Tag / stress

Love Hormone (and Heart Rate Variability)

Have you heard about the love hormone? It’s called oxytocin, and research correlates high levels with being in-love, mother-infant bonding, trust, and empathy. Most research focuses on your brain as the production site of this hormone, but your heart actually produces and stores a significant amount of it. Your heart also produces other critical hormones, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and Atrial Naturietic Peptide. The old idea that the heart is just a “pump”, has not served us well in medicine.

The heart has a direct connection to the brain via the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which some people refer to as the “Rest and Digest” state of the body. In fact, there are more nerves carrying heart signals to the brain than vice versa. What kinds of signals do you think it’s sending, and how much are these affecting your health? Your behavior? Your thoughts?

Your Limitless Living Community

Here’s the online community you’ve been searching for to support and encourage you to be the best you can be. Annual membership includes weekly coaching videos (intuitive eating, movement, motivation, strength training that makes sense), all designed to help women feel stronger, happier, and healthier. Their tool kit includes dozens of perks and offers from local businesses with mandates that align with these ideals. Limitless Living has only recently launched in Kingston and we’re so happy to be a part of this passionate, inspiring, and genuine community. Please check out their website or Facebook page.

Unlikely Inspiration For Meaningful Change

In a few weeks I’ll be speaking at the South Eastern region Hospice Palliative Care conference about the value of integrative medicine for people who are dying. To help me prepare, I’ve been reading Die Wise by Stephen Jenkins, a philosophical and critical exploration of the phobia our culture has about death. This manifesto (as he calls it), would seem the least likely place for inspiration for New Year’s resolutions! In fact, of all the happiness and change-your-life books I’ve come across, this one offered me the deepest motivation and inspiration for making meaningful change in my life.

Get More this Christmas by Giving Less

The holiday season is officially upon us. We can’t deny it any longer.

For some people, this stirs up feelings of stress and anxiety.

The pressure is on to get the shopping done, put up the tree, hang the lights, decorate the house, prepare baking, wrap the presents, send out cards, attend work parties, visit the in-laws, keep the kids entertained, shovel the driveway, make the perfect dinner, travel, and, oh yes, if there’s any time left over, actually enjoy the season!

On Starting Something New: How to Embrace & Own Change

Change is stressful, especially when it’s unexpected change. But even planned, positive change can put you on your toes!

People have a general tendency to fear the unknown. Oftentimes, we’d rather stick with what we know because it’s familiar and, well, let’s face it, the familiar is comfortable. When we look into a future of unknowns it tends to feel largely out of our control, and this lack of control is what tends to make us feel stressed. So, when we think about starting something new, we might hesitate, make excuses, or save the change for “one day when…”

How is it, then, that you can stop procrastinating and actually make change happen?

Mindfulness to Speed Up Healing

Stress comes in all forms. It’s the busy multi-tasking daily routine, the chronic pain condition, the challenging relationships with family and coworkers. This chronic tension, whether we recognize it or not, triggers our sympathetic nervous system, creating a heightened “fight-or-flight” mode in which stress hormones increase, immune function decreases, and inflammation ensues. This state is a survival mechanism designed to remove us from danger at all costs. And cost us, it does.

4-Week Mindfulness Meditation Series

Did you know that, according to Statistics Canada, nearly a quarter of all Canadian adults rate their daily stress levels as moderate to high? And, did you know that stress accounts for lower quality of life and can have significant negative impacts on your physical and mental health?

If ongoing stress is playing a role in your life, or if you would otherwise like to practice slowing down the fast pace of your busy world, then this is the course for you! Join Lindsay Dupuis, Mental Health Counsellor, for this 4-week course in which you will learn how to take control of your mind and gain energy back through a series of educational lessons and guided meditations…

Introducing Our Private Mindfulness Meditation Training Sessions

How It Changed My Life, and How It Can Change Yours, Too

No matter where I go or what I’m faced with in this life, one consistency that I find myself with is my ability to turn inward – not in a self-destructive way (although, admittedly, this does happen from time to time), but in a way that allows me to befriend, get to know, and take care of myself like I would my own best friend, a loved one, or my very own child.

Reversing Pre-Diabetes

Perhaps you had a routine physical exam and blood testing with your Medical Doctor or Naturopathic Doctor and discovered that your blood sugar was uncomfortably high. Maybe you’re concerned about your family history of diabetes or heart disease and already recognize that prevention is key.  It’s a common scenario in my office, perhaps because an estimated 22% of Canadians have pre-diabetes. For the most part, type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle illness, but not always in the way we think it is.

Introducing Our 4- Week Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course

Did you know that, according to Statistics Canada, nearly a quarter of all Canadian adults rate their daily stress levels as moderate to high? And, did you know that stress accounts for lower quality of life and can have significant negative impacts on your physical and mental health?

If ongoing stress is playing a role in your life, or if you would otherwise like to practice slowing down the fast pace of your busy world, then this is the course for you!

Join Lindsay Dupuis, Mental Health Counsellor, for this 4-week course in which you will learn how to take control of your mind and gain energy back through a series of educational lessons and guided meditations…

Start Your Day off Right with this 10-Minute Morning Routine

(4 min read)  Everyone has a morning routine as unique as the house they live in.

Some are long and complex. Others are quick and to the point. I’d be willing to bet, though, that just about everyone’s morning routine involves making themselves look more presentable. Showers wash away flat morning hair, toothpaste strips away bad breath, make-up covers flaws, and clothing camouflages bodily imperfections. For a society that values physical appearances, many of us make this a priority in order to put our best faces forward.

Allergies From Stress

Ever wonder why your seasonal allergies vary in intensity from year to year? What made them so much worse last year, and suddenly so much better this past season? It’s not as simple as environmental fluctuations that change how plants bloom. Our immune reactions against otherwise harmless things like pollen fluctuate and adapt according to what else is happening in our bodies. And unlike the growing season, our body’s reaction to this environmental stressor is one thing we have more control over than traditionally considered. 

Are Your Hormones Making You Tired?

sore throat, shown red, keep handed, isolated on white background

Fatigue and low energy is one of the most common concerns that patients come to see me for. Sometimes the fatigue is a new symptom but for the majority of people, it is something they have been struggling with for years. In many cases it presents itself gradually, like a slow but steady decline.  Now they find themselves with so little energy they can’t do the activities that they want and it is affecting their quality of life. There are many different root causes for low energy but one’s hormonal state is usually a major player. I want to briefly cover two hormonal issues that can lead to low energy.

De-Stressing The Holidays

-

Post-holiday season, usually around mid-January, I have patients coming into my clinic showing signs of extreme fatigue and exhaustion.  They sigh, “The holidays just wiped me out and I have no energy left”.  Their immune systems are weak, they have gained a few extra pounds and barely have enough stamina to put the holiday decorations away.  Sound familiar? Avoid a holiday melt-down this year by following these simple pro-active suggestions.

Menopause: Navigating it Naturally

Woman holding treeBy Dr. Angela Hunt ND

Let us start this off by reminding everyone that menopause is NOT a disease but a natural cycle in a woman’s life. This life cycle can be a bit rough for some, but there are ways to navigate through it more easily. The definition of menopause is one full year without any menstruation[i]. It is important to note that numerous women start to experience menopausal symptoms even before their period has completely stopped, a time called “peri-menopause”. Peri-menopause can start up to a decade before menstruation stops, making this whole process a drawn out affair. I want to cover some of the natural options women have for managing symptoms during their menopausal years but first, let’s review the most common symptoms. 

Top Seasonal Allergy Tips

Young woman blowing nose

The immune system is one of our most precious resources for good health. Seasonal allergy symptoms are an indication of an overactive immune response against harmless pollens and are a useful sign that our immune system requires some support.  Here are some simple strategies to reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms and improve your immune system health. 

Managing Stress Around the Holidays

By Holly WhiteKnight, ND

It’s that time of year again. Parking lots are packed, stores are blaring holiday music and your schedule may be packed with gatherings and endless holiday engagements. Even for those who love and fully embrace the season, it can be a stress filled time of year. The holidays can also be a sensitive time for many, especially those who have lost a loved one or those who suffer from depression. Here are some ways to set yourself up for the most relaxed and present holiday season yet:

– Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place. It is often difficult to stop and backtrack when at the peak of holiday stress. Know yourself and reflect on past holiday stressors or depression triggers, jot them down and come up with ways to avoid them this year or tackle them from a different angle. Be thoughtful and deliberate, choosing to spend your time in meaningful ways and to eliminate irrelevant tasks. Get your holiday armour ready, whatever it may be: a polite excuse to get you out of a dreaded commitment, a long walk after a congested family meal to have some alone time (maybe Fido really needed to have some extra sniffs!). If you suffer from depression,

Thinking Outside the Box: Holiday Gift Giving

Dr. Christina Vlahopoulos, ND

The Holiday Season is quickly coming and not only is the goose getting fat, but so are the wallets of all the giant retailors across this country. Over the last few years, I have noticed that gift giving and all the hustle and bustle that surrounds it, has become more stressful than it needs to be. Somewhere along the way, we forget why we are purchasing that small item as a gesture of gratitude and instead fight over the last toy in the store. So, as with anything, age has brought me more wisdom about how I show my gratitude to those I care about, especially at this time of the year. In sharing these ideas, and other Holiday gift giving suggestions, my hope is that it might inspire you to think a little differently about how you show your gratitude this Holiday Season.

Mould: What does it mean for indoor air quality?

~ Dr. Christina Vlahopoulos, ND, MSc (cand.)

With spring just around the corner it means we will start opening windows to let the fresh air in. It is also a very damp time of year with a lot of rain – for those who suffer from mould allergies, it can be challenging. There is a lot of strong evidence suggesting that dampness outside can change indoor air quality. But how does moisture make us sick? Unfortunately it is not the water and rain that make us sick, but rather they create the perfect environment and conditions for mould to grow.

Mould spores can be found everywhere – from food to drywall to leaf litter and the soil on the ground. In fact, mould and the enzymes they secrete, are needed for the normal breakdown and decay of organic material. But the problem begins when there are higher concentrations of mould indoors than outdoors. The problem gets worse when the perfect conditions are met for it to grow. All mould needs is increased moisture or water accumulation and/or the indoor relative humidity level to be above 60% – the higher the moisture content, the faster the mould growth. The greater the mould growth, the higher the risk for poor indoor air quality and the greater the chance of breathing problems or other respiratory illnesses.

One type of mould called “black toxic mould”