8 Simple Wellness Tips

8 Simple (and Free) Wellness Strategies that Really Work

Feed yourself a humor diet.  Have a joke party.  Get a joke calendar.  Watch a comedy every week.

Balance your energy budget.  Pace yourself, emotionally and physically.  Make lists, organize life activities, focusing on top priorities.  Eliminate nonessential activities that may be  overwhelming.  Break up tasks into smaller units of shorter duration.  i.e., trim one hedge per day, instead of doing all in one day.

Practice gratitude.  Find things that inspire love and gratitude daily.  Keep a gratitude journal.

Have more fun!  Schedule fun into your day/week!  Stay open to playfulness.
Keep a long list of things you like to do.  Refer to it daily.

Inhabit your body.  Move for the joy of moving.  Feel your body.  Be aware of your posture – Let your spine be lifted and supple.  Use your senses. Eat a raisin as slowly as you can.

Breathe!   Let your breath move from your belly.  Let out a relaxing sigh.

Eat Well.  Avoid deprivation strategies. . . ADD fruit, veggies, water. . .
Practice moderation.  Consciously absorb the goodness of food.

Use your imagination.  Stimulate your creative brain (use it or lose it)!  Doodle, write, finger paint, use your non-dominate hand.  Use imagery. . To create a retreat. . . To generate positive  feelings. . . To promote healing and energy.  Practice creative brainstorming and problem-solving.

Make small changes!  Give big encouragement.
Even small efforts can keep us feeling well and happy!

Posted by Integrative Wellness, Inc., & Natalie Dowty, PT, MPT, EdD

Holiday Hints

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Navigating the Holidays with Chronic Pain / Illness

The Holidays can move us out of our routines, which can increase stress and symptoms.  It helps to plan ahead to maximize joy and minimize stress. Here are a few tried-and-true suggestions:

Specific Tips…….

Lights.  Outdoor Laser lights (Projections) are inexpensive and so easy to set up and store you will wonder why you ever did anything else.

Tree.  A 4 foot (or smaller) artificial tree can be put away fully decorated by wrapping it in plastic. Once decorated, it works on the floor or on a small table and takes very little effort and less than 15 minutes to set up.

Cards.  E-cards are the way to go. Once you set up an e-mailing list, copy and paste all addresses on the BC line (so they can’t see the other entries), type a holiday greeting, add a photo if you like. Hit send. Your done.  Gradually build your mailing list overtime, if this task is stressful.

Gift wrapping.  Minimize the time and effort of this task with gift bags. Items that won’t fit in gift bags can be wrapped in fabric or a scarf with a ribbon.

Food.  Order in.  Integrate frozen or ready-prepared items into home-made recipes. Make less food – turkey breasts instead of the whole bird.  Do a pot luck.  Bottom line: make sure you have enough energy left over after dinner to enjoy visiting.

In General……..

Simplify.  The goal is to enjoy the company of others and to cultivate a sense of gratitude. Graciously let go of things that do not move you toward this goal.

Pace yourself.  Prioritize. Don’t try to do it all. It’s OK to politely decline an invitation and/or postpone a visit until after the holidays.

Work ahead, a little at a time.  Look at what you can prepare in advance of the holidays. Purchase and freeze food. Prepare laundry and put it aside. Prepare gifts well in advance.

Ask for help.  Be specific and upbeat about your needs. You won’t necessarily get the help you need unless you ask for it. And sharing tasks is an opportunity to enjoy the season together.

Posted by Integrative Wellness, Inc., & Natalie Dowty, PT, MPT, EdD

EDS Tips: Water Exercise Suggestions for Success

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The water is an ideal exercise environment for those with chronic pain/illness. The following are a few of the many benefits of the unique properties of water:

  • Reduced impact on joints.
  • Total body, multi-directional resistance.
  • Reduced pain during exercise.
  • Support through range of motion.
  • Enhanced balance and decreased fear of falling.
  • Increased well-being.

In order to make the most of a water exercise program, it helps to be aware specific cautions for those with EDS.

Beware of flotation weights. Most flotation resistance devices are too large and buoyant, and may put unnecessary stress on sensitive joints, especially wrist, shoulder and thumb joints. Attention to hand, wrist and forearm direction against water resistance can get you a great work out without the use of these devices.

Begin your program gradually. Start with 15 minutes or less of water movement and add five or 10 minutes each time, as tolerated. The goal is to avoid aggravating symptoms and to allow connective tissue to adapt to the multidimensional resistance of the water.

Start in chest deep water. Loose joints often respond better in normal standing and walking position, with the feet in contact with the bottom of the pool. This provides stability that deep water exercise does not offer.

Maintain good posture. There’s a tendency to elevate your shoulders when you’re in the water, especially if the water is cool. Try to keep your shoulders down, relax your neck, jaw and back.

Breathe deeply. Along with the tendency to elevate the shoulders, there is a tendency to breathe from the upper chest. The water pressure may make it feel strange, but allow your breath to fill your belly and rib cage in all directions. The water resistance will strengthen your breathing.

Put your heels on the ground. Buoyancy makes us want to stand on and over-use the ball of the foot in the water. Use a heel-toe pattern during water walking to avoid foot pain and so that your heel cords don’t become short and tight.

Move from your core. Use your strong back muscles, rather than your neck, to stabilize your arms. Gently engage your ab muscles before working your arms and legs, to provide a solid center from which to move.

Thin microfiber towels allow you to carry more drying power with less weight.

If you chill easily, here are some additional suggestions:

Wear a close-fitting long sleeve shirt in the water.  This holds a layer of warm water next to your skin.

Use a wet shammy (chamois) immediately after leaving the water to remove most of the water from your body and stop evaporation process that cools the skin.

Put on a fleece / microfiber jacket or wrap immediately after exiting the pool. This is particularly helpful if the locker room is cool.

Posted by Integrative Wellness, Inc., & Natalie Dowty, PT, MPT, EdD