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How to Claim Some ‘Me Time’

By Karen Asp       WebMD Feature Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD

Say it loud, and say it proud: Me, me, me! OK, maybe you don’t want to shout it, but it is that important.

Fitting in time for yourself is essential to do your healthy habits. Take charge of your health and happiness, and you’ll lower your stress, become more productive, and have more energy.

You may think “it’s all about me” is selfish. But consider this: Other people benefit from your “me time,” too. Do things that feed you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and you’ll bring greater patience and a more positive attitude to your relationships. You’ll become a better parent, spouse, and a more effective team player at work.

Book It

Take a page from your calendar, literally. Every week, look at your calendar and book some me time.

Can’t find an hour to devote to yourself? Even 5-15 minutes can work, if you stick to it.

Don’t use the time to fold laundry or catch up on email. It may even seem more stressful at first to leave things undone, but you’ll have more energy if you take a little time off.

Where to find the time?

  • Take advantage of the kids’ reading or nap time.
  • Get up 10 minutes earlier.
  • Ask your kids (and spouse) to do the dishes.
  • Turn off the smartphone.
  • Claim a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon for yourself, even if that means adjusting your family’s schedule.

Gimme 5

If 5 minutes is all you’ve got, you’d be surprised at how much you can make it count.

Just breathe. Really focus on taking deep breaths. Your mind may wander — that’s OK, just gently lead it back from thinking about everything that’s on your to-do list.
Stretch. Get up from your desk and energize your muscles.
Do nothing. Sit quietly. Resist the urge to jump up and clear the table or pick up the kids’ toys. Let your mind and body rest.

A Few Minutes More

At least once a month, carve out a little more time for yourself — say 30 minutes to an hour. Get a pedicure. Or a facial. Go somewhere you’ve never been (a certain museum or a walking trail, perhaps). Write down your dreams and goals in a journal.

Say No, Gracefully

You don’t have to tell your friends and family what you’re doing. But if their demands cut into your time, it’s okay to create a buffer.

Tell them you can help but that you need a quick 20 minutes (or whatever amount of time feels right) before you can do it.

Stick to It

Unless it’s crucial, don’t cancel me time. It’s tempting and easy to forgo this time. But if you do it too often, you won’t have any me time left!

Stick up for yourself, and you’ll find it pays off for those around you, too. You’ll be happier and more able to help them.

source: WebMD
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10 Words Everyone Should Live By

BY DR. LAWRENCE ROSEN   JULY 10, 2013

I’ve noticed a trend in wellness circles. Whether in my work with patients or in my yoga classes, I keep coming across the same words. On a given day, one might be the theme of a dharma talk or a TED Talk video someone mentioned to me. (Or, as was the case one strange morning, the same word was featured in both.) I am sure the universe is sending me messages, and the more I mention these to friends and colleagues, it seems like they’re hearing the same words.

Which of these words resonates with you? My guess is some will at different times, but they’re all good words to live by.

1. Presence: To be fully engaged in what you are doing right now. And right now. And right now. Mindfulness of the present moment is something we never fully attain 100% of the time, but it shouldn’t stop us from trying. Whatever tools you use to cultivate presence, make time to hone them. That is why we practice (not perfect) yoga and meditation. 

2. Vulnerability: The willingness to be let others see you as you are. Vulnerability is to admit, “I am human. I am not perfect. I struggle, just like you.” No one has described vulnerability more effectively than Brene Brown. She teaches us that vulnerability is NOT weakness; in fact, being vulnerable is the most courageous thing we can be. Only when we are vulnerable can we truly connect and be open to intimacy. 

3. Clarity: Transparency and lucidity of vision and thought. Not just an uber popular, kinda creepy song by Zedd. Clarity is that aha moment when everything is crystal clear and it all just makes sense. I find it comes to me when I’m not trying to achieve it, but allowing my mind to relax and focus. It’s one of those things that the harder you try to achieve it, the further away it may feel. 

4. Equanimity: The evenness of mind to stand steady in the face of stress or challenge. I didn’t really “get” equanimity until last weekend, when a very wise friend told me it could best be explained by the phrase, “It’s all good.” The next day, I was meditating on this phrase at the beginning of a particularly challenging beach yoga session. (I know, boo-hoo, poor me.) Still, it was hot, with no wind, black flies biting. The teacher began by saying, “I was reading something this morning about equanimity…” Aha.

5. Gratitude: An intentional appreciation of what and who you have. An acceptance and explicit acknowledgment of what life brings you. Not taking anything for granted. As psychologist Robert Emmons notes, “Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present.”

6. Creativity: The use of your imagination to produce something—a thought, an object, really anything. Creativity implies a childlike playfulness, having the courage to make mistakes and keep pushing on. We desperately need more creativity in education and in the workplace. Never forget: you were once a child and some part of you always should be.

7. Authenticity: Walking the walk. The real you. The most honest “way of being.” To be authentic is to accept your self as is and offer that self to the world. The challenge is to learn to be OK with who you are and then… just be.

8. Passion: An incredibly intense and compelling desire for something (or someone) that is barely containable. And I think that’s the key. Your passion should be so palpable that it’s going to burst out of your eyeballs… but it just quite doesn’t. That’s what separates a crime of passion from the kind that makes you invest your whole being in the pursuit of your dreams and inspires others to follow you.

9. Compassion: Love and acceptance for another as if they were you. To treat them as you would want to be treated. To walk a mile in their shoes.  To see through their eyes as if they are your own. Compassion for yourself is the first step in having compassion for others. 

10. Love: Do I really have to explain this one? OK, just one quote: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower


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What you need to know about brain fog

Aug 06, 2009    by Christine Cristiano

TIPS TO CLEAR YOUR HEAD

The occurrence of brain fog is a common health concern among thousands of people. Unfortunately, brain fog is one of those loosely defined unknown ailments that is not recognized as a medical or psychological condition. The symptoms associated with brain fog, however, are very real and can be alarming for those who suffer from them. If you’ve been having problems with concentration, memory and clarity, you may be experiencing this aggravating ailment.
 

WHAT IS BRAIN FOG?

Brain fog is defined as a feeling of being somewhat disconnected or spaced out, mentally confused and lacking clarity, focus and concentration. Other symptoms may include a decrease in short-term memory, reduced attention span and the onset of forgetfulness. The condition can present itself slowly over a short period of time or progress very quickly.
 
Individuals who suffer from brain fog will describe the feeling of being zoned out, detached, and “stuck inside their head.” Some sufferers also report that they feel a tingling on top of their head, a sensation of cotton balls being in their head, and an impairment in their vision.
 

BRAIN FOG TRIGGERS AND CAUSES

Although it is difficult to prove the causes of brain fog, there are many theories as to its origins. According to various articles written on the condition, stress and lack of sleep are often to blame.
 
As we all know, restful sleep is essential for keeping the brain functioning at optimal capacity. A prolonged disruption in the normal sleeping cycle can result in moodiness, depression and a decrease in the brain’s functioning. For this reason, brain fog is also associated with other less defined illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which disrupt an individual’s normal healthy sleep patterns.
 
Brain fog has also been linked to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis due in part to the effects of these diseases on the body and the body’s inability to get rid of toxins.
 
The causes of brain fog, however, are not limited to autoimmune disorders. Symptoms may be the result of hypoglycemia and other fluctuations in blood sugar levels, food sensitivities, and deficiencies in vitamin B-12, magnesium, amino acids and copper. Other possible causes include chronic viral infections, metal toxicity, and side effects from medications used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders and nausea.
 
Ailments affecting the digestive system such as chronic constipation, diarrhea, irritable or inflammatory disease, can cause a build up of toxins and trigger brain fog. Pregnant women, new moms, and menopausal females may suffer from brain fog due to changes in hormones. Individuals who battle the overabundance of yeast or Candida in their system can experience brain fog. The condition can also be caused by chemical overload due to indoor fumes arising from building materials or furniture.
 

9 TIPS TO CLEAR YOUR HEAD

1. See your doctor first. There are many proactive measures one can take to reduce the effects of brain fog, but before embarking on your own health regime, schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out any undetected abnormalities. Blood tests can confirm whether your brain fog is caused from a mineral imbalance, food sensitivities or allergies.
 
2. Be patient and keep researching. It may be difficult to determine the cause behind brain fog because the triggers can vary widely from person to person. Be patient, keep a positive attitude, and continue to ferret out the possible triggers.
 
3. Follow a healthy lifestyle. As with so many other conditions, oftentimes the key to recovery is taking care of yourself. Be sure to follow a healthy diet, get a daily dose of moderate exercise and prioritize sound sleep.
 
4. Clean up your diet. If you are a regular consumer of artificial sweeteners or foods that contain MSG, eliminate them from your diet. Although fish and seafood contain many contain healthy nutrients, they can also contain mercury which may trigger brain fog if eaten in large quantities over a long period of time.
 
5. Get rid of the chemicals. You may need to give your cleaning products an overhaul. Consider eco-friendly products over products made with harsh ingredients. If you suspect the building materials or furniture in your house are the problem, talk to a building professional about the types of finishes and chemicals that are lurking in your house.
 
6. Elimate the allergens. People who are sensitive to dairy and grain products or other food allergens may find relief by limiting or eliminating these foods from their diet. Consult with a food allergy specialist to determine if you have food allergies and the best way to ensure you still get your recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.
 
7. Consider supplements. Some recommended supplements that can help reduce brain fog include coenzyme Q-10, vitamins B6 and B12, calcium, and antioxidants such as vitamin C. Your best option is foods containing these nutrients; however, supplements can ensure you are getting enough.
 
8. Eat more healthy fats. If your brain fog is caused by elevated cholesterol levels, consuming foods that contain monounsaturated fatty acids like almonds, avocados and olives, can help reduce the build-up in your arteries and improve blood flow to the brain. Consult with your doctor for other cholesterol lowering tips.
 
9. Keep a journal. If you have experienced repeated episodes of brain fog, consider keeping a daily diary of your activities, sleep patterns, emotional responses, foods that you have consumed, and any other factors that may play a part in triggering the condition. Sometimes, the process of elimination can lead to the best remedy and outcome.