Real Wonder Women, Real Talk: What does “health” mean to you?

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I am honored to know a whole bunch of inspiring, amazing women and I realized the other day that I would love to ask these ladies for their perspective on some important issues:

Health, self-care, anxiety, depression

I feel like it’s important for women to know that even when they feel alone in their experiences, other women have been there, too.

In this first part, I simply asked:

How do you define “health”? What does that word mean to you?

(I’ve kept the names anonymous at the request of a lot of the women for when we get into headier topics.)

“Health: when my mind and body are in agreement.

-Y.R.

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“For me health has become a fluid feeling. 

I used to try to feel like I did in my teens and twenties and on the odd day that I felt like that, I would feel “healthy”. 

But as I get older and my chemistry has gradually shifted, health has a new standard – one that has more to do with the middle ground than with highs and lows. 

At the end of the day, I think health to me is peace of mind and heart.

Sometimes a hurting and sick body affects that peace terribly, and sometimes it doesn’t.  But when that peace is gone, then my body feels it.
Often as anxiety.”

-Lili

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Health to me is a scale measuring how well your mind and body are working together. There is “good health” and “not-so-good health.”

-L.M.

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“First, health to me, is not a result of comparing myself to others (I’m thinner than she is, happier than her, etc.).  It’s also not about a size or weight.  It is about me being the best I can be.

Health is more than just being physically fit.  It includes spiritual, mental, and emotional states.  I can achieve health by living for and being in relationship with Jesus, not to mention doing His will for me even if it means my life/choices is way different than others’.

To be healthy physically, I exercise (my focus is moving more and getting my heart rate up) and eating healthy foods MOST of the time.  ☺ I also try to stay away from chemicals, GMO’s, and use natural alternatives to healing and promoting health.

As for being healthy mentally and emotionally, I find that much harder.  I try to get enough sleep, do things I enjoy, learn things, read, etc. 

Most of all though, I believe our mental health is very much a combined result of genetics, childhood environment, and our devotion to our faith.”

-D.K.

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Health: I define health as being the measurement of how well you are in comparison to how well your body will let you be. Meaning, I am not automatically healthier than a person in a wheel chair because I can walk and they can’t. If they are working out and eating well and I’m stuffing my face with heavily buttered popcorn, me being able to walk doesn’t mean squat in terms of health.

-B.V.

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This is a tricky one for me. I recently realized that I have an eating disorder, something I never in a million years thought I would have. I barely eat and over-exercise in the hopes of achieving that perfect bikini-body that so many women strive for. For so many years, “health” was a thin body. Now I’m learning that health is in no way a cut and dry thin body. Health is having the energy to make it through the day because you’ve been eating regularly and enough. Health is running and jumping and playing with the kids in your life and not needing a nap afterwards because you burned through what little reserve of energy you have. Health is that luminous glow your skin gets when it has enough nutrients and water. Health is knowing that you can lift a heavy box because your muscles are strong. But mostly importantly, health is an attitude. It’s taking care of your body by giving it the right fuel and loving it by giving it days off and grace. It’s not a size 0 and it’s not a number on a scale. Health is being content with your body and loving it in all its flaws.

-Daryn

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Personally, I used to define health as all the times I felt blissful and felt like conquering the world.

Now that I’m in tune with my hormonal cycle, I realize that I really only feel that “I’m queen of the world!!” feeling for one week out of the month.

Does that mean I’m not healthy the rest of the month? No. Even when I feel like crying or eating ALL the chocolate or sleeping all day…..that is all part of being a healthy woman.

I feel like I’m learning that health really is about balance, boundaries, connection, and growth.

As long as I am continuing to place one foot in front of the other, I have the potential to be healthy.

Also, surrounding myself with other healthy women helps me be healthy.

-me, (Joy Boardman)

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What does health mean to YOU?

Detox for Pitta: Ayurveda

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Too much Pitta:
Fever, inflammation, indigestion, rashes, ulcers, body odor, acidity, breakouts….

The focus of your pitta detox is:
cleansing of the blood and liver

Helpful detox herbs for pitta:
Neem. Neem is powerful for eliminating toxins in the blood. It is anti-viral & anti-bacterial.
(Use neem oil and neem soap)

Amalaki. Amalaki keeps your colon clean. It’s great for detoxing and rich in antioxidants (supports the immune system)

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Guidelines for Detox:
Wake up around 6 AM
Sleep by 10 P

In the morning massage your body with warm sunflower or coconut oil.
Follow your massage with a cool shower or bath with neroli, sandalwood, or eucalyptus oil.

Start your day with a glass of warm (not hot) water.

Avoid strenuous exercise.
Exercise in the cool morning or evening (not in the heat of the day)
A 20-30 min walk in the morning is great. Breathe deeply.
Exercise with softness and compassion.
Forward bends will cool you.
Moon salutations will balance you.
Spinal twists will massage your liver and spleen.

Wear blues and purples and whites.
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Get plenty of rest.
Take breaks during the day. Meditate or sing.

Best days for detox juice fast are Tuesday & Sunday
Only fast for 3 consecutive meals

**Do not skimp on QUANTITY**
((You will get grumpy!!))

As soon as you lose energy and get hungry: eat rice
When rice is no longer enough (still hungry): eat kitchari

Eat only when hungry.
Settle yourself before and after you eat.
Pay attention to your food when you eat. (No distractions)
Always leave room after you eat to help with digestion (only eat 3/4 your stomach capacity)
**Do not overeat while detoxing.

Largest meal at lunch
Good to eat at about the same time everyday.
**Do not skip meals while detoxing.

The juice:
Drink pomegranate, carrot, and lime juices.
Add lemon and honey and pepper.

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Dandelion tea will help your liver release bile (helps with digestion and detox)
Also drink plenty of cool water (not cold)

Stay hydrated.

Eat: ((you can add these to your juices, as well and then eat them whole (in soups or cooked NOT RAW) when you are ready for food, again))
Veggies: lots of romaine and celery, collards, kale, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage
Fruits: melons, plums, peaches, cooked prunes, figs, apple, pears, pineapple, papaya
Grains: quinoa, barley, amaranth, rice

Spices to add to EVERYTHING:
Cumin, coriander, fennel, turmeric, ginger, fenugreek

Avoid:
Hot, spicy, fermented, salty, oily, fried, caffeine, alcohol
Avoid heavy dairy (cheese, yogurt)
Raw foods, heavy desserts

Kitchari recipe for pitta
1/2 c mung dal (yellow not green)
1 c basmati rice
3 c water
3 T ghee
1 inch piece of ginger peeled and cut finely
1 t coconut
1 t fennel
1 t cilantro
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 t turmeric
And pick 2 veggies (1 c of each): green beans, carrots, peas, cauliflower

Wash rice and dal well (rinse, strain, rinse, strain)
Cook in water till only 1/2 the water is left
While cooking roast all of the spices in the ghee.
Once roasted, add the veggies.
Add to the rice and dal. Cook till ALL of the water is absorbed. ((Approximately 35-40 min)

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Joy Boardman

Massage Therapist and Collage Art Therapist

Planet Joy: Otherworldly Massages for Women, Planet-Friendly Collages for Everyone

Find me here:

[PlanetJoy’s Blog]

[PlanetJoy’s Etsy Shop]

[PlanetJoy on Facebook]

[PlanetJoy on Pinterest]

Insomnia: A Specific Guide for Dealing with Sleepless Nights

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Insomnia: Latin for “No Sleep”

Insomnia:
*The inability to fall asleep quickly

*Awakening shortly after falling asleep and being unable to resume sleeping (between 2&4 am is a common pitta problem)

*The inability to sleep soundly

*The inability to sleep at all
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Transient insomnia:
Less than a week.
Caused by poor sleep environment, bad timing
External or temp changes
Noise, weather, stimulants
Eating too late
Recent emotional upsets: depression, stress

((sleep deprivation))

True insomnia:
More than a week.
Prolonged emotional upset
Stress
Improper diet
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Affects 54% of US population
A vata problem
Sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is triggered= stress hormones

Can lead to memory problems, depression, irritability, heart disease, obesity, and automobile accidents

Causes:
*Kidney energy weakness
(Causes low back ache, tiredness, fatigue, and a burst of energy at 11pm)

*Liver filters blood at night (1-3 am) if it is congested it struggles and leads to poor quality sleep

*To reach deep, restful sleep: spirit and heart must be calm and liver and spleen must work together to process nutrients
20121227-133646.jpgBy Tony Huynh

Do not rely on pills: your body will forget how to sleep on its own.
Improving you sleep hygiene and implementing yoga and meditation is more beneficial and the results are longer lasting over time.
Takes a few weeks.

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Diet:
*Almonds, cashews, spinach, banana
*Cherry juice is high in melatonin (good for mental fatigue and stress)
*Drink strong chamomile tea (3 or 4 tea bags)
*Valerian tea
*Melatonin, magnesium, & calcium
Vitamin C, B, and zinc
*An Ayurvedic herb called Ashwagandha

Dinner of warm, well-cooked veggies and hearty soup with bread and butter for dinner

Drink warm milk (or almond milk) with cardamom and nutmeg (after you heat the milk, stir in a spoonful of honey: never cook honey)

If you have acid reflux which keeps you up: drink licorice and fennel tea

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this tea looks like it could do the job: Sacred Grove organic herbal peaceful sleep tea by yogishop

Caffeine only in the morning. Definitely no caffeine or alcohol after 5 if you are prone to insomnia.

Don’t eat heavy meal 4 hours before bed

Avoid spicy or fried food in the evening

Avoid meat, cheese, potatoes, or heavy desserts at dinner (clogs tissues which leads to snoring, apnea, stiffness, and morning lethargy)

During the day:
Get blood flowing 6am-10am is optimal for helping insomnia
Fun fact: Soccer is the best exercise for sleep health
Get out in the sun
An evening walk can clear your head and cool your body
Yoga at dusk is excellent

To sleep you need to:
Emphasize stability and balance
Relax vata
Balance kidney meridian
Calm the heart
Help liver and spleen

Good Yoga Routine:
*Active forward bends (burn off excess energy) forward bends massage the liver
*Leg exercises (divert blood to legs, rather than brain) (warrior one and two)
*Intense side stretch (tones kidneys and spleen and calms the brain)
*Legs up the wall (aids with spleen function)
*Progressive muscle relaxation.
*Shavasana 15 min

“Every time you exhale, it slows your heart beat and helps you calm down.” –roger cole (research scientist on physiology of sleep)

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Develop positive thoughts about sleep.

During sleep your brain recharges and your cells repair themselves.

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Sleep sanctuary:
*Bedroom should be just for sleeping
*Reduce all stimuli: no electrical appliances in bedroom
*65 degrees is optimal
*Limit your time in bed
*Heavy comforter
*Freshly made bed, favorite pajamas
*Eye mask and heavy curtains
*Have bed away from a window and against a wall
*Lavender sachet under pillow or lavender oil on pillow (lengthens sleep, deepens sleep, and refreshes)

20121227-135116.jpgNightCap Bath Bombs - Insomnia, Migraines, Calm, Relaxation by BeeSilkNaturals

Evening routine:
Turn off computer and stop working at least an hour before bed
Have lower lighting (darkness activates melatonin) starting an hour or two before bed
Avoid anything intense after 9 pm.
Quiet music, no lyrics

Bath with lavender oil and Epsom salts (heat activates neurons which make you sleepy) ((can also just soak your feet))
Massage oil into feet (This is an extremely effective way to settle the mind. Wiping the oil off with a cool cloth is said to have a calming effect on the sleep centers of the brain.)
Put on socks (warm feet help you sleep better)

Wash face, brush teeth (mentally prepare for sleeping)
Read fiction before bed (try this adorable book: The Wide-Awake Owl By Louis Slobodkin, or even better for anxiety, work on a jigsaw puzzle.

(If you have a rocking chair that can help a lot.)

Make to-do list and journal (get everything out of head): keep pad of paper by your bed

Bedtime:
Go to bed before 10pm–earlier in winter (kapha time will help you sleep deeper and easier)

After 10 is pitta time: mental alertness. You will remember everything you need to do, and then get hungry, and then try to sleep on a full stomach and your body won’t be able to rest while it is digesting
Between 2 and 6 am is vata time: you will sleep lightly, restless–drifting in and out.

Meditate 10 min before bed
Focus on breathing
The Buddha recommended loving-kindness meditation

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Note: If you still can’t sleep after 20 min and you have tried counting down from 300 in multiples of 3, go ahead and get up— read or write, do the dishes, do that jigsaw puzzle, do something relaxing till you get sleepy

20121227-134424.jpgcard by Joy Boardman. For sale on etsy. Click here to purchase.

*bonus points:
Have someone give you a gentle massage on your spine from neck, down

Also: acupressure!
Acupressure is particularly effective in the treatment of insomnia.

DO NOT PRACTICE THESE POINTS IF PREGNANT. No.
((Too relaxing. Can bring on contractions!!))

If you feel any discomfort in the pressure point, that means there is blocked energy. The tenderness will eventually disappear as you continue practicing acupressure.

The acupressure points we need here are the one that is in the first indentation right below your outer anklebone (called Calm Sleep)

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And the acupressure point on the inside of the heel below your inner anklebone is called Joyful Sleep.
(both are between heel and ankle bones) Pressing these ankle points together by placing your thumb on one side and your fingertips on the other side of your ankle for at least three minutes using both your thumbs while taking deep breaths

((can relieve pain from the waist down, and enable your body to relax deeply for a good night’s sleep.))

Spirit Gate
Place your thumb on the inner wrist crease in line with the little finger. Stimulating Spirit Gate is said to increase melatonin production, the hormone that helps control sleep cycles. This point is also excellent for emotional issues, anxiety and worry.
Press down on the acupoint with your thumb, gradually increasing the pressure for 60 seconds. Do this on both right and left arms.

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Inner Gate
This acupressure point is located at the inner wrist “hollow”, three finger widths down from the wrist, lining up with the little finger.
Apply medium pressure with your thumb for about a minute. You can also gently massage the area if desired. Now, switch arms and repeat.20121227-140516.jpg
print by TaoLight

Do you have any tricks or tips for insomnia that I left out? Leave them in the comments :)

Joy Boardman

Massage Therapist and Collage Art Therapist

Planet Joy: Otherworldly Massages for Women, Planet-Friendly Collages for Everyone

Find me here:

[PlanetJoy’s Blog]

[PlanetJoy’s Etsy Shop]

[PlanetJoy on Facebook]

[PlanetJoy on Pinterest]

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Yourself

20121123-180801.jpgbreathe.

Congratulations on surviving Black Friday!!

Small Business Saturday is today and Monday is Cyber Monday.

I don’t like to do a lot of shopping but I so appreciate people who support small businesses (like mine!).

Artists and privately owned businesses LOVE to receive your business. It makes us feel appreciated.

Because I care about you, I want you to make sure you treat yourself with more conscientious tenderness during this holiday season.

I encourage you to give yourself a gift and take a moment to really b r e a t h e.

Take a break, often.
Take a bath, get a massage, do some yoga.

Even though you feel like rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off: s t o p.

Be present.

And thank you for making small business owners smile today.
We really appreciate it more than we can express.