This is my absolute favorite time of year. I love holiday decorations, the music, parties and even the hustle and bustle of crowded stores and busy shoppers.
Yet it can also be very stressful. Studies have shown that 88% of adults feel the holidays are too stressful and according to the American Psychological Association 41% turn to food and 28% turn to alcohol to manage their angst.
I remember years ago someone asked me, “How were your holidays?” and after a long pause I responded, “I have no idea.”
I felt like I had been on a super high-speed train from Thanksgiving to Christmas and everything in between was just a blur.
And while it was still fuzzy, I did know Christmas was over, I was sick, exhausted, and suddenly sad. I had been so frantically “busy” that I missed out on the joy and fun of my favorite holiday season.
That day I decided I was never going to do that again. So, I sat down and wrote my own holiday manifesto with the intention to...
What is one thing that Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Virginia Wolf and Henry David Thoreau have in common? They all had a regular practice of walking. They understood the incredible value that walking had on the body and the brain.
Henry David Thoreau famously said “Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”
And while creativity is one of the many benefits of walking, there are several other surprising reasons why you may want to get those legs moving too.
The average recommended time for exercise is 150 minutes per week. However, for greater weight loss results, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests 200-300 minutes of moderate intensity walking per week.
In 1964, the journalist Norman Cousins took a really stressful trip to Russia. Work was wearing on him, and on top of that, his surroundings were pretty unhealthy, exposing him to dangerous fumes like diesel exhaust. Those factors, doctors believed, came together to cause the grave illness that overtook him soon after: ankylosing spondylitis, a degenerative spinal disease with a grim prognosis. Cousins was told he had a 1/500th chance of survival. Over time, he would lose all physical mobility.
Stress, combined with a weakened immune system, had caused this horrible condition, doctors said. Well, if that's true, then the opposite of stress should heal it, Cousins reasoned. And so he set about creating positive emotions that would boost his immune system.
Cousins checked himself into a hotel, where he pumped himself with vitamin C and embarked on an experimental form of therapy: laughter. He watched Marx brothers movies, read humorous books, and focused his mind on all things funny....
I had a session with a client last week and she was complaining about having a terrible headaches, including a bad one that day.
I asked a serious of questions, obviously trying to rule out serious issues, then I simply asked, “How much water did you drink today?” She hesitated, and then sheepishly responded, “I think I only had 2 glasses and 2 cups of coffee.”
It was 4pm, so I double checked, “Are you sure you only had 2 glasses of water?”” Yes” she said as she rubbed her temples, “I was so busy I didn’t even think about it”.
Water impacts every system, organ, and cell in your body. Hence health experts, recommend drinking ½ our body weight in water. So, for example, a 140 lb. person would need 70 oz of water per day.
Yet according to the USDA, Americans drink an average of 3.9 glasses of water a day…..that is less than ½ of what is recommended for most individuals.
And coffee is a diuretic, so...
“We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us.”
I just returned from an amazing two-week vacation to Norway where I reconnected with extensive family, toured some Nordic cities, climbed the highest mountain (in Norway and Northern Europe), zip-lined down an Olympic Ski Jump, and took part in the latest Norwegian trend: hot sauna, cold plunge and repeat.
Before I left, I was very stressed about the time away and all the things I wasn’t going to get done. Funny thing happened, the world didn’t fall apart and it was all there waiting when I got back. The difference is now, I feel rested, reenergized, reinspired, and ready to go.
It turns out those feelings aren’t a coincidence. Research proves that vacation is critical to our health and well-being.
In fact, Europe mandates 20 days of paid vacation, (some countries have increased that to 30 days) Unfortunately, the US is known as the “no vacation nation”. Some employers...
Years ago, I began to hear how cold plunges and cold shower were healthy. That sent shockwaves through my system, and I vacillated between total denial and the compelling desire to prove that theory wrong …. surely subjecting yourself to freezing cold water, by choice, was a terrible idea.
You see, when I was young…okay, okay, I admit, even now as a grown adult, I would stand by the side of the ocean, lake, pool or anywhere there was cold water and wait until everyone was about to get out. Then I would jump in and immediately jump out again…just so I could say I did it but I wouldn’t have to spend any time in the .
I know it’s kind of wimpy, but I’ve been just fine with that. However, recently I've had several teachers, friends, and even strangers, yes, a woman on the subway tell me about the incredible value of cold showers and how I "had" to do it. Ugh…..it was clearly a sign.
So I begrudgingly tried to...
One day last year around this time, I got home from walking my dog, Sadie. The trees had just started to bud, so there were hints of green and purple throughout Riverside Park. The sun was out, and I'd only needed a light jacket. It was starting to look and feel so beautiful outside, and yet, I realized as I stood in my kitchen, wondering what to make for dinner – I felt awful.
Heavy, dragging, like I was carrying fifty extra pounds. Closed-in, cramped. I felt like winter, and I wanted to feel like spring. That's how I knew it was time for a detox.
I usually do a detox once or twice a year, and always in the springtime, for precisely that reason: I need to shed that heavy winter feeling. I want to blossom, open up, to spring into a place of lightness and freedom and movement.
Recently a friend asked me what detoxes did for you. "Are they really useful?" she said doubtfully.
Her question made me think. Here's what I told her:
Last week, I heard from "Gina," an old client I'd lost touch with years ago. Gina wanted to meet for coffee, and so we met at a vegan café on the Upper West Side.
"I wanted to thank you in person," she said as we sat down.
"For what?" I asked. I'd only coached her for one session before she moved, so I didn't know if I'd had a real effect on her.
"It was you who first encouraged me to start exercising," she said, "and that has changed my life – my work, my mind, my emotions. Everything."
Then she told me her story.
When we'd first met, Gina was struggling. She loved her work as a research professor, but she felt she was missing out on pretty much everything else: friends, family, romance, her mental and physical health. Lately, she'd been feeling tired and foggy, and was having a hard time focusing.
I know what it's like to not be able to focus! When she told me that, back in our first coaching session, my first question was this: "Are you exercising?"
"Ha!" she had...
What if I told you that what's causing your slump might be in the food you eat?
No, this isn't some conspiracy theory. What we eat has a real impact on our gut health, our brains, on every single aspect of our bodies – which includes how we think and feel.
I saw this clearly a few years ago when my friend "Tara" called me, sounding desperate.
"I don’t know what to do," she said, sounding close to tears. "I feel exhausted all the time. The littlest things make me break down crying. I can barely function at work…I need help. Something's wrong."
Tara had a history of ups and downs, and had tried various treatments. But something still wasn't working. We talked, and our conversation turned to food.
"How are you eating?" I asked. "What's your diet like?" I wondered if something in her diet might be exacerbating her current state.
"Not great," she said. "I know I should be eating better, but I'm so tired I can barely cook, so I just eat junk food most of the time....
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