June 17, 2024

Take a Breather! By Sarah Johnson

Take a Breather by Following these Stress-Reduction Tips:

Even after the hectic holidays are over, a new year may bring new stress and anxiety.  Why not take a step back this year, and instead of worrying about all of the changes you’d like to tackle, make a resolution to manage your stress through these simple techniques.

Find some quiet time.  When your job or family demands become overwhelming, carve out a 5 minute time-out for yourself to stop, breathe and regroup.  Simply counting to ten and taking several deep breaths can slow your heart rate and blood pressure.  Take this time to reevaluate the stressful situation and respond to it calmly.

Exercise regularly.  Keeping up with your workouts can be challenging when the weather or your schedule don’t cooperate.  But getting in some form of exercise regularly is crucial to staying healthy and being able to better handle stressful situations.  Even an extra walk around the office or living room yoga session are better than no exercise!  A little bit will keep you consistent and in the mindset of doing something active every day.

Get enough sleep.  Trying to accomplish it all without much sleep is like flooring your car on fumes.  You’ll be hot out of the gate, but you’ll burn out in no time.  With little sleep, we tend to overreact to stress and feel even more pressure.  Sleep is your chance to recover; your body and mind rest and heal, and you’re able to recharge for another productive day.

Eat well.  Diet and stress management go hand in hand; from preparing meals in advance to eating more antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies in place of processed or pre-packaged foods, you’ll be less anxious if you can make a few simple changes: Know what’s in the food you’re eating.  Prepare it yourself when possible.  Put more fruit and veggies in your grocery cart.  Plan ahead for the week’s meals so you’re less likely to grab something unhealthy.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago

Boost Energy Naturally by Rachael Roehmholdt

If you’re anything like me, you are no stranger to the mid-day energy slump. While it can seem easy and convenient to swig down coffee, soda, energy drinks, and excess amounts of sugar to give us an uptick during the day, there are better and more natural ways to even out your energy levels.


Here are five gentle ways to boost energy the natural way:


1. Reduce caffeine.

It might seem counter-intuitive to reduce the amount of caffeine when you want to gain more energy. By reducing your consumption of coffee, sodas, and energy drinks, you’ll avoid the ups and downs that come with blood sugar and mood swings and overall feel a lot more even keel.

2. Eat dark leafy green vegetables.

Dark leafy green vegetables are packed full of vitamins and nutrients, which are essential to giving you that boost in energy that you’re looking for. Enjoy broccoli, collard greens, bok choy, kale, mustard greens, arugula, and dandelion greens throughout the day or incorporate them into your snacks to get that natural feel-good energy boost.

3. Drink water.

Before you grab that candy bar or reach for that can of soda, grab a glass of water and wait a few minutes. Our bodies send off the signal that we need energy, but for most of us, that signal is telling us that we’re dehydrated. Start with drinking a glass of water, then if that doesn’t help, you can start troubleshooting with other ways to get that natural boost.

4. Use gentle sweets.

Instead of choosing candy or other sugar-loaded treats or drinks, opt for natural sweets that are gentler on the body. Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners as these have a funny way of tricking our bodies into more of those sugar swings and the desire for more of them. Instead opt for natural sweeteners and aim to get sweet vegetables into your diet to satiate that sweet craving once in a while.

5. Get physical.

Even if you start small, you can boost your energy just by getting out of your chair and moving a little bit. You don’t have to put in a hard core sweat session, but even some designated time for physical movement can get your blood moving and give you that energy that your body craves.

Increasing your energy doesn’t have to be done with a quick-fix. Over time, these small changes can add up to overall increased energy levels. Enjoy!

Rachael Roehmholdt is a certified holistic health coach and founder of Be More Healthful. With a passion for good food and living a healthful and balanced life, she believes that small changes to our everyday lives can set us up for a lifetime of health and happiness.

Don’t Hibernate this Winter! Written by Mollie Millington

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Don’t Hibernate: Top Trends for Wintertime Workouts
Written by Mollie Millington

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  The winter chill and even snow have arrived.  Temperatures are dropping each day.  It is probably dark when you get up and dark again when you return home from work.  The combination of these factors can steal away your fitness mojo.  Here are the top winter fitness trends that can bring you out of your slump.  Remember ‘if it’s not fun, why do it?’ so experiment until you find something you love.

Exergaming- Who says kids get to have all the fun? If someone in your family or one of your friends already has a gaming system, look into purchasing games that get you moving, such as Wii Sports; Nike+ Training for Kinect; Dance Dance Revolution; or EA Sports Active.

Indoor cycling- Winter is a fantastic time to introduce cross training to your fitness regime.  Hop in the saddle for a different kind of high cardio (but low impact) workout.  Try it 5 times before you decide if you love it or hate it.  Be sure to work with the instructor to set the bike up properly before class begins.

Dance workouts- Move over Richard Simmons- Zumba, belly dancing, ballet, ballroom, and Jazzercise are all ways to shake your booty and have some fun.  These classes can be done with friends at the gym or home alone with a video.  Crank the music up and start shuffling your feet.  Don’t worry if you miss a step or two, just have fun with it!

Personal training- Consider it an investment in your health.  Hiring a personal trainer will help you achieve your fitness goals in record time.  Workouts can be tailored to your interests and abilities, and introduce you to new activities (such as weight training or boxing).

No matter which you decide to try, don’t let winter pass you by without participating in some kind of sport.  You will beat the winter blues once the endorphins start flowing.

This article is written by Mollie Millington. Mollie is a London-based personal trainer who offers virtual and in-person training. Visit her website each day in December for a new ‘Zero Calorie Advent Calendar’ treat. www.ptmollie.com  @PTMollie, www.facebook.com/ptmollie, http://pinterest.com/ptmollie/