Life in Touch ~ Massage Studio & Learning Center
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A Bold New Adventure - 2018 Resolutions

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

A Case for Chocolate


A Bold New Adventure

Welcome to 2018!  As you begin a new year, applaud yourself for your 2017 accomplishments.  In a society mostly focused on the next big achievement, it serves us to pause and reflect what we have done.  Ambition is an admirable quality, but without the celebration of completion, we are left feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied.  What were your resolutions at the beginning of last year?  Do you remember?  Which ones are you still practicing? What derailed you on those you did not accomplish?  Here are several tips on fulfilling your 2018 resolutions.

Make a list of all your goals for 2018.  What would you like to improve?  What habits no longer serve you?  Would you like to travel, learn a new hobby, save more money or visit an old friend?  Continue your list until your mind is empty.  Review the list.  Determine which items excite and inspire you?  Which ones end up on your list every year, only to be forgotten or avoided as time passes?  Last year, I left off exercise & eating healthy.  Surprisingly, my year was full of stretching, movement and new healthy menus.  Apparently, not having these goals on my list reduced my resistance to them.  Several items on my list last year were: read 25 books, as well as the entire New Testament; celebrate my 50th birthday with an oyster roast and lots of friends & family; take a cruise; be proactive; complete my house chores in a timely manner; spend 10% less; send a daily gratitude email to my friend in Canada; take 30 minutes each morning for reading, reflection and meditation; learn Thai Yoga massage; do 4 comedy shows; go through every box in storage and eliminate 30% of junk. Suggested reading: “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

Pick 10 items from your list and prioritize them.  On a new piece of paper add a paragraph for each expressing how you will feel after you’ve accomplished each new habit.  Example: Be proactive – keep “things to do list,” prioritize 3 items each night before bed, begin with the item I least want to do, physically “check or cross” the items off your list as you complete them, add new items to your list and repeat the process.  I always create a vision board with drawings, quotes & photos from magazines of the goals I’ve chosen and hang it where I can view daily.  Check out on the power of vision boarding or attend our next Vision Boarding workshop.  Suggested reading: “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy

Have a realistic plan for executing your goals.  Write one goal on your calendar at the beginning of each month.  The number one mistake people make is trying to start all of these new habits at the same time.  The mind and body get overwhelmed, and then we tend to cease all our efforts.  It takes 21 days to develop a new habit, so be patient and compassionate with yourself.  If you miss a day, which you will, just begin again the next day.  If you don’t achieve a goal by the end of year, determine why and if you really wanted it in the first place.  For example, I did not take a cruise, but after review it was put on the 2018 list.  Also, I only did the gratitude emails for ½ the year, instead I chose to pause each morning to be grateful.  My Canadian friend did complete the year.  She was going through a divorce, and said it allowed her to focus on what was wonderful in her life, instead of focusing on the pain of the divorce.

When writing goals, be specific and measure progress.  Example: Read 25 books, as well as the New Testament by end of year.  For less quantitative goals, example: Be proactive (which began as stop procrastinating, then changed to a “do”, instead of a “don’t do” statement, because this is a more powerful way to train your brain).  I measured the success of this goal by observing what thoughts appeared as I viewed my “to do list.”  If there was a feeling of guilt for not having completed a goal, that made the top of the list for the next day.  Also, I worked to complete items before others asked or reminded me.  Example: folding the laundry, cleaning the litter box or unloading the dishwasher. My ego needs to mention, that other people in my household also have chores, these are just some of mine.  My sense of self and of being responsible grew exponentially throughout the year.  Did I sometimes, procrastinate?  Sure I am a human being after all.  This gave me an opportunity to expand my ability to extend myself compassion and grace (which are also great habits to develop).

Find an accountability partner.  This can be your spouse, sibling, best friend, life coach or coworker.  Ask them, if there is a goal you can support them in completing, as well.  Most people avoid accountability for fear of looking undisciplined if they fail to accomplish it.  The irony is that the only way to achieve success is through accountability.  Ha!  So tell your ego, “thanks for sharing, and to shut up!”  When I am coaching people in business, the jump in their sales (goal completion) is significant.  Weekly check-ins should be sufficient, but if you know you will be highly resistant to changing a habit, begin with daily texts of what has been done that day.  My husband shares his business goals with me, and I ask him regularly where he stands.  This has provided more intimacy, connectedness and a feeling of partnership that we never expected.  He has moved up the sales ladder quickly, which helps avoid the stress of “not having enough money.”  This habit allows him the opportunity to reflect on his accomplishments, which is not something he does consistently. Suggested reading: “The Business Coach” by Bradley Sugars

Celebrate!  I give myself 90 days of consistency before celebrating an accomplishment.  Your celebration can be as simple as going out to dinner at your favorite restaurant or doing something you’ve never done, like skydiving or spending the day at the spa. Really big goals can end in a cruise or an exotic vacation.  My favorite celebrations are:  Pajama Day – on a weekday when everyone else is at work, I stay in my PJ’s all day watching movies, coloring and reading.  Again, during the weekday while everyone else is working, I go to a movie.  Apparently, doing anything leisurely while people are at work, makes me very happy!  Others prizes include: Going on a walk with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, eating my favorite dessert, splurging on a comedy show, buying a hot tub or taking a trip.

Goal setting CAN be fun.  Your sense of self – being disciplined, responsible, and honoring your promises – is expanded.  You are left with a feeling of being powerful in directing the course of your life.  This encourages you to set bigger goals and gain an even bigger sense of accomplishment.  The people around you benefit from your experience in multiple ways. Suggested reading: “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” by Stephen Covey


Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Prevention is Key!  The holiday season is upon us.  This is a wonderful time to celebrate with friends, family and coworkers, so take care not to miss all the fun by being ill.  This time of year we all increase our workload, errands, events and interactions, while we decrease our amount of sleep, self-care practices and exercise.  Many of us also tend to increase the consumption of alcohol and low nutrient foods.  Regardless of whether the threat is a simple cold or the flu, there are several simple things you can do to protect yourself from unnecessary downtime. 

Proper Handwashing  This gets top billing, because of its true effectiveness in preventing illness.  Holiday gatherings bring an abundance of hand shaking, and let’s be honest not everyone covers their mouth when they sneeze, nor do they wash their hands properly.  The most important aspects of hand washing are the length of time (at least 30 seconds) and the amount of friction you use, not the water temperature.  In fact, warm water is better than hot, as hot water dries the skin, leaving more microscopic openings on its surface.  In cases where hand washing is not practical, keep hand sanitizer available.  Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also contribute to drying of skin, so we use On Guard essential oil blend to sanitize followed by a quality moisturizer.  Teach your children to maintain clean hands.  To make it fun: Wash hands using warm water and On Guard foaming hand wash, while singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or their ABC’s (takes appx 30 seconds), rinse hands well and dry hands using a clean towel each time  (try paper towels, instead of cloth towels).  Using a nail brush, also reduces the amount of germs that can build up under the nails.

Eight Hours of Sleep  Research continues to prove how vital this is to every part of your well-being.  It affects our ability to resist illness, mental dexterity, will power and even weight management.  One study found, driving while sleep deprived is as dangerous as drinking & driving.  If you have trouble falling asleep, try these suggestions: meditation, melatonin or applying a blend of essential oils called “Serenity” (lavender, cedarwood, ylang-ylang, chamomile & sandalwood) to your feet at night, also use in a diffuser to breathe in while you sleep.  If the reason you aren’t able to sleep at night is someone snoring right next to you, apply this essential oil blend to the bottom of their feet and enjoy the silence.

Get Proper Rest  Be sure to schedule time to rest.  Rest is different from sleep.  The holidays fall during winter solstice – the shortest day of the year.  Learn from nature and get plenty of rest.  Not a fan of meditation.  Try putting your feet up with a neck warmer and comfy blanket -  read a book, knit a scarf, color in your adult coloring book or write notes to the important people in your life.  Try to unplug from your technology for at least an hour.  A 20-minute nap is restorative, without leaving you groggy and it increases productivity.  Incorporate this habit into your time with your children.  It teaches them good self-care habits and gives them the quality time they are always wanting with you.

Stay Hydrated  Our bodies are composed of approximately 60 percent water, and all of our bodily functions are sustained by water.  Dehydration is one of the most common detriments to our health, and one of the easiest problems to fix.  Create a new habit: It is recommended that we drink half our body weight in ounces of water daily.  Start each day off right - drink a tall, room-temperature glass of water with lemon squeezed into it, before you start taking in tea, coffee or food.  Why?  During the night, your body repairs and rejuvenates itself, this process uses much of your water weight causing you to begin your day dehydrated. 

Not a big fan of water?  Try adding mint, cucumber or orange essential oils for a special treat - adding citrus essential oils to water is known to curb your sweet tooth.  Too busy to fit water into your schedule?  Drink a tall glass of water just before each meal, then do not drink anything while eating.  This both has you feel full, so you eat less and aids in digestion by not diluting the enzymes that break down your food, allowing maximum nutrient intake.  Drinking water at a restaurant reduces your cost by approximately $2.50.  Given all the extra money spent during the holidays, every little bit helps.

One interesting fact: During the winter, the skin inside your nose can become dry and cracked.  Germs in the air are inhaled and able to enter your blood stream through these cracks causing illness.  To prevent or reduce the chances of this occurring, use a Netti-Pot regularly (nasal lavage of salt water) and apply an antibacterial ointment inside nose.  We also use humidifiers in every room to avoid drying out the air.  This also supports the health of your house plants and prevents drying out your furniture.

Reduce Stress  Experts estimate that 80 to 90 percent of disease is stress-related.  Massage and bodywork are available to combat that frightening number by helping us remember what it means to relax.  Bodywork releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller, and is proving very beneficial in patients with chronic illness, injury and post-op pain.  Studies suggest the stress-alleviating effect (decreased cortisol) and the activating effects (increased serotonin and dopamine) of massage therapy on a variety of medical conditions and stressful experiences.

Support Health with Essential Oils  EO’s are simple to use and can be integrated, easily into your everyday habits.  You can diffuse, use topically, and most oils can supplement nutrient deficiencies in our diet, by being ingested in water or in food.  You want to choose therapeutic grade essential oils, which are the pure and highly potent essence of the plant, root or fruit of which they are extracted.  The brand we use is DoTerra, which is guaranteed and thoroughly tested for purity and potency.  An example of potency:  1 drop of DoTerra Peppermint oil is the equivalent of 24 cups of peppermint tea.  My favorite blend of oils for fighting germs is “OnGuard.”  This EO blend (clove, cinnamon, wild orange, eucalyptus & rosemary) is known to support healthy immune function (put on bottom of feet), to protect against environmental threats (wash hands, gargling, ingesting in water, OJ and in throat lozenges) and for use on countertops, as a non-toxic cleaner or to purify the air through diffusion.  This blend produces a wonderful scent, which improves mood and makes your house smell wonderful.

The Benefits of Regular Bodywork  As a bodyworker, I strongly recommend increasing the regularity of your massage sessions during the holidays.  Benefits of Massage: Eases anxiety – Reduces the flow of stress hormones – Improves sleep – Boosts immune system – Builds energy levels – Reduces fatigue – Improves concentration – Increases circulation – Increases endorphins.  These benefits greatly assist the body in maintaining optimum health during the rigorous pace of the holiday season. 

When choosing a massage therapist, shop on skills, not price.  Our massage cooperative contains some of the best massage therapists in the Triad, all highly skilled, professional and effective.  They have been practicing massage anywhere from 4 – 14 years.  Don’t believe us, ask our clients - our client retention rate is 70% and 80% of our new clients come from referrals.  If you think about it, massage is an excellent value.  The price of massage has remained stable in recent years, as the cost of movies, dining out and sporting events has risen.  Which of these has the power to improve your health and your outlook on life?  Below see several offers to encourage and support you in increasing your massage sessions this year.  


A Case for Chocolate

New Studies Show Health Benefits

It’s not like we need a specific reason to eat chocolate, but it doesn’t hurt that studies are finding increasing health benefits associated with the popular indulgence.  While chocolate is high in sugar and saturated fat, it does contain chemical compounds with proven benefits, so enjoy – in moderation – and expect to reap some of these rewards.

Improved Heart Health  A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women over 70 who ate chocolate at least once a week were 35 percent less likely to suffer from heart disease during the survey period.  Researchers suspect that the flavonoids found in chocolate, which are known to reduce blood pressure, likely improve overall cardiovascular health.

Reduced Liver Strain  These same flavonoids in dark chocolate that help decrease blood pressure can also reduce post-meal abdominal blood pressure spikes that strain the liver by widening and relaxing blood cells.  A Spanish study of patients with end-stage liver disease showed that dark chocolate helped reduce some of the risks associated with conditions like cirrhosis.

Safer Pregnancy  Dark chocolate has been shown to help pregnant women avoid preeclampsia – a significant complication where blood pressure spikes to dangerous levels – by nearly 40 percent when consumed five times a week.  Dark chocolate is especially rich in theobromine, which relaxes muscles and dilates blood vessels.  As an additional benefit, it also seems to improve circulation in the placenta.

Increased Endurance  Research out of the University of California, San Diego, demonstrated that mice given epicatechin, a flavonoid found in dark chocolate, could run for 50 percent longer than those who only drank water.  The mice also grew new capillaries and mitochondria in their muscles, changes that explain their enhanced endurance capacity.  Unfortunately, perhaps, for chocolate lovers, is that researchers say just one-sixth of 1 ounce of chocolate each day is the ideal serving size to receive this benefit.

NOTE: If anything in article conflicts with what your physician has directed you to do or to avoid, follow your doctor's orders.  You can print and take to your next appointment to gather his advice and input.



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