Understanding pH Levels

Let’s face it: Some health-related topics go unaddressed. With minimal side effects initially, it’s easy for some things — like balancing your pH levels — to take a back seat. Especially when it feels like there are so many other (perhaps larger) issues to focus your energy on. But no matter how minor the issue may seem, it’s important to stay informed on how it could impact you long term.

What is pH?

Simply put, pH (potential of hydrogen) is the measure of acids and bases in your blood and other fluids. Our bodies are designed to naturally maintain a healthy balance between the two, helping the body function optimally and resist disease. However, if we don’t do our part to support the body during this process, we can run into problems. 

Your pH levels fluctuate, ranging anywhere from 0 to 14 depending on the type of fluid you’re measuring. For instance, your blood is naturally more alkaline or basic, while your stomach is generally more acidic. For scale, consider water, which has a pH level of 7. Anything below 7 is considered acidic, meaning there are more hydrogen ion compounds and anything higher than 7 is alkaline, meaning there are fewer hydrogen ion compounds.

What can happen if your pH levels aren’t balanced?

Believe it or not, too much acidity can weaken the body and cause toxins to multiply — leading to issues like diabetes, premature aging, and yeast overgrowth. Although on the other end of that, if you have too many bases in your body fluids, you may experience gastrointestinal problems or skin irritations. Our organs are always working to balance out pH levels — the kidneys and lungs playing a critical role in this process. But there’s always the potential for much worse symptoms to appear. 

For starters, if your body fluids become too acidic, you may experience acidosis. This means that your kidneys and lungs aren’t able to balance your pH levels like they should. There are numerous types to consider, including respiratory, metabolic, and lactic. On the other end of that, if your blood pH levels become too alkaline, you may experience alkalosis. This means that your body fluids contain too many bases. Again, there are several types of alkalosis to consider. No matter what type of acidosis or alkalosis, the earlier the issue is uncovered, the better the end result will be.

How can you restore and maintain healthy pH levels?

Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent a pH imbalance from happening. But there are preliminary steps you can take to reduce the risk. Look at your diet, for instance. Do you consume a lot of fruit? You may need to drink more water (a recommended 8-10 glasses per day) to keep your system in balance. Fruits aren’t the only acidic thing to look out for, though. Red meat, artificial sweeteners, and refined carbohydrates are highly acidic and more difficult to balance. If you consume these foods regularly, you may want to think twice. Incorporate more alkalizing foods like whole grains and healthy fats into your diet to make it more balanced. If testing shows you have a pH imbalance, there are medications and supplements to help you recover, but you should always consult your doctor for treatment.

Ready to bring balance and vitality back into your life? Connect with us online or give us a call (901) 312-7899.

4 Ways to Support Joint Health

Chronic joint pain affects millions of Americans every year. And while conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and physical injuries may be to blame, they aren’t the only identifier. So what else can cause joint pain and how can you overcome it? Before you reach for an over-the-counter drug for temporary relief, let’s talk about long-term solutions.

Eat right

Think about the last time you ate a greasy meal. You may have enjoyed it during the moment, but felt lethargic and uncomfortable afterward. And if you consistently eat foods cooked with excess oil, you could be on your way to a more serious condition like heart disease or diabetes. It’s no secret that what we put into our body impacts our health and quality of life. This rings true for joint pain as well.

Foods with processed sugar, gluten, or refined carbohydrates, for instance, aggravate the gut and cause inflammation in the body. As a result, you may experience limited mobility, stiffness, and joint pain. Luckily, there are many foods you can eat that help ease the symptoms of joint pain. If you’re new to an anti-inflammatory diet, adding salmon, berries, and leafy greens into your diet is a great place to start.

Incorporate low-impact exercises

If you have access to a physical therapist, they can guide you through a variety of ways to strengthen the muscles around the joints and improve your range of motion. No PT? No problem. There are plenty of low-impact workouts you can do from the comfort of your home or outdoors that don’t put added stress on your joints. Effective exercises may include biking, swimming, tai chi, or yoga. You may also find comfort in using a brace and taking frequent breaks during exercise. The key is to avoid staying stationary for an extended period of time. So if you’re someone who works at a desk all day, set reminders on your phone to stand up every hour or so and stretch.

Experiment with heat or cold therapy

If you’re searching for quick ways to relieve joint pain, look no further. Heat therapy is practiced widely to ease stiffness, while cold therapy helps reduce swelling. This dynamic duo goes hand-in-hand, so you can switch from one to another throughout the day. For heat treatment, hop in a warm tub for a 20-minute bath or relax on the couch with an electric blanket. For an easy and effective cold treatment, grab a bag of frozen vegetables from the freezer, wrap them in a towel, and apply it to the affected area.

Introduce vitamins and supplements

To naturally fight joint pain, many experts suggest adding vitamins and supplements into your diet. Some supplements can help prevent bones from rubbing against each other and strengthen the joints, while others can potentially reverse cartilage damage that’s already been done. Glucosamine, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids are just a handful of options. However, you should always consult with your doctor to see if vitamins and supplements are right for you.

Ready to bring balance and vitality back into your life? Connect with us online or give us a call 901-312-7899.

Your Health Guide to Summer

After spending several months self-quarantining at home, it’s no surprise that we’re all a bit anxious to get outside and enjoy the summer. But warmer temperatures can bring a few challenges when it comes to our health, so it’s important to get prepared in order to look and feel our best all summer long.

Protect your skin

Spending time in the sun can help your body produce vitamin D, but too much of it can cause skin damage and potentially cancer. As a precautionary measure, it’s important to limit your exposure to the sun as best you can. This may mean wearing a swimsuit covering when you’re not in the pool or tossing on a hat and 100% UV protection sunglasses before your afternoon walk.

Did you know that not all sunscreens have the same ingredients? Whether you shop at your local grocery store or online, it’s difficult to know what to look for and which to avoid. And while it’s easy to grab the inexpensive bottle, that doesn’t mean it’s always the safest. For instance, some brands may include harmful chemicals that irritate the skin more than they protect it. When choosing a product, avoid any added fragrances or parabens. What you want to look for bottles with zinc oxide as the main active ingredient and a high SPF. Remember, what goes on your skin goes into your body.

Get Moving

Regular exercise promotes heart health, strengthens muscles and joints, and improves your balance and coordination. But if your gym hasn’t opened back up yet, or you’re still concerned about social distancing, you may not know where to start. Thankfully, as the temperature gets warmer, it’s easier to get moving outdoors. Not only does outdoor activity promote your physical health, it also helps reduce stress and anxiety, fight depression, and promote wellbeing.

Whether you prefer hiking, playing tag in the backyard with your grandkids, or swimming laps in the pool — make it a goal to move your body for 30 minutes a day, and do so safely.  This means following the tips listed above, like reapplying sunscreen regularly, wearing proper clothing, and drinking plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Aim to get activities like gardening or mowing the lawn out of the way before noon or after 3 pm, when the sunlight isn’t as intense.

Eat right and stay hydrated

Summer goes by fast, so you don’t want the primary focus to be on your eating habits. However, it’s important to find a happy medium between deprivation and overconsumption. If you’re like most of us, the Saturday barbecue at your neighbor’s house can very quickly turn into an all-day food and beverage buffet. You don’t want to skip any social get-togethers, but you do want to plan ahead.

The trick is not to show up to an event hungry, as you’re more likely to overeat that way. Instead, eat a snack before you go that’s packed with veggies, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Once you get to the event, you can treat yourself to a small helping of your favorite dish without feeling like you overindulged. Don’t deprive yourself, just focus on balance.

Whether you’re consuming alcoholic beverages or not, make it a habit to sip on water throughout the day — especially if you’re out in the sun. For low-calorie flavor, you may add slices of cucumber or your favorite fruit to a water pitcher in the refrigerator. And if you do consume alcohol, find mixers that aren’t high in processed sugar and never drink on an empty stomach. Additionally, be sure to snack on foods that promote liver health like almonds, broccoli, and blueberries.

Please contact us to learn more about bringing balance and vitality back to your life.

How to Detox Your Body Naturally

During the stay-at-home order, we all had to make significant adjustments to our lifestyle. Between being unable to go to the gym and limiting our trips to the grocery, take-out may have become the new normal and our exercise routines likely took a back seat. Understandably, self-isolation has been a hindrance to our health. If you’re struggling with stress eating or simply want to hit your body’s reset button, a natural detox may be just what you’re looking for.

What is a detox and how does it work?

For some people, the term “detox” brings a feeling of skepticism. But it’s not nearly as intimidating as you may think. Detoxification has been practiced for decades as a way to cleanse the body. While your body can naturally filter blood, process nutrients, and remove toxins on its own through the liver (among other organs), a detox can help support this process. Here is a list of a few of the health benefits you may experience during and after a detox:

  • Increased energy and less fatigue
  • A stronger immune system
  • Clearer skin and healthier hair
  • More balanced hormones (ie. less frequent mood swings, headaches, etc.)
  • Improved digestion

How do I detox naturally?

A common misconception about detoxification is that you have to drink green juice all day to reap the health benefits. Like anything else, a detox can be taken to the extreme by fasting, juicing, food restricting and consuming an excessive amount of supplements. But don’t let these deter you from trying. Here are six simple and natural ways to detox the body:

  • Eliminate food and beverages that irritate the gut. This includes caffeine, gluten, alcohol, saturated fats, and processed sugar. The first few days may be difficult, but after a week, your body will start to adapt. Try removing these products from your diet for 21-30 days.
  • Introduce more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet that are high in antioxidants, like broccoli, kale, grapefruit, avocados, and cauliflower. This can be an exciting opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and try new recipes throughout the week.
  • Drink a glass of warm water with fresh lemon as soon as you wake up in the morning and continue to stay hydrated throughout the day. If you normally start your day with coffee, opt for green tea instead. This will contribute to clearer skin, better digestion, and stronger joints.
  • Move your body. As the weather gets warmer, there will be plenty of ways to get fit outdoors. Whether it’s yoga in the park or a jog around your neighborhood, sweating is a great way to detox the lymphatic system.
  • As long as you’re removing the toxins from your body, you might as well work on cleansing your mind as well. Yoga, meditation, or journaling are great tools to help you focus on your mental health, remove negative thought patterns, and restore your mind.
  • Soak in the tub for 15 minutes before bed. For added relaxation, drop in a 1/2 cup of baking soda, a few tablespoons of ground ginger, 1 cup of Epsom salt, and 5-10 drops of essential oil.

Above all else, it’s important to practice detoxification safely. If you have questions, please reach out to your holistic health practitioner or medical physician. Please contact us to learn more about bringing balance and vitality back to your life.

4 Ways to Support your Mental Health Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

During times of uncertainty, it’s normal to experience feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Right now, many of us are concerned about how coronavirus (COVID-19) will impact our physical health. But that’s not the only thing at risk. Beyond the fear of becoming ill, lies concerns about our finances, our loved ones, and our future. Which raises the question: How do you address your mental health during a pandemic?

If you are struggling to cope with coronavirus anxiety, here are four ways you can support your mental health.

Limit News Consumption

When there’s nowhere to go and not much to do, it’s no surprise that we frantically turn to our devices to keep up with the latest news. But if what you hear and read makes you feel more anxious than informed, it may be time to set some boundaries. Moving forward, rely on just 1-2 credible news sources for information and set time limits to avoid a downward spiral. For example, you may choose to scroll social media while your coffee brews in the morning, watch your local news during lunch, and catch up with the national news after you put the kids to bed. Creating a schedule will allow you to be more intentional with your time, limit distractions, and protect your sanity.

Develop a routine

Whether you’re adjusting to a work-from-home lifestyle or trying to manage a house full of children again (or maybe even both at the same time), this “new normal” has likely disrupted your everyday routine. We’re navigating an ever-changing environment, so be patient with yourself and find the silver linings. These unique circumstances give us an opportunity to reevaluate the ways we manage health and well-being for ourselves and our families. 

Carve out time each week for meal prep, meditation, exercise, and sleep. To limit trips to the market and keep your healthy diet on track, try a grocery delivery service. To lower your stress hormones, commit to 15 minutes of meditation per day. While gyms are temporarily closed, there are many home workouts available online. If you can maintain 6-foot distancing, you may even consider a brisk walk around your neighborhood. At the end of the day, practice good sleep hygiene by removing technology from your bedroom and making a cup of tea or journaling to calm your mind. Above all else, stick to a consistent schedule.

Stay connected to loved ones

Social distancing is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, but it can very quickly lead to feelings of loneliness. Now more than ever, people are turning to apps like FaceTime and Skype to keep in touch with friends and family. Through the unprecedented challenges that coronavirus is forcing us to deal with, we’re presented with a unique opportunity to connect in new ways. This may mean hosting a virtual happy hour or book club with colleagues, coordinating an online trivia night with your neighbors, or mailing a hand-written letter to your elderly family member.

Discover a new hobby

Feeling a bit stir crazy? You’re not alone. Self-isolation has left us with an abundance of free time, but choosing how to spend it has proven to be a challenge. Whether you need a positive way to cope or a self-esteem boost — try picking up a new hobby or rediscovering an old one. Sinking into a book or podcast, organizing your home, baking, and crafting have all shown therapeutic benefits. No matter what activity you choose, let it bring you while you stay healthy and safe indoors. 

For the latest coronavirus information and resources, visit the CDC website.

Immune-Boosting Tips: How to Strengthen your Immune System with a Healthy Lifestyle

Looking to boost your immune system? With most of society currently staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19, many of us are wondering what we can do to strengthen our immunity to these types of viruses.

First, it’s important to understand that taking a mega-load of vitamins can’t boost your immunity in a matter of days. Rather, a healthy diet and habits build up and improve your immune system over time.

That said, it’s never too late to get started!

While there is no magic pill that will coat your immune system in an armor of protection, there are important ways you can take care of yourself and boost your immune system through diet, rest, exercise and stress management.

Foods and Vitamins that boost your immune system

A healthy, immune-boosting diet should be high in fiber and consist of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed and sugary foods. Each day, you should be eating a rainbow of color in fresh produce.

And, ideally, you’ll want to eat a variety of fresh veggies and fruits that supply your body with the following immune-boosting vitamins and minerals.

VITAMIN A: High in helpful carotenoids, you’ll find vitamin A in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash.

VITAMIN B6: Find it in salmon, tuna, leafy greens and chickpeas.

VITAMIN B12: While B12 can be found in salmon, yogurt, eggs and meat, it’s harder to get for vegetarians and vegans. If you avoid meat and eggs in your diet, be sure to supplement B12 with a quality supplement to avoid deficiency.

VITAMIN C: Long heralded as a friend to the immune system, Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, kale, spinach and broccoli. Try to get it through whole foods rather than a supplement.

VITAMIN D: Many Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, especially in regions that don’t get as much sunlight. What’s more, studies have shown that people who take in high doses of Vitamin D are 40% less likely to develop respiratory infections. Be sure to eat plenty of foods that contain Vitamin D, such as salmon, tuna, fresh eggs and mushrooms. Cod liver oil is also an excellent supplement.

VITAMIN E: A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds and dark greens such as spinach and broccoli.

ZINC: Zinc is an important mineral to your immune system. Get this essential trace element in yogurt, salmon and eggs.

A high-quality probiotic is also a great way to keep your gut health happy and increase immune health. You’ll find it in fermented foods such as Greek yogurt, kimchi and kombucha. If you opt for a supplement, look for one in the refrigerated section at your local nutrition store, and be sure it has a wide variety of strains and cultures available.

And avoid alcohol and sugar whenever possible. Excess alcohol consumption wears down the immune system, as it reduces the number of microbes in the gut microbiome. And sugary and processed foods can really wreak havoc on your entire system.

The importance of rest, relaxation & exercise

Many studies have shown that stress and lack of quality sleep are major factors contributing to health problems and disease.

While the coronavirus outbreak has stress levels high for all of us, we don’t have to let that stress go unchecked. Now more than ever, it is crucial to have a solid stress management plan in place and to create healthy daily habits to foster a sense of peace and wellbeing.

Check in with yourself throughout the day to focus on taking long, deep breaths. Make a mental checklist of everything you are grateful for. Start or maintain a mindfulness meditation routine. And be sure to practice self care, whether that is a hot bubble bath or a morning yoga session.

It’s also incredibly important to get enough sleep each night. Aim for 7-8 hours per night for optimal health and stress management.

If you find anxiety keeping you awake, you can try a natural supplement like CBD or melatonin, or, do a yoga session  and or exercise routine just before bed to tire your body and brain. If insomnia or restlessness persists, consult your physician.

And speaking of exercise — be sure to get at least 20-30 minutes of moderately strenuous activity per day. Whether that’s a brisk walk or job around your neighborhood (maintaining appropriate 6-foot social distancing), a run on the treadmill or a yoga session, keeping active is key to heart, lung and immune health. Plus, it’s a natural stress reliever!

Healthy Meals Made Easy: The Scoop on Meal Delivery Services

If you’re like most of us, you’re busy. You know that eating healthy is crucial to your health, hormone balance and energy level. You know that eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains will benefit your health — and that reducing processed foods loaded with added sugars, carbs and hard-to-pronounce ingredients will help you feel better in the long run. 

But finding time to plan out, shop for, prepare and cook wholesome meals can be a challenge. It’s the very reason so many of us find ourselves reaching for the nearest convenience food despite our best intentions. 

Recently, a plethora of online meal services have set out to solve that problem by delivering healthy, whole-foods based meals right to your door, taking planning and shopping off your list. Some of them even do the cooking for you!

But how do these programs work, and are they really worth the cost? We explore a few of the most popular options below. Whether you use one of these services as your main meal strategy or as a quick fill-in to complement your own meals planning, there are a variety of options to suit just about every diet. Best of all, you can customize your weekly meal plans, and skip any weeks you won’t be needing it (ie, you’re going on vacation).

Like to Cook But Lack the Time?

If you’re someone who enjoys cooking but lacks the time or willpower to find healthy recipes, shop for weekly ingredients and prep time-intensive meals, a service like Hello Fresh or Purple Carrot may just be the extra bit of help you need to keep your healthy diet on track. Both services curate your recipes and ingredients for you, leaving you to simply take care of a little meal prep and cooking.

Hello Fresh offers ten new recipes each week, so you never have to fall into a dinner rut again. You’re also in the driver’s seat — you choose whether you want meals based on meat and veggies, low-calorie recipes, or a plant-based menu. Customize your weekly meal plan to accommodate the number of people you’re feeding, and enjoy healthy meals for as low as $5.66 per serving.

Meanwhile, for $7.49 per serving, Blue Apron offers chef-designed meals from balanced Mediterranean dishes to quick and easy one-pan dinners. Choose from meat, fish, or vegetarian focused menu plans. They even offer special diabetes-friendly recipes.

Need Fast, On-The-Go Meals?

Whether cooking isn’t your forte, or you just need quick, easy morning and lunch options, there are a number of ready-to-eat meal services on the market. Unlike the options mentioned above, these services do the prep and cooking for you, so all you need to do is drink your breakfast, or heat up your meal.

Fairly new to the scene, Daily Harvest delivers soups, smoothies, oats and harvest bowls that are pre-made and arrive frozen. Smoothies come in ready-to-sip bottles and include a variety of nutritious options, such as Banana & Greens, blended with fresh ingredients like kale, spinach, wheatgrass, cucumber and banana. These make for a nutrient-dense kickstart to your day, or work great as a post-workout meal or afternoon snack. The harvest bowls (such as Brussels Sprouts and Tahini) and soups (such as Green Chickpea & Kale or Cauliflower & Leek) give you wholesome, filling lunch options that are easy to heat and eat during a busy day. No more drive-through food for you!

This service also allows you to focus on your particular dietary needs, including vegan, gluten-free and even ketogenic options. Daily Harvest can be spendy (many options run over $7 for serving) but can be worth its weight in gold for keeping your diet and health on track.

If you’re looking for a healthy and easy vegan and gluten-free meal plan, Splendid Spoon focuses on delivering nutrient-dense whole foods in the form of smoothies, soups and grain bowls. From breakfast smoothies like Carrot Ginger and Green Matcha to fresh soups, it’s a quick and easy way to get plenty of fresh, whole foods and nutrients on the go. 

Their hearty grain bowls also make a great lunch or dinner option, with delicious options like Brown Rice Taco, Moroccon Spiced Buckwheat and Carrot Lentil Curry bowls. Weekly meal delivery runs $65-135 per week, depending on whether you want morning smoothies only, or a more complete breakfast/lunch meal plan.

A Commitment-Free Way to Kickstart Healthy Eating

Even if you don’t plan to use a meal-service long term, one of these options can be a great way to kickstart healthy diet changes. If you find yourself still grabbing fast food or heavily processed foods, using one of these meal services can help you create healthier habits with little additional effort. 

Whether you use these options as a stepping stone to creating your own healthy meal plans, or determine that these are great long term options to keep your diet and health on track, we can all use a helping hand.

And if you decide a service is not for you, you can pause or cancel your deliveries at any time.

Here’s to healthy eating!

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail (And What to Do Instead)

It’s late January, and most New Year’s resolutions created with the best of intentions have already fallen to the wayside. That’s right–nearly ⅔ of all new year’s resolutions are forgotten by February. 

In fact, according to University of Scranton Psychology Professor John C. Norcross, Ph.D, less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions are actually ever achieved. Ouch.

So why don’t resolutions work, and what should we do instead?

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

One reason that new year’s resolutions fail is because they are too vague and are not measurable. Let’s say your doctor wants you to lose weight. A broad resolution of “lose weight” does not offer any specific goals to reach and offers nothing to hold you accountable to that goal. 

Another reason resolutions often fail is that we set too many. After all, it’s overwhelming to try and juggle six goals and much more effective to focus on one or two truly vital goals.

Do This Instead…

Instead of setting broad, undefined resolutions (ie, “lose weight”), set smaller, more attainable action goals. 

For example, you might set the specific goal to walk 20 minutes every morning, to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or replace your cream-and-sugar morning coffee with green tea. 

Each of these smaller action goals will help you reach the larger resolution (in this case, to lose weight) but committing to smaller behavior changes breaks a large, overwhelming goal into more easily changed habits.

Say you want to save money for a trip to Italy. Break that into smaller action goals in order to work toward that objective. For example, you might choose to limit your dining out to twice a week instead of four, or replace your morning coffee shop run with making your own at home. Small changes add up, and as each smaller goal becomes a habit and is reached, you can add more smaller goals

Replace Old Habits With New Ones

They say old habits die hard, but it’s easier to nix them when you replace them with new habits–or, add onto current hood habits.For example, if you already walk 20 minutes every morning, what’s another 10? Set a goal to add 10 minutes to each morning walk, and before you know it, a 30-minute walk is your new habit.

If your old habit is to eat sugary cereal each morning, replace that with a bowl of hot oats and fresh berries. This simple, smaller behavior change is much more attainable than setting a resolution to “eat healthier”

Measure Your Success

Find a way to track your mini-goals and your successful habit changes, whether it be on a whiteboard, calendar or journal. Check off as you meet each goal. When you find a goal becoming a natural part of your routine, add in another small goal. Keep stretching toward that big-picture resolution, but stay focused on the baby steps.

Before you know it, new, healthy habits will have you on your way to feeling healthier and happier!


6 Ways to Fight Seasonal Depression

Feeling the winter blues? You’re not alone — and there’s a reason. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is very real, and it affects an estimated 10 million Americans.

SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, often starting in the late fall as the days get shorter and darker. If most often begins to lift with the coming of spring and increased daylight.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Healthcare professionals believe that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a result of a few triggers. The first is the disruption to your circadian rhythm or biological clock. Less sunlight and longer hours of darkness in the fall and winter may disrupt your body’s internal clock, leaving you to feel more tired and depressed. 

Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin levels, a brain chemical that affects your mood. The reduction of this feel-good neurotransmitter can leave you feeling blue. Lack of sunlight also means a drop in melatonin levels, which can affect mood and sleep.

What Are The Symptoms Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SAD symptoms go beyond the occasional “feeling blue”. They may include:

  • Feeling depressed most days
  • Loss of interest in things you normally enjoy
  • Feeling sluggish and fatigued
  • Oversleeping or insomnia
  • Feeling hopeless, unworthy or guilty
  • Increased irritability
  • Weight and appetite loss or gain
  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating
  • Brain fog or trouble retaining information
  • Thoughts of death or suicide


6 Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Follow these 6 tips to get back to feeling like yourself!

1. See your doctor.

It’s normal to have occasional days when you feel down. But if feelings of depression are plaguing you for days at a time, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Your doctor may run blood tests to see if you are deficient in Vitamin D or other essential nutrients, as well as go over your symptoms and life changes. Together, you can determine the best course of action.

2. Try light therapy.

Phototherapy, or light therapy, is often the first defense against seasonal depression. It’s been a popular treatment for SAD since the 1980s. 

A full-spectrum light box mimics the sun’s rays to offset the lack of sunlight in the winter. Symptoms of seasonal depression may be relieved by sitting in front of a light box first thing in the morning each day throughout the fall and winter months. On average, you will need at least 20-30 minutes of exposure to 10,000 lux of cool-white fluorescent light per day.

While there are a plethora of light boxes available for purchase on the Internet, not all light boxes are created equally. It’s best to get a recommendation from your doctor prior to purchasing one.

The Mayo Clinic offers tips for selecting a light box here.

3. Commit to regular exercise.

One of your biggest weapons in the fight against depression is simply activity. Even when you don’t feel like crawling out of bed, taking a short walk around the block or doing 20 minutes of yoga can help restore health and wellbeing to your body.

Moderate exercise such as walking, jogging, climbing stairs and yoga release endorphins and serotonin to the brain, which elevate your mood and health. Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.

4. Try mind-body techniques.

Mind-body techniques such as meditation, tai chi or yoga can help you better cope with the onset of depression. Focusing on gratitude can also help you steer your thoughts from helplessness to hope.

Take a class at a local community center, or try a morning meditation practice in the comfort of your home.

5. Stick to a schedule.

While you may be inclined to oversleep or binge-watch television on the couch, establishing and maintaining a schedule can help you be consistent with activity from day-to-day. Try your best to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day, schedule in your meals and exercise. Getting into a routine will help your body learn to navigate the winter months in a more productive and healthy way.

6. Enjoy nature or a getaway.

If you’re able, take a vacation to a warmer, sunnier place to give your body some extra Vitamin D and sunlight therapy. If that’s not possible, try getting away to a new town for a weekend. The new sights and sounds can build feelings of excitement and joy, renewing your energy and mood. 

It can also help to get out into nature, regardless of the weather. Suit up and go play in the snow, or don a raincoat and take a misty hike through the forest. Immersing yourself in the calm beauty of nature can do wonders for the soul.

5 Tips to Ease Holiday Stress

While holiday tunes may wish you a “Holly, Jolly Christmas” the truth is that the holidays may leave you feeling frazzled. In fact, a survey by the American Psychological Association shows that 8 out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays. In some cases, the increase in stress and anxiety may even lead to depression. 

 But you don’t have to let the holidays get the best of you. In this month’s blog, we’re sharing 5 tips for avoiding and easing stress so you can enjoy the season and all of its gifts.

1. Maintain Healthy Habits

All too often when the holidays arrive, we toss healthy habits out the window. Make an effort to stick to any healthy habits you have already created: a healthy diet, afternoon walks, morning meditation. Schedule these practices into your day if needed, but don’t abandon them for the overindulgence of the season.

Going to a party? Eat a healthy snack before you go, so those sugary sweets won’t be as tempting. A hectic day of shopping and activities? Start your day with a healthy breakfast smoothie and ten minutes of meditation

Of course, you’ll want to partake of holiday treats and activities, and indulging a little here and there is to be expected! Working to maintain regular, healthy habits throughout the season will keep you focused and you’ll feel less guilty when you do have a slice of that cheesecake.

2. Know When to Say No

The holiday season can be chaotic, and your calendar can fill up before you know it. But while you may be tempted to accept every party invitation that comes your way, it pays off to pace yourself. 

Say yes to gatherings and activities that truly bring you joy, and don’t be afraid to politely decline all others. Stagger outings with days of self-care in between. Taking time to rest and recharge will reduce stress and keep you going well through the New Year.

3. Set a Spending Budget

Finances are one of the biggest stressors during the holiday season. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, the average American family spends more than $1,000 on Christmas gifts and decorations.

It’s easy to go overboard, especially when there are kids and grandchildren to buy for, and before you know it, you’ve racked up a mountain of holiday debt. 

Start the season right by taking an honest look at your finances, then set a realistic budget for holiday spending. Track your spending on paper or via an app like You Need A Budget and ensure that you don’t go over your limit. It will give you peace of mind and ensure that your finances don’t go off the rails.

4. Strengthen Healthy Bonds

Sometimes, less is more. Rather than spreading yourself too thin at multiple parties, create a special time for strengthening close connections with the family and friends that mean the most to you. Have a quiet meal and conversation, take a walk to see Christmas lights. 

Sometimes we’re so busy running around all season that we realize we didn’t have time to simply enjoy being with the ones we love. Don’t get so caught up in the festivities that you forget to just connect

5. Plan Ahead

Hosting a gathering? Create a plan and checklist, then delegate tasks to share the workload. Carve out your schedule for the week, setting blocks of time aside for self-care. Plan your menus ahead of time so you’re less tempted to give in to junk food.

A little prior planning and preparation will help you feel more focused and steady so you can make the most of the holidays with the ones you love.