Man Cave Time ~3 Wellness Tips for Men

Ok ladies… this may be the time where you share this blog with the special man in your life- whether it be a spouse, son, father, or your BFF. So many wellness topics are geared for women, as statistically they consume about 75% of the wellness readers’ population. This month, in honor of Father’s Day, I am writing about men’s wellness and what they can do to prolong their life and the quality of that life. I suggest my female readers also read this and then share it with that special guy or guys in their life.

1- Get to the Doctor and Get Screened

Have you been procrastinating on this one? Not meant to scare you but to wake you up, considering men are more likely than women to die of cardiovascular disease and cancer and overall have a life expectancy of less than 5 years than the average female, yearly physicals and screenings are of the utmost importance.

*Things to focus on in these screenings:

Glucose, blood pressure (always know your numbers any pay attention to any sudden changes), PSA, testosterone levels, blood count/metabolic/lipids panel, and for those men over the age of 45, it’s time to schedule a colonoscopy. Formerly recommended to be 50, 45 is the new recommended age. If there is a history of colon cancer, going at the age of 40 is recommended.

2- Find YOUR Tribe

Whereas many women find it easier to connect and meet other women, many men tend to struggle a bit with this. Add work and potentially travel for a job, and it becomes even more challenging to balance work and family life. I live through this with my own husband as he travels quite frequently for his job. Since we relocated from Chicago a few years ago and moved to Scottsdale, we both needed to build a new tribe of friends. Although I also work, as a woman I found it a bit easier to meet and make plans with other friends. For some reason, this isn’t quite as natural for men, but they can benefit in so many ways from this connection.

*Ways to Take the Leap

Join a health club, attending local events, volunteer at a charity that resonates with you, and finding common interests in social activities that you enjoy (watching a sports game, going to a Bourbon tasting, etc.) Another way is through meeting other men through your spouse, girlfriend, or other friends. Take the initiative and take your phone out, exchange numbers, and actually follow through and make your own plans. It is healthy to connect with other men and build your own tribe of friends.

3- Eat Healthy, Sleep Well, Exercise Often

Ok, that is 3 for the price of one. All three of these are so important for all of our health- both men and women. Take the time to watch what you consume both solids and liquids (!), try and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and find time to exercise and get those endorphins flowing and the muscles growing! Take up yoga. Yoga isn’t just for women anymore; the number of men practicing yoga is steadily climbing to roughly 28%. Still a low percentage, considering the myriad of health and wellness benefits this mind/body practice offers.

*Sleep Tip:

I released a Deep Relaxation Series- Guided Breathing, Relaxations, and Visualizations that can help tremendously with insomnia, something I suffered of for many years. It can be streamed for free on most streaming sites. More information on this and healthy breathing can be found here:

https://www.stopandbreathe.org/products

I want to take the time to wish all the fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day. I hope that you take care of yourself as well as you nurture all the other people in your life. And ladies reading this- share this with the men you love!

S&B

Self-Nurturing for the Body, Mind, & Soul

With Mother’s Day this month, it can be a time to reflect upon the nurturing we received from our mothers, just as it can be a time to reflect on the nurturing we provide to our own children. For some this can bring great joy, but for others it can be painful, as many have either lost their mothers, or perhaps the relationship may not be quite as idyllic as they wish it were.

With Mother’s Day this month, it can be a time to reflect upon the nurturing we received from our mothers, just as it can be a time to reflect on the nurturing we provide to our own children. For some this can bring great joy, but for others it can be painful, as many have either lost their mothers, or perhaps the relationship may not be quite as idyllic as they wish it were.

Parenting a child can also be conflicting. Whereas raising children can be deeply fulfilling, it can also be demanding and even depleting at times. Mothers tend to experience more illnesses, stress, and challenges brought about from raising children in their marriage than women who choose not to procreate. They must navigate a societal pressure to silence these emotions, as women are conditioned to think it ungrateful to complain about these challenges.

This month’s blog is about self-nurturing, as this is the kind of loving support we need in our lives since there are times we have may not have anyone else to turn to but ourselves. These suggestions will help you develop a healthy practice of caring for your own self, both physically and mentally.

Treat yourself to a massage or a facial- or both!  The sense of being touched is highly nurturing and soothing. Allow yourself to get pampered.

Go to movie…alone.  This may force you to leave the comfort zone, but once the lights are out, it’s just you and the big screen.

Spruce up your wardrobe.  Peruse your closet and buy yourself a few new pieces that update your look. Donate the things you rarely wear.

Breathe…Relax…Meditate!  Need guidance with this? I created the Deep Relaxation Series- Guided Breathing, Relaxations, and Visualizations  to assist others with this. This contains my most popular guided breathing and relaxations set to ambient music. Listening to a few of the relaxations first thing in the morning or before bedtime is tremendously helpful. You can find this on iTunes or streamed on Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, etc. http://www.stopandbreathe.org/products

-Take a warm bath  Dim the lights, light some candles, put in a few drops of lavender, epsom salts or magnesium, and soak away.

-Be one with nature Take a walk, run, hike or bike ride. Be mindful and pay attention to the trees, sky, mountains, flowers, etc.

-Crank the music and dance!  You know the saying, ‘Dance like no one is watching you.’ Well, they aren’t. So get your groove on!

-Hit the gym Cardio, weights, yoga, swimming, or whatever motivates you. The endorphins gained in a workout will uplift your mood and nurture your soul.

-Curl up with a good book  Find a cozy spot to relax and engross yourself in that book you’ve always wanted to read. Or maybe read a magazine or do a crossword puzzle.

-Go to a farmer’s market, art fair, outdoor festival or concert  Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Sometimes it’s nice to be on your own agenda.

Women are incredibly powerful and amazing nurturers. Giving so much of ourselves while not taking care of our own needs can deplete us and is unhealthy. Practice self-nurturing and enjoy the sense of fulfillment gained when taking care of the most important person in your life- you!

-S&B

Let’s Get Grounded!

My own feet, alongside my husband’s , Earthing and grounding in Sedona!


In the many years I practiced and taught yoga, I knew of the importance of grounding oneself. I would stand in tadasana, or mountain pose, and feel the roots underneath my feet grounding and rooting me to the earth. However, a key element was missing. Though I was standing barefoot on my mat, I neglected to walk outside and stand on the grass and feel the earth’s energy truly rooting and nourishing me within. This may sound a little too ‘new-agey’ to many of my readers, so I encourage you to keep reading. There is some science to this healthy practice of grounding, and a documentary I recently watched at the Sedona Film Festival called Down to Earth: The Remarkable Science of Grounding, is an enlightening revelation to its benefits.

In the movie, filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell bring forth this amazing groundbreaking (pun intended!) research on how ‘grounding’ or ‘earthing’ can be the answer to our country’s health crisis.  What exactly is grounding? Simply stated, it means directly connecting one’s body to the earth so as to restore the electromagnetic balance needed to restore and maintain optimal health. 

The film, featuring the actresses Mariel Hemingway and Amy Smart along with several other scientists, physicists, medical doctors, and health advocates, shows the importance of this practice through personal experiences and scientific studies. It all comes down to inflammation, the root cause of so many physical ailments that can be obvious or hidden. When inflammation is noticeable, we feel pain in the muscles or joints, and there can even be visible swelling. When we don’t see inflammation, it can be wreaking havoc inside our bodily systems, and could be related to many illnesses and conditions, ranging from heart disease, stroke, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, liver disease, chronic stress, depression, autoimmune diseases, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.

Since the surface of the Earth is negatively charged, when we connect to this charge through our skin via grounding, inflammation is reduced in our bodies and our health improves.  The film shows countless individuals who practiced  ‘Earthing’ seeing improvements in sleep, restless leg syndrome, pain, depression, and a myriad of other illnesses and ailments.

In addition to the filmmakers and actresses that were at the Q&A after the film, one of the writers of a book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?, Clint Ober, was present. The book was an impetus to the film and Clint’s own story revealing how this research unfolded is fascinating. This book is on my ‘to-read’ list and will most likely do a much more thorough job highlighting the benefits of this simple but profoundly vital practice.  The practice of stepping barefoot onto the earth and walking is something that was so natural to us all centuries ago, and has been let go of in place of our obsession with shoes and the covering of our best earth receptors, our feet.

Since our bodies are made up mostly of water and minerals, they are good conductors of electricity. The free electrons on the surface of the Earth are easily transferred to the human body so long as there is direct contact. Since the invention of synthetic soled shoes, we’ve become insulated and thus disconnected from the Earth’s electric field. Moccasins made of animal hides are a healthier way to ground ourselves with the earth since the hides will not insulate us like synthetic materials do. Leather soles can also work, but not as effectively.  Until we invent the perfect replacement to the artificial soled shoes we use now, we are best off spending time barefoot on the grass or the earth each day. Doing so for about 15 minutes each day is said to be tremendously beneficial and restorative. 

We can also get grounded inside our homes by using grounding sheets, mats, or blankets, so long as we plug these devices into a grounded outlet in our homes.  Most of these grounding products that are sold come with an outlet tester since there are many different outlet configurations around the world. Some are grounded (Earthed) and others are not. If you want to plug into a wall outlet you have to determine first whether your electrical system and outlets are properly grounded. Outlets with 3 holes generally mean they are grounded. When only two holes are present, that means there is no Earth/ground present so you must use a ground rod.

I recently purchased a grounding mat for the end of our bed for my husband and me. He suffers from restless legs/body when he sleeps and the film showed great promise for this frustrating sleep-depriver.  Once it comes and we install it, I will report its effectiveness. More importantly, we have begun stepping outside, discarding our shoes, and connecting to the earth. In fact, the day after we saw the film at the festival, we donned our hotel robes, and walked outside our hotel room and stood on the grass near our room. We enjoyed the feelings of doing something so natural and healthy to our bodies and have since adapted this daily practice into our lives.

Skeptics will read this article, see the movie, or read the book and question its research. I, too, was a bit skeptical in the beginning. However, what is the harm/risk of doing something so natural? I see no downside whatsoever, and quite frankly, it feels so good to step my feet on the grass and connect to Mother Earth.

In addition to the film, there are many books and websites on grounding/Earthing. Here a few sites to explore this potentially life-changing and mind/body enhancing practice.

https://www.earthinginstitute.net/.

https://www.amazon.com/Earthing-Most-Important-Health-Discovery/dp/1591202833

https://www.earthing.com/

https://deepakchoprainnerspace.com/

http://www.groundtherapycenter.com/

-S&B

Stressing Less and Living Healthier in the New Year

With the holidays behind us and the New Year ahead, now is the perfect time to learn new techniques to keep stress at bay and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Since it is impossible to avoid stress completely, the following tips will help you cope with your stress and welcome in a peaceful 2019.

1   Breathe Deeply

  • Develop an awareness of your breath.
  • Are you holding your breath? Is your breath shallow? Where is the breath traveling within your body?
  • Inflate the belly slowly as if expanding a balloon inside of it.
  • Slow down your exhalation as you deflate this “balloon.” This is the key to becoming more relaxed and calming your nervous system.

2   Start Your Day with an Intention

  • State what you want to achieve or accomplish when you wake up each morning. You may do this silently or say it out loud!
  • Replace any negative, worrisome thoughts with this positive statement.
  • For example, “I am calm, relaxed, and my life is in balance.” Remember, whatever we think becomes our reality so state what you want in a positive way.

3   Visualize a Positive Outcome

  • Like an athlete visualizes his golf shot or free throw before approaching the ball, picture a positive outcome of what you want to happen when faced with a challenge.
  • Imagine yourself overcoming the obstacle and paint a picture in your mind of how it will look and feel in your life when it manifests.

4   Embrace an Attitude of Gratitude

  • Research shows that expressing our gratitude each day has a positive effect on our health and well-being.
  • Take a moment to think about what you are grateful for in your life as each day begins.
  • Experience the healing, de-stressing benefits of gratitude as you practice this technique. Families can benefit by individually expressing gratitude at shared meals together.

5   Lavender Up

  • Research has shown that scents can dramatically alter our mood, and lavender is known to be one of the most calming and soothing scents.
  • Lavender comes in all forms- soap, bubble bath, candles, etc. I highly recommend purchasing a quality grade of pure lavender essential oil.
  • Inhale the scent as you open the bottle.
  • Place a few drops on your wrist and/or neck. You can also place lavender on the bottoms of your feet to aid with sleep.

6   Get Movin’!

  • Walk, dance, swim, run, bike, do yoga… just get moving.
  • Exercise has been proven to increase endorphins and people who exercise benefit greatly from a more positive mood and lower rate of depression.

  Laugh a Little… or A LOT!

  • Read a funny book or watch your favorite sitcom or comedy. Not only is laughing enjoyable, but it also has aerobic benefits.
  • When we laugh, we release stress-relieving hormones and balance our immune system.

8   Collect a Good Tribe

  • Surround yourself with people who make you feel good.
  • Distance yourself from individuals who drain your energy and feel obligatory in nature.

~These tips and techniques will equip you with a healthy arsenal of tools to use when you are faced with stressors. The breath, in particular, is one of the most immediate ways to calm yourself down in the face of immediate stress. Learning to breathe deeply will help you cope with stress and facilitate better health and well-being in your life. Take a deep breath and say hello to a healthy 2019!

Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year!

-S&B

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