It's that time of year again when patients come in STRESSED to the max. Each year, I watch as my patients - disheveled, broke, and tired - come in for help managing stress, diet, immune health, anxiety, and depression. Winter is already the perfect storm for feeling blue and getting sick; we exercise less, get less sun, less fresh air, eat poorly, and are burdened with the stress of "the most wonderful time of the year."
Each year I wonder:
I think most people would answer Yes. That it's all worth it to have that ideal holiday we've recreated from our childhood memories. Studies show that women are more likely to experience holidays blues, because we are usually the ones taking on shopping, party planning, card-writing, etc. While I remember my Mom - a single Mom - being so stressed out that we were tip-toeing around her by Christmas, I remember more just how special she made it, just how much she went out of her way to spoil us on that one day of the year. Most people consider it worth it despite the potentia l agony of the season.
So, how to buffer yourself from this crazy time of year?
Depression & Anxiety: If you are feeling blue, please know that you're not alone! And you're not a Scrooge if you don't enjoy December - you are reacting normally to societal expectations that are not normal. Thankfully, most people do not overeat, overspend, and overplan year-round, so remember that this crazy time of year is temporary. If you are having a hard time with lack of daylight, consider using a sunlamp, which studies have shown help not only with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but also with routine Depression. Recognize when your Depression or Anxiety is too much to handle alone. Psychology Today has a great search tool for finding a therapist near you and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 / 7: 1-800-273-8255.
Diet: Eat 3 meals per day during this time to aid in balancing your blood sugar. Blood sugar spikes and crashes, such as what our bodies go through when we eat too many carbs, can contribute greatly to fatigue and mood issues. Make a game of balancing out the sweets: for every cookie, eat a handful of nuts, veggies, or protein to help prevent a blood sugar spike and subsequent crash. Drinking plenty of water can help flush out the toxins of bad food and too much eggnog and helps in preventing colds and flus.
Exercise: Don't forget to move a bit. Walking around the mall counts! Can't afford a gym membership? Work out at home with videos on YouTube or other free sites. I love Yoga with Adriene on YouTube for short relaxing yoga videos.
Acupuncture: People who get it regularly come to crave Acupuncture for the deep relaxation it can provide. Acupuncture reduces stress and helps regulate mood and sleep. We offer Acupuncture at our office and talk more about its benefits in this article.
Finances: Consider making home-made gifts, limiting your gift-exchange to just the most important members of your family (partner, parents, kids), or bartering.
Supplements: This section could go on infinitely, but I've included just a few supplements for managing stress and mood:
Self-care is a must in this hectic whirlwind world of ours. Before our recent move, I had self-care scheduled into my days regularly. Wild that it's come to that, isn't it? We must schedule relaxation and self-care, because if we don't, it probably won't happen. But I'm okay with scheduled relaxation, because I NEED it. We all do.
I'm still on the lookout for a new Chiropractor and Acupuncturist and other supportive practitioners, and since outdoor exercise has gone to Florida with the snowbirds, I've been doing short yoga videos to break up the day and get some exercise. I'm at home with my toddler part-time right now, which is an enormous blessing, but starting up a new business, still kinda wrapping up an old one, settling into a new place, and taking care of a toddler is...er...challenging.
Most days, the practice is abandoned halfway through when my 14-month-old son leaves the room or otherwise needs my attention. Some days, he gets very excited that I'm hanging out on the floor with him doing fun stretches and he takes it as an opportunity to crawl on me or nurse or just snuggle, which is therapeutic in itself. Occasionally, I get to do the entire practice uninterrupted while he plays by himself or with the cat or his Dad. But no matter the outcome, I take comfort in the video playing in the background in the chaos of life, reminding me to breathe, sit with my body, and take a little break. Even if I only get in a few minutes, I always feel better like a better version of myself afterward.
What Do you Do for Self-Care?
PS Found this great article and picture looking for the perfect image for this post
We offer an array of Vitamin Shots to address a variety of conditions. The shots are minimally painful and are given in the gluteus or deltoid muscle. Since the nutrients are absorbed through blood vessels in your muscles, malabsorption issues in the gut can be bypassed and higher quantities of nutrients absorbed than when you take a similar product orally. This method of vitamin delivery is especially useful for people with chronic gastrointestinal conditions, people with known absorption issues, and for those with lower dietary intake of B vitamins, such as vegans and vegetarians.
Most of our shots contain vitamin B12, a nutrient that is utilized by almost every biochemical process in the body. Try a basic B12 shot or a B Ready Plus Shot, which includes B12, B Complex, and Folate. Have a Methylation issue? Don't worry, we use only the active forms of B12 (Methylcobalamin) and Folate (Methyl Folate) in our injections.
We have shots for weight loss and hormone balancing and also offer combination homeopathic formulas to enhance the immune system, aid with muscle pain, and reduce joint pain. Injections are $25 each and these appointments last just a few minutes.
Vitamin Shots Treat:
Genetic testing can be useful for identifying the root cause of certain conditions and guiding treatment choices. MTHFR Mutation is a condition where the enzyme MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase) functions at a much lower rate than normal. Without adequate functioning of this enzyme, a biochemical process called Methylation is limited and effected individuals can't make the active forms of Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid very well. Without proper forms of these vitamins in adequate doses, a vast array of conditions can manifest, including Cardiovascular Disease, Fatigue, Infertility, Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, ADHD, and more. Treating the mutation is relatively straightforward. It simply requires taking the active forms of the vitamins, either through a Multivitamin or a Methyl B Complex. Conventional B complex formulas such as those found at pharmacies and health food stores do not contain the proper form of these vitamins and may worsen some conditions.
Once the nutritional deficiency is corrected, most people feel better within a few weeks and some even experience complete resolution of their symptoms. It is estimated that 40-50% of people have MTHFR and the vast majority doesn't know they have it. Testing for this condition can be ordered by your physician and is usually covered by insurance. This genetic testing is especially important for people who are at increased risk of having lower levels of B vitamins, such as vegans and vegetarians, and people taking pharmaceuticals. In the event that you haven't been tested, all the Multivitamins we carry contain the active forms of B12 (Methylcobalamin, Adenosylcobalamin, or Hydroxycobalamin) and Folate (5-MTHF). Additionally, all of our Intramuscular Vitamin Shots are made with Methylcobalamin.
I recently came upon my Grandparents' engagement announcement and noticed this paragraph below it referencing a very potent insecticide. The year was 1946 and they were likely talking about DDT
(dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), which had been released for agricultural use in 1945. DDT was first studied by the American Military in 1942 and was used during World War II to combat malaria, typhus, and other insect-borne diseases. It was first touted as a miracle chemical for its supposed public health benefits. Little did they know how long this insecticide would persist in both the environment and in human tissue and how it would later be linked to endocrine disruption, reproductive issues, immune dysfunction, neurological conditions, and cancer. DDT was later classified by the EPA as a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) and was banned for use in the U.S. in 1972, although we continue to produce and sell DDT to other countries.
DDT is only one example of the hundreds of toxic chemicals we're exposed to by simply living (and living simply?) on our planet. From pesticides and antibiotics in our food, fluoride in our water, pollutants in our air to chemicals in plastics and on our furniture, the knowledge that we are literally surrounded by toxins can be very overwhelming. And scary.
So, here are a few basics for every day detoxing and living as clean a lifestyle as possible:
Not only is exercise good for your mood and physique, but sweating eliminates toxins. Saunas are amazingly effective for sweating, as well.
With every exhale you are removing toxins that have accumulated in your lungs. Whether through meditation, yoga, exercise, or daily breathing exercises, breathing it out is a good thing.
Our kidneys, liver, and intestines are the filters for toxins, so flushing them out is incredibly important. This means drinking a sufficient amount of water (1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces per day) and having as many bowel movements per day as you do meals (yes, really!).
If you can eat all organic, please do so, but at the very least, avoid the dirty dozen - the produce that is exposed to the highest levels of pesticides. The complete list can be found on the Environmental Working Group's website.
Ditch the chemicals
All of them - including cleaning products, shampoo, cosmetics, soaps, and detergents. If they're not natural, they're bombarding your home and body with toxins which confuse your endocrine system, contribute to allergies, and suppress your immune system.
Detoxing is tough work and the body can use a boost to eliminate effectively and efficiently. Many of our Naturopathic modalities can help, such as botanicals, homeopathy, and acupuncture. Since everyone is different, talk to your doctor about the right herbs or remedy for your situation.
The art and science of Acupuncture has been perfected over the last 2,000 years. Ancient Chinese texts indicate they were carving needles out of stone and placing them in very specific points on the body for therapeutic benefit, just as is done today. Thankfully, modern-day needles are made out of stainless steel and are only about as thick as a strand of hair. These fine needles are placed in points along Meridians that run through our bodies. To determine what points to use, the practitioner takes the pulse and looks at the tongue to make a Chinese Medicine diagnosis and then creates a treatment protocol based on each patient's individual presentation.
What can Acupuncture treat?
Needle-phobes can rest assured that being stuck with an Acupuncture needle is far less painful than having one's blood drawn. In phlebotomy, hallow needles are used so that a specimen may be collected, whereas Acupuncture needles are solid and far thinner in size. When the needle is inserted you may feel a small pinch or nothing at all. Sometimes people feel movement of energy or blood through the meridians during treatment, which is normal.
What can I expect during the treatment?
On your first visit we will conduct an intake to review your health concerns and brief medical history. Then, needles will be placed on points that run along meridians, found throughout the body. Most of the needles will be placed on your hands, arms, lower legs, and feet, so it's important to wear loose, comfortable clothes to access these areas. Some needles may also be placed in your ears and head. Once the needles are in, you may move around slightly to scratch an itch or get into a more comfortable position, but it's best to stay still and use the session as an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. This will allow the needles to have the optimal effect. Some people sleep during their treatment, while others simply relax. Treatments last anywhere from 30-60 minutes.