The Stressed Out Student

Are you a stressed out student? Here are some hints to help boost energy, increase memory and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Firstly, start the day off right. This does not mean downing a cup of “Joe” after an all-nighter and expecting your body and brain to work up to snuff.

Start with a breakfast that includes protein. A herbal supplement called Rodiola has fantastic benefits for the stressed out student. It is not a stimulant, but will help your body better cope and help you avoid feeling burnt out. Another bonus – it improves memory.

We also recommend taking a good multi-vitamin and a B-complex. Many of the students that our clinic treats love B12 shots, which will increase their energy by providing the nutrients that their bodies crave during this stressful time.

Find some good study snacks – trail mix, hummus and veggies, popcorn with nutritional yeast. Don’t let yourself get drained in front of the books. Remember, your brain is getting a work out but your body still needs exercise as well. Get some fresh air and go for a run or to the gym. Or take a walk over to A New Leaf and we’ll find some simple solutions to minimize the midterm mayhem! Good luck as this semester wraps up!

Outdoor Winter Activities

It’s important to stay active even throughout the winter months. Fresh air works wonders on our digestive system, calms anxiety, cleans our lungs, and provides us with more energy and a sharper mind. We’re sharing our favorite outdoor winter activities.

  1. Build an outdoor winter bonfire and roast hot dogs or make s’mores.
  2. Grab some friends, rent snowshoes and go snowshoeing.
  3. Take your dog for a walk.
  4. On a snowy day, find a big hill and go sledding or tobogganing.
  5. During the Christmas season, attend outdoor light festivals or holiday Christmas markets.
  6. Build a fort and have a snowball fight with your kids (or spouse!)
  7. Take a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate and sit outside on your front porch swing.
  8. Go ice skating – the outdoor ice rink in downtown Vancouver is the perfect outdoor tradition.
  9. Shovel paths and sidewalks in the snow (your neighbors will love this one too.)
  10. Go on a winter picnic! Take blankets, sandwiches, and hot soup in a thermos. This is also a fun, inexpensive date idea.

Benefits of Nature Walks

A busy life can benefit greatly from the sweet outdoors and spending time in nature. Our nervous systems can easily become over-saturated by the bombardment of sights, sounds, smells, and the speed of modern life (especially a life lived in the city.) Our jobs and lives may have become juggling acts, with demands of our time and having the ability to multitask. The peace and tranquility provided by nature can give us a break from this stress. Below we’ve included our favorite benefits reaped from nature walks!

  1. The chance to go somewhere quiet, like the woods or a walk along the river, provides us the reprieve from the noises that daily tax our sensitive nerves.
  2. When we spend time alone we are rewarded with the peace of only our own thoughts for company. Solitude is not selfish, it’s a basic necessity, as much as food and water. It’s something we can restore our energy levels with, such as going for a stroll along a wooded path or park area.
  3. Natural elements such as plants, trees, water, and sunlight have been said to absorb negative energy. Perhaps we feel calmer around them simply because they are part of the living world, therefore we feel connected to them, and yet they do not make any demands on us except to appreciate them. Take a walk in a quiet forest or on a country path, notice the beauty all around you and feel stress and tension evaporate.
  4. Nature walks can boost your immune system. The cell activity related to the health effects of a forest will help boost your immunity. Research shows that the natural environment benefits the function of a human being’s immune system and thus, healthier, longer lives.
  5. Nature has positive effects on mental health as well, therefore boosting longevity and overall health. The improved air quality, encouragement of physical activity, and recovery from attention, stress, and fatigue all add up to a much better quality of life.
  6. Walking provides a significant benefit because it helps to relieve stress. Brisk walks boost endorphins, the feel-good hormone that improves your mood, and can lower stress along with mild depression. Walking can also give you more energy which will help improve positive feelings.
  7. According to recent studies, walking through nature can put the brain into an actual meditative state, allowing you to pay attention to the world around you, while creating the calmness needed for reflection. It’s within this calm, quiet, reflective state that our creativity flourishes.

Both sensitivity and creativity blossom best when we give ourselves the time to walk around in the natural world, breathe in its refreshing air, and appreciate each moment as it passes by.

 

Sourced by: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sense-and-sensitivity/201404/5-ways-walking-in-nature-benefits-sensitive-people

http://www.whollyhealthyblog.com/fitness/exercises/hiking-health-5-benefits-taking-nature-walk/

Reduce Stress and Provide Inner Calm

We all face stress in our day to day lives, from small annoyances like traffic jams, to major concerns like health problems. Regardless of the cause, stress can flood your body with hormones. This can increase heart rate, breathing, and tense muscles. The “Stress Response” is a normal bodily reaction to uncomfortable and threatening situations, honed in our history to help us survive threats like animal attacks or floods. In present day, we rarely face these threats, but challenging situations in daily life can still set off the stress response. We’ve provided some healthy ways to respond to stress, based on the “Relaxation Response.”

The Relaxation Response technique was first developed in the 1970’s at Harvard Medical School by Cardiologist, Dr. Herbert Benson. This response is the opposite of the stress response. It’s a state of profound rest that can be elicited in a number of different ways. With regular practice, you create a well of calm to dip into as the need arises.

  1. Breath Focus – In this simple yet powerful technique, you take long, slow, deep breaths (also known as abdominal or belly breathing). As you breathe, you gently disengage your mind from distracting thoughts and sensations.

    2. Body Scan – This technique blends breath focus with progressive muscle relaxation. After a few minutes of deep breathing, you focus on one part of the body or group of muscles at a time and mentally releasing any physical tension you feel there. A body scan can help boost your awareness of the mind-body connection.

    3. Guided Imagery – For this technique, you conjure up soothing scenes, places, or experiences in your mind to help you relax and focus. You can find free apps and online recordings of calming scenes – just make sure to choose imagery you find soothing and that has personal significance.

    4. Mindfulness Meditation – This practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and bringing your minds attention to the present moment without drifting into concerns about the past or the future. This form of meditation has enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years. Research suggests it may be helpful for people with anxiety, depression, and pain.

    5. Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong – These three ancient arts combine rhythmic breathing with a series of postures or flowing movements. The physical aspects of these practices offer a mental focus that can help distract you from racing thoughts. They can also enhance your flexibility and balance.

    6. Repetitive Mantras – For this technique, you silently repeat a short mantra or phrase while practicing breath focus. Some examples of repetitive mantras include, “I am enough”, “All is well”, or “Be still.”

Rather than choosing just one technique, experts recommend sampling several to see which one works best for you. Try to practice for at least 20 minutes a day, although even just a few minutes can help. The longer and the more often you practice these relaxation techniques, the greater the benefits and the more you can reduce stress.


Information sourced from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/six-relaxation-techniques-to-reduce-stress

Ways To Get A More Restful Sleep!

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in the quality of your life. Follow these sleep practices on a consistent basis to achieve a more restful sleep!

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This will help regulate your body’s natural alarm clock, and has also been shown to help you fall asleep (and stay asleep) throughout the night.
  2. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing pre-bedtime routine will help allow your body to wind down and welcome in the time for rest. This routine can include staying away from bright lighting and opting for a rock salt lamp or dim lamp instead, turning on a diffuser with lavender-scented essential oil, a warm bath, reading a good book in bed, or a cup of cozy chamomile tea.
  3. If you have trouble falling asleep, avoid naps! Power napping may help you get through the day, but can deter you from falling asleep at nighttime and throw off your natural sleep schedule/internal clock.
  4. Exercise daily for a more restful sleep. Exercising will help you expend any extra energy and allows you to release any built-up negative thoughts in a positive outlet, leaving you in a more relaxed state. If cardio and weight-lifting aren’t your style, try yoga classes. A deep-stretch or flow class would be perfect to get your body relaxed before bed.
  5. Check the temperature and noise in your room. Studies show sleeping in a cool room provides for a better night’s rest. Temperatures between 60 – 67 degrees are optimum for the best sleeping conditions. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep (this includes your partner’s snoring.) Consider ear plugs, humidifiers, fans, or “white noise” machines.
  6. Keep it dark! Block out light with black out curtains and an eye mask.
  7. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and use a comfortable pillow. Make sure your mattress is supportive; mattress life expectancy is about 9 – 10 years. It’s important to invest in a good mattress, since you’ll be using it nightly!

Sources: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips

Turmeric Anti-Inflammatory Juice

This is one juice recipe to pull out when you are feeling a little under the weather! This refreshing combination will combat a weak immune system while helping to fight inflammation.

Mindfulness Tips

Make mindfulness a part of your everyday life with these simple tips & tricks!

  1. Increase your awareness. Engaging your senses can help you become more aware, which will also help you on your path to mindfulness. You can do this by giving yourself a hug, playing with a pet, smelling a flower, or taking a relaxing bath. If your mind and body feel really out of line, then choose to do something bigger such as swimming, going for a nature walk, or even touching something extremely cold to give yourself a jolt back into your body and out of your head.
  2. Make gratitude a part of your daily routine. Turn your Instagram feed into a visual gratitude diary, create a gratitude jar, or make a list of 10 things you are grateful for each morning (or night.) Practicing gratitude keeps you aware of what is making you happy and/or what you’re grateful for in that moment, which supports the idea of being present.
  3. Take 10 minutes to do nothing. Andy Puddicombe, meditation and mindfulness expert, explains the present moment as, “Not being lost in thought, not being distracted, not being overwhelmed by difficult emotions but instead learning how to be in the here and now; how to be mindful, how to be present. I think the present moment is so underrated. It sounds so ordinary and yet we spend so little time in the present moment that it’s anything but ordinary.” Give your brain a 10 minute timeout so you can refresh your mind and keep it working at its best.
  4. Check out the Headspace app, created by Andy Puddicombe. The app allows you to work mindfulness into your everyday life. Watch this short video for more information on Headspace. https://youtu.be/kEpOF7vUymc
  5. Watch the world go by. There’s something pleasant about people-watching; sitting in a cafe, watching people go by, imagining who they are, their hobbies, or what they do for a living. Taking time out of your day to people-watch is an activity rooted in mindfulness. You are taking a step outside of yourself to observe other people in that exact moment in time.
  6. Take control of your thoughts. Mindfulness means appreciating each second and giving yourself entirely to the exact moment you’re currently in. Experience each moment and enjoy it.

Information sourced from: https://www.bustle.com/articles/113549-7-tips-to-practice-mindfulness-reasons-why-you-should

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Recipe!

With Halloween right around the corner, curb treat cravings with this delicious Healthy Pumpkin Pie recipe! Only 141 calories per serving (room for seconds anyone?) Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • Pinch of pure Stevia (or 2 tbsp extra brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Blend all ingredients together until smooth, then pour into a prepared pie crust (view recipe below) in a 10-inch round pan. Bake 27 minutes (it will still be underdone after this time, which is okay!) Let it cool, then refrigerate at least 5 hours uncovered for the pie to thicken and “set.”

Crust Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar of choice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2-4 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 200 F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add oil and stir. Add water as needed until it just sticks together but is not gummy. Press evenly into a 10-inch pie pan. Put the crust in the oven and immediately increase the temperature to 350 F. (The crust will rise, just press the pie crust back down afterwards.) Bake 15 minutes. Let cool.

Calories per serving: 141

Recipe sourced from: https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/11/04/healthy-pumpkin-pie-recipe/

Tips for a Safe Halloween!

With Halloween right around the corner, browse through these tips to ensure a fun (and safe!) Halloween for all.

  • Make or purchase costumes in a light material for better visibility.
  • Place strips of reflective tape on the front and back of costumes.
  • Dress for the weather, add layers if needed.
  • Bring a flashlight and cell phone.
  • Carry a white bag or pillowcase for candy, and attach reflective tape as well.
  • Always travel in groups.
  • Use the sidewalk as much as possible.
  • Don’t eat any treats before you get home and can check them out in good lighting.
  • Leave on the outside lights for visitors.
  • Remember that some children have allergies; stickers are a great alternative!

Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix!

Adding pumpkin to just about anything screams “fall is here,” and trail mix is a great way to munch on the good-for-you squash. After you’ve whipped up this treat, divvy it into servings for a perfectly portable snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Sucanat or whole cane sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup unsalted whole almonds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsalted pecan halves
  • 1 cup roasted salted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp all-natural apple juice
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup raisins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250°. Mix Sucanat, cinnamon, paprika, and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Set aside. Place almonds, oats, pecans, pepitas, and walnuts in large bowl. Mix together pumpkin puree and apple juice; pour over nut mixture and toss until nuts are evenly coated. Sprinkle with spice mixture, tossing to coat well. Spread evenly on two baking pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, stirring halfway through cook time. Cool completely. Stir in cranberries and raisins. Store in airtight container. Delish!

Recipe via: https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/snacks/healthy/fall-snack-recipes/