May 23, 2024

Relaxation in 3 by Nicole Bryan

Night-Time Stretches for Relaxation

Next time you’re stressed out or can’t relax to sleep, try the following stretches for relaxation. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and continue breathing at your own relaxed pace throughout the stretches.  Perform each stretch two times. (Consult your physician before performing exercise. Discontinue stretching if painful)



1.    Inhale drawing a single knee towards your chest.  Exhale and release the leg to the floor.  Inhale while drawing the other leg into your chest.  Exhale and release the leg to the floor.


2.    Move into the crawl position (on your hands and knees) Inhale rounding your back up to the ceiling.  Exhale let your belly button fall to the floor.


3.    Inhale while in the crawl position; exhale sitting back on your heels and dropping your chest to the floor and reaching your arms forward.


Notice the breathing and movements work together. Focus on breathing in good clean air and releasing your tensions with your breath out. You may simply blank your mind or focus on your breathing. You’ll feel relaxed instantly!


Get Fit Quick Tip

Stressed Out? Practice Deep Breathing exercises! Deep breathing is an exercise that may be done anywhere, anytime, and without equipment. Inhale for a count of 2-4. Slowly exhale for a count of 4-6. Repeat every hour on the hour!

Range of Motion/Breathing for Relaxation Combo:
Inhale/Pull your shoulders up to your ears.
Exhale/Pull your shoulders down and back.

Make our Get Fit Quick column your go-to for motivation and inspiration to live healthy!

Keep Your Personal Strength Alive by Laurie Miller

After a health crisis hits, after the shock of the diagnosis and the meetings with your doctors, hope and desire to overcome the illness is strong. Your loved ones and friends are supportive and positive. Hope is a powerful thing and is necessary in managing to maintain a positive outlook.

Personal strength – physical, mental and emotional – allows you to handle the rocky road and the ups and downs that are inevitably part of a health crisis. Personal strength comes from many sources and your belief system (spiritual, religious, or about life in general) plays an important role. Mental and emotional strength, in particular, come from the messages you send yourself and the choices you make. If your upbringing included messages like “you can do anything you set your mind to” or “you are capable of creating your positive outcomes,” those messages become the solid base of that gives you strength.

It is easy during a health crisis to take on a “poor me” attitude or feel like a victim. Some of this is normal, but too much weakens your personal strength and personal power. When you find yourself in this negative state, notice it, feel it, experience it, explore it . . . and then release it. “Poor me” may seem protective as it enables you to stay stuck and not really deal with the emotions that come with health crisis such as fear or make necessary but difficult changes.  However, in the long term this attitude only serves to bring you down and lessen your quality of life.

Physical strength can be built back after chemotherapy, radiation, or other medical treatments. Give your body good foods, nutrients, and supplements to strengthen it. Drink plenty of water and exercise within your capacity to enhance physical stamina and strength. When you feel physically strong, mental and emotional strength follow and likewise when you are emotionally and mentally strong and resilient, you have more physical resources.

So, if you are in a space where you need strength, take a deep breath and feel a surge of oxygen entering your body and giving you life force energy. Do it again and you will feel even better, lighter, and more comfortable. When I find myself feeling down, I say, “Hello down (or sadness or fear or whatever the emotion may be). I am aware of you.” Staying stuck in that negative place feels icky so I make a conscious decision to shift my mental, emotional, physical state and it works! I feel better, I smile, and I thrive!

Taking your mind away from the details of the health crisis to pleasure, fantasy, and enjoyable stimuli also helps shift you out of a negative state and build your strength. It is important to engage in activities that enhance your quality of life such as reading, attending movies and concerts, and getting plenty of laughter. Set aside the health crisis and all the decisions, questions, and concerns for a period of time. Listen to music, a hypnosis CD, or something else that brings you pleasure and relaxation. When you do this your body relaxes, your emotions calm, and your mind quiets. This restores the inner strength and personal power that keeps you going, keeps you positive, and keeps you motivated to live well even in the midst of a health challenge.

Laurie Miller is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with more than 30 years of experience helping people achieve health and happiness.  Laurie can use her training and her experience with illness to help you.  Read her articles for free here. Purchase her prerecorded hypnosis sessions at

12 Minutes to Stress-Free! Written by Jessica Matthews

This article is sponsored by Polka Dot Pond Shop. SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT! Let’s face it, plastic water bottles are out! A high-quality reusable water bottle is a must-have for everyone who’s on the go. Glass water bottles also make great economical gifts for those near and dear to you. Why not supply your entire family with colorful, cool, and environmentally-friendly silicone sleeved and 100% non-toxic water bottles, all made in the USA. Because the bottles are made from glass with all materials being FDA approved, there’s no chemical leaching and no metallic taste.  And as a bonus, both the bottle and sleeve can be put in the dishwasher together. All items are BPA, phthalate, PVC, and polycarbonate free. Do all of your holiday shopping at a well-established and trusted online store, Polka Dot Pond Shop!


Got 12 minutes? 3 Simple Strategies for Stress-Free Surrender!
Written by Jessica Matthews

Busy day at work? Hectic holiday season?  A growing to-do list? Whatever the reason might be, in this fast-paced world it’s not uncommon to find ourselves feeling stressed from time to time, especially as the end of the year draws near. These three simple strategies for stress relief, which when done together take just 12 minutes to complete, can help you to truly relax and unwind at the end of a long day.

Yogic breathwork in child’s pose (Ujjayi Pranayama in Balasana)- Numerous scientific studies have shown that pranayama, the practice of breath control, helps to increase relaxation, decrease feelings of anxiety, improve mental focus and enhance overall psychological well-being. Ujjayi breathing, a type of pranayama in which inhalation and exhalations are done through the nose, is a breath that is both relaxing and energizing. This diaphragmatic breath has been shown to increase oxygen consumption, as it is designed to be both a long and smooth breath in which air is guided gently in and out of the body through the nose without force, creating a soothing sound, almost like the sound of distance ocean waves. Pair this breath with child’s pose, a resting posture that helps to release tension in the back while also relieving fatigue and stress, and spend about two minutes quieting the mind and steading the breath while enjoying a few moments of surrender.

Legs up the wall pose (Viparita Karani)- Borrowing from restorative yoga, this posture helps to release tension from the lower extremities and reduce swelling in the legs and feet while also calming the mind and decreasing feelings of anxiety and stress. With your legs extended up the wall, use folded blankets or a bolster to help support the lower back as you come to stillness for five blissful minutes.

Seated meditation (Mantra Visualization in Anjali Mudra)- Clearing your mind after a long day can seem like quite the challenge, especially if you’re new to meditation, but by practicing anjali mudra, a comfortable seated posture in which the palms are pressed together at heart center with both thumbs lightly touching the sternum and the head slightly bowed forward, in time entering that meditative state of awareness will start to become much easier. Couple this stress-relieving asana with a mantra visualization in which you select a word or phrase that you repeat silently to yourself, allowing it’s meaning to radiate through your body, and in just five quiet contemplative minutes it can help you to quiet your mind and truly become grounded, present and fully attuned in the here in now.

This article is written by Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYT, is an exercise physiologist, yoga teacher, group fitness instructor, personal trainer, adjunct professor, blogger and fitness personality. Jessica strives to open minds, ignite passion and inspire the world to health and fitness through purposeful movement, quality nutrition and kind words. She has been featured as a fitness expert on CNN and has been quoted in numerous publications including Shape, Self, Oxygen and For more health and fitness information, follow Jessica at

Finding Time for Yourself! Written by Suzi Smart

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Finding Time for Yourself! Written by Suzi Smart

Have you ever found yourself longing for just 15 minutes to enjoy a HOT cup of coffee or an hour to be able to have an uninterrupted phone conversation with an old friend? Would you like to devote evening to a neglected hobby or spend the weekend away with your husband? It’s time to find the time.

Every mom I know is busy. Whether it’s fifteen minutes or an entire weekend, finding time for yourself gives you time to recharge.

Find 15 minutes - Run fewer errands. Yes, the milk at the grocery store is slightly cheaper than at the corner store you pass on your way home but if that’s all you need, save yourself the time. Have a hot cup of coffee in the time you saved.

Find an hour - Go for a workout. Many fitness centres offer childcare for a great rate. After a great workout (alone and undisturbed), you’ll be ready to tackle the next chore on the list. Or once a week, instead of tuning out in front of the television for an hour after you put your child(ren) in bed, devote that time to something you love to do.

Find an evening - Let a trusted friend or family member take care of the children for one evening. If they end up having cereal for dinner, go with it. One night isn’t going to hurt. Go to a movie, an exhibit or join a club.

Find a day (or part of a day) - Every other week or once in a while, trade the time with another mother. I’m sure there’s someone in your circle who would jump at the chance to have a day to themselves even if it means having an extra child the alternate week. Just imagine what you could do (or not do) with the time.

Find a weekend - It’s amazing what the power of asking will bring you. Ask a trusted friend or relative to care for your child(ren) for the weekend and escape with your husband. Ask your husband and escape for a girls weekend or a workshop that you’d like to attend.

While on the surface, taking time for yourself may seem selfish, in the end you’ll have more energy to devote to those you love. Finding the balance that works for you and your family is the key.

This article is written by Suzi Smart. Suzi is a stay-at-home mom raising a spirited three-year old boy, a wife, an outdoor enthusiast, graphic designer, writer and photographer. She writes The Big Picture – Inspiring families to find happiness outdoors and can be reached at or @BigPictureYYC on Twitter.

Addicted to Busy? By Juli Shulem

Summer is often thought of in terms of “lazy days of summer” yet some jam-pack their every last fun desire into a day without a thought. While most adults are at work, student age kids want to indulge in otherwise less stressful activities: play.

One of the challenges to overcome is to undo some of the busy-ness of the school day months and translate that into a more relaxed version of what would be considered an actual break. Keeping busy is appropriate at certain times, but being addicted to being busy is not healthy. So, that begs the question: How to become less addicted to always being busy?

Does being less busy make you feel guilty? For some adults this is a very real situation. Children experience less of this as they are still able to find value in ‘play.’ It’s important for a parent to not put their own agenda and feelings of wanting to be super busy onto their child. That said, it is also important not to sit around and waste an entire day doing nothing but watch TV.

So, how do we “undo” busy?

It all comes down to priorities. Determining what is important, meaningful and necessary in our lives.

Ask yourself ‘why’ you are engaging in a particular activity. Granted there is much more that we need to do besides the income producing work we do, but is all of it really necessary?

Acknowledge that we can’t do it all at once. To have something scheduled every day or night of the week without ‘down time’ to recharge will come back to bite you. When do you rest? When do you recharge?

Look at your life, assess your schedule and determine what doesn’t need to be part of your routine ‘right now.’ Take it out and let there be simply ‘nothing’ in its place. Everyone needs to rest and have unstructured time. Be sure to take time to do nothing.

Contributed by Juli Shulem (, Professional Coach focused on helping people get more organized., Organizing Expert since 1984, and author of the eBook, Order! A Logical Approach to an Organized Way of Life,


Reiki-The Inner Sunshine by Marty Fabianova

Reiki- The Inner Sunshine

Imagine you are lying on a beach. The hot sand is filling every cell of your body with a feeling of beautiful warmth and all your worries and stresses are being washed away by the whispering waves of the sea. The sun tickles your cheeks and the blowing wind is making you feel fresh, energised and content. Your body is relaxed and your mind is in a state of absolute peace. And now imagine that you can feel like this anytime, not just when you go on a holiday. How? By treating yourself to a regular dose of Reiki!

What is Reiki?

Reiki (pronounced ‘raykey’) is a natural, hands-on healing system. Its origins can be traced back to the ancient Tibet, thousands of years ago. This technique was lost for centuries, until its rediscovery in the late 1800′s by Dr. Mikao Usui from Japan. Since then it has found its fans all around the globe.

This powerful healing enhances the flow of Qi/Chi (Chinese), Ki (Japanese), Prana (Sanskrit) or the Universal life-force energy which is present in every living being. The Reiki practitioner acts as a channel for this Universal energy, enabling the body’s own healing processes to be activated – on a physical, mental and emotional level. Reiki is now offered by the NHS, most commonly as a complimentary treatment for cancer patients. Heart surgeon Dr. Oz (‘Oprah Winfrey’s doctor’) and celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Meg Ryan and Angelina Jolie all tout the benefits of Reiki.

What are the benefits of Reiki?

Reiki engages the body’s own self-healing, so we are able to better address whatever dis-ease we are going through. It does not treat any condition directly. This healing discipline goes to the core of bodily and emotional problems, rather than just easing symptoms. Many fans of Reiki say that it helps them to release stress, improve concentration and sports endurance. It is also said to help lessen the symptoms of many chronic conditions.

Reiki is not restricted to any gender, age or religion. Everybody can benefit from Reiki’s rejuvenating and empowering touch. Are you ready for your portion of inner sunshine?

This article is written by Marty Fabianova. Marty works as Reiki and Bowen Technique Practitioner in Stoke Newington, London. She is passionate about helping people to tap into the wellness of their body and mind in a natural way. Contact her at or via You can also connect on Facebook via her page The Bowen way – Help your body to help itself or on Twitter @MartyFabianova.