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Caring for Others Begins With Caring For Ourselves

In this season of celebration it becomes even more vital to tend to ourselves in mind, body and Spirit. The departure of the light with shorter days, longer nights and inclement weather keeps us inside and whispers to us that it is time to slow down, to restore, to rest. However with our busy, modern lives it is difficult to heed the whispers of Nature. Rather, we become even busier with Holiday travel, shopping, parties and commitments .Memories of Christmases past can bring melancholy rather than joy. The overall consequences too often are physical illness, feelings of burn out, exhaustion and stress rather than the joy and connection that the Season is about. Returning to the tenets of our Integrative or holistic model with its focus on Mind, Body and Spirit can provide guidance to the renewal and peace that this season promises.

MIND - Years ago I came across a little out of print book by Dr. Wayne Dyer, "No More Holiday Blues". As so often happens, it was the right message at the right moment. In this little gem of a book (available for $0.99 on Google, Dr. Dyer reminds us that what we focus on grows. A focus on the stress and burden of the holidays will rob us of the joy that we are entitled to. Yes, Christmas is for children and the answer is to find the child within ourselves again. Relish the rituals of the Season; take a moment to really recall what Christmas felt like to you as a child - the wonder, the magic; the beauty of the lights and decorations, the excitement of the first presents you bought for a loved one. What did you buy? How long did you save? Who was it for? Take a few moments to really visit those feelings of joy and excitement. They can be yours now. Refuse to focus on any negativity. Lean into that innocent joy you felt as a child; it can be yours now.

BODY - Keep the focus on what you know supports you! Savy Nutrition - Treats abound during the holidays. Be selective - enjoy one delicious cookie. Eat it slowly, relish it. You do not have to eat the entire plate. There will be other treats you can savor. Say, "That's enough for now." Allow yourself indulgences but then return to your healthy eating. Too often we say, "Oh, the heck with it. I'll get back on the wagon after New Years." Statistics tell us it doesn't happen that way. The average person gains several pounds over the period from Thanksgiving to New Years and does not lose it, leading to steady weight gain. Also, considering that the foods we tend to indulge in are laden with sugar, fat and chemicals - without care we can emerge from the holidays fatter, less healthy and more toxic. Remember that healthy eating means a plant based diet - lots of vegetables, fruits, limited whole grains and limited meat and dairy. Avoid processed foods and sugar. Keep an eye on the alcohol intake. Remember that more than one alcoholic beverage per day increases the risk of breast cancer in women and that excess alcohol intake in men is associated with testicular atrophy and heart disease.

Keep moving! Our bodies were designed to move. Exercise is the best mood elevator, stress reducer and anti-aging miracle there is. Keep your fitness program going and you will greet the New Year leaner, faster and stronger. Swiss anti-aging clinics charge thousands of dollars for injections of human growth hormone (hGH) to turn back the clock for their wealthy clients. Just 20 minutes of vigorous exercise raises your level of hGH naturallly. I recommend incorporating sprinting into any exercise program. This involves brief bursts of near maximal intensity incorporated into your workout. This can be as simple as a 20 minute walk with three or four 10 to 30 second intervals of walking as fast as you can. Be sure to strart with BRIEF sprints - even speeding up for 3 to 5 seconds is significant. Sprinting has the magical power to give you much more fitness benefits than exercising at a steady pace for longer. ( ) gives more information about the power and details of sprinting. Of course if you develop any symptoms of chest pain or shortness of breath, stop and seek medical attention.

Sleep - Our bodies undergo innumerable repair and regeneration activities when we sleep. Better sleep can be achieved by winding down in the evening - avoid bright lights such as computer or TV screens. Light is a signal to the brain through the retina of the eye that it is time for action, not sleep. The release of melatonin, our natural sleep remedy, is prevented by bright light. A warm bath, followed by sleeping in a cool room is beneficial. Don't allow your mind any problem solving once your head hits the pillow. If you can't figure out the answer to the problem during the day you certainly won't figure it out at night. Problems loom larger and more frightening at night; ruminating will only rob you of the rest you need to tackle the problem effectively tomorrow. Try our Thought Stopping/Body Scan Technique to turn off those intruding thoughts and allow you to get the rest you need. Our Office has safe, natural herbal remedies that can help promote sleep.

SPIRIT - This time of the year is associated with deep spiritual significance. Whatever your beliefs, it is a wonderful time to revisit and renew our connection to Spirit. The approach to Winter Solstice may be the darkest time of the year but it is also the time that the Earth turns back toward the Sun. So in ourselves we can find an opportunity to rekindle the flame of belief and connection to sustaining spiritual beliefs. Try to include in each day even a few minutes of prayer, meditation or reflection. You will find it brings increased meaning and joy to activities of the Season and indeed to life itself.

Wishing you Health, Peace and Joy,

Diane MacDonnell, M.D.
Paul Alagna, M.D.
And the Staff of North Country Holistic Care Center

NORTH COUNRY HOLISTIC CARE CENTER offers Primary Care Services, Acupuncture, Laser (Needleless) Acupuncture and Holistic Consultations. Please visit our website, to learn more about our Practice and services.