7 Benefits of good posture – And how to maintain it

7 Benefits of good posture – And how to maintain it

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and realised your posture appears a little too similar to The Hunchback of Notre-Dame?

Well, it isn’t too late to improve your posture and subsequently your overall health. Sustaining a good posture is an important part of your physical and mental health. It ensures your bones are well aligned with the rest of the body. As Moriehei Ueshiba states:

“A good stance and posture reflects a proper state of mind”.

So let’s examine 7 benefits of good posture and how you can improve your posture today.

Good Posture Benefits:

1) Promotes better breathing and helps you remain mentally alert. It can increase the amount of oxygen you inhale. While slouching would reduce it.

2) Improves your circulation and digestion. Your blood vessels (circulatory system) and digestive organs can function effectively. When you have correct posture, there’s no unnecessary compression or constriction inhibiting functionality. Examples of digestive issues connected to posture include: heartburn, indigestion and reflux; gastritis; and constipation.

3) Creates a strong, healthy spine. It does this by supporting and maintaining your intricate muscles, nerves and blood vessels, around and to, the vertebrae.

Breathe release stress

 

4) Strengthens muscles and joints by minimising wear and tear. Correct alignment optimises muscle function, allowing strength of muscles and stability in joints. This also reduces the risk of degenerative arthritis and joint pain.  It also reduces the stress on the ligaments holding your spinal joints together, minimising the likelihood of injury.

5) Boosts confidence and makes you look smarter. Have you ever noticed how leaders and celebrities walk across a stage? The confidence in a stride comes from a good posture. This not only impacts how you look on the outside, but also how you feel on the inside. An upright posture will help you look slimmer, smarter, and carry yourself with an aura of elegance and confidence.

6) Improves your state of mind – Your body’s posture reflects your mental and emotional state. A bizarre concept right? The body mind connection is immense. Body language actually sends signals to your brain about how you’re feeling. So, you can transform your state of mind by improving your posture.

7) Communicates to others about you!
How you hold your body is often referred to as body language. Body language, or posture, can tell others more about you than words alone. Sitting or standing up straight when speaking are powerful and confident stances. Slouching or a stooped posture displays the opposite.

Did you know that straight posture also communicates how interested you may be in what another person is saying? And how much you value the conversation?

With the multitude of benefits of having good posture, you may be wondering how you can maintain a healthy posture for yourself? So, to help you on this journey here are our top tips:

Journey to healing and recovery
Poor desk posture

Top Tips For Maintaining a Good Posture.

FirstNotice your posture throughout the day.  An easy way to do this is to ‘monitor’ it whenever you swap to a new activity. Good posture should feel natural. Be careful not to overcorrect yourself while establishing this new “proper posture” habit.

Stand up and move around every 30 minutes to an hour if you have a desk job. This works well in combination with the pomodoro technique. Movement can relieve muscle strain and improve breathing, circulation, attention and productivity. As you do this, take a moment to notice your posture.

Adjust your chair height so both of your feet can comfortably touch the floor. Keep your knees at the same level or lower than your hips. This encourages your back to straighten.

Keyboard – have this adjusted to be at elbow height, to allow your wrists to stay straight and relaxed as you type.

Computer monitor – Place laptops or tablets on a platform, to bring them up to eye level.

Mobile phone – hold at eye level so you can keep your head up. Use a hand-free device for lengthy calls or viewing.

The Chair – Sit back against the back of the chair. If it does not support your lower back, use a small pillow, rolled up towel or invest in a lumbar support cushion. This applies to car seats too!

Walking – When you walk, hold your head high and look forward, not at the ground. Roll your foot from heel to toe as smoothly as possible. Keeping back straight up, pulling from the highest point of your head. Keep your shoulders moving naturally, elbows slightly bent, and let your arms swing freely. Core Muscles activate when standing and walking correctly.

 

Lifting – Keep your back straight and bend at your hips and knees, rather than your waist, to keep your upper back from rounding. If you’re carrying a pint-sized human or pet for prolonged periods, alternate sides regularly.

Reconsider your footwear if you regularly wear high heels. Walking in heels is essentially walking on your toes, which is not a normal body movement. High heels cause tight calves, knees to hyperextend, the pelvis to tip forward, lower back muscles to tighten, and your core muscles to become weak. Shorter, wider heels can help better distribute your weight. Top tip – If you wear heels, remember to keep your core muscles activated (for as long as possible).

Having the correct posture will holistically support your mental, emotional and physical health. It helps you look better, feel more confident and suffer less pain.

What does your posture say about you?

Blossoming Me offers a fully integrated approach to your wellbeing. Located on Sydney’s Upper North Shore. Alexis our qualified Osteopath, offers a drug free, minimally invasive, “hands on” treatment focusing on the musculoskeletal system with its associated muscles, tendons, ligaments, membranes, bones and joints. Alexis takes a functional approach. This means that she focuses on the way a component (body part, tissue or group of tissues) performs its role, as well as the way the body works, performs and integrates as a whole.

Our remedial masseuse and health and lifestyle coach Sarah, offers complimentary support to help relieve those problematic knots, tightness and other specific ailments to promote a healthy recovery. These alternate massage therapies can be combined to suit your needs, including: shiatsu, acupressure, reiki, body mind massage or swedish. Our team will be able to support you to improve your posture and therefore your overall health.

Autumn Energy Cleanse; Clear Your Blocked Energy

Autumn Energy Cleanse; Clear Your Blocked Energy

One of the things Alexis and I are passionate about is nurturing and cleansing our bodies through the power of nature. An Autumn energy cleanse is but one example. As humans, we are closely connected with and directly affected by the rhythms of nature.  These rhythms can be seen in the cycles of the moon and the tides, as well as in the seasons. We can learn from the lessons nature shows us. Nature doesn’t attach stories, emotions or expectations. It simply and naturally follows the cycle of life. 

Seasonal Energy

Each season has its own energy and symbolism, which indicates where nature is in its annual cycle. Similarly, many cultures have traditions and beliefs reflecting the seasons and their symbolism. Take this time of year, for example mid-Autumn (in the southern hemisphere). The Christian faith celebrates Easter, while the Jewish faith celebrates Passover. Both are uniquely symbolic of the cycle of life, birth, death and renewal. Each faith naturally taps into the cycles of the season, and uses its energy to strengthen and nourish.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy, the season of Autumn is about releasing and renewal. Like the leaves released from the trees in Autumn. The orange, red and yellow leaves fall from the branches in a beautiful rain of colour that can gently swish around you. You can allow these leaves to help you let go of what you no longer need, to make room for anew.  Nature prepares for the coming changes, by shedding what it no longer needs. You can do the same! Like nature, it’s time to clear out what is no longer revitalising, and to free yourself from the things you’ve been afraid to let go of.

Energy Channels in Traditional Chinese Medicine

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, we have energy channels throughout our bodies. These energy channels, known as Meridian channels, support our body, mind, spirit and emotions. There are twelve main channels, grouped in pairs, with the exception of one set of four meridians. Each set is associated with characteristics, including:

  • a season
  • an element
  • a primary function.
  • an emotion (that we may feel if the energy becomes stuck.) 

Chinese medicine meridian channels

The Autumn Meridians

In Autumn, the lung and large intestine meridians, in the metal element are at their strongest. If our energy gets stuck, you can suffer with the emotion of grief. But the counterpoint or the power and primary function of the energy of the metal element is letting go. This enables you to release negative energy, so you can rejuvenate and refresh.

If we think about the function of our large intestines and lungs, this starts to make sense. Our large intestines help eliminate waste from our bodies, after we’ve absorbed all the nutrients from our food. Our lungs expel the old used air, in the form of carbon dioxide. This leaves (pun intended) room for the new air you inhale to bring fresh oxygen to be absorbed into your bloodstream. So the lungs and large intestines have a similar purpose. They both absorb vital compounds that we need to survive, and release what we do not need. Tapping into this energy of metal and Autumn, of the lung and large intestine meridian channels, can help us do the same thing in our lives.  So let’s delve a bit deeper into the functions of the lung and large intestine meridians:

Autumn Leaves chinese medicine and meridians

The Lung Meridian

  • Receiver of pure Chi.  It’s our connection to the heavens and all that is spiritual. This meridian helps us to see and appreciate the quality in ourselves, others and the outside world – it is the source of true self esteem. You might remember an earlier video where we spoke about expanding our posture, which expands our lungs; and breathing deeply, to lift our spirit, and boost our self esteem. If you missed it, check it our here (add link).

The Large Intestine Meridian

  • In charge of the waste system for the body, mind and emotional self. The large intestine also helps ensure we have space for the new by getting rid of the old. This meridian affects our ability to let go of what is no longer needed in all aspects of our life.

 5 Cleansing Techniques, Using the Metal Energy of Autumn.

 

1. Balance

It’s important to create a balance of giving and receiving. A period of rest, followed by a period of growth. Create a balance of inhalation and exhalation. 

You can also learn from nature by letting go of the stories and expectations  attached to your experiences, which can cause additional suffering. Live in the present moment with truth and acceptance. Practice letting go, trusting, and accepting, as you use the energy of the seasons, to help you move through your own seasonal cycle and energetic shift. 

 

2. Release thoughts, beliefs & behaviours that no longer serve you

We often think of spring as a time to clear, clean & declutter, but autumn has this connection even more. Allowing us to release things, thoughts, beliefs & behaviours that we no longer need. 

Sometimes I’d like to declutter people in my life too. But they are usually the people closest to us. They are the ones who unconsciously & mostly even unintentionally seem to know which buttons to press, to get under our skin.

Let me share a recent private challenge with you to illustrate my point. Just the other week, I had one of those days. I had to resolve a work progress issue with a member of our team, who’s a lifelong close friend. Much thought and preparation went into the meeting, which ultimately went well, and was uplifting for all involved. Although the process to get there was certainly taxing and an energy drain. As soon as I came out of that meeting, I found myself falling headlong into a misunderstanding with my mother.  Does this type of thing happen to you? Like someone is trying to teach you a lesson?

Over the years, these incidents have led me to search for strategies for forgiveness. And most of the time I realise there is at least an element of forgiving myself that I must address. This is, in my opinion, one of the reasons why it’s so powerful. Forgiveness is emotional release, just like the autumn leaves. Forgiveness, however, is not for the faint hearted, and although you may think it is, forgiveness is certainly not for other people. As Gandhi says:

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Practicing Autumn Breathing Cleanse Technique

Three strategies that I have found, that work best for me, are:

(i) Breath Cleansing

One of the best and simplest ways to strengthen your lungs is deep breathing. Especially outdoors, in the brisk autumn air. This nurtures and nourishes your immune system, supports your energy, and promotes good sleep. When you breathe deeply and deliberately, you flush your cells with the oxygen needed for all your bodily processes. Promoting the process of releasing and rejuvenating. Your lungs interact directly with the outside environment through your nose, mouth and skin pores. This plays an important role in fighting off external pathogens, like viruses and bacteria. As the temperature drops and winds become dry, you may notice cold or flu-like symptoms, such as a stiff neck, body aches, chills, fever, sore throat, headache, cough and runny nose. Existing skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, may get aggravated, and asthma or allergy reactions may flare. Now is the time to strengthen our Chi, energy, to prepare for winter.  

        Let’s get breath cleansing:

  • Consider each breath out, as a time for releasing any unwanted energies and developing the energy you desire. 

This is your time to heal and let go. You can be open to letting go of anything that no longer serves you. Focus on the simple in and out breath. A longer out breath will help you relax if you feel stressed or emotional.

  • With every breath out, you can let go.

  Release anything that holds you back or no longer serves you.

  • Now is the time to release and surrender.

Imagine as the leaves float to the ground, as the gentle breeze is carrying them. Along with these leaves, allow this breeze to carry what you no longer need. Feel the safety in this energy of releasing, to prepare for a renewal period and to make room for what is coming. 

  • Without falling leaves, there can be no new growth.

So…ground yourself in nature, close your eyes and breathe deeply as you feel the weight being lifted while you let go. Let go of anger, free all guilt. Liberate your grief. Release sadness. Free any judgments. Remove comparisons. Let go of shame. Unburden yourself of whatever is weighing you down. These emotions may have served you in the past, they may have protected you in some way, but now give yourself permission to release them. 

  • Should you have persistent negative thoughts invade your release cleanse.

Simply thank the thought for sharing. This helps it feel acknowledged. If it persists, rephrase or reframe it by adding “up until now” or “yet” to encourage it to feel heard. If it remains, then tighten your face and fists up on the in breath and release and relax on the out breath.

Autumn Cleanse Forgiveness and release 3 methods
  • Take another deep breath in, and as you breathe out feel the release.

Like the colourful leaves that fall from the branches. Feel a heavy weight being lifted from your shoulders. Like clearing out unwanted clutter from your mind.  

  • Now you have released everything you no longer need.

You feel a lightness, a calm feeling of inner peace. You look around you see the wind has stopped. The leaves have all fallen, and the forest of your mind is calm and still. 

(ii) Visualisation – Based on Forgiveness Visualisation by Vishen, at Mindvalley 

Forgiveness is when you let go of your resentment towards an individual or situation. Start by seeing the individual in front of you. As long as you sense they are there, it doesn’t matter if you cannot get a clear picture of their face. When you see them, remember that we are all connected.

  • Repeat the following phrase in your mind: “I forgive you and I ask you to forgive me”. 
  • Take a deep breath and as you exhale, feel your forgiveness flow to them, feel whatever resentment, anger or rage, release from your body.  
  • Now imagine this person telling you the same thing. “I forgive you, and I ask you to forgive me”. As they say it, take in a deep breath, and as you exhale, feel all regrets, resentment and rage, release from your body. 
  • Sometimes, if it is a deep, more painful memory, it can take longer to feel you’ve forgiven the person. Forgiveness is a trainable skill. One day, with practice, forgiveness will come. When you forgive, you improve your own health and you improve your own happiness in your life. 
Forgiveness and Release

(iii) Hawaiian Ho’ Oponono Technique

Simply say, or write these statements, with feeling (and whilst holding an image of the person you’re forgiving), in your heart and mind:

  • I’m sorry
  • Please forgive me
  • I love you
  • Thank you

Sometimes I practice these exercises in the safety and privacy of home. Other times, it can be a virtually immediate and deliberate response in the moment. When this is possible, it’s a great feeling, to let go, and not have it over my head for the rest of the day.

Autumn Release Acupressure Points

 3. Pressure Points & Brushing

If you have a thought that won’t budge, or a habit or behaviour that persists, try using acupressure points as well as the above practices. Even a meridian brush can amplify your results and improve your ability to release Also, notice if you wake up at night… What time is it? To help release the energy, you can brush your meridian channels, along your arms. 

  • Waking between 3:00 – 5:00am 

This is when lung energy is most active. Brush the inside of your arm from your shoulder to your thumb.  

  • Waking between 5:00 – 700am 

Focus on your large intestine meridian. Lightly brush with your fingers, from your pointer finger, all the way along the back of your arm, up your neck, and across to your opposite nostril.  You can also press acupressure points on yourself at home to strengthen your body, mind, and spirit. These metal points can help you let go of anything you no longer need. Releasing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual tension, as well as strengthening you from the inside out, to boost your personal composure. You can activate these acupressure points to clear stuck energy and emotions by stroking or pressing on the points. Let’s do it together now.  See the diagram:  Large Intestine1 (LI1)  and Lung 8 (Lu8).

  • LI1 – On the radial (also thumb) side of the index finger, about 0.1 finger width posterior to (towards the back of the hand) from the corner of the nail.
  • Lu8 – On the anterior (inside) forearm. Follow the line from the lateral (outside) edge of your thumb nail, to the depression at the base of the styloid process (wrist bone). 1 finger width above the transverse crease (across) your wrist.
  • To invigorate the energy, press these points gently  3 – 7 times.

Acupressure point
Autumn Cleanse nutritional support

4. Nourish with Nutritional Support of this season to Strengthen Your Body and Immunity

Healthy foods that can be easily added to many dishes, to further nourish our bodies, include: bay leaves, garlic, horseradish, leek, ginger, capers. They can support our lungs and boost our immune systems, naturally.

 

5. Allied Health Team Support

To strengthen your immune system and entire body, consider a ‘tune-up’ with a visit to your preferred professional practitioners. An osteopath, naturopath, acupuncturist or transformational massage therapist will be a complimentary support for your holistic Autumn cleanse. 

Wishing You Happiness and Strength This Autumn!

If you knew that you could, which aches and pains in your body, would you let go of?

If you were courageous enough, what thoughts, ideas or habits would you release?

Let us guide you along your wellbeing journey BlossomingMe is a holistic health service located on Sydney’s Upper North Shore.

Our specialised Remedial Massage Therapist and Osteopath offer a fully integrated approach, which assesses and addresses the specific issues in your body. With a clear understanding of your goals, we treat both mind and body to help you live your best life.

Dealing with Overwhelm

Dealing with Overwhelm

What is Overwhelm?

At some point in our lives, most of us have felt that all-encompassing feeling that everything is “a lot” or too much. Sometimes it feels like your head could just explode, sometimes it feels like you just want to run away, other times you feel like crying because you have been under so much stress (whether that is work, family life, or your health) that you are completely overcome with emotion, but not in a good way.

This is overwhelm.

How Many Things Can We Handle?

Is your closet too full?

No, I’m not talking about decluttering or clearing out your wardrobe; I’m talking about clearing your life. Reducing that sense of overwhelm that’s been paralysing you.

I recently heard a fabulous description of overwhelm: simply having too many hangers in our already full closet. Let me explain. If we put one task from our project or item from our to-do list, for instance, on each hanger, how many hangers can we fill at one time without stressing out or hitting overwhelm?

Well, usually, the answer is about 5-7.

Why? Because that’s commonly how many things our unconscious mind can handle at any one time. If we have a shopping list, a phone number to remember, or some other task, we can usually recall up to 5-7 things. Anything more than that often gets lost or forgotten.

Anything more than 5-7 often stresses us OUT!

Ultimately, if we do this regularly, it can reduce our resilience levels, patience, ability to concentrate, and more over time.

Woman overwhelmed by closet

What Happens When We Have Too Much Going On

 

You know when you have too many programs running on your computer, and it starts to slow down – this is what our body does when we’re overwhelmed.

You may recognise the signs of overwhelm such as:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mental slowness
  • A racing mind
  • Impaired ability to problem solve
  • Inability to think logically
  • General irritability

When this overwhelm occurs over a period of time, we can also suffer from cognitive or nervous fatigue, which I spoke about in our last blog.

When this happens, the symptoms of overwhelm are usually heightened and can make us feel even more overwhelmed simply from feeling like we can’t function how we think we should be. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Recognising What Is Causing Your Overwhelm

One of the first keys to dealing with overwhelm is to recognise what is causing it. If you look at what is going on for you, in different areas of your life, you can often pinpoint what the leading cause of your overwhelm is. Some common ones are:

  • Work
  • Family life
  • Financial
  • Illness
  • Injury
  • Relationships

It may be one, it may be two, it may be all, but regardless, working out what is causing your overwhelm is where you need to start.

Going back to our coat hanger analogy, it can sometimes look or feel like certain issues or tasks take up more than just one coat hanger. Some things can feel much more significant than others, meaning they leave less space for you to cope with other things. Pain, for example, especially when it’s constant, can be very pervasive. It can feel like it’s taking up several coat hangers at once, leaving only one or two coat hangers available for actual tasks to “hung on” – this is part of why we feel like we have such a short fuse when we’re unwell or in pain.
Taking up lots of hangers

How To Deal with Overwhelm

Now you have identified what is causing your overwhelm, let’s look at what you can do to help reduce the load.

Set Boundaries

Are you taking on too much with work? When you really need to be saying no, do you say yes to everything? Are you staying back late to finish everything off? It’s time to stop and put boundaries in place that allow your work to be done during your work hours and not for hours beyond that. Are you really the only one that can take on ALL the extra work, or can you say, “no, I can’t do that right now”?

Taking on more and more work and not getting adequate downtime will leave you, you guessed it, overwhelmed and essentially unproductive, likely causing you even more overwhelm!

Are You a Perfectionist?

Do you find yourself stressing over things and constantly thinking, “this could be better” or “I could do better”? The problem with this thinking is that you spend so much time analysing and stressing over that one task, that you fall behind in all the other things you still need to do, which causes your overwhelm to grow when things start piling up.

Sometimes you need to step away and say, “this is good enough.”.

 

Have You Tried Delegating?

If you’re a perfectionist, it can be hard to hand over tasks for someone else to complete; however, in doing so, you will free up time for yourself, and you can concentrate on what you specifically need to be doing. Whether than be a project at work that you can delegate tasks out to other team members, a part of your business that you can outsource to outside support, or asking family members to bring a dish at the Christmas or birthday celebration instead of taking on all the cooking yourself.

Imagine how much time you could get back and how much calmer your mind could be if you let a few things go.

Busy brain and time

Are You Catastrophising?

Do you think the worst when things don’t quite go to plan? “If I don’t cover all the tasks myself in this project, it won’t be done right and will fail.”, “Aunty Sue forgot the salad last time, and it completely ruined the day, I can’t let that happen again.”, “If I don’t say yes to all the jobs, they will think I’m not good at my job.”.

Take a deep breath! Will the project really fail if someone else helps out, was the family function indeed ruined, and are you sure they will think you’re not good at your job, or are these all assumptions in your head?

Simply becoming aware of these thoughts can help you let go of them. When they happen, take a minute to take a step back from the situation, catch your breath and then look at it again. Even have a chat with someone else about it for a rational and logical perspective.

Break Down the Tasks

Another element of this clever coat hanger analogy is how we deal with big projects. Chunking them down. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time – and that’s how we get projects completed, especially large ones. When we prioritise tasks, using the 80/20 rule (when 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort) to order them, we get the biggest “bang”, or results, for our “buck” of given energy and focus, and then just choosing one or two things to focus on.

But the first step is to “chunk” or break the project into bite-sized tasks. If we don’t break them down small enough, the tasks end up “hanging” on more than one coat hanger, leading us back to that feeling of overwhelm. Have you ever tried to tackle a step in a project and not known where or how to begin?
Sometimes the first step is not to take the measurements of the wardrobe you want to rebuild the inside of. It’s going to buy the tape measure so that you can take them.

Are You Looking After Your Mind and Body?

Are you taking YOU time? As the saying goes, our body is a temple, and we must treat it accordingly. If you’re going to treat it like a garbage dump, that’s how you’re going to feel, so it’s time to practice some self care!

• Take time each day to move your body, whether that is through exercises, yoga, daily stretches, or even dancing around your kitchen.
• Enjoy some chill-out time – listen to music, meditate, read a book, relax in the bath.
• Practice gratitude – the simple act of taking time to look at what in your life you are grateful for can do wondrous things to calm a racing mind.
• Good posture is important! We have spoken previously about how good and bad posture positively and negatively impacts the body. We must practice good posture to help increase our energy levels and positive feelings.

Blossoming Me can help you with this, address your pain, and get you well on your way to feeling calmer and pain-free.

Based on Sydney’s North Shore, Osteopath, Alexis and, Remedial Massage Therapist, Sarah are experienced in helping patients on their well-being journey and would love to get you back to feeling yourself once more.

Contact us or book an appointment online by clicking the button below if you’re ready to get started.
Is Nervous Fatigue Affecting You?

Is Nervous Fatigue Affecting You?

In our clinic, we see a lot of patients that have no one specific reason they have tight and sore muscles, joint stiffness and aches, and who are feeling tired and run down. One cause, and something not commonly realised, is nervous fatigue, and we are seeing more of this over the last couple of years. So, let’s talk about what nervous fatigue is, and what can be done to help.

What is Nervous Fatigue?

Nervous fatigue is a type of fatigue caused by excessive emotional stress – think studying or working for long periods without a break, dealing with overwhelming responsibilities over a significant period of time, living with mental health symptoms, and spending emotional and mental energy on worries, stress, and problems. While it isn’t uncommon to feel tired or even exhausted after a particularly mentally draining day, nervous fatigue isn’t something that a good night’s sleep can fix, and can have some rather intense effects.

Elements of Nervous Fatigue

According to Dr Claire Weekes, there are four elements to Nervous Fatigue – Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spirit. Some people find that they are affected in just the one way, while others are affected in more than one way, and sometimes by all four.

Physical

Muscles rest in a state known as “tone”, a balance between relaxation and contraction. When muscles are held in a tense state, for long periods of time, this delicate balance of “tone” is upset. And this creates a build-up of the chemicals of fatigue, which leads to the aching muscles. Often a sense of muscle weakness follows as well.

Dr Weekes explains that although these bodily reactions are temporary and ultimately unimportant, a sufferer, who doesn’t understand what is going on, can become intensely fearful of these attacks. And this fear of the body’s reaction, becomes larger than the original fear of the situation, thing etc. This “anxiety state”, when the sufferer is afraid of the effects of fatigue, allows this fear to affect their life. At this point, Dr Weekes says, the Nervous Fatigue has become an illness.

Emotional

When nerves are subjected to stress for a long time, especially with strong emotions, like fear, they effectively become trained. As I’ve spoken about before, the more this neural pathway is fired or used, or higher the intensity of emotion, the bigger and stronger the pathway becomes. Therefore, it fires faster and more intensely, with even the slightest of provocations. Dr Weekes, refers to this as “Sensitisation”.

Journey to healing and recovery
All emotions can be intensified: fear, anger, sadness, guilt, as well as love and joy. What a roller coaster! All these exaggerated feelings are tiring for the sufferer. To a point, the body can adapt to the stress of the emotional ups and downs, as long as the adrenal glands can keep up supplying the adrenaline and other essential hormones. When they become depleted, it can lead to adrenal or hormonal depletion and complete exhaustion.

Mental

Most of us can flit lightly between our thoughts. From idea to idea, subject to subject. With mental fatigue, this simple act is not so easy. Their thoughts either come haltingly and slowly, feeling like each individual thought must be specifically selected, making thinking feel like a huge effort. Or they stick together, so that if they begin to think about a certain thing, it tends to feel very difficult to let it go – particularly if it has a strong emotion attached to it, like fear.

“When sensitisation and mental fatigue come together, throwing off frightening thoughts can seem impossible.”

Spirit

Especially if the unknowing sufferer has been trying to recover by fighting their way out of fatigue, they may lose their sense of purpose, and wonder if the struggle to go on is worth it. They don’t need much, a sliver is enough to begin, but it is hope and courage that they need to pull through.

“We all have this strength, this power within us, and it will work miracles if we trust it to.”

How To Overcome Nervous Fatigue

You can relieve this by releasing these 4 types of fatigue, in the same order they built up. This is something that will take time, as we have previously spoken about before, however it will yield great results.

Facing, is acknowledging that even though external guidance support can help, the cure must come from inside oneself.

Acceptance is allowing the body to loosen as much as possible. Moving into the body’s response and letting it come, rather than fighting it. Like being right in the centre of a hurricane, in the “eye” of the storm, where the storm swirls around but cannot reach them. But first they must go through the storm.

The initial instinct is fearful tension, withdrawal or rigidly pushing and forcing, which produces hormones that make the “Storm” feel even stronger and wilder. Facing and relaxing the body into the symptoms with acceptance, on the other hand, help to dampen and eventually stop them.

self care acupressure points
This “allowing” takes time. To feel and to allow. To be able to trust that it will indeed pass. When it comes, it creates peace of mind and confidence built, not in the absence of symptoms, but the deep knowing, even in their midst, that they will pass.

Dr Weekes describes floating very much like breathwork or a visualisation. Allowing the body to relax and go as loose and limp as possible. Then deeply breathing in and slowly exhaling, whilst imagining gently floating, as if on a cloud. Allowing muscles to loosen and release.

Floating creates a sense of relaxation, but it also encompasses, Facing and Accepting, with grace and gentleness.
Dr Weekes says that “Physical support can help more than just physical pain”. Who knew?

Keep it light and simple – eg going to the gym – don’t go crazy making up for time you haven’t been, like the last 4 months during lockdown. Or as a therapist, light and gentle, through to firm, but don’t go hell for leather.

Personal connection is vitally important. What a surprise, she says! Whilst sufferers can overload and get tired very quickly, leaving them to their own devices to relax etc for hours or days at a time, is actually unsupportive. That whilst they may only have the energy reserves to do some activity, some activity is actually essential. Both from the point of view that leaving them to their own devices leaves far too much time for them to fall into negative, energy draining trains of thought, where they can expect the worst, beat themselves up, and generally lose energy.

And because doing things, an exercise or activity of choice, leads to having more energy, do what you can, within your limits, for yourself. In this way, building your own confidence that you can Face the fear. Let it pass.

“One finds strength quicker when active than when lying on the couch waiting for it to come”

 

Utilise our subconscious mind, in the form of simple routines and habits. Again, less is more. Rather than trying to stay relaxed all day, choose a set time, just once a day, to relax or meditate or whatever calming activity you like to do, then let it go for the rest of the day. Don’t worry about it, don’t even think about it. Slowly this will create a habit of success – what a surprise!

Even a short daily routine, like cleaning your teeth, can work. This simple action can give you something to do, something for the mind to focus on. Particularly if you use a manual toothbrush rather than an electric one that buzzes and vibrates in your head. This can help “calm the whirlwind within.”

Journey to healing and recovery
Emotional and hormonal exhaustion aren’t helped much by rest. Only by reducing stress. This is where we must “Face” our fears. Gently and with acceptance, not defensively.

We can gently change our mood. With acceptance, with time, and by moving through them gently, “floating” and allowing. I recall Louise Hay, motivational speaker and author, used to say that if you sit with an emotion and just allow it to pass through you, it usually only takes 10 minutes. Whilst for fatigue sufferers that may seem like a life time, simply allowing, rather than fighting them, will allow energy reserves to be maintained and the emotional energy to be released, rather than held and stored in the body.

Supporting the Spirit through the process; this is the part that sufferers really need help with, as a completely exhausted spirit has no inner source of joy to lift them from inside.

  • Help molehills not turn into mountains. Don’t trivialise their issues, but help them move past them, to other ideas to focus on.
  • Help them to float rather than fight through their journey.
  • Celebrate small wins and encourage flashes of normality, as glimmers of hope to which they can cling to.

“Each of us has unsuspected power to accomplish what we demand of ourselves, if we care to search for it.” – Dr Claire Weekes

If this sounds like you, and you’re needing a little extra help with how to gain relief from your fatigue, osteopathy and massage can assist in getting you back to your usual self.

Feel free to get in touch with Sarah, who provides amazing remedial and therapeutic massage services, for some further advice and guidance, or click the button below to make an appointment.

Having Trouble Shaking Those Autumn Croaky Throats and Achy Flues?   Here are our Top 3 Healing Herbs to Boost Your Immunity!

Having Trouble Shaking Those Autumn Croaky Throats and Achy Flues? Here are our Top 3 Healing Herbs to Boost Your Immunity!

As we travel through the turbulence of change, again, that is Autumn, here are our Top 3 Healing Herbs to Boost Your Immunity.

First let’s start with our immune system, what is it?

Our immune system is a vital part of our body, it keeps us safe from disease. Everything from a simple cold or flu, to more severe illnesses such as cancer.

It’s what defends our bodies from diseases and is also often the reason we feel unwell when those same diseases are trying to take hold.

Please be aware, even healthy bodies can feel unwell whilst fighting infections. A strong immune system, is not necessarily one that doesn’t ever feel unwell. It’s one that goes through the disease process more rapidly and recovers more quickly.

So what can we do, to boost it and get through the disease process faster?

Great question, here are 3 herbal suggestions that may help you.

  • Echinacea
  • Garlic
  • Vitamin C

Echinacea:

Throughout history echinacea has been used to treat scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning, and diphtheria. Today, people commonly use it to reduce the duration and intensity of symptoms of common colds and flu, as well as for respiratory tract infections, ear infections, sinusitis, tonsillitis, sore throats, coughs, and fevers.

Traditional health practitioners have used Echinacea for its suggested antiviral, anti-microbial and antioxidant properties. It can enhance the activity of our immune system and reduce inflammation. Primarily echinacea defends us against disease by strengthening our body’s immune system. It does this by stimulating the cells involved in tissue repair, “fibroblasts”, as well as activating the process of “phagocytosis”, where special white blood cells scavenge bacteria, very much like “Pacmen”. No wonder Echinacea has become a herb of choice for immune support.

So what can Echinacea really do for me? In a review of over a dozen studies, Scientists from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, found that echinacea reduced the chances of developing a cold by 58% and the duration of a cold by 1 – 4 days. (The Lancet Infections Diseases (July 2007 edition) https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252684.php).

There are three different species of echinacea are commonly used for medicinal purposes: Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea purpurea. And different chemical compounds that play a role in its therapeutic effects: polysaccharides, glycoproteins, alkamides, volatile oils, and flavonoids. These are found in different parts of the plant. The roots tend to have high concentrations of the volatile oils, while the above-ground parts of the plant tend to contain more polysaccharides; the substances that trigger the activity of the immune system. Echinacea can be bought as tinctures, capsules, tablets and ointments. These preparations can contain one, two, or even all three species and one or multiple parts of the plant. Like with any other herb or supplement, it’s best taken under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care practitioner.

The magic of Garlic:

Garlic can help boost your health on many fronts. From boosting your immune system to combat chest infections, coughs, colds and congestion https://healthylivinghowto.com/1/post/2014/01/amazing-health-benefits-of-garlic.html.  

It is a powerful natural antibiotic and also has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Garlic is a great source of vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy immune system and the efficient growth of new cells. This vitamin B6 can also assist with mood swings and help maintain your positive attitude, through the challenges of this ever changing season of transition!

The most potent known part of Garlic, is a compound it contains, called allicin. Allicin is a fragile compound that only survives for a few hours, once the garlic clove is opened. So the most effective way to consume it, is to eat it – grilled or roasted, crushed or sliced. At the first sign of your next cold, why not try the old folk remedy of eating a clove of garlic that has been dipped in honey, and see if it works for you?

Simple Vitamin C

Chronic stress can weaken our ability to fight disease. Vitamin C and other antioxidants can boost our immune system. Vitamin C specifically, is needed perform their task, especially phagocytes and t-cells, helping to repair and protect the cells of our body (https://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/eat-to-beat-stress-10-foods-that-reduce-anxiety/slide/3).

By having more antioxidant-rich fruits such as: oranges, lemons and limes, as well as blue berries and kiwi fruit, and vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes and capsicums, we can boost our immune system (https://www.pcrm.org – Physicians commit for responsible medicine).

Blueberries look small, but just a handful, pack a powerful punch of antioxidants including vitamin C, making them a great stress-busting and immune system boosting snack. Try some with a handful of nuts on your next break.

Hints for choosing supplements:

Fresh, from whole foods is always the best way to go. But if you’re looking for a convenient, cost effective and consistent way to optimise your intake on a daily basis, even on the days you don’t quite eat the way you know you should. Or if you’re wanting to kick start your healing process or have specific deficiency or weakness you want to manage… Here are some things to look for, in choosing them.

Make sure that they are plant based, organic and are not genetically modified (GMO). Choose ones that use the whole plant. That is the best way for our bodies to recognise it as a food and so digest it as such. This also enables our body to use it effectively, rather than a chemical version that it doesn’t recognise, and therefore can’t use properly.

Organically grown, means that we’re not putting toxins like pesticides, in our body, when we’re focusing on enhancing our health. And if the company takes the extra step of monitoring the vitamin & mineral levels of the soil to ensure that they are in there, then you know you’re actually getting the vitamins and minerals that you’re looking for. Quite simply, if the vitamins & minerals are not in soil, they can’t be in plant.

How do they process the supplement? This will affect the freshness and potency of the ingredients in the supplement. Look at the way they process it, how long it takes, and what do they use to form the tablet or capsule. All of these will affect which nutrients get into the product in the first place and if they are still in the product at the point you take it. For example, as we mentioned earlier, the Allicin in garlic, only lasts for a few hours. The processes used to create garlic tablets can destroy it. If you decide to take garlic in tablet form, it’s best to use one that is created within only a couple of hours.

Finally, what kinds of plants are being utilised in the supplement? Are they using a variety of plants, including specific and less accessible ones? For instance, fruits such as guava, acerola cherries & pomegranates, are very high in particular vitamins and minerals. Acerola cherries, for example, have 65 times more Vitamin C than oranges and are not commonly found local green grocer.

So, increase your garlic and Vitamin C levels with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, this Autumn. You may like to have some echinacea tablets on hand, as well, to boost your immune system and get through the disease process, to have you back on your feet faster!