fbpx
Fight or Flight

Fight or Flight

Harmful Effects of Fight or Flight

Do you have difficulty falling asleep at night? Are you gaining weight despite not overeating or changing your diet? Do you frequently feel unsettled, on edge, or anxious throughout the day? 

All of these are side effects of your body frequently being in the sympathetic nervous system, also known as fight or flight. When we are put in a stressful situation, the body switches to the sympathetic nervous system. This causes increased heart rate, impedes breathing and eyesight as well as inhibits digestion. None of which is good for the body. 

Also, being in constant fight or flight weakens your immune system making you vulnerable to colds and flu. 

What you want to be in, is the parasympathetic nervous system, where your heart rate is normal, you can see and breathe clearly and your food is digesting and providing you with the nutrients you need to go about your day feeling energized. 

If you are like most Americans, you may find yourself living a lot of your life in fight or flight and don’t know a way out. The good news is that it only takes 90 seconds to pull yourself out of fight or flight and into a calm state of mind.

The easiest way to do this is deep breathing. When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, try this simple technique.

Breathing Technique:

If you can, close your eyes. Take a breath in through the nose for a count of 3 and slowly breathe out for a count of 5. Repeat this for at least 90 seconds. Or, for as long as you need to feel your body relax.

Note: When calming the nervous system, you should always exhale for longer than you inhale. 

You’ll notice your face softening, your heart rate slowing and your shoulders dropping away from your ears. The fog will begin to clear from your mind and you will experience a sense of clarity and peace. 

This practice can be done anytime or anywhere. The more you do it, the quicker you will feel that sense of calm as your body will become used to the practice and know what to do. 

If you know fight or flight is a constant problem for you, you might want to take up yoga.

Unlike other cardio-based exercises like running, weight lifting, zumba and the like, yoga keeps your body in the parasympathetic nervous system. So you are maintaining a sense of calm, focus and peace while strengthening and stretching the body. You are also burning more calories because your digestive system is functioning normally. Also, over time, your body learns how to better handle fight or flight and is more resistent to it because you have trained it stay calm and focused when stressors come calling. 

Like this blog? Leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you. Try one of our other blogs: Creating your space, Winter Health Tip: Warming Foods, Sound Healing

Creating Your Space

Creating Your Space

Creating YOUR Space

Do you want to start meditating or doing yoga at home, but having trouble getting started? Or do you need a spot to unwind or relax?

To help our mind and body relax at home, you need to create your space in your home. 

People go to yoga studios because of the soothing atmosphere, calming scents, and quiet peaceful music. However, you don’t need to go anywhere to relax. 

Since our minds are creatures of habit, you can help teach your brain to unwind and relax just by sitting in the same place each day to practice your breathing, yoga, or meditation. You don’t have to commit to an hour or even 30 minutes. Start with five to ten minutes. You need to start somewhere and 5 minutes is plenty. If you dedicate yourself to taking this time in your space every day, you may eventually get to an hour or longer. But if you don’t, who cares! Relaxation isn’t a competition. 

To start, find a quiet corner in your home, that doesn’t get much foot traffic and make it a space where you can go to unwind and destress from the day.

Add some soft blankets, cushions, and pillows to your space. Make it somewhere you want to spend time.

If you want to do yoga in your space, get a mat and props like bolsters, yoga blocks, and straps. When you have support, challenges are less daunting. On a budget, try 5Below or Marshalls, they have many affordable options.

Add music. Find a little Bluetooth speaker or use noise-canceling headphones. Rather than listening to upbeat music, try white or brown noise or ambient music to promote relaxation.

Finally, light a candle, incense, or diffuse essential oils.

Now you are ready to relax.

Enjoyed reading Creating your space? Try one of our other blogs: Sound Healing, The Brain Health Benefits of Meditation, Nurtured by Nature

The Brain Health Benefits of Meditation

The Brain Health Benefits of Meditation

Brain Health Benefits of Meditation

From a wellness standpoint, the best way to improve brain health is meditation—now more than ever. Each generation alive today is bombarded with information and has fallen victim to the “Have Now” culture. 

In the recent past, people would have to wait to get music, books, movies, and consumer products. Today–Amazon gets it to you within hours if you want. Think about your life 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago. When you were bored, what did you do then compared to now? How often did you sit in quiet contemplation because there wasn’t any other choice? 

Today, as soon as we are bored, out comes a device. Waiting in line at the market… Commercials on TV…Waiting at the doctor’s office… I know I fall victim to this as well. When I cook, I listen to an audiobook. When I run, I listen to music. However, when I feel really stressed, I try to switch everything off and enjoy the simple act of cutting an onion or listening to the leaves rustle, and my feet pound the pavement. It is important to train our brains to fight the “Have Now” culture, and remember how to sit in quiet contemplation again. 

This is where meditation comes in. Meditation comes in many forms, but it all serves the same purpose: to quiet the mind, increase self-awareness in your emotional, mental, and physical self, and improve your overall life. 

Research has shown that daily meditation strengthens areas of your brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, and self-awareness.

Not only that, a daily meditation practice can also help calm the sympathetic nervous system, keeping you out of fight or flight and putting you into a state of calm. 

What is meditation? Well, that is a big question because there are so many types. One type that many of you may have tried or at least are familiar with is prayer. It doesn’t matter to whom or what you pray, but you are using quiet contemplation to work through your emotions and give yourself to a higher power. 

I’m not saying that meditation is religious. It is not. It is merely a tool to help you calm the body and quiet the mind, which is exactly what prayer does for most. 

A popular form of meditation is moving meditations like Yoga, Tai Chi, and QiGong, which all match breath to movement, allowing the mind to relax and help you become more in tune with your body. Anyone can do these styles of meditation, and have tons of variations to accommodate any age or ability. 

Another meditation is chanting. Using one’s voice is a powerful tool. With chanting, the vibrations in the throat and nondescript sounds act like white or brown noise. Brown noise differs from white noise by using lower frequencies to affect our emotional state and help improve sleep and anxiety. 

Yet another form of meditation is visual or guided meditation. In this type of meditation, a practitioner guides you to a meditative state through visual description and cues to help you relax. Imagine you are in a cool forest under a canopy of trees. Feel the springy grass beneath your toes…

Lastly, is breathwork, which is simply consciously controlling your breath. This is my favorite and has gotten me out of many tough situations. I use it for migraines, pain control, insomnia, memory, and to soothe. Recently, I underwent a cervical spinal fusion, and instead of dipping into the opioids, I used breathwork. Sadly, chanting was out since they went through my throat—which is my preferred pain control.

To sum up, meditation helps us to stop and take the time to reflect on our day and give our brains the chance to absorb and retain those events, feelings, words, or thoughts for the future. In this fast-paced world, we don’t take the time each day to sit with our thoughts; meditation gives us that opportunity. The effects on the brain are one more added perk to the many other benefits meditation can have on your life. 

Airmid’s Meditation Offerings:

New to meditation? Try Jesse’s Meditation for Beginner’s Workshop on Fri. November 7th from 7p-8p. 

Having difficulty sleeping? Try Radiant Rest Meditation on Sundays at 9:30a. 

Need a lunchtime pick-me-up? Try Get Grounded to Manage Stress on Tuesdays at 12p. 

Need to relax and pamper yourself? Try Self Care Healing Workshop on Sunday, December 3rd, from 4p-5:30p.

Check out our Movement Classes.

 

Five Fall Wholistic Health Hacks

Five Fall Wholistic Health Hacks

Now that summer is ending, it’s time to prepare your body for the seasonal changes ahead. Try these Five Fall Wholistic Health Hacks. 

The Autumnal Equinox is on September 23 and officially marks the start of fall…so you still have time to eat the fresh fruits and veggies the summer bounty provides. 

However, since September is already rife with change due to back to school and the approaching holidays, it is extra important to prepare our bodies for this new season. 

Here are a few easy hacks to help you embrace the seasonal shift with ease:

1 – Eat Warming Foods & Drinks: Spices and root vegetables are on the menu for fall. Bring on the soups, stews, and pumpkin-flavored everything! Shift from your iced lattes and cold brews to hot beverages, especially spiced teas like chai, cinnamon, clove, and ginger. The key is to eat and drink warm foods and drinks to warm the body as the cold begins to set in.

Health Hack – Eat Pumpkin! It is high in beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A. Studies show that vitamin A can strengthen your immune system and help fight infections. Give it to your dog. It gives them a shiny coat and helps them transition into colder weather as well. 

2 – Monitor Your and your Kids Stress Levels: Back to School, Fall Sports, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the sprint toward Christmas and Hanukkah lay ahead. The lazy days of summer are a memory, and we must wait another year for those sunny, carefree days…or do we? Don’t wait to deal with stress. You should practice stress relief techniques daily and be a role model for your children. Healthy meals and non-screen family time, such as walks and crafts, are needed.

Health Hack: Fill the crockpot with root vegetables and warming spices in the morning. When you and the family get home to a dark house after practice or a hard day at work or school, you can skip the fast food lines and enjoy a healthy meal together. 

3 – Prepare for Fall Allergies: Mildew, mold, and dust mites can trigger many unwelcome symptoms in the Fall. Dust mites are rampant in schools that have been shuttered all summer.

Health Hack: Local honey is pollinated by local bees, which helps you fight allergies. Nettle leaf, peppermint, and red raspberry leaf teas are a great supplement to antihistamines. 

4 – Stay Active & Connect with Nature: No one can deny that the change of season is beautiful. The changing leaves make everyone pause, but for how long? A look out the window as you rush from one commitment to the next? Connecting with nature plays a significant role in improving our physical and mental health. Just 10 minutes in nature reduces stress and depression and helps you feel happier.

Health hack: Daily evening walks with the family enjoying the beautiful foliage. 

5 – Moisturize and hydrate: Dehydration causes stress on the body, and drinking at least 5 glasses of water a day is an easy way to stay healthy. The fall weather is dry, which dries out our skin. Skin is the biggest organ in the body and helps regulate body temperature and protects us from the external environment, so it is vital to keep it nourished.

Health Hack: Set water intake goals in your family, and make it a fun competition.

Want more? Need help preparing? Try Juli Eckmeier’s Wholistic Health for the Fall on Sunday, September 24th, 6p – 8p. 

 

Beating Back to School Stress

Beating Back to School Stress

Beating Back-to-School Stress

It’s that time of year again. The kids are getting restless, and folders, notebooks and markers, crayons, and art supplies galore are taking over stores! 

Just thinking about it makes me anxious. I’m sure it does for every parent from August through September. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. Here are a few helpful tips to help you stay present and calm and beat back to school stress. 

  1. Take a Day Trip – School is still a few weeks away, so take a day off from work and take yourself and the kids to the beach, the Poconos, or something else you had been planning to do all summer but haven’t. Time goes by so quickly. Enjoy some time with your kiddos before they are all grown up.
  2. Find Grace – You don’t have to be perfect. Your kids don’t have to be perfect. Stopping at the drive-through for dinner when you don’t feel like cooking is okay. Telling your child that the test they failed is no big deal rather than lecturing them is a gift that will help your child learn to deal with failure in a healthy way.
  3. Say No – We all know times have changed, and we are desperate to give our children all the things we didn’t have, but sometimes it is too much. Kids don’t have to do a sport every season; they definitely don’t need to do multiple. If all you do is run children to and from practice or activities, when are you spending time with them or finding time for yourself?
  4. Organize – We have a large dry-erase monthly calendar in our kitchen. I use different markers for each person. It helps a lot. My schedule varies, so it helps my husband know where I am. It also keeps you from double booking, which will help reduce your stress.
  5. Routine– Establish a routine from wake up to bedtime that gives everyone their own tasks to do, so it doesn’t all fall on your overburdened shoulders. Rather than doing it all yourself, ask your kids for help with age-appropriate tasks. My 11-year-old sets the table, checks the mail, takes out the recycling, and dusts. He knows he needs to do these things before he can play video games or watch TV.
  6. Take time for yourself – This is the most important one. Don’t let months go by without spending a night out with a friend or having a date night. Being a good parent means taking care of yourself before your loved ones.
  7. Skip it – If you aren’t feeling something you have planned, skip it. Don’t do it all the time, but if you are having a day where one thing after another goes wrong, or you wake up feeling like you can’t…don’t- skip it! I know it’s trendy, but a self-care day is a thing. It isn’t going to the salon and getting your nails done. It’s saying no thank you to the day ahead.
  8. Reflect – At the end of each day, sit with your thoughts for about ten minutes: no TV, no music, no talking in the background. Sit quietly and reflect on what has happened, good or bad, without judgment, and process it. It’ll keep your stress from turning into anxiety or depression.

Good luck, and if you see someone in the back-to-school section of Target struggling with multiple lists and whiny children, wish them luck, too. Halloween will be here before you know it, and the pressures of creating the perfect Christmas will raise your blood pressure again. So take a few deep breaths and dip into the list above when you need a little more help. 

Interested in learning more about ways to cope with stress? Try Kathleen Megahan’s workshop “Stress Relief for Busy People” on Friday, September 29th, from 6:30-7:30p. Learn More

Relieving Stress through a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Relieving Stress through a Healthy Work-Life Balance

There is only one certainty in life—we are born, and we will die. It is up to us to make the most out of what falls in between. This can be challenging as there are so many things to fit into our day. This is why Relieving Stress through a Healthy Work-Life Balance is important. 

Most people wait for vacations to relax and destress, but that just isn’t enough! It is essential to add wellness to each and every day. 

How, you may ask? 

Well, I wish the answer was simple. But it isn’t. Each person has to find what works for them. Plus, as our responsibilities change, our needs change as well. So supporting mind-body wellness in your life will not look the same today as it did a year ago, five years ago, or even five years from now. 

The key is to take one day at a time. Don’t wait until next month for your vacation or weekend to find some stress relief. If you don’t manage your stress now, it will turn into anxiety, which is a slippery slope toward depression and hopelessness. You should practice it daily. 

Some of the most important things to add to your daily life that will help in relieving stress through a healthy work-life balance are:

Healthy Work-life balance – Take breaks. If you work from home–choose specific hours to work and stick to them. Take time to talk with your coworkers and get to know them. Take days off when you are healthy to do something fun.

Daily Exercise or Movement – You don’t have to train for a marathon, but you can go for daily walks with a pet or on your own. Take a yoga or exercise class (We have many virtual options if you can’t find the time to get away). Stretch at the kitchen counter while you cook. Garden. 

Quiet Reflection – Your brain needs time to reflect, so it can process and store your memories. Let yourself sit with the events of your day and think about them. If you spend 10-15 minutes daily doing this, you’ll fall asleep easier and wake up refreshed. 

Water! Water! Water! – Dehydration causes stress. Try to drink between 75-100 ounces of water a day, depending on the amount of your activity. Your skin will be thankful for it as well! 

Hourly screen breaks and movement – The blue light from devices can have multiple ill effects on the body, so give yourself frequent breaks. Look out the window and give your eyes a break. You can also add some movement with the screen break for even better results. 

Healthy Diet – This one can be tough, but it is so important! Think of your body like a car. You won’t get the maximum performance out if you put cheap fuel in. It doesn’t have to be drastic. Perhaps switch carbohydrate snacks like pretzels and chips with nuts or fruit. Switch out soda, iced tea, and fruit juices with water. Once you get rolling, you’ll find yourself changing more and more as you feel the benefits. 

All these things aren’t your responsibility alone. Your employer should be helping you lighten the load and giving you some of these things at work. 

No, seriously, they should. Multiple studies have shown this!

Did you know that greater employee well-being is tied to higher company valuation and greater profits? Multiple studies have reflected that employers investing in their employees’ health boosts their profits. 

Why? When an employer invests in their employee’s well-being, they are less likely to take days off, become ill, and need extended sick leave. They are more productive when working and create a community amongst their colleagues that boosts morale and improves communication and collaboration. 

Airmid Wellness is here to help! We offer many wellness options for you as an individual and for businesses and groups. 

Humans are social creatures, and we don’t like to feel alone. If you bring a culture of wellness to your business or group, your employees will feel more connected and eager to work together toward a common goal. 

Not the boss? Tell your boss or HR department that you think wellness options should be made available to you and your coworkers. Here are a few stats from the Gallup poll to throw their way:

  • 72% of employers saw reduced healthcare costs after implementing a wellness program.
  • 87% of employees consider health and wellness offerings when choosing an employer.
  • Wellness programs can reduce absenteeism by 14-19%.
  • The average return on investment (ROI) for employee wellness programs is six-to-one.
  • 56% of employees who participate in company wellness programs say they have fewer sick days due to these programs.
  • Employees who don’t exercise regularly are 50% more likely to have high presenteeism than regular exercisers.
  • 57% of workers with high health risks became low-risk after completing a work-provided exercise program.
  • 84% of employers reported higher employee productivity and performance due to wellness plans in 2019.

Learn More about Airmid’s Wellness for Businesses & Groups Programs. Contact Jen Leary to set up your first Lunch & Learn or add a weekly, biweekly, or monthly mindful movement or meditation class at 215-293-0744 (Option 3) or jen.leary.airmid@gmail.com.