Relaxation, a need or a hype?

restorativeI have to admit, I am not a fan of relaxation. There, I said it! Anytime I read an event description that is all about relaxation, I have zero interest in it. I view relaxation for relaxation’s sake as a form of escapism. I see it as a way to escape your troubles, your discomfort, your unease instead of dealing with it. As such, it just doesn’t hold a lot of value for me. I feel that we learn and grow when we are uncomfortable, when we can face our situation head on and acknowledge it, accept it, and change it if we need to. If you are just trying to avoid dealing with it by attending a variety of “feel-good” events, how will you change the course of your life?

Now, stillness, mindfulness, those I hold in high regard. In those rare moments of stillness, that’s when magic happens. That’s when invaluable insights have room to show up and be noticed. That, I can get behind on.

But guess what? We are so stressed and overwhelmed, we are so rushed along our lives, that we no longer know how to be still and mindful. It is no longer a natural part of our lives to slow down. And this is where relaxation does come in. If you are able to relax and let go, you will be able to be still and mindful. You can get out of being stuck in your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and back into your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). And did you know that we are supposed to live in “rest and digest” mode? With short bursts of activity in “fight or flight”? It feels as if though everything in today’s world is stack against that.

I can’t tell you how many clients I have seen that have trouble relaxing and letting go. I see it both in Reiki sessions and in Thai bodywork. With Reiki, they do eventually settle down and relax or doze off. It is also more of a mind that might stay agitated. The body lays still, so it’s easier to relax. But with Thai, and all the movement that comes with it, the person has to consciously relax the muscles so that I can move them without resistance. And I remind them to do so if I feel tension. One of the most common answers to that is, “But I feel like I am relaxed.” Nope, there is still tension, still effort. Slowly, they learn how to let go and relax and boy, what a difference it makes!

My best allergy tips

allergiesHow are your allergies this time of year? Are you sneezy, snootie, and with watering eyes? I can sympathize, my friend, I really can. I’ve had my ups and downs with all that and August/September used to be the worst! I could not drive with my windows open and had to stay indoor as much as possible.

After going to a specialist for a test, I turned out to be allergic to practically everything. I was allergic to mold, trees, grasses, cats, and most of the other things they test for that I don’t even remember now. I was prescribed medication: spray for the nose, eye drops, and some kind of anti-histamine. The medication worked great! It definitely managed my symptoms. But after using it for a bit, I wasn’t too happy with the side effects. Nose spray was addictive and gave me nosebleeds. Anti-histamine made me foggy, made my hands shake, and gave me heart palpitations. The eye drops were OK, maybe I didn’t use them often enough?

In my search for alternatives, there was a time when I haven’t exactly figured it out, and so had plenty of sneezing and runny nose attacks. While it’s too late to be completely sneeze-free at this point, it’s not too late to get better.

So, what do I do to stay off medications and still get out of the house without being a mess? At least as long as sneezing is concerned?

Do this now:

  • Get yourself some nettle tea. It really helps and has a lot of benefits besides allergies. You can pick it up at Eternal Balance, look for it online, or at health food stores. I sell organic and responsibly harvested tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. You will have to brew it strong – 1 T of plant material to one cup of water. Pour boiling water over it, cover(!), and let steep for at least 10 minutes. Once a day is enough for me at this point, but if you are feeling pretty bad, I’d go for two cups a day.
  • Invest in a neti pot. Mine is just simple plastic that I got at Walgreens, but I’m thinking of investing into this ceramic one. It’s fine if you say, “eww, gross!” in public, but do use it in private. Frankly, it’s way less gross than wiping your nose. It takes a little bit to get the hang of it, but 2-3 days and you’ll feel so much better! I’d just do it before bed, but morning and evening are good if you are really snootie.
  • Get some local honey and start adding a teaspoon into your nettle tea. Wait until after it’s steeped and not as hot to mix honey in. This will take a while to kick in, so it’s best to do it anytime you have tea throughout the year.

Do this during the year:

  • Keep using local honey in your tea. Don’t get store-bought honey, it might not even be honey. Get one at your farmer’s market. There are plenty in our area. Even if the honey is from Vermont, the pollen there is still more alike to ours than one in Florida.
  • Try to figure out what else might be causing inflammation in your body. I really think that allergies are more pronounced when the body is already agitated by dealing with other stressors. So, clean up your diet, your cleaning and personal products, and so on.
  • Lastly, stress makes everything worse. Make yourself laugh everyday! At the end of the day, if you haven’t laughed, force a loud laugh out. You will look so bonkers, it is bound to make you laugh!

I hope these allergy tips will bring some immediate relief and will keep you sneeze-free come next spring and summer!

Disclaimer: No part of this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness. Nothing on this post is to be construed as medical advice; I am not a doctor, I am only relating my personal experience. Please discuss your personal health with your personal, qualified health practitioner before making changes to your diet or adjusting/discontinuing any medication. I am not responsible for any adverse outcomes associated with using or misconstruing advice or information on this site.