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Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, why?

Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, why and what actually is it?

The words, ‘self care’ have been bandied about in newspapers and on social media. They are the new buzz words. Take care of yourself, put yourself first, be more gentle with yourself, eat more healthily, exercise more, do more meditation.

I’m not undermining the importance of these actions. Any form of self care is beneficial. However it needs to be more than the occasional outing for a massage or reflexology treatment. It needs to be more than the ‘walk around the block’ or the odd smoothie.

Self care needs to be a concerted effort to put yourself first. All the time. This is where extreme self care comes in. It means loving yourself enough so that the actions you take and the decisions you make on a daily basis reflect this self love.

It means having strong boundaries and only saying ‘Yes’ to what you really want and need. It means listening to your body and what he/she is telling you. It means not trying to push through when all your body wants is rest.

You may think it is selfish to put yourself first all the time. This is what we were taught as children. We need to give to others first, put other’s needs before our own. We need to give, give and give until you have no more to give, then give some more. We give out of obligation and we give out of guilt. We give because we feel it is expected of us.

How many of us end up burnt out, exhausted, defeated and resentful? We are perpetuating a myth. Trying to live up to an impossible image of perfection. This was my story too. So much of my self worth was based on my achievements, helping others, being the ‘good girl’, aiming for perfectionism. As author, Cheryl Richardson says, “So many of us, especially women, have taken on this ‘noble’ role. What we don’t realise, until it’s too late, is the high price for being ‘generous.”

Ending up exhausted and always fatigued, made me realise that my life had to change. Extreme self care was warranted.

Do you practise Extreme Self Care or is this your story too? If so, how can you start implementing more extreme measures? How can you start putting yourself first? By learning to love and accept yourself. All of you. Your perfections and imperfections. We all have them and it’s time to accept ourselves as we are. No more comparing ourselves with others. We are all different. We all have gifts and talents that are unique to us. Embrace them.

Accept where you are at. We all start this journey at different points. Sometimes it is easy to make changes and sometimes it is really hard, but make a start. It may feel uncomfortable putting yourself first. You may fear the judgement and criticism of others. You may feel guilty. But do it anyway. It will get easier.

Know too, that the more you do for yourself, the more energy you will have to give to others. The more you start to care for yourself, the greater your ability to make choices from a place of love and compassion. The more you demonstrate extreme self care, the more you will inspire others to do the same.

So start small so that it feels doable. Start with some simple self care. Drink more water, every day. Go to bed earlier. Start adding more vegetables to your meals. Look after your health, so go for those overdue dental check ups or eye checks. See your GP when needed. Don’t put your health in the “do later” basket.

Start asking for help. It may not be done the way you would do it, but that’s okay. You don’t have to do it all! If you are invited out socially or asked to help out, don’t say ‘Yes’ straight away. Say you will get back to them. Then think about it and decide whether it is something you really want to do or have the energy for.

Begin saying Yes to more fun, more creativity, more ‘me’ time, on a daily basis. Book in your regular reflexology or self care practices. Set limits on your availability. The more you respect your time, the more you allow others to do the same. Spend time in nature, even if it’s just sitting in the sun every day or going for a walk.

Do more of what lights you up. Give more to yourself. Do things that fill your soul. As you start to finally listen to your own needs you will begin to feel more fulfilled and happier in your life. You will then be able to give to others from a space of true giving. No guilt. No obligation. Just a place of appreciation and connection with those around you.

Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, perhaps it’s time to start. It’s never too late.

With warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: The Art of Extreme Self-Care By Cheryl Richardson, Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

Can you find Peace in a Crazy World?

Can you find Peace in a crazy world when so much seems to be out of our control? How can you switch off from the constant stress that seems to surround us on an everyday basis?

It isn’t easy, but it is possible and there are things you can do today to remove you from that ‘fight or flight’ response.

Firstly, acknowledge when you are feeling stressed or impatient or anxious. If we stop and recognise our feelings, we can do something to address them.

There is no shame here. The last few years have brought up so many anxieties and fears that we never knew we were capable of feeling. Current world events only add to this stress. It’s okay to be angry or feel scared. We are in unfamiliar territory and that’s uncomfortable and often frightening.

So we react in different ways, depending on our past experiences, beliefs and values. We may lash out at others in anger or impatience, we may retreat from the world in fear or we may experience physical symptoms that affect our health.

Acknowledge that this is okay. Don’t criticise or condemn yourself. It may not feel pleasant, but we are just reacting to our circumstances and so many of these circumstances are out of our control. Try and give yourself space in your day. Space where you are not always meeting the needs of others. Space where you can just be and sit or have a nap if you need to. Nurturing ourselves is so important.

Try some meditation. It has huge proven benefits to still the mind. This doesn’t mean that you have to sit still and chant. It can be as simple as sitting outside with the sun on your face, while you tune in to the sounds around you. Being present in the moment is deeply healing.

Go for a walk or dance around the house. Move your body. This encourages those ‘feel good’ hormones to flood your system and leaves you feeling more relaxed and energised. Scream out loud if you need to or sing at the top of your voice. You may feel more comfortable doing this at home, but do it whenever you can, as it helps to release pent up emotions.

Spend time with those who make you laugh. Laughter also releases those ‘feel good’ hormones, such as Dopamine and Serotonin. If you need time alone, then do that. Sit in stillness at home, binge on Netflix or read a book. We all need some down time. Don’t feel guilty!

Definitely, don’t watch the news. It’s meant to be dramatic and alarming, to catch our attention. Your nervous system doesn’t need that. By all means stay informed, but a quick look on the internet will fill you in on all you need to know.

Eat healthily. This may sound strange, but junk food has a negative effect on our brain and hence, affects our mood. It is highly addictive, so the more you eat, the more you want. It gives us temporary pleasure so our brain encourages us to repeat that ‘fix’. It is also inflammatory and can damage our neurones or nerve cells.

Engage in supportive treatments such as Reflexology. It addresses any underlying emotion or trauma and is deeply healing and powerfully relaxing. Try yoga or tai chi. Both are very grounding and stress-reducing practices.

Can you find peace in this crazy world? I really believe you can, but it does take some effort. You need to be willing to change and be accepting of how you are feeling, without judgement. I try and do this on a regular occurrence. I don’t always get it right but I know I have the tools to become more grounded when I need to.

Try and give it a go. Recognise your emotions and don’t judge yourself. Accept that life is weird and uncomfortable now. Then sit in stillness, laugh out loud, dance and sing as if no one is watching and find peace in your life and hopefully, peace in your Heart.

With warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

This facial reflexology chart may be helpful to reduce fear and anxiety. You can download it here. https://solevitality.com.au/fear-and-anxiety/

References: https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2016/sep/five-ways-junk-food-changes-your-brain, Photo by Javardh on Unsplash 

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

Do You find it easy to Declutter your Life?

Do you find it easy to Declutter your life? Do you find it easy to let go of things that no longer serve you or do you hold on for dear life?

Many years ago, a Japanese lady called Marie Condo wrote a book called, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” In it she recommended only keeping the things in your life that ‘spark joy.’ While her book was based on physical items, I believe it’s a great practice to apply in all areas of your life.

How many of us hold onto behaviours or beliefs that no longer serve us? We’re scared of change or letting go of what is comfortable, even if it’s not healthy for us. It’s too hard, we will be judged, what will our friends or family say, others may not approve. So we stay the same. Change is difficult. What if we fail? What if it’s a disaster? We tell ourselves so many stories that we convince ourselves that our current lives aren’t too bad. We may not be happy, but we are comfortable!

But what if we challenged this status quo? What if we began to look at our lives in a new way, letting go of the old and allowing some new energy to come in instead. This may involve physical or emotional things, but the result is the same. Each time you let go, even a little, you allow space for the ‘new’ to come in.

What if you let go of control, of needing to manage the people and events in your life? What if you created better boundaries around your time and availability and let go of the need to be the people pleaser? What if you decluttered jobs, friends, relationships that only bring you grief and anxiety? What if you asked for help instead of trying to do it all yourself? What if you said “No” to the things that don’t bring you happiness and ask instead, what ‘sparks joy’ in my life?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Lungs and Large Intestine represent control and letting go. The lungs hold onto grief and how easily we ‘breathe’ through life. Whether we are holding on to someone or something or are unable to move on. The Large Bowel also represents letting go, not just of waste products but of ideas, thoughts and emotions that are toxic or hold us back. In Reflexology I always give extra attention to these areas for we all hold tension to some degree in the lungs and bowels.

The Lungs and Large Intestine are part of the Metal element in TCM and Autumn is the season of the Metal element. As we near the season of Autumn, it’s the perfect time to look at what we can let go of or declutter in our life.

Do you find it easy to Declutter? If not, look at what you are holding onto and the reasons why. Is it fear? So many of us hold onto life because of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of upsetting someone, fear of being judged or criticised.

But what if you began small? Just started with one thing. Perhaps saying ‘No’ to extra work or that job you have always said ‘yes’ to but resented. Perhaps declining an invitation because you needed some time to yourself. Perhaps asking for help around the house instead of feeling you need to do everything. Perhaps letting go of perfectionism. Perhaps eating more vegetables or removing one unhealthy food from your diet.

When you let go of the old, you allow more space and energy to come in to your life. You allow more joy and more of the things that light you up to enter in. You begin to live a more authentic life, on your terms.

Do you find it easy to Declutter? If so, that’s great. Keep it up. If not, take one step at a time. As you start to make change, you will find it becomes easier, and more sustainable change follows. You will also start to notice more joy and abundance creeping into your life.

As we move away from summer, think of the trees. They begin to shed their beautiful autumnal leaves without resistance, letting go of the old decaying remnants that no longer serve them. They know that more beauty and growth lie ahead in the months to come.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, www.acupuncturepathways.com/news/2017 Photo by Our Bahcivancilar on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

Viruses: What are they and why do they make us sick?

Viruses

Viruses are a hot topic at the moment. What actually are they and why do they make us sick?

Viruses are microscopic organisms made up of genetic material, either DNA or RNA. They are an intricate part of life forms, including humans and some scientists believe they are the precursors to life. 80% of our genes are said to have originated from viruses. They are an important part of the microorganisms that live within us. There are said to be 1-2 million different types of viruses, but only 5-6,000 have been identified.

Viruses cannot replicate by themselves so they need a host cell to survive. They attach to human cells in different ways and once inside our cells, they replicate and spread to surrounding tissue to create more virus particles.

As they replicate, mutations occur and these mutations happen all the time. These mutations are errors and the virus tries to correct these. If it’s a DNA virus it can repair errors, but if it’s a RNA virus it can’t. Coronavirus is a RNA virus so many mutations occur. Some mutations are able to infect more people and become stronger, while most mutations actually destroy the virus.

So why do viruses make us sick? Viruses make us sick by killing cells or disrupting their function, depending on how quickly they are released inside the body. We become ill when a virus has established an infection in multiple cells and the body’s normal functioning is changed.

Our immune system is our defence system and acts to fight foreign substances. It is also a repair system. Whenever there is tissue damage eg. from a wound, it removes dead cells and helps new ones to form.

When our immune system detects a virus, it starts to produce antibodies to fight the invader. Our body responds with a fever to inactivate the virus with heat, and secretes chemicals that stop the virus from reproducing. Our immune system works to eliminate the infection and remembers the virus, in case a swift response is needed next time it meets it again.

We’re exposed to viruses every day, but our immune system prevents the vast majority of them from taking hold – especially those that we’ve fought off before, or been vaccinated against.

So what can we do to prevent becoming ill when we encounter a virus? A strong and healthy immune system is our best defence. The state of our immune system will determine whether we become ill or how quickly we recover. In terms of vaccinations, a strong immune system will also determine if you have reactions and how severe they are.

A healthy diet with lots of green leafy vegetables, less processed food and adequate hydration, along with immune boosting supplements such as Vitamin C, D3, A and Zinc will all boost the immune system.

Practical measures such as hand washing with soap or using alcohol, breaks down the cell membrane of viruses such as the Coronavirus and kills the virus. Reducing stress and spending time in nature, moving your body and using meditation have also been shown to be of great benefit. Also replacing fear with knowledge, spending time with friends and boosting those ‘feel good’ hormones.

Reflexology is another powerful tool to increase nutrition, circulation and nerve supply to all your cells. It boosts the immune system by reducing inflammation, stimulating our immune receptors and decreasing stress.

Another thing to remember is that not all viruses are harmful. Viruses in the gut are part of our natural immune system and actually protect the body from invading bacteria. What was once an ancient virus, has now formed into a protein needed for the formation of the placenta in a developing foetus.

Viruses are ever present. They have increased over the years, through environmental changes such as de-forestation, over-breeding of animals, over-processing of foods, climate change, poverty and famine.

Perhaps instead of focusing on destroying viruses, we can instead try and influence our environment, nutrition and our Immune system so that any detrimental impact is lessened. If we can live in harmony, maybe we can find that a balance exists between all parts of our world.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/how-do-viruses-make-us-ill/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209710/, https://www.livescience.com/53272-what-is-a-virus.html, https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2020/04/03/how-coronaviruses-infect-us-how-infectious-viruses-created-us/, https://microbiologysociety.org/why-microbiology-matters/what-is-microbiology/viruses.html, Touchpoint Denmark – Webinar on Viruses by Dorthe Krogsgaard and Peter Lund.

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

All Health begins in your Gut

All health begins in your Gut.

You may think this is a bold statement but I believe it’s very true. We have been told countless times that ‘you are what you eat’, and it’s pretty obvious that if you eat lots of processed, sugary foods, you will gain weight, increase inflammation in your body and are at an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

However I am talking about the importance of your Gut for overall health, not just from the food we eat. The Gut is actually the most important part of our Immune System. All health begins in our Gut. Our Small and Large intestines total approximately 6 metres in length and along the walls of the intestines are huge amounts of immune cells.

Did you know that 70-80% of all the immune cells in the body are located in the intestinal walls? The Gut contains large amounts of lymphoid tissue, which in turn contains many immune cells such as T-cells, plasma cells and macrophages which all fight disease. Certain cells in the gut lining spend all their time releasing huge amounts of antibodies into the gut. The immune cells within the intestines don’t just stay there. They can leave and travel to areas where they are needed.

Our immune system is the body’s defence system against infections and foreign substances. It is believed that the reason for the large concentration of immune cells in the gut, is because our intestines are the main route of contact with our outside environment. This may be in the form of viruses, bacteria or even the food we eat.

We also have a lymphatic system that filters the blood and lymph nodes, which are found throughout the body, and produce white blood cells. The largest concentration of lymph nodes in the body is found along the Superior Mesenteric Artery, (a blood vessel that supplies the gut) where the head of the pancreas meets the duodenum. All within the gut.

Organs such as the Spleen, Bone Marrow, Thymus Gland, Liver and Adrenal glands also perform important functions in our immune response.

A lot has been said about the Gut-Brain connection and it has been found that a two-way communication occurs between the gut and the brain. There are actually more nerve cells in the gut than in the whole spinal cord. These nerve cells produce neurotransmitters, such as Dopamine and Serotonin in large quantities. These chemical messengers affect not only our mood, but also the motility of the gut, regulation of blood flow, absorption of nutrients and the gut’s immune system.

We are all familiar with having a ‘gut feeling’ about something or ‘butterflies’ in the stomach before a new job or exam, but research has shown that this is due to a communication between the gut and the brain in what is known as the Enteric Nervous system. The Gut has the ability to make decisions independently of the brain eg. Digestion occurs irrespective of the brain, and many of our emotions are influenced by the nerves in our gut.

Obviously factors such as lifestyle, genetics and our environment influence our health and it’s very easy to underestimate the importance of the gut in relation to our health. In Reflexology the gut is always addressed. It covers a large area on the foot and reflexes can be stimulated to increase nerve supply and circulation and stimulate an immune response. In Facial Reflexology, the immune system and hormones within the gut are also treated.

So next time you sit down for a meal, consider the food you are about to eat and how relaxed your meal times are. Every thing we put into our bodies, be it food or negative emotions, all have an impact, because ultimately, all health begins in your Gut.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

References: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/research/advancements-in-research/fundamentals/in-depth/the-gut-where-bacteria-and-immune-system-meet, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5772764/, Gut and Immunity Webinar by Touchpoint Reflexology with Dorthe Krogsgaard and Peter Lund Frandsen.

When the World is changing, can Reflexology help?

Peace, stress free, reflexology, wellness, balance.

When the world is rapidly changing and life feels uncertain, can having a Reflexology treatment help? Can it actually make any difference?

I believe so.

Having regular Reflexology treatments won’t change world events, but it can change how you react to them. This year has seen unprecedented circumstances that have affected all of our lives. Australia experienced horrendous bushfires, then the Coronavirus struck around the world and now racial injustice is in the headlines. The old world order has gone, things are changing and life may never be as it was before.

Change is needed but it can bring up worry and anxiety.

Change can also lead to stress, as the unknown often brings up fear. As we all know, chronic stress contributes to so many diseases. Every time we feel anxious, or think a fearful thought or a negative emotion, we stimulate our hormonal and nervous system. Any emotion or thought that causes stress, no matter how small, results in the release of stress hormones. This is an energetic response of the body to cope with the stress. Not all stress is bad but a constant stimulation of our stress hormones, depletes our energy.

Long term stress can also lead to elevated blood pressure, elevated glucose levels, anxiety and worry and impact our immune, digestive and cardiovascular systems. At a time when most of us want to remain really healthy, this is not ideal.

Reflexology can make a significant difference. It deeply calms the body and mind and helps in the release of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. These so called, ‘feel-good’ hormones affect our mood, memory, motor function, sleep, learning ability and digestion as well as relieving pain.

Reflexology boosts the immune system, increases circulation and blood supply, hence bringing more oxygenation and nutrition to all of our cells. It also improves the nerve supply to the whole body and helps reduce our sympathetic response so that we don’t stay in that ‘fight or flight’ mode. As mentioned before, it also has a powerful effect on the Hormonal system.

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that our bodies hold trauma and unless we deal with the emotions involved, be it sadness, anger, anxiety or worry, a disease process begins. Facial reflexology looks at the areas in your body where this disease process started, that is, where you first started to hold this emotion or stress. It then works to relieve this and reduce the impact it is having on your body.

This year has brought up many challenges and fears. We may feel powerless to make a change, though we do have our voice and can let our voices be heard. We can also acknowledge how we are feeling and do something about it. When the world is changing, we still have the power in our hands and Reflexology is a very powerful weapon.

Why not use it!

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

Please note that the clinic has reopened with strict Infection Control policies in place. To book in for a Reflexology treatment, current clients can use this link https://solevitalitybooking.as.me/reflexology

New clients please contact me here https://solevitality.com.au/news/

References: https://www.healthline.com/health/happy-hormone#sunlight

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.