Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Step Back Into Your Comfort Zone

Leave it to the Danes, to sum up how we feel about a cup of tea, lunch with a friend, or a plush blanket. Social media and wellness advocates are all about hygge, the trending buzzword that’s inspiring homebodies everywhere. I have to admit the first time I saw the phrase associated with a room full of candles, and cocoa with marshmallows, I was intrigued. It sounds like a “hug” right? Well sort of. Pronounced (hoo-ga), this form of self-care defines all things cozy, and meaningful, whether that means your time, or gathering with loved ones. Last year The World Happiness report named Denmark the happiest country in the world based on the quality of living, overall health, and promoting a healthy economy. Hygge is at it’s comforting best during the winter, but our Danish neighbors have made the art of living in the moment a year-round tradition.

What does hygge mean to you? If I had to define how this concept applies to my life I’d say coming home each day to a dog who’s overjoyed to see me, or a sunny northwest day is all I need to feel content. 55+ retirement communities seem to have to savor the finer things figured out from the many social activities to the amenities that encourage self-care. Think of hygge as your new prescription, trying to incorporate a moment of bliss each day whether it’s a bike ride, reading a book, or holding hands with the one you love. There’s something to be said about a culture who’s been practicing this idea for eons sharing their spirit of happiness with the rest of the world.

Alternative Medicine Popular With Baby Boomers

“Health Isn’t a Goal, It’s a Way of Life.” Health markets are a mecca for colorful produce, probiotic beverages, and a steady stream of baby boomer clientele. This generation has grown up on grandma’s chicken soup, and bathtubs filled with ice to remedy everything from the common cold to measles, so it’s no surprise many of these health-savvy folks are choosing a holistic approach to what ails them. According to a CNN article, close to a third of Americans seek alternatives to traditional medicine with many 55+ communities getting on board with on-site yoga studios, farm to table offerings, and massage services.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health showed an increase in the use of alternative supplements like Omega 3 fish oil, and more older adults are looking to herbal remedies to treat a variety of conditions from arthritis, to insomnia. Even more promising, many insurance plans not only cover complimentary medicine such as a naturopath, or chiropractic services, but most require patients to try and fail conservative measures before authorizing more invasive treatments.

Winter Wellness Rituals

Depending on where you are in the world, chances are you’re cranking up the heat, and seeking refuge under a warm blanket, living on hot soup, and perhaps a Netflix marathon. This time of year is dead of winter at its peak, and New Year resolutions that promised a brisk walk, and lots of salads might be fizzling out as our bodies brave the cold. The good news is that going strong with your wellness resolutions can easily be done in the great indoors with some simple modifications.

During the summer when we crave lighter foods, the opposite is true during winter when the body actually needs warm cooked foods to regulate body temperature, and feel satiated. It’s easy to incorporate vegetables into your diet by way of hot soups, and warm salads made with grains, proteins, and roasted vegetables. Market produce looking sad? Choose veggies like parsnips, winter squash, rutabaga, or leafy cabbages. Use warming spices to enhance digestion such as turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon.

Finding Your Competitive Edge

In a recent Toronto marathon, one runner defied the odds completing the 26.2 mile race in under four hours. An accomplishment many of us can’t fathom, it should also be mentioned that this competitor was 85 years old! Canadian Ed Whitlock born March 6th 1931, broke the world record, leaving spectators awestruck, and inspired. While participating in a marathon may not be for everyone, the desire to go the distance, pushing yourself beyond what you thought was possible knows no age limit. Having a spirit of competition doesn’t necessarily mean keeping up with the twenty something at the gym, or spending a fortune on sports gear, but it’s the motivation to find your inner warrior, and exceed your own expectations.

The National Senior Games Association held it’s first 19 sport event in St. Louis in 1987, and has gone on to showcase thousands of competitors 50 and better who are surpassing athletes half their age. Seniors all over the country have teamed up to play in sports leagues, and participate in fitness classes not just for the physical benefits, but to enjoy socializing with fellow age peers, and have fun being on the move. Healthy living, is active living and no-one understands the love of the sport better than active adult lifestyle builders who incorporate fitness into their community designs. Many are equipped with amenities for active seniors to get their game on like basketball, and tennis courts, and some with sprawling golf courses. There’s a reason why these guys, and gals wake up at 5 a.m to meet up with other residents, and that’s to practice and perfect their tennis serve, their golf swing, or whatever it is that fuels their competitive fire.

Recharge By Going Unplugged

Thought a juice cleanse was the only way to detox? Last summer on a weekend family getaway, we all settled into our hotel room, and spent a good while immersed in our cell phones. It could have been an iPhone commercial, or an ad for how the modern family does down time, but it was also an eye opener how technology has become such a pivotal part of our lives that we almost feel lost without it. How many times have you witnessed someone’s frustration because they lost reception, or couldn’t get wifi? What began as a convenient way to stay in touch, has become an all consuming pastime of checking for updates from the moment we wake up. The benefits of a digital fast can be as beneficial as putting healthy fuel into your body, reminding us that technology is there to work for us not the other way around.

Don’t underestimate the power of uninterrupted “you time.” The next time you take a walk, or read a book, leave your phone behind, or put it into airplane mode and enjoy a quiet moment without the information overload. Let calls go to voicemail, and set aside time to check the news or emails later on. People that allow themselves time to go unplugged experience less anxiety, and even improved sleep. Dedicate a couple of hours or challenge yourself to a full day of a technology hiatus.

New Year Even Better You

From juice cleanses, to wellness retreats, 2016 was a wealth of inspiring ways to be healthier, and live more abundantly. As we all wind down from a holiday whirlwind of gatherings, and celebration, this is the time when most of us are setting our sights on the year ahead and making resolutions to start fresh. Whatever has you motivated this coming year whether it’s a weight loss goal, a round two career or learning a new sport, focus more on the quality of your dreams rather than the quantity, and set yourself up for greater success.

New Year’s resolutions for many are big, and bold with the desire to reinvent one self, but what about polishing the aspirations, and skills you already have? If you love to cook, how can you incorporate healthier ingredients? If you’re an animal lover, why not consider a pet sitting business? It’s all about creating a better version of yourself instead of putting the pressure on to make drastic changes. If you’re blessed with the iron will to quit sugar overnight, or hit the gym at 6 am than more power to you! If easing into a new routine is more your style, take it one goal at a time, and don’t ever feel guilty if you fall off the wagon now and then.

Make Time For You This Holiday Season

Lets face it, the holidays can feel a bit, or rather a lot like a rat race. Fighting crowds , attending parties, hosting family gatherings puts the pressure on, leaving us feeling tired, and anything but relaxed. As you spend this busy time of year giving of yourself, and spreading cheer, don’t forget the greatest gift you’ll give this season, is the gift of making time for you. Admittedly it can be hard to to spend time or money on ourselves, but self care helps us renew, and offer a fresh perspective. Most of you are probably asking yourselves where you’ll find the time to pause, but honestly just ten minutes in a day can make a world of difference.

Creating a morning ritual to meditate, enjoy a cup of coffee, or go for a walk is a way to gather your thoughts, and savor the tranquility before heading out for work, errands, or whatever the day has in store. If venturing out for a morning jog sounds less than appealing, try some gentle yoga stretches to warm the muscles, and feel more focused.

Get a Spicy Jumpstart On Flu Season

You may be able to skip the pharmacy counter, and find some pretty powerful cold, and flu remedies in your own spice cabinet. Medications have their place of course, but often the first line of defense is getting our immune systems up to par going the natural route. Most of us are familiar with good old vitamin C, but many cultures have turned to warming spices like turmeric, and ginger to feed colds, and starve fevers for hundreds of years. Added to smoothies, warmed dairy or non dairy milk or as a tea, experiencing the healing benefits of these spices is simple.

Turmeric with it’s deep golden hue is available as a whole root, or powdered. Known as the main spice in curry power, turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory that many naturopathic practitioners prescribe in place of over the counter ibuprofen. Studies have shown that turmeric may also benefit arthritis sufferers, and slow Alzheimer’s disease by reducing oxidative damage to the brain. As with all spices, make sure you purchase it as fresh as possible.

Nothing is more cozy, and familiar than cinnamon. It’s a signature spice in baked goods, along with having anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. According to WebMD, the medicinal qualities of cinnamon include lowering blood sugar, and cholesterol. One popular remedy for colds, and sore throats is taking cinnamon with raw honey for an antibiotic effect.