Stress

Stress is a scary concept.

Known as the “state of mental or emotional strain or tension from adverse or demanding circumstances”, this phenomenon is the body’s way of protecting you. Manifesting itself through mental, physical, emotional and behavioural outlets, you may find yourself experiencing some of the following symptoms:

  • memory problems, lack of concentration
  • poor judgement, negative outlook
  • anxiety/racing thoughts
  • body aches and pains, bowel disruption, low immune system
  • nausea/dizziness, chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • moodiness, irritability, short temper, feeling overwhelmed and the inability to relax
  • loneliness and isolation/general unhappiness
  • eating more or less/sleeping more or less
  • procrastination/isolation
  • using external stimuli to promote relaxation (alcohol, drugs or cigarettes)
  • nervous habits (nail biting, fidgeting, shaking, pacing)

It is extremely important to be aware of triggers in your life which seem to activate these responses. Oftentimes you may be able to find a way to avoid setting off these triggers, however when you can’t, being aware allows you to have control over the next steps.

When you know stress may be on your horizon:

If you know an event in your future may cause you stress (a work event or meeting, university schedule, upcoming family engagements), there are a few things you can do to minimise your body’s reactions.

1. Acknowledge – be aware of the upcoming event, and instead of feeling anxious in anticipation, acknowledge the event as a potential stressful situation. Once you allow your mind to accept this, you can begin to ready yourself for it. Worry is often a useless emotion.

2. Prepare – prepare anything you can in advance. If it is work or uni related, create a calendar of milestones in the lead up (like having a draft of your assignment ready a couple weeks in advance). If it is a family commitment, plan for mishaps and “just-in-case” situations.

3. Let it go – once you have acknowledged the situation as a potential stress, and prepared, all you can do is let it go. We often worry about what could happen in the future, which wastes the seconds in the present. Tell yourself “I will no longer view this as a negative situation”, and push the negative thoughts away when they creep back into your mind!

When you are in a stressed state of being:

Stress causes the body to shut down. Your immune system can drastically drop, your mental being is often in a negative state and your emotions can become uncontrollable.

When you are feeling stressed it is important to identify methods of relaxation that your body will respond to. These methods differ for each individual. Often they are as simple as allowing yourself an hour a day to enjoy your favourite activity. It just might be a challenge to switch your mind off and actually be present in the activity, but after a few times of actively practicing, it will become second nature again – don’t give up!

Popular mental and physical methods to reach relaxation include meditation, yoga and massages. Meditation focuses on quietening the mind, yoga promotes organ and muscle activation, as well as the quietening of the mind, while massages activate your organs, promotes body and mind relaxation as well as heightens your circulation.

Daily ways to avoid stress can include:

  • implementing a routine, which includes your method of relaxation (so you schedule some ‘me time’ in)
  • organisation and planning ahead
  • eating well – whole foods (ie. not processed) are a natural way to heal your body, and reduce the stress of digestion on your system
  • making an active effort to be present in the moment, reducing worry about the future
  • keeping a journal of your stress (i.e. why you’re stressed, your body’s reactions) so you can better combat it in the future
  • speak nicely to yourself – don’t be so harsh. We are often our own worst enemies.

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Stress, when not dealt with, can have serious effects on our mental wellbeing. If you feel as though you are unable to control your stress, it is important to seek help.

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Be sure to be kind to your mind and body, and your mind and body will be kind to you!

Stop Free Radicals with Vitamin E!

Vitamin E – What Does It Do?

Vitamin E is a well known antioxidant.  It protects cells from attack by damaging free radicals which can be linked to cancer.  Beneficial for the prevention and treatment of varicose veins and most heart ailments.  It keeps heart, circulation, skin and nervous system in good condition.

Also assists with helping to oxygenate the tissues, which can prevent some symptoms of fatigue.

How It Works

Cholesterol damaged by free radicals can build up on artery walls and cause heart attacks and strokes.  It’s also vital for the optical nerves.

Good Food Sources

Wheatgerm oil, sunflower oil, sunflower seeds, hazelnut, almonds, pinenuts, sweet potatoes, spinach, muesli.

 

Recipe Supercharged with Vitamin E

SPICED SPANISH ALMONDS

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 1hr, 20 min
Serves: 12 (1/4 cup each)

Ingredients
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon water
3 cups raw whole almonds

Directions
Preheat oven to 275F
Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray
Whisk brown sugar, cumin, paprika, thyme, salt and cayenne in a large bowl
Whisk egg white and water in a medium bowl until foamy
Add almonds and stir to coat; pour through a sieve to drain off excess egg white
Transfer the almonds to the bowl of spices; stir well to coat
Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet
Bake the almonds for 30 minutes
Stir, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and bake until the almonds are dry and golden, about 30 minutes more
Let cool before serving, about 20 minutes

Understanding Massage Therapy – What the Differences are and How it Can Help.

Everybody can benefit from regular massage, from babies to the elderly, to sports people, labourers and office workers. You don’t only have to be recovering from an injury – a regular massage is the key to better health.

Relaxation Massage

If your physical or emotional health is challenged, massage can eliminate the production of stress chemicals in the body. If you’re feeling stressed or under pressure, a massage therapist can offer a variety of relaxation modalities to help you wind down and feel revitalised.

Remedial Massage (covering sports massage and deep tissue)

Massage therapy stretches muscles, inhibits muscle spasm, increases flexibility and helps break down scar tissue. Therefore, it can help you recover from injury, either from an accident sport or surgery. A neck and shoulder massage can also alleviate repetitive strain injuries resulting from poor posture or sitting for long periods of time. If you play sport, regular massage therapy can help prevent injury. A massage therapist can develop a treatment program in conjunction with your training to maximise your performance.

What are the Benefits of Massage?

Massage may:
Reduce swelling
Lower heart rate and blood pressure
Reduce stress and anxiety
Boost the immune system through cellular waste elimination
Relieve muscle tension and improve muscle tone
Reduce inflammation in joints and soft tissue
Alleviate pain, stiffness and improve flexibility

Can Massage Help My Condition?

Massage has been known to benefit a number of symptoms in the following conditions:
Arthritis
Asthma
Back pain
Gastrointestinal disorders
Headaches
Immune system disorders
Insomnia
Joint strains and sprains
Myofascial pain (connective tissue)
Mental illnesses
Pregnancy associated problems

Benefits of Massaging During Pregnancy

During pregnancy a woman’s body undergoes many changes, some of them stressful and uncomfortable. Massage is a perfect way to reduce stress and promote general wellbeing.

For instance, massage

  • Relieves many of the normal discomforts during pregnancy such as backaches, a stiff neck, leg cramps, headaches, oedema and sore, swollen ankles and feet.
  • Increases local and general blood circulation, which brings more oxygen and nutrients to the cells of both the mother and foetus.
  • Helps the mother’s body to eliminate waste products through the lymphatic and circulatory systems which combats fatigue.
  • Helps to soothe and relax nervous tension, which helps the mother sleep more easily and more deeply.
  • Can be used during the birth to make it easier and more comfortable for the mother.
  • Is equally valuable after the birth to help a mother regain her strength more quickly and ease postpartum stress.

At Oxenford Mind and body we recommend that massage therapy begin as early as possible in the pregnancy in order to get maximum benefit.

VITAMIN C – GOOD FOR MORE THAN JUST COLD AND FLU.

What it Does
Wonderful for helping to heal wounds by forming collagen and connective tissue, the “glue” that holds tissues together.

Essential for iron absorption and maintenance of health red blood cells.

Helps to reduce inflammation, reduces the severity of colds and great for building general health and resistance to illness.

Good Food Sources
Berries, citrus fruit and juices, papaya, guava, peppers, dark green vegetables.

RECIPE FOR VITAMIN C

Avocado, Grapefruit, And Papaya Salad

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
2 pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
1 small ripe papaya, peeled and sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
4 cups mixed baby greens
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

DIRECTIONS
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil and juice.
Add the avocado, grapefruit, papaya, and spring onions.
Toss gently to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Serve over a bed of the greens, sprinkled with the coriander.

Gentle Ways to Detox your Body

Low energy levels, body aches and pains and a foggy bain?
Guess what? It’s time for a body detox!

Imagine, you have clearer skin, a sharper mind, you’re more revitalized than you’ve ever been, you have a stronger immune system and just feel like a healthier you. You can enjoy all of this by undergoing a detoxification program.

Detoxification basically means blood cleansing through eliminating impurities (toxins) from the blood in the liver, through kidneys, lungs, intestines, lymph and skin.

Take Action!

Don’t be scared, it’s easier than you think.
You have to reduce toxins in your body so what are you going to do?
Make a start by cutting down on the following; cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, foods with saturated fats and refined sugars (fizzy drinks and sauces contain lots!). These act as toxins in your body and prevent healing.

Using chemical based household cleaners and personal health care products such as shampoos, toothpaste, deodorants and cleansers should be reduced as well. These chemicals stay inside us and never fully eliminate unless going on a detoxification process.

There are so many ways to detox the body. You can choose which suits your lifestyle and preference. Here’s a quick handy guide we’ve put together.

Juice Fasting

Drink only fresh fruits and vegetables. A good juice will contain 5 vegetables and one to two fruits.

Choose from the following:
carrot
spinach
ginger root
kale
broccoli
celery
cabbage
apple
pear
pineapple
cranberry

Highly effective at discharging toxins, vegetables and fruit also provide loads of nutrients and enzymes to decrease the severity of the cleansing process to a stage that’s easier to handle.

As an added bonus, one the benefits from juice fasting is weight loss.
You may drop 10kg to 15kg on a 30-day juice fast (only do this under medical supervision), however juice fasting is usually done over a 1-3 day period!

Water Fasting

As it’s name implies, only water is consumed during a water fast.
Water helps the digestive tract and organs to rest completely, eliminating toxin build-ups and allowing all of your energy to self-repair.

Water fasting not only eliminates obstruction and aids in self-healing, it is also revitalizing and motivating to make a fresh start and, as always, only do under medical supervision.

Gentle ways to detox your body:

Here are some more gentle and safer ways to detox your body. Try them out or incorporate different methods as part your routine.

Massage

By increasing circulation, blood flow and releasing stiff muscles, massage can assist in removing toxins from the body.  It also feels great!

Change Your Diet

Fresh fruits and vegetables, organic where possible, instead of packaged and fast foods that are high in fats and sugar.

Sauna

Saunas and ‘heat rooms’ are widely used by many cultures regularly as part of detoxing. It’s a great way of removing toxic buildups in our body cells. Combine with diet, exercise and nutritional supplements and watch your body start to glow.

Skin Brushing

Again, combining diet, exercise and nutritional supplements, skin brushing is also a gentle way of detoxing. Our skin is the largest organ of the body and the main way that we detox. Skin brushing removes old skin cells, stimulates the lymph system and draws out toxins. Use brush made from soft vegetable bristles – good health food store should stock them.

Brush in the morning before showering for the most benefit.

Yoga

Different positions lightly massage the internal organs and stimulate them to slowly discharge toxins. Combined with breathing exercise, the bloodstream thoroughly oxygenates thus giving energy and improves the body’s physical process.
These cleansing methods are just a guide to what you can do to improve your health. It is necessary to know why detox is important and understand the different ways on how to detox the body before you begin with the different programs.

Remember to drink lots of fresh water while detoxing and consult a health practitioner before starting any health related program.

Running Low on Energy? Vitamin B6 Can Help!

What it Does
Keeps the nerves healthy and in good condition making it beneficial for in the treatment of nervousness, irritability and insomnia. Great for balancing the sex hormones and preventing menstrual oedema or general problems caused by fluid retention.

Can also help with muscle repair, cramps, migraine headaches and skin disorders.

Good Food Sources

Wheatgerm, wheatbran, liver, cod, turkey, beef, bananas, brussels sprouts, cabbage, mangoes, avocados and potatoes

Try This Quick and Tasty Recipe to Get Your Vitamin B6

BANANA SPLIT OATS

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup dry quick quaker oats
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 medium banana, sliced
1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons peanuts
DIRECTIONS
In a microwave or on a stovetop, cook 1/2 cup dry Quick Quaker Oats with water to desired consistency.
Add 1/4 cup of strawberries to oats.
Top with 1/2 medium banana, sliced, 1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate chips, and 2 tablespoons peanuts.
Eat as is or bake it in the oven for 10 mins.

A Beginner’s Guide To Clean Eating

1. Get your greens in.

Set “green goals”. Adding greens to your diet will leave less room for junk and it will leave you feeling more energized and nourished. Challenge yourself to eat greens at least at two meals a day. It doesn’t matter if it’s kale, spinach, swiss chard or something mild like a romaine or butter lettuce. Start making it a habit to incorporate greens in your meals and over time you’ll get more comfortable with the darker, more flavorful varieties.

2. Put color on your plate.

Nature’s beautiful colors that is, not artificial dye. Make an effort to put a rainbow on your plate: a good place to start is to aim for three different colors at each meal (bonus points if one is always green!). Nature had a lovely way of grouping vegetables and fruits in colors based on the key nutrients in them, so the best way to get a variety of nutrients is to diversify the colors on your plate.

Open your mind to all sorts of different vegetable/fruit combinations and allow your eyes to paint your plate. It’s always fun to get creative with your food. Maybe you’ll make some weird meals, but more likely, you’ll stumble upon some new winning combinations!

3. Make the farmer’s market your friend.

Look up your local farmer’s market and plan a date with yourself every week to go. It’s best to make this a time that you’ll be able to go so it can become a natural part of your weekly schedule. Make this date your “me time”; let yourself relax and just explore. Shopping is not part of your homework here, all you have to do is go, get interested, chat with local farmers, and make this outing part of your schedule. I’m confident the buying of delicious, colorful produce, and other great local products will happen naturally.

4. Become an ingredient snob.

Yes, it’s time for you to become THAT person. The person that always has to ask what’s in something before eating it. Let me tell you a secret, “People that put better ingredients in their bodies, get better, healthier bodies!” You are only punishing yourself by not being inquisitive.

Look at labels, not for the calories but for the ingredients. The ingredients should read like a shopping list. If there are some ingredients that you either couldn’t find in a supermarket or would never put in a recipe yourself (like high fructose corn syrup) skip it. It’s best if the ingredient list contains no more than six different items. It’s hard to say “stay away from all processed foods” because almost all foods that aren’t in their natural state when you ingest them, are processed.

Instead, in general it’s best to avoid mass-produced foods. Eat restaurant-made pasta instead of buying a box if that is what you crave. Apply that principal to anything that’s processed and you’ll be putting a better version of it in your body, it will taste better, and it is likely to have more nourishing ingredients.

5. Step outside your comfort zone.

One of the things I did when I first went on my elimination diet was to try a different vegetable each week. I would go to the supermarket or the farmer’s market and pick out something I had never eaten, never cooked or never heard of. I would buy enough to play with it all week and cook it in various ways and with different meals. It was incredibly fun and extremely educational. I learned about vegetables I would have never tried otherwise, created some really yummy recipes and discovered some vegetables that I loved eating. You can even use some vegetables you already know and use them in different ways than you normally do. It really opens your mind to all the possibilities and helps you build a bigger repertoire of healthy go-tos.

 

Reference: mindbodygreen.com
Author: Cassandra Bodrak