesium. Getting enough magnesium in your diet may reduce symptoms of stress & anxiety.
- Brazil nuts are high in selenium. Selenium may improve mood by reducing inflammation, which is often heightened when someone has a mood disorder such as anxiety.

 

Helpful Tip: Focus on what you can add to your diet rather than what to eliminate. Focus on what you can add to a snack/meal to make it more nutritious. Ex. Adding veggie toppings to your burger to get additional nutrients. Or when eating veggies as a snack add in some hummus or cheese for protein.

 

By Kelly Verstraete, CHA

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Learning to Love Yourself

February is known as the month of love. It is typically spent showing love to those around us, our partners, children, colleagues, classmates, etc. But what about you? What if we change the narrative this year and include ourselves in who we shower with love? Self-love is about total self-acceptance, learning to love yourself and nurturing a deep appreciation for who you are. Here are a few tips to help you with that!

 

Keep a success journal

List your accomplishments every day and review them at the end of the week. This could be done in a notebook or the notes app on your phone. When your default self-talk is negative, this repetitive activity helps to support positive self-talk by building new neural pathways.

 

Do something nice for yourself regularly

Show yourself how you want to be loved and how much you appreciate who you are. This could include investing in yourself with a fancy gym membership, treating yourself to a night out, or having a self-care treatment, like a relaxing massage or a soothing bath. Whatever your fancy is, do something to love yourself regularly because you deserve it!

 

Forgive yourself for your mistakes

Forgive yourself just as you would with a friend. Beating yourself up for something you did in the past is not productive. Instead, show yourself compassion and forgiveness. You sit with your inner voice all day every day, try to make it something positive.

 

Understand that failures, mistakes, and setbacks offer valuable lessons. They provide you with an opportunity to reflect on what went wrong and what changes can be made going forward. There is no need to beat yourself up over them. Find the lesson within and use it to grow.

 

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the only day on the calendar that we show our deep appreciation for ourselves and others. Make loving yourself a daily habit for your continued well-being, happiness, and success!

 

By Kelly Verstraete, CHA

 

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A Twist on New Year’s Resolutions

 

When we flip our calendars over to a new year, it brings the idea that we need to reset our lives with new intentions and a new way of being for the new year ahead. Why do we want to start the new year off by adding pressure to our already stressful lives? Particularly if it is a hard goal to achieve. While we do have the ability to change and grow, the term “New Year, New Me” forgets an important aspect – self-acceptance.

 

A common route people go down with new year’s resolutions is they beat themselves up because they don’t accept themselves and where they’re at. It takes time and effort to reshape habits. It’s unrealistic to think we can change qualities we don’t like within ourselves overnight, just because the calendar reads January 1st.

 

When we begin to embrace our real, imperfect, beautiful selves as we are now, a powerful thing happens! We begin to let go of the negative view we hold of ourselves, and we begin to believe that we are enough. This helps us move into a place where we can keep moving towards a goal even if we fail, it gives us the strength to celebrate our successes along the way.

 

We are capable of making improvements within our lives without self-hate, self-doubt, or the fear of not being enough. We just need to have more self-acceptance. Be gentle with yourself this year, give yourself grace, and celebrate the wins along the way!

 

The staff at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre wishes you a safe and healthy year and we look forward to seeing you throughout 2023!

 

by Kelly Verstraete, CHA

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Holiday Survival Guide

 

While the holidays can be a joyous time, they can also be a stressful time. Here is our guide on how to survive this holiday season.

 

1. Set realistic expectations

It can feel like you are being pulled in every direction during the holiday season and you don't want to disappoint anyone. But it is important to not overbook your schedule, or you may risk feeling drained and not enjoying any of the gatherings you attend. Set realistic expectations of what you and your family can manage and don't overpack your schedule.

 

2. Say "no" when needed

If you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious know that it is okay to say "no" and take a step back. Evaluate what you and your family are capable of attending. Maybe you celebrate Christmas day with your in-laws this year and switch sides of the family next year. Focus on what is realistic, not what is ideal.

 

3. Create a budget

The holidays tend to bring on additional spendings, such as gifts, travel, and entertainment. The average household spends $1400 between those three categories. Setting a budget this holiday season can help you avoid overextending yourself financially and relieve stress. Gifts do not need to be expensive to be special. If travelling to see loved ones is not in the budget, perhaps catching up on a phone call is an alternative. Instead of going out with friends, you could stay in and play board games at the house. These alternatives still allow you to connect with those you care about, without having to spend $100+ on a night out.

 

4. Set boundaries

Old patterns will naturally start to appear around the holidays, especially when you are with relatives or under stress. It is okay to set boundaries with relatives and express that there are topics you do not wish to discuss. If your boundaries are not being respected or things are not going well for you or a member of your family, have an exit strategy in place. It is important all members of the family feel supported.

 

5. Stick to a routine

We must remember to care for our bodies during these busy times. Ensuring we prioritize rest, as a lack of sleep can leave you feeling stressed, and tired, increasing your risk of colds, depression, and car accidents. And while it is okay to indulge in some holiday treats and drinks, try to also incorporate some nutritious foods and water during these times. These tips will help you feel less irritable and have more energy.

 

The staff at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

 

by Kelly Verstraete, CHA

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Benefits of Gratitude + 5 Tips to Grow Your Practice

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have in life instead of focusing on what they’re lacking. Our brains are designed to problem solve rather than appreciate. We must override this design to reap the benefits of gratitude. Studies show that practicing gratitude can lead to more intimate and connected relationships, reduce feelings of stress and depression, improve sleep, and result in better overall well-being.

 

Improve Relationships

Gratitude can improve relationships, as a mutual appreciation for each other often results in a more satisfying relationship. A study with couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner felt more positive towards the other person. As well as felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.

 

Reduce Stress

A large part of managing stress is being able to regulate our emotions; practicing gratitude can help with that. A 2017 study published in Scientific Reports looked at the participant’s heart rates before, during, and after practising gratitude. The study found that heart rates decreased. A decreased heart rate is associated with feeling calmer. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed take a moment to list the things you’re grateful for at that moment. It may be difficult but it will likely help to calm you down and put things into perspective.

 

Better Sleep

People who practice gratitude before bedtime report better sleep. This is likely because gratitude diminishes anxiety and stressful feelings, allowing for a more restful and relaxed sleep.

 

Overall Well-Being

Gratitude can also improve one’s outlook on life. Appreciating what you have can leave you feeling more optimistic and satisfied and experiencing less frustration, envy, and regret. Gratitude also tends to result in increased self-esteem and confidence, which also improves mood.

 

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. Find what works best for you and your life. Here are some suggestions:

 

- Stack it on top of an existing habit. If you stack it on top of another habit you’ll likely find it easier to maintain. Try thinking of 5 things you’re grateful for while in the shower.
- Get specific. Instead of saying you’re grateful for your friend, dive deeper and ask yourself what it is about your friend that makes you grateful to have them in your life.
- Think of different things. Challenge yourself to think of something different each day. Getting specific can help with this.
- Keep a gratitude journal. A space where you can write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for each day.
- Show appreciation to others. Whether that be through a thank you note, an email, or verbal interaction. This act of appreciation will mean more than you think to its recipient.

 

If you try any of these tips, please share them with us at your next appointment! The staff at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre would love to hear how you’re incorporating gratitude into your daily life.

 

by Kelly Verstraete, CHA

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5 Ways Parents Can Manage Back to School Stress

As the back-to-school season rolls around so does the back-to-school stress and anxiety that many parents face. A study reported in the New York Times found that 57% of the 2000 parent participants of school-aged children (aged 5-18) revealed the back-to-school season to be the most stressful time of year.

 

As another school year rolls around here are five tips for how parents can healthily manage their back-to-school stress.

 

Plan Ahead

Weeknights can become stressful and overwhelming when you are trying to help your children with homework, prepare dinner, extracurricular activities, and everything else life throws your way. Planning your meals for the week ahead can help alleviate the stress of deciding what is for dinner each night. Once your meals are planned, make a grocery list of what items you will need for the week and go grocery shopping once. This will help to avoid running to the store for last-minute ingredients or impulsively eating out. And lastly, prep your food ahead of time if you can. Having your produce washed and pre-cut will save you hours preparing dinners on busy weeknights.

 

Set Routines & Stick to Them

Having routines set in place will help not only you but also your child’s stress levels. Routines provide a sense of stability and security. You know what to expect each day and can prepare for it. For example, every night before bed you set your child’s packed backpack by the front door. This will help to eliminate the morning stress of finding your child’s lost homework or permission slip.

 

Focus on the Positive

It can be easy to get lost in the negative, what-if thoughts regarding your child going back to school. However, it is important to remember that children thrive during the academic year. They work hard to grasp the fundamentals of math, excel on the sports field, or advance their reading level. As we gear up toward another school year don’t fret about what could go wrong. Instead, acknowledge the positives. Your child is becoming an educated, independent individual who is learning how to navigate the world. If you do find your child is struggling, many schools offer support to help them, so that they can also focus on the positive!

 

Take Care of Yourself

As parents, one of our main priorities is making sure our child is taken care of – properly nourished, with daily movement, and a quality night’s sleep. But what about you? Are you prioritizing that same level of care for yourself? You are not able to show up as your best self if you’re not taking care of yourself and your body. When we feel stressed energy is in our bodies and we need to get it out. Research has shown that one 20-minute walk per week can reduce stress, and anxiety, and boost mood and energy. Find the movement that brings you joy.

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness increases your ability to be present in the current moment. This leads to reducing stress and better engagement with your child. If you’ve never explored mindfulness before, start small. Begin by appreciating the smell of your morning coffee or the cool crisp fall mornings that are upon us. Find something within your day that brings you joy and take a moment to be present and embrace it. This builds up the skill of being in the moment. You can then apply it to be in the moment with your children.

 

As we transition into another back-to-school season it is important to remind yourself that you are not alone in feeling stress during this time. However, that doesn’t mean you need to remain in a state of stress. There are steps you can take to alleviate your stress levels by planning your week, setting routines for yourself and your kiddos, and acknowledging the positives of watching your children grow. Remember to take time out of your day to take care of yourself and have mindful moments throughout the day.

 

The staff at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre wishes your family a stress-free back-to-school season!

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Massage for the Treatment of Headaches and Migraines

 

Do headaches or migraines affect your ability to function and live a happy, healthy life? Did you know that massage therapy can play a major role in managing and even eliminating headaches and migraines?

 

What causes headaches and migraines?

Headache causes can range from muscle tension in the head, neck and shoulders, to active trigger points in a muscle, to stress and anxiety, as well as hormonal and weather changes, and even dehydration. While the majority of headaches can be treated with over-the-counter medications, these are often temporary solutions for a chronic problem. In a proactive role, massage therapy can make a major difference in the frequency, intensity and duration of headaches and migraines.

 

How will massage therapy help relieve my headaches?

Focused treatment to the neck, shoulders and head in particular can reduce overall muscle tension and lead to a reduction in symptoms of headaches and migraines. Additionally, massage can decrease stress hormones in the body like cortisol and increase feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine, promoting relaxation and stress-relief, leading to better quality sleep and a reduction in the likelihood of headaches. Often when clients arrive for their appointment with an active headache, symptoms can be reduced or even resolved by the end of the appointment.

 

What will my massage therapist need to know?

When you come for your first appointment, your massage therapist will ask you some health history questions to get an understanding of your overall health and lifestyle, then they’ll ask more specific questions like how frequently you get headaches/migraines? When do you usually get them? How intense are they? How long do they typically last? Where in your head, neck and shoulders do you feel them?

 

These kinds of questions help start a good foundation of information to formulate a treatment plan specific to your needs and symptoms, and to establish a baseline to be measured against as your headache symptoms improve over time with massage treatment.

 

To schedule your visit, please click this button

to access our online booking system, or call the office at 519-827-0040.

 

Submitted by

Christie MacLachlan, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

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Curious About Cupping??

Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new! Last years Olympics shone a light on this ancient treatment - an element of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Everyone was wondering, “What are the purple dots on Michael Phelps?”. This is a healing method intended to stimulate blood flow and lift the skin from the muscle. The cups rupture capillaries, creating distinctive round, painless bruises.

 

What Does It Help With?

3 Benefits of Cupping

1) Relaxes the body – HOW? It works deep to stretch the muscles and the fascia covering the muscles so that your body feels relaxed.

 

2) Relieves pain – HOW? Pressure applied to painful areas and swelling.  Cupping works to improve increase blood flow and send in nutrients and oxygen to the area ultimately relieving pain!

 

3) Detoxifies – HOW? Poor circulation can cause toxins to build up. Cupping gently pulls in fresh blood to enter the area and removes stagnate blood containing toxins, debris and dead cells.

 

Cupping has been used in all sorts of conditions including lung infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, common cold, headaches or more commonly to relieve tight muscles.

 

What Does It Feel Like?

When the cups are applied with suction, this creates a pulling sensation in the area. Some people compare it to deep massage.

 

Are There Any Side Effects?

Generally cupping is very safe – when provided by a trained health professional. Following a treatment, you will have red or purple marks on the skin from where the cups were placed.

 

For more information on Cupping, and to find out if this technique is right for you please click on the link below to book your complimentary 15 minute introductory visit with Dr. Alaina Gair ND

 

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The 3 Best Essential Oils To Have At Home

Essential oils are everywhere and as a naturopathic doctor I get asked about them a lot! Essential oils are one way of preparing medicinal plants that concentrates specific compounds from the plant. There are lots of plants I prefer to use other ways but there are some essential oils I can’t live without! These essential oil are surprisingly specific. They are from medicinal plants that I love and unlike other plants (not listed here), I prefer to use these plants as essential oils.

 

3.Tea Tree

Tea tree is my go to oil for a disinfectant. I use it topically for skin infections like acne and use it through out my home to help with cleaning. My favorite spot for tea tree essential oil is my steam mop, I add a drop or two to the cleaning pads to boost the disinfecting power in my kitchen and bathroom!

 

2.Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is amazing for the respiratory tract and although I’ve always liked it for colds I’ve become a bit obsessed since my little one was born. I use a couple drops in a diffuser when she has a cough and she wakes less from coughing (which means more sleep for everyone)! I also throw a drop in my shower when I have a respiratory infection myself. A word of caution here, Eucalyptus essential oil is a potent medicine and something to take seriously. Store this one high up and make sure your little ones can’t get near the diffuser, it doesn’t take much of this essential oil taken internally to be dangerous.

 

1.Lavender 

Lavender is all round one of my favorite herbs. My neighbor grows a bunch of lavender on either side of their sidewalk and it is, year round, my favorite part of my walk home from work because it’s such an intoxicating smell. Lavender is a great anxiolytic; even just the smell of lavender has been shown to reduce blood pressure! A few drops in a bath with a cup of epsom salts is my go to recipe for relaxation and good sleep.

 

Not all plants are best used as essential oils but I wanted to share the ones I can’t live without! If you want more information on using essential oils safely check out my blog here (http://www.tranquilmindnaturopath.com/blog/2017/1/16/essential-oils-and-anxiety).

 

Submitted by

 

Dr. Katie Thomson Aitken

Naturopathic Doctor

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