Mind-Body

Step Up Your Game by Perfecting Your Morning Routine

How we start a new day can significantly alter our next 24 hours. Although not all morning routines will look the same, it’s important to allocate some time for yourself before you jump into the hustle and bustle of life. Many people find that when they get into a habit of doing morning rituals, like journaling, meditating, and exercising, it impacts their productivity, creativity, and levels of wellbeing for the entire day. 

Get the big things done first. 

While our running to-do list may tempt us to check off the small errands first, it’s recommended to knock out the biggest and most important things first. For many, that’s a healthy workout routine, like a run, or working on a passion project that it always put off later in the day.

Prioritize based on your values. 

Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs gave a powerful commencement address to Stanford University in 2005. Everyday, the entrepreneur and billionaire would remind himself of the life he wanted to live, helping him realign his actions with his purpose. 

 “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Get outside of the box. 

If the traditional morning routine of writing, journaling and exercise doesn’t feel enticing to you, try shaking it up and making it your own. 

Tony Robbins, the world’s most famous life coach, travels the world, hosts events, monitors the dozens of companies he’s invested and involved in, and consults some of the world’s most powerful leaders. Throughout it all, he stays true to his morning routine. That said, he's not just drinking your average cup of Joe. 

According to Business Insider, Robbins wakes up between 7:00 and 9:00, running off three to five hours of sleep. He begins the day with a “adrenal support cocktail,” which includes greens powder, vitamin C, antioxidants, and capsules of other vitamins and nutrients. 

After breakfast, Robbins does a 10-minute meditation he calls “priming,” which includes an intense breath-focused practice, giving gratitude, and visualization. He then performs a high-exertion 15 minute workout and jumps right into his sauna, followed by a cold plunge and ending with a stretch on his back inversion machine. 

Remember, no size fits all. 

If you are a night owl, no matter what anyone says, the 5AM club may not be the best option for you. 

While people may boast about their morning routines, it’s crucial to remember that the best morning routine is one that makes you feel fulfilled, and that you can stick to.


The Power of Self Affirmation

From University of Pennsylvania  |  Annenberg School for Communication

If you're looking to adopt better wellness habits or steer yourself away from self-defeating choices, you might want to consider self affirmation, particularly when you look at the results of this University of Pennsylvania study which reveals the neural mechanics of self-affirmation.

Excerpt: "Researchers have long marveled at the almost magical power of self-affirmation: Minority students who reflect on their core values do better in school. People with opposing political views become more open to hearing one another, while people with bad health habits become more amenable to happing up. The simple act of focusing on the sources of meaning and purpose in our lives is incredibly effective at lowering defenses and changing behavior."

For the complete article, click here.

 

 

 


Something to Laugh About

From cancercenter.com

Most of us have heard it many times before: Laughter is the best medicine. Why then do we keep forgetting this? We like this piece from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America for how it reminds us to give humor a place of honor in our daily travels while shedding an interesting light on the benefits of laughter, especially for anyone living with or beyond cancer.

Excerpt: "Over the years, researchers have conducted studies to explore the impact of laughter on health. After evaluating participants before and after a humorous event (i.e., a comedy video), studies have revealed that episodes of laughter helped reduce pain, decrease stress-related hormones and boost the immune system in participants.

Today more than ever before, people are turning to humor for therapy and healing. Medical journals have acknowledged that laughter therapy can help improve quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses. Many hospitals now offer laughter therapy programs as a complementary treatment to illness."

For the complete article, click here.


Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude

From the Huffington Post | By Natasha Dern

Excerpt: “A strong, positive and resilient attitude will help elevate you to unimaginable heights.

…A positive attitude is not about displaying a phony smile, a happy face and a perky disposition. It is simply a way of responding to life in a manner that allows us to accept the duality, the contradictions, the contrasts of our experiences.

“…We can either regard our dilemmas with anger, bitterness or frustration. Or we can look deep within and find the source that is beyond all circumstances and then pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and move forward knowing all things will work in our favor.”

For the complete article, including more on maintaining a positive outlook, click here.


Calm

Calm is an app that makes meditation accessible and simple, especially for people just learning the art of meditation. Learn online, when you want, wherever you are, in as few as 10 minutes a day. It’s like a gym membership for your mind.

Using the scientifically-proven technique of meditation, you can develop a healthier mind by familiarizing yourself with the present moment and ridding yourself of much of the distractedness that leads to unhappiness, according to Calm.

Click here to sign up for a free year membership to Calm


Fight Back Against Seasonal Depression

As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, it’s not uncommon for people to suffer from SAD — that’s seasonal affective disorder. SAD “is a form of seasonal depression triggered by the change in seasons that occurs primarily in winter.” Make no mistake, seasonal depression is real depression, "It is important to treat SAD, because all forms of depression limit people's ability to live their lives to the fullest, to enjoy their families, and to function well at work," says Deborah Pierce, MD, MPH, clinical associate professor of family medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Everyday Health offered up 12 ways to ease and treat SAD, here are a few of our favorites:

“Try Light From A Box

Light therapy boxes give off light that mimics sunshine and can help in the recovery from seasonal affective disorder. The light from the therapy boxes is significantly brighter than that of regular light bulbs, and it's provided in different wavelengths. Typically, if you have SAD, you sit in front of a light box for about 30 minutes a day. This will stimulate your body's circadian rhythms and suppress its natural release of melatonin.

Talk With Your Doctor

Because SAD is a form of depression, it's best diagnosed by talking with a mental health professional. "There are a number of screening questions that can help determine if someone is depressed," Dr. Pierce says. "Your doctor will be able to sort out whether you have SAD as opposed to some other form of depression." 

Get Moving

As it does with other forms of depression, exercise can help alleviate seasonal affective disorder, too. Outdoor exercise would be most helpful. But if you can't exercise outside because it's cold or snowy, choose a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical machine close to a window at the gym.

Let the Sunshine In

If you have seasonal depression or wintertime seasonal affective disorder, you'll want to get outside as much as you can during the day and take advantage of what sunlight there is. If you live where it's cold, be sure to bundle up, but take a stroll around the block at noon or soon after — that's when the sun is brightest."

Regardless of the methods you choose to ease the impact of SAD on your life, it’s critical to be proactive. Taking just a couple of the steps above can make a major difference in how you handle the transition into winter, as well as the entire season itself.


Build a Stronger Immune System

It’s safe to say that most of us are doing as much as we can to stay healthy right now. But what’s the best way to build the immune system? Well, there isn’t just one answer. To optimize the body’s ability to fight off illness it’s best to adopt a holistic approach. It’s not just doing one thing, it’s doing many things that, together, support overall health and immunity. 

Women’s Health highlighted three main areas of focus and had some experts weigh in on the best immunity-optimizing habits.

Nail Your Sleep Routine

Sleep—specifically getting at least seven hours most nights—might be the Most Important Thing. “The best data we have about how to improve immunity is on getting the right amount of good sleep,” says E. John Wherry, director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania. People who got six hours of shut-eye a night or less for one week were about four times more likely to catch a cold when exposed to a virus compared to those who got more than seven hours, according to a study published in the journal Sleep

“If my sleep schedule gets off track, I recommit to consistent wake-up and bedtimes—even on weekends.” – María de la Paz Fernández, Columbia University

Sharpen Your Stress Reaction

It’s well established that stress prompts the release of cortisol, that fight-or-flight hormone that enables you to run for your life. When cortisol is high, your immune system isn’t as active, says Daniel M. Davis, PhD, professor of immunology at the University of Manchester in England.

Don’t stress? I’ll just give up now, you’re thinking. Stay calm and try this: Instead of attempting to eliminate negativity, refine the way you cope—which will make the blues more manageable and mitigate that cortisol response, Davis says. 

“I am a huge believer in the power of gratitude. It’s not woo-woo or weird—it works and we have the science to back it up. I start and finish my days by identifying three specific things that I am grateful for.” – Joy Lere, psychologist

Exercise Smarter

Working out creates inflammation in the body, but it’s the good kind, says Wherry. “It’s a little counterintuitive, because exercise actually disrupts your body’s homeostasis,” he says. But when your sweat sesh is finished, your bod goes back to its status quo—keeping your immunity on its toes in that brilliant way, he says. Research backs this up: Folks who exercise regularly develop more T cells (those destroyer white blood cells) than their sedentary peers.

“I aim to get 20 to 30 minutes of movement every day. Consistent, moderate exercise allows your body to recover and build immunity quicker than over-exercising or not exercising at all.” – Lisa Ballehr, D.O., Institute of Functional Medicine

Boosting the immune system isn’t just about drinking this or doing that, it’s about building a foundation of good habits that work together to keep us healthy. It starts with sleep, stress and exercise and extends to food and drink, personal hygiene and beyond. Just remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.


The Best Apps for Cancer Patients

There are so many challenges that come with the fight against cancer. Beyond the physical battle against the disease, patients also need to manage treatments and medications, remember an array of appointments, track progress — even discover communities of other patients and build support systems. 

In today’s digital age, it should come as no surprise that there are incredible apps designed with the specific needs of cancer patients in mind. The International Oncology Network highlighted their three favorites:

BELONG

Designed to mimic a social media platform – but one for cancer patients.

The app can help you find the right support groups for almost all types of cancers. It will also give you access to leading researchers who are there to answer all the questions a cancer patient or their family members might have.

The app also helps people find clinical trials for most types of cancers and lets you input medical records, which can then be shared with family members and medical personnel.

Cancer.Net Mobile

It was developed to help people plan and manage care. Starting from the diagnosis of cancer, through exact treatment methods, and further, the app has proven to be a beneficial tool for many patients.

The app continually keeps track of your symptoms, medications, appointments, questions, and healthcare providers. There are a lot of features that are there to help cancer patients organize their life with the disease and find the answers they need for more than 120 different types of cancer.

CareZone

Plan your care notes, remember treatments, set reminders, summarize your drug administration protocols, and more. 

You can also take pictures of medications, supplements, prescriptions, and keep it all organized in one place, so you never forget when and what you need to take.

CareZone is a full-blown health app as well as it lets you track essential health stats like sleep, blood glucose, weight, and more.

The best thing about CareZone is the fact that all of the information in the app can also be accessed on a browser and downloaded when needed. “

Designed to help cancer patients get all the information they need, connect with other patients and track their battle against the disease, these incredibly useful apps can, hopefully, make the journey a little more manageable.


The Best Products for Breast Cancer Patients

It can be hard to know how to prepare for life with breast cancer (it can also be hard to buy a gift for someone battling the disease), but there are products out there that can help to make an unfortunate situation a bit more comfortable. We assembled a few of our favorites to make things easier during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and every month after that.

Athleta Empower Bra

Co-created with women who have had mastectomies to offer the most in comfort and design.

NatraCure Cold Therapy Socks

Cold therapy is frequently used to provide comfort during chemotherapy or to help prevent hair loss, skin changes and other aches and inflammation.

The Breast & Chest Buddy Seatbelt Cushion

Car rides get comfier with this little pillow that can be attached to a seatbelt to provide soft and and flexible cushioning. 

AnaOno Miena Robe

Developed by a breast cancer survivor, a comfortable, lightweight robe perfect for treatment and recovery with a button-in drain management belt.

Bed Wedge Pillow with Memory Foam

Reduces the strain of getting up while providing long lasting comfort overnight.

Kit Undergarments 

A brand with a purpose, KiT makes products for every woman, including a line of pink undergarments that support the World Cancer Research Fund during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

These products cover every stage of the breast cancer journey, and there are many more that help to make fighting and coping with the disease a little easier. If you have any must-have products for cancer patients, let us know.