Nutrition and Food

Your Go-To Guide to Essential Oils

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Essential oils were used in folk medicine throughout history, dating back to use by ancient civilizations BCE. Oils  have recently been gaining popularity as a natural, safe and cost-effective therapy. The use of essential oils can be another wellness technique to add to your lifestyle.  

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils (EOs) are not FDA approved. Unlike drugs, they are not intended to cure, diagnose, prevent, or treat diseases. However, they can be great when used in a complementary manner, as long as you are mindful of any drug interactions.  When in doubt, speak with your Primary Care Physician.

Essential oils (EOs) are concentrated and are marketed to have ‘powerful health benefits.’ They contain various chemical components, in which, are absorbed by the body. Additionally, they can be absorbed by four routes via olfaction, through the skin (both externally and internally), and by ingestion. They can be used aromatically, topically, and internally.  There is a whole study that focuses how EOs are absorbed, called pharmacokinetics.

Aromatic

Inhaling EOs is the fastest method of getting EOs into your body. Components can travel to your lungs, brain, or both. Inhalation can be direct (only to you) or indirect (to a room of people).

Direct Inhalation without steam

  • Aroma sticks– add 15-20 drops EO onto the wick, place wick inside inhaler
  • Aroma patches– apply patches to skin, preferably on collar bone
  • Aroma packets– open packet to breath in contents
  • Aroma ribbons– can be attached to anything, such as pillows for a comfort aroma
  • Cotton balls– add 1-5 drops of EO to a cotton ball and inhale for 5-10 minutes

Direct Inhalation with steam

  • Steam water– add 1-5 drops of EO to a bowl containing steaming water. Place head over bowl and place towel over your head, inhale for 10 minutes

Indirect Inhalation

  • Room fresheners– add 1-5 drops of EO to a bowl containing hot water and place in a safe place
  • Burners– fill container suspended above with water and add 1-5 drops of EO 
  • Fans– add 1-5 drops of EO to a pad, place inside the fan
  • Humidifiers– fill container with water, place EOs on a tissue in the direct pathway of the exiting steam
  • Diffusers– add 1-8 drops of EO; they deliver micron-sized essential oil droplets in the air 
  • Nebulizers – drops of undiluted essential oils are placed inside glass attachment, most do not use heat 
  • Spritzer Sprays– add essential oils in water inside a spritzer spray bottle, important to shake bottle for even distribution
  • Aroma stones– they gently warm essential oils

Topical

The amount that is absorbed through your skin depends on skin permeability as well as concentration of EO used. For example, EOs that are diluted in a carrier oil (used for dilution and application) are absorbed slower than undiluted EOs. EOs are absorbed faster when the skin becomes thinner and or damaged by systemic disease, dermatological problems, injury, and dehydration. Avoid applying EOs to damaged skin, as it is absorbed more readily and can have adverse effects. Moreover, less is absorbed during periods of stress because stress results in vascular shut-down. Whereas, dilated blood vessels caused by friction from stroking or massaging, can increase EO absorption, except when the body is trying to lose heat.  Always use caution if you select to apply an EO topically; some may need to be diluted, some should not be applied to certain areas, some EO’s may make your skin more sensitive, and some could even cause an adverse reaction.

What Does the Research Say?

EOs are used to treat or relieve stress, pain, dental issues, infection and/or inflammation (ex. sore throat, vaginal and urinary infections, gastrointestinal issues (ex. IBS, nausea and vomiting), insomnia, anxiety, and promote well-being. However, according to research, there is a lack of studies to support EO effectiveness. Most studies had a small sample size, which may not be reliable. There is a need for more well‐designed, large‐scale randomized controlled trials, before conclusions can be drawn and recommendations can be made for clinical use. Regardless of the insufficient amount of data regarding their effectiveness, EOs continue to be used for the healing properties all around the world.

Tips on How to Use EO's

Blending EOs is an art, as it requires training and experimentation. Typically, oils from the same botanical family blend well. The order in which the oils are blended is key to maintain desired therapeutic and chemical properties and fragrance. Your oil blend should be stored in dark-colored glass bottles. If you are not familiar with mixing, it is encouraged to layer the individual oils, by applying one at a time, rubbing it in, and then applying another oil a few seconds after.

If dilution is necessary, a carrier oil may be needed. Carrier oils are naturally derived from plant sources. They have a neutral smell and do not evaporate like essential oils, making them an great medium for dilution and application purposes. The purpose of carrier oils is to reduce the concentration and absorption rate of the EO, at the same time not changing any therapeutic properties. Dilution is especially important for infants and children.

Some examples of carrier oils include: V-6 mixing oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, arnica oil, rosehip oil, broccoli seed oil, flaxseed oil, magnesium oil, evening primrose oil, cocoa butter and shea butter.

Lastly, not all essential oils are created equal. In fact, most of them are of poor quality and are often synthetic. When you are ready to purchase essential oils make sure they are certified USDA organic, 100% pure, therapeutic grade and indigenous sourced.

Here are some brands that you could try:

There are many other different brands.  Some are more expensive, and some are subscription based.  Select the option that best works for your budget and lifestyle.  

In conclusion, we enjoy using Essential Oils for stress management and mental clarity.  Please understand the research on EO is highly limited, and EO should not be considered a medical treatment.  Speak with your health-care provider for any individual questions.

If you are more interested in EO’s and would like a live event held at your company, we have the solution!  B.Komplete offers Wellness Awareness Stations on Essential Oil and Stress Management, and we also have a Seminar to discuss Alternative Medicine.  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to book our inspiring services for your company.  

Corporate Wellness

How to Inspire Healthy Habits in Your Workplace

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There are countless reasons to invest time and resources into creating a healthy work environment and workforce. Healthy employees contribute to their companies through increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and are less likely to quit. Reducing turnover and increasing productivity are excellent incentives for employers, and healthy minds and bodies – as well as incentives on insurance premiums or gym memberships – are great incentives for employees.  Wellness designed properly works.

If your company doesn’t currently have initiatives for improving employee health and wellness, here are some simple ways to get started:

  • Provide Healthy Food at the Office.  Improve food choices in simple ways, by providing access to fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria or keeping a bowl of healthy snacks in the break room. Instead of a platter of donuts for employee morale on a Friday, consider bringing in some Greek yogurt with whole grain granola and fresh fruit slices for healthy parfaits.  By setting a healthy example of food served within the work environment, this will encourage employees to pick up their own healthy food habits at work and at home and promotes wellness success
  • Emphasize Movement Throughout the Work Day. Some offices host “walking clubs” as part of their lunch hour routine and to get employees up and moving during the day. This is one great way to incorporate more exercise, and there are plenty of other options. Consider hosting a workshop to teach employees different ways to get small exercises into their work day – like doing 5 “desk push ups” each time they get up to go to the break room or bathroom.  One effective way to show employees that you care about their fitness and their stress levels is to host an Office Yoga, Functional Training or Pilates Class. A B.Komplete Instructor will come to your work-site and lead your group in a customized workout!
  • Healthy Competitions. Health and weight loss or maintenance challenges that take place over discrete time periods (for example, 4 to 10 weeks) can motivate employees to take on new healthy habits in the spirit of a friendly competition. Challenges can be as simple as encouraging teams of employees to track their daily food intake each day, to more holistic challenges involving weight loss, minutes of exercise, mindfulness, and more.
  • Invest in a Comprehensive Corporate Wellness Program. In 2008, Johnson & Johnson published that implementing a corporate wellness program had saved them $250 million dollars in employee healthcare, a return on investment of $2.71 for every dollar spent. But implementing a healthy environment and getting these types of outcomes can be difficult without bringing an expert on board.

Expert corporate wellness vendors create wellness challenges, provide work-site nutrition and food, stress management, and exercise activities and track important health care benchmarks to let you know how your company stacks up when it comes to health and wellness. Unclear how to choose the right corporate wellness program for you? Click here and learn the best ways to identify how your company can incorporate corporate wellness.  B.Komplete is a best-in-class full-service corporate wellness vendor that will provide the most effective solutions for your organization.  Contact us now to learn more.

Savvy managers and business owners realize that happy, healthy employees create a more innovative work space and a more productive work environment. By considering the tips above, you will make your company more successful and a better place to work.

Exercise

Why Gardening is Good For Your Health

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Have you considered starting a garden? What if you created a garden full of fresh herbs or vegetables? You will get the health benefits from gardening, and an assortment of delicious fresh produce.  If digging up your backyard sounds intimidating, or maybe you just don’t have the space for that dream garden, start small. Even potted gardening has health benefits. Below are some benefits to gardening as well as some tips to get started.

How Does Gardening Benefit Your Health?

Increases your exposure to vitamin D.  Spending sometime outside allows your body to absorb vitamin D which can increase your calcium levels promotes healthy bones and immune system. It can also increase serotonin levels in your brain (a feel-good hormone). Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen and sunglasses!

Mood boosting.  Some studies have indicated that gardening can combat stress better than some other hobbies.

Stress reduction through mental focus.  Gardening is deliberate mental focus in which you can set aside your daily problems and relax. It is so important to be able to “turn off” the stressors at work and your personal life to have the energy to tackle them head on. Reducing stress improves not only your mental health, but physical health as well. By limiting stress, you also decrease your risk of chronic diseases such has cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Improve your nutrition.  Growing your own vegetables and herbs will allow you to add variety to your plate and even provide a boost of confidence knowing you grew them yourself. Produce picked fresh from the garden will taste amazing and provide more nutrients than many of the vegetables you would purchase at the grocery store. This will also save you money since you can now check the vegetables and herbs that you are growing off of your grocery list! You may even be more likely to get your family to consume vegetables more if you let them play an active role in the gardening with you.

How Do I Get Started?

Where do you want to grow your garden? 

The initial step to gardening would be to decide an appropriate place to put it. If you have a huge backyard, consider finding a spot to designate to a garden. Does your front yard need some sprucing up? Plant some flowers along your house or deck. Both of these options may seem difficult if you live in a city. Fear not! There are plenty of ways to incorporate an indoor garden such as on your windowsill, or even finding lower light plants that can be placed throughout the house.  Many cities have shared planting spaces; you will rent your box/plot/area and be able to plant your vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and pay a nominal fee.  Find a garden near you here.

What do you want to plant? 

Do you want to surround yourself in beautiful flowers and scents? Look up flowers that will thrive in your chosen area. Maybe you want to start cultivating your own vegetables. Investigate the vegetables that are in season in your location.  Learn more about what is in season here.

What soil should you use? 

This is very important to successfully grow your plants. There are a variety of soils out there and they are all comprised of different nutrients. When you have decided on the plants you want to grow, research the types of soil they do well in. The soil is their home, and provides food for them.  Learn more about how to pick the right soil here.  

What tools do you need? 

When starting your first garden, you should begin small. That way you do not get overwhelmed or too out of your budget. Pick up your basic tools such as gardening gloves, a trowel, and a rake.  For community container gardening, check out this list and for larger gardens, larger equipment may be needed.  

How to maintain your garden: 

Make sure you know how often you have to water your plants. Some can be very temperamental. Spend some of your free time weeding so that your plants do not suffocate from outside intruders. If the weeds are overwhelming, there are fertilizers you can use. The best part is that you get to choose the fertilizers and you know exactly what you are putting on your plants.

As long as you start slow, gardening can be fun, relaxing and budget friendly!
Corporate Wellness

The Untapped Power – Mindfulness Meditation

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Let’s rewind to 2014 for a moment. B.Komplete was just getting started and I was just beginning to develop the wellness programs you see from us today.  While researching comprehensive wellness programs, one of the keys to well-being that I discovered was the power of mindfulness and meditation. Well-being is far more than physical health – mental and emotional health are also vital to overall wellness. With this in mind, myself and my team developed a variety of stress reduction tools to guide anyone to a healthier mindset. B.Komplete now offers life coaching, yoga, meditation, chair massage, acupuncture, stress reduction stations, stress reduction seminars, workshops, and stress reduction challenges.

Fast forward to 2017 when I had been away from the “front lines” for a bit too long, and knew that I had to get out there.  I decided it made sense for me to personally teach one of our stress reduction workshops. At this point I was practicing yoga frequently and had learned a little bit about meditation and how to use it. However, I had never really focused on becoming mindful myself, and I had definitely never committed to doing so on a consistent basis. I am a firm believer that in order to be the most effective teacher you can be, you must have personal experience with the subject matter. I wanted to experience the power of mindfulness and meditation for myself, and be able to share my experience with others. Here’s a little bit more about my journey to unlock my power through mindfulness meditation…

Life Before Mindfulness Meditation

Life before mindfulness meditation…

I have been a high stress person throughout my entire life. Stress has always been a major factor in my life, and probably always will be. Soon after starting graduate school I noticed I was losing large clumps of hair. I was obviously alarmed, and saw my doctor. The doctor told me, “you need to chill out a little bit, don’t let the school kill you.” Like I said, stress was a major factor for me. I noticed other physical changes in my body during periods of great stress. My body weight would fluctuate, my jaw would be sore from grinding my teeth, I had dark circles under my eyes. I could tell my body was not happy with the way I was handling stress.

 

How My Journey Began

I started with a 30 day mindfulness meditation practice. I practiced between 5 and 8 minutes daily and it was perfect. I found that it was really helpful to practice first thing in the morning, before starting work.

The changes I experienced during the first 30 days…

First of all, I gained an awareness that I had not been very mindful at all before starting this practice. As I made my way through the first 30 days I grew a whole new view of the world around me. I appreciated the nature, the scenery, and the leaves on the trees so much more. My world became much more vivid, more beautiful, and more inspirational, as I became more mindful.

My overall impression of my mindfulness and meditation practice…

It blew my mind! It totally changed my life by expanding my horizons and changing the way I perceived the world. I started noticing I was able to handle my stress in a much healthier way and had this new, positive outlook on life. I was more capable of handling stressful situations. As soon as I started my practice, I developed resiliency. When life tried to knock me down, I came back stronger and more focused. I started to notice my reactions changing. When difficult situations presented themselves I resorted to my practice.

The specific factors that helped me gain the full potential of my practice…

Developing a personal mantra was incredibly beneficial to me. In times when stress was mounting inside me, I came back to my breath and my mantra. The mantra drew me back to the present moment and brought me clarity and focus. I could feel the anger, frustration, stress, and other negative emotions dissipate as I focused myself on the present moment using my mantra. The way I see a mantra, is as a tool to change your mindset. I developed my mantra to help motivate me professionally by using words I connected deeply with to create a phrase I knew would help me get my mind back on the right track.

As a business professional, mindfulness helps me work.

Mindfulness has greatly benefited me from a professional standpoint. When business gets overwhelming, I take a step back and focus on what is going on right now. Mindfulness makes the tough stuff easier to handle. One thing I have struggled with in the past is focusing too much on the future. I would start to think about everything I had on my to do list and it became cumbersome. Mindfulness has helped me take a step back. I take things day by day now. I focus on what needs to be accomplished each day, and I do it. This has made my life so much more manageable. I find much more happiness and excitement in my day to day work now that I concentrate on one day instead of worrying about the next 3 months!

Recommended Tools to Get Started with Mindfulness and Meditation.

The Center for Wellness at Harvard University has great resources from guided meditations to mindfulness tools. When I was first starting my practice I used online, guided meditations.

B.Komplete offers a wide variety of stress reduction programs. If you are interested in personally benefiting from a mindfulness and meditation practice, and would like to share this gift with your office group, contact us at info@bkomplete.com for additional information and to schedule our stress reduction events. 

Corporate Wellness

Wellness Success – How to Maintain or Gain It

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Here at B.Komplete, we strive every day to make Wellness Success achievable. But what exactly is Wellness Success? Depending on your health goals, Wellness Success can mean different things to different individuals. We’ve created this guide for Maintaining – or Gaining -Your Wellness Success to help you achieve your vision of wellness, and to overcome barriers you may face along the way.

Wellness Defined

Wellness is the self-directed process in which one comes to realize his or her full potential in mental and physical well-being. Things that hold us back from achieving wellness success include stress, time constraints, hesitance of change, and fear of the unknown. For Wellness Success to be realized, we must overcome all that holds us back.

The Empowerment Zone

Think about the things in your life that you wish were different. Write them down. Determine which of those you can control. These things are in your Empowerment Zone. Develop a plan of action that includes changing these undesirable things that you have control over.

Make the Choice to Change

The only way to realize positive change in your life is by making choices. Life is full of choices! Unfortunately, we make some of these choices so often that they have become habits. Change sometimes seems scary because we are stuck in these habits. We have become accustomed to doing things a certain way, and we are scared to change. The first step to achieving and maintaining Wellness Success is to override these feelings of fear.

Dissect your Habits, and Gain Control

By gaining control over your habits, you move closer to the person you want to be. There is no shortcut to mastering your habits, but there is one secret to controlling them: habits are built upon consistency. New York Times business writer, Charles Duhigg, explains the habit-building process in more detail in this NPR interview. To initiate a new behavior and turn it into a habit, you must be consistent with this behavior.

Start Small

Motivation rises and falls. To achieve better success, make changes that don’t require much motivation. Rather than eliminating sugar all day, start by eliminating it from your coffee. Instead of completely replacing your whole milk with almond milk, start by mixing half of each. After that becomes routine, introduce the new habit in another area, in another way. You’ll know when a habit becomes a routine, because it will feel automatic. As Forbes.com explains, “The most successful people take small, smart steps toward their goal.”

Plan for Success

Planning is a crucial tool in your effort to achieve Wellness Success. Some days, we are Super Versions of ourselves, and our motivation runs rampant. On other days, we just don’t feel like it. How do we make good decisions every single day? When we don’t have the time or motivation to make good decisions, we end up choosing what’s easiest. If your vision of Wellness Success involves healthier eating, try using free meal plans that meet your food group targets. If your Wellness Success involves incorporating more workouts into your weekly routine, try a free fitness app like Daily Workouts and Sworkit. By not planning ahead, we set ourselves up for failure. 

Prioritize Your Goal

Ignore interruptions and anything that can take you off track. Follow your plan; treat your goal as a priority. Schedule your priorities, don’t prioritize your schedule. Schedule your efforts as if they are appointments, and commit to them like you would anything else. Don’t blow yourself off, just like you wouldn’t blow off a friend, coworker, dentist, or physician.

Have a Buddy!

A Stanford University Study found that simply receiving a phone call every two weeks to discuss exercise progress increased the amount of exercise done by participants by 78%. After a year and a half, the participants studied were still exercising at an increased level. Another study, by Indiana University, found that half of couples who worked out separately dropped out of their workout programs over the course of a year, while those who worked out together had only an eight percent dropout rate. The take home message: Find an exercise buddy and increase your chances of sticking to your workout routine.

Focus

To reach our wellness success, we need to become experts in directing our attention toward our goals. The ability to focus has been shown to predict happiness in school, work, and life. Methods for improving our focus include goal visualization and meditation. By visualizing our goals and defining what Wellness Success looks like, we can view completion and work towards that vision. Meditation can improve attention, reduce stress, and remove distraction as we continue on our path toward wellness.

Keep Track of Things

This simple but crucial step in behavior change is backed by research showing increased performance when behaviors are tracked. In 14 studies assessing tracking in school students, students who tracked their progress improved test scores by 32%. The most powerful results occurred when students were also able to see teachers’ expected scores as presented in the chart. This combination of seeing charted progress + preset goals and expectations has the biggest effect on enhancing performance. Regardless of the tracking method you choose, make sure to map out your goals along the way, so that you can view them as you chart your progress. Invest in a goal-oriented planner, like the Passion Planner, to track your habits and to create a road-map with expected achievements as you work towards your goals.

Getting Over the Hump

Everyone reaches a plateau. Whether a weight loss plateau or a motivational plateau, this is when it’s important to take a step back and review why you started in the first place. Think about why you chose to make these changes. What have you been working so hard over the last days, months, or year to achieve? Get back to your Empowerment Zone and realize that you have been making these changes because you have the choice to do so. You decided that it was important enough for you to choose change. Roadblocks are inevitable. To get past them, ask yourself: Are you bored? Do you need to tweak your workout? Do you need more variety in your meal planning? Are you stressed? Reassess your habits. If it’s diet variety that you need, think about varying your protein choices. Consider switching up your snacks. Try a new fruit, vegetable, or other produce item that you’ve seen but never tasted. Incorporating new things could be the best way to get over your temporary progress hump. Recognizing stress is also crucial to getting past this point. When we feel like our motivation has taken a vacation, stress is often to blame. We must learn to recognize stress in order to manage it. Look for physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional signs of stress. Then, overcome your stress with diet, exercise, and rest. 

Congratulations on taking the first step toward realizing your personal Wellness Success: having the desire to change. Using this B.Komplete guide for maintaining your Wellness Success, you will be well positioned to overcome any future hurdles that you may face in your path toward optimal wellness.

Corporate Wellness

Business Lunch Hour – A Healthy Addition to Your Work-Day?

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It’s 11:00 AM and your stomach starts to growl – do you know where your lunch is?

The business lunch manifests itself in many ways:  the quick lunch, the working lunch, the networking lunch with coworkers, the job interview lunch, or the lunch-with-your-boss lunch!  Whatever type you follow, we recommend making sure it’s a true and healthy break from your busy day.

There are countless benefits of breaking from work for lunch; reducing stress, increasing concentration, sustained energy for your afternoon, feeling better, and many more.  However, unhealthy food choices and overeating can greatly hinder, if not cancel out, those positive results.  By including better-for-you food and beverage choices and being mindful while eating, you can boost the positive benefits and fuel your body to get you through the rest of your workday with energy and vitality.

Mindful eating is a skill that takes practice.  Mindful eating means: avoiding emotional food decisions and distractions at meal time.  When we eat “mindlessly” we are not present during our mealtime, which can lead to weight gain and health problems.  Don’t let emotions, stress, or deadlines sway your ability to maintain healthy eating habits during a busy work day.  Practice being present and enjoy a breather, savor each bite, and come back to work recharged.

Four B.Komplete Tips for Your Mindful and Healthy Business Lunch

#1) When eating out, research the restaurant ahead of time.

Most restaurants have online menus  available for perusal.  You can check out Healthy Dining Finder  to find healthy dining options in your area.  Another tool to use is Calorie King which reveals the nutritional content of many foods.  By figuring out your meal ahead of time, you can avoid the risk of impulse ordering. 

More tips for eating out – Restaurant dining can pinch your wallet and your waistline – choose wisely:

  • Order the smallest size available
  • Choose to drink water, unsweetened tea, or club soda
  • Request that the bread/chips be brought out with your meal, or avoid altogether
  • Ask for dressing on the side
  • Ask for light sauce or sauce on the side
  • Choose grilled, baked, poached, or steamed proteins
  • Aim to make a meal out of a salad and additional protein
  • Share your appetizer, salad, entrée and/or dessert
  • Use lemon, olive oil, and/or vinegar to flavor

#2) Drink a big glass of water before you start your lunch break.

Research has shown that drinking about 16 oz. of water prior to a meal  can help you avoid temptations like dipping into the endless bread or chips offered at many restaurants.  Additionally, thirst and hunger triggers come from the same part of your brain, meaning that while you may feel hungry, you are in fact thirsty.  Drinking water 15 minutes before eating  can help curb your cravings and encourage eating less at meal time.

#3) Pack your lunch the night before.

Your work day is busy enough.  Avoid a hectic morning and try packing your lunch the night before when you’ve had a chance to decompress and can make mindful decisions.  Have you heard about “salad in a jar” – it’s a solution for a healthy, custom, and delicious grab-and-go option.

#4) When eating with others, remember to savor.

It’s easy to get distracted by office chatter when networking with colleagues.  Eating becomes so automatic that you may look down at your plate and notice your food is already gone.  Savor each bite (for example, notice the texture of the food in your mouth or identify the different sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors as you chew) as if it were your last, to help avoid problems like overeating.

There are many reasons to take a lunch break  and keep it sacred.  This is so important that we’ve even mentioned it before in a previous post.  Remember that lunch can be delicious and healthy.  Schedule a daily break for yourself  to refresh your mind and feed your belly.  We promise your body and your company will thank you for it!

Nutrition and Food

B.Komplete Explore the Store: Stress Management… and Potatoes

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How Do Potatoes Relate to Stress Management?

Stress impacts us all.  And the one thing that is always true about stress – it never goes away.   At B.Komplete we are passionate about teaching consumers how to manage the stress we all face, in simple ways.  Food impacts our mood, and we can choose what we eat to impact how we feel.  In times of acute stress our levels of cortisol are UP, which increases are cravings for fat and sugar.  However, in that stressful time, the worst things we can eat are fat and sugar.  The best things to eat are foods that help to promote the release of serotonin, the hormone that relates to our good mood; feelings of wellness and calm.  Complex carbohydrates help to promote the release of serotonin.  Potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.  

Come with us, as we explore the store in the potato aisle!

Corporate Wellness

The Best Stress Management Ideas

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Stress. All of us experience some kind of stress throughout our daily lives and stress is unavoidable. Some stress can be good; provide motivation, encourage collaboration, or even push you to try new things. However, excessive stress that isn’t managed can be quite damaging to your health. Chronic, unmanaged stress is associated with weight gain, inflammation, decreased immunity, and even heart conditions over time. These health issues make stress reduction crucial for achieving ideal health.

 You can’t eliminate stress, but you can manage it! The following stress reduction practices are proven to work:

Exercise. Exercise is one of the most effective and beneficial stress reduction methods. How does exercise reduce stress? One of the ways exercise reduces stress is by reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline, two hormones that cause stress, while increasing levels of endorphins, which are mood elevators. This causes the aptly named “runner’s high” that you may have heard of before.  Another way that exercise can reduce stress is through the benefits that you gain. Exercise allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment as you hit your fitness goals and can also reduce stress by reducing your waist-line and improving self image. Tasks, such as heavy lifting, become easier as you become fit making those stressful tasks look a little more manageable. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, walking and running, as well as others are great stress relievers. Click here to learn about 8 great stress relieving exercises

Breathing exercises. Rapid, shallow breathing is commonly associated with stress while relaxed, deep breathing is associated with relaxation. Breath yourself into a state of relaxation with these easy steps:

  1. Breath in slowly and deeply using your diaphragm fully.
  2. Hold your breath briefly
  3. Release your breath slowly, thinking “relax”
  4. Repeat these steps, 5 to 10 times

This is a great relaxation technique because it can be used at any time and any place, as needed. To learn more, Dr. Weil offers some wonderful breathing exercises

Meditation. With elevated stress also comes elevated blood pressure and heart rate. You can relieve your stress and its physiological effects using meditation techniques. Studies of Indian yoga masters have shown that meditation can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood adrenaline levels.   Meditation is a useful and effective way to relieve your stress in the comfort of your own home.

Harvard physician, Dr. Herbert Benson gives this quick guide to meditation

  1. Select a time and place that will be free of distractions and interruption. A semi-darkened room is often best; it should be quiet and private. If possible, wait two hours after you eat before you meditate and empty your bladder before you get started.
  2. Get comfortable. Find a body position that will allow your body to relax so that physical signals of discomfort will not intrude on your mental processes. Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your mind to become aware of your rhythmic respirations.
  3. Achieve a relaxed, passive mental attitude. Close your eyes to block out visual stimuli. Try to let your mind go blank, blocking out thoughts and worries.
  4. Concentrate on a mental device. Most people use a mantra, a simple word or syllable that is repeated over and over again in a rhythmic, chant-like fashion. You can repeat your mantra silently or say it aloud. It’s the act of repetition that counts, not the content of the phrase; even the word “one” will do nicely. Some meditators prefer to stare at a fixed object instead of repeating a mantra. In either case, the goal is to focus your attention on a neutral object, thus blocking out ordinary thoughts and sensations.

Acupuncture. Acupuncture may sound a little scary when you think of needles being placed in your face and back, however individuals and research have found it is truly a safe and an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety. According to Dr. Daniel Hsu, acupuncture works through placement of a needle about half a millimeter from a nerve. Depending on where the needle is placed, it can cause the release of pain killing chemicals from the nervous system, stimulate the body’s natural healing ability, or excite the part of the brain controlling emotion (leading to decreased anxiety and stress). Those who have received acupuncture, often see results after just one session with improved results upon continuous treatment. I can personally vouch for the benefits of Acupuncture, and look forward to my ongoing sessions with Aaron Cashman, L.OM

What to expect at your first appointment