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Archive for March 25, 2012

6 Secret At-Home Stress Relievers

6 Secret At-Home Stress Relievers

As a caregiver,  you know you need to de-stress. But who has time to go to five yoga classes a  week or the money to indulge in a professional massage? There are ways to lower  stress without leaving your home, and without spending money. You’re surrounded  by everyday household items right now that have the power to help you relax and  unwind. You just have to know where to look!

Hand towel

Soak a hand towel in water and then microwave it for two minutes until its  steamy. Place the towel on the back of your neck and then over your face. As the  soothing heat hits your skin, your body will instinctively relax.

Water

Not only is running water a great noise muffler, but the sound and feel of  water is therapeutic. For maximum effectiveness, focus on the task at hand. The  goal isn’t to scrub down and towel off in under 30 seconds. Take 10 minutes for  a hot, unhurried shower or a steamy bath and feel the stress melt away. Massage  your head as you shampoo, use a scented body wash, loofah your skin gently. When  you emerge, you will feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the rest of your  day.

Paper

Don’t keep your anger, fear and frustration all bottled up. Vent it by  putting pen to paper. Studies show that writing  about stressful events in your life for just 10 minutes dramatically lowers  your perception of your personal stress. Experts aren’t exactly sure why it  works. Perhaps it’s because writing gets your worries out of your head and into  the real world where it’s easier to do something about them. It could be a more  transcendental explanation: the transfer of your stress through your hand, out  your body and onto the paper. Or maybe the exercise simply stops you from  ruminating about your problems. No matter what the reason, the result is the  same: Less stress and a better mood.

Tea

Skip  the coffee and opt for tea instead. Research has shown that drinking tea on  a daily basis can help lower stress hormones and inducing greater feelings of  relaxation. Try proven stress-busting brews, like Chamomile or black tea.  (Leesa recommends Organic India Tulsi Green Tea available at your local WholeFoods  (www.wholefoods.com) or order direct from Organic India at  www.organicindia.com.)

CDs

How often do you turn on the TV for “background noise.” Instead of reaching  for the remote, pop in a CD. Music has proven therapeutic benefits and does  wonders to alleviate stress. Experts suggest that it is the rhythm of the music  or the beat that has the calming effect on us even though we may not even be  consciously listening to it.

Candles

Aromatherapy is, well, therapeutic. Lavender, jasmine and chamomile scents relax  the mind and relieve stress. Give yourself several minutes of slow, deep,  even breathing. Imagine that with each breath, the scents are entering your nose  and spreading throughout your body, relaxing tight muscles and alleviating  tension. ( Leesa recommends Votivo candles!  Visit www.votivo.com. ) 

Tese moments will soon become one of your favorite times of the day.

Caregiving can be mentally and physically demanding. In the Caregiver Burnout  forum you can ask questions, find helpful answers or give your support.  Visit the Caregiver  Burnout Forum on AgingCare.com.

By Marlo Sollitto, AgingCare.com

6  Secret At-Home Stress Relievers originally appeared on AgingCare.com.   AgingCare.com provides online  caregiver support by connecting people caring for elderly parents to other  caregivers, elder care experts, personalized information, and local resources.  AgingCare.com has become the trusted resource for exchanging ideas, sharing  conversations and finding credible information for those seeking elder care  solutions.

Describe Your Pet in One Word…

Describe Your Pet in One Word

Sanchez

If you could describe your pet in one word, what would it be?

I was recently asked to describe both of my dogs in one word. “Determined” is  the word I used for Sanchez (pictured above).  I’ve actually never known a  dog who could focus so intently on something of desire and not forget about it  no matter how many distractions are present. When he was a puppy in training for Guide Dogs for the Blind, many people observed that he would  monitor a room for hours, find a missing loop hole where he could do something  forbidden, and then perform that behavior in the most creative of ways. His “down” is admirable. However, while in a “down”, he has been known to crawl  across an entire room to get a crumb on the floor. You can see the look of  determination on his face. It’s honestly quite entertaining, especially as he  looks at me as if he’s thinking, “Well, I’m still in a down.”

Gina’s word is “playful”. She is ready to play at any hour of the day or night.  Unlike Sanchez, it doesn’t occur to her that there are loop holes, because  everything is just good all the time. OK, it was really a toss-up between the  words “playful” and “happy”. She never complains about anything, and is much  more a typical Lab than Sanchez. Everything is just good all the time.

My belief is that pets are brought into our life to teach us many life lessons. It’s different for everyone and  even changes at various times in our lives. I don’t find it accidental that  Sanchez was brought into my life at the same time I was on the verge of creating  music that calms dogs. He was actually the  inspiration for it, as he was a very high energy, rambunctious puppy and was  calmed easily by the right prescription of music. His determination that he  carried in his own personality was something that I learned from and still apply  to my life today. Now that I devote my full time career to helping improve the  lives of dogs with music, his reminder to be patient, determined, and never lose  sight of my dream of helping relieve anxiety issues in millions of dogs through  sound therapy is something I carry with me daily.

Gina, on the other paw, was brought into my life at  a time when I was working way too much and needed persistent reminders to “play”. She is a constant reminder that you don’t need a reason to be happy and  it’s always a good time to play. Even during the most stressful or depressing  life events, she can have me laughing and playing with a tail wag.

I love and still need my continuing reminders from Sanchez and Gina. What is  your word for your pets? Have they helped you apply that word to your own life?

Have you tried Sound Therapy for your dogs? Through a Dog’s  Ear is the  first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine  nervous system.

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Through a Dog’s Ear

Calm your Canine Companion Music  Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free  download will be  delivered to your inbox for you and  your canine household  to enjoy!

By Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a  concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music  expert. She is Co-founder of Through  a Dog’s Ear,    the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the  canine nervous system. Their new Canine  Noise Phobia series is  a breakthrough treatment and prevention program for  canine noise  sensitivities. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two  “career  change” Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and   Gina. Follow Lisa’s  blog here.

Main Photo Credit of Sanchez: Gracie Slegers

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Liver

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Liver

We devote plenty of time and energy into spring  cleaning our homes, but what about our bodies? As you rid your home of  clutter and dust this year, consider cleansing your body of toxins, too.  Everyday we encounter high levels of chemicals—from the food we eat to the  personal care products we use each morning. Our bodies remove these chemicals  through its natural waste system, but because we live in such a chemical-laden  world, this system can get bogged down.

Your liver is arguably one of the most important organs in your body’s  natural detoxification system. To prevent our fat tissues and cells from  absorbing them, the liver turns fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins,  from which point our bodies can easily flush them. This is just one small role  that liver plays in our body, however; the liver has more than 500 functions,  from metabolizing fat to regulating hormones, and if it spends too much time  working to remove toxins, your health can falter.

To support your liver and aid your body’s natural detoxification process,  follow these tips:

Don’t overburden your liver. Your liver works hard enough  without having to process things like alcohol and over-the-counter painkillers,  which are unnecessarily hard on this vital organ. In fact, taking regular, small  doses of painkillers is the leading cause of drug-induced liver disease and  failure. (Learn  more about how over-the-counter painkillers are wreaking havoc on your  body.)

Drink plenty of lemon water. Water is important to the  natural detox system; it’s one of the method by which our bodies remove toxins.  The citric acid in lemon juice encourages the liver to produce bile, which is  another vehicle that our bodies use to excrete toxins.

Take liver-support supplements. Turmeric, milk thistle and  dandelion are all known to be helpful at cleansing and protecting the liver. Try  50 milligrams of turmeric, 500 milligrams of dandelion extract, or 500  milligrams of milk thistle daily. You can also steep fresh dandelion roots into  a boiling water to make a tea. (Note: If foraging for wild dandelions, only pick  them from areas that you know are free from chemical pesticides.)

Eat cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage, kale,  arugula, collard greens and other cruciferous vegetables are recommended foods  when doing a liver detox. Be sure to eat at least one serving a day.

Get enough minerals. Minerals are essential to the liver  detoxification process, so make sure you’re eating plenty of mineral-rich foods  or taking a good mineral supplement (look for a liquid-based supplement with  both macro and trace minerals). Important minerals for liver detoxification  include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, iron, selenium, zinc,  manganese and others.

Keeping your liver in top shape is essential to good health.

By Susan Melgren,  web editor of Natural  Home & Garden magazine. She enjoys writing about natural health,  nontoxic homes and tips for green living.

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