Exam Stress

We are coming up to the most stressful time of year for our children and teenagers...exam season.

However well prepared they are, there is a lot of pressure put on youngsters to perform well and whilst some will sail through relatively unscathed, others can struggle on many levels both physically or mentally.

Symptoms of stress include headaches, stomach aches (especially in younger children), sleep issues, irritability (more than usual!), problems concentrating and planning, negative behavioural changes, more frequent illness and general anxiety.

They won't necessarily be able to say that they are stressed, they may just appear very angry, so watching out for the above symptoms is important. When the body is under stress it activates the fight/flight/freeze response which is designed to protect us and help us deal with the threat. The problem with exam stress it is persistent and you are not able to run away from it or fight it to make it go away so this leaves you with high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, continuously coursing round the body making it an uncomfortable and edgy place to be.

The unfortunate thing about stress at exam time is it affects the student's ability to do organised revising, retain information or concentrate in the exam so anything that can be done to help settle their system is a benefit. 

We have put together an EXAM STRESS TOOLKIT from our recovery toolkit with the aim to help children and teenagers - and their parents! feel more relaxed.

Gentle Osteopathic treatment is also an excellent way to help children and teenagers feel more relaxed. When the body relaxes there is less tension and discomfort which helps the head and stomach and it also reduces the fight/flight response which decreases the anxiety and psychological symptoms and should promote better mental concentration and sleep. 

 

Exam Stress Toolkit:

Breathing Exercises: The simplest breathing technique to help reduce stress levels is a 6 IN : 6 OUT pattern. Breathe in for 6 counts and out for counts and continue for 1 to 2 minutes. For more information visit our Breathing Exercise page. 

Meditation: Meditation is an excellent way to reboot the body's computer. It is like switching the body off and on again. On our Osteopathy For Children page we have some great video links for mediation for children. They are like bedtime stories and you can sit and relax with them too.  I understand getting your teenager to meditate may seem as impossible as getting them to revise but it is worth a try. There is a great 'calm your CNS' mediation on the Meditation page that will be more suitable for them. 

Movement: If you can get them moving do. This improves blood supply and circulation which will aid concentration and promotes relaxation in the body. How about some Tai Chi...?

Sleep: Often students struggle to get to sleep or are waking in the night so again we have some links to some deep sleep meditations that can be listened to at bed time Check out the Sleep Disturbance page for video links.

 

Good Luck to all those taking exams this year and If you would like our help for your child then please do get in touch. We have after school and Saturday appointments for children.

Osteopathy For Children Part 1 - Babies

With the imminent arrival of a Royal Sussex Baby and the school holidays being upon us it has made us think of our younger patients. 

Children don't always display their symptoms in the same way as adults. Babies cry for many reasons...predominantly they need something but when you have sorted their basic needs; a cuddle, a full belly or a dry nappy, then if they are still unsettled then there is a chance that they may be uncomfortable. 

The rigors of birth can leave tension in many areas of a baby's body. The head and neck are particularly susceptible and tension here may manifest as discomfort on lying down which affects sleep and also problems turning the head to feed. Lack of neck rotation can make for a fussy feeder and that can mean more air intake with the milk which contributes to extra wind and possibly colic. There can also be tension around the pelvis, as that area also bears some of the brunt of the contractions too. The diaphragm can also be tight which sometimes is indicated by lots of hiccups and reflux.  The diaphragm sits just above the stomach and excess tension can exacerbate symptoms such as colic, reflux or bringing up wind.

We offer check-ups to all babies as young as 24 hours to ensure they have no tension left after delivery and we especially like to see them if the birth has been very long, very quick or has required any intervention such as forceps or a caesarean section.

Gentle osteopathic techniques, including cranial osteopathy techniques, can help ease tension in all areas of your baby's body including tension in the head, neck, spine, diaphragm, abdomen and pelvis.  If you would like any further information then please do contact us at Osteopathy For All in East Hoathly.

 

Read More

What does your pain mean...?

There are many different sorts of pain and each can mean something a bit different. This is why if you visit an Osteopath or other medical practitioner you will be asked a whole range of questions about your pain and any other symptoms that you have. As well as being asked where your pain is, you might be asked what sort of pain is it: is it sharp or dull. Does the pain change over the day and what makes it worse or eases it. You will also be asked how long you have had it and whether it is there all the time or comes and goes.  The more information that you can give about your symptoms will help give a clearer picture about what is causing it.

 

Pain can be categorised into 2 different sections; Acute Pain or Chronic Pain... acute pain is pain that has come on and has lasted for less than 3 to 6 months, such as a sprained ankle, and chronic pain has been there for more than 6 months. The sensation of the pain is the same but the treatment approach needs to be different as often with chronic pain there has been an alteration in the body's way of processing pain. 

 

Here are just a few examples:

Sharp pain - this may be from an injury such as a sprain or strain or a muscle spasm.

Shooting Pain - this may also be related to muscle spasm but could be nerve irritation - such as sciatica. Sciatica is a shooting pain across the buttock and into the back of the thigh and may be as the result of one of the buttock muscles (piriformis) trapping the sciatic nerve as it goes through the muscle. If shooting pain is accompanied by pins and needles or numbness in the same limb then it is worth getting some advice. It may be a bulge on a disc which should fix itself over time but advice on how to manage it can speed recovery.

Muscular pain - can be a dull pain and may be there on the initiation of movement and is often worse in the morning and evening but eases up during the day. 

Chronic Pain - this is very persistent pain. It can vary in intensity and location. It can manifest as back pain, headache, plantar faciitis or abdominal discomfort and is often accompanied by chronic fatigue and anxiety.

 

Pain feels like a danger signal and often has a tendency to stop us moving but with many types of pain keeping the body moving speeds recovery. If you are unsure about your pain or accompanying symptoms please don't suffer in silence - seek some advice. 

 

All Osteopaths are trained to medically diagnose your pain and treat or refer as appropriate. If you would like any advice do email or call us hello@osteopathyforall.co.uk 01825 840582

Read More

Chronic Pain - The pressure cooker effect

Imagine the body being like a pressure cooker. Most of a lifetime it has been bubbling along with no major issues. A couple of things may have happened in the past but they have been coped with and moved on from. Maybe as a youngster a close family member died but everyone got over it and a short childhood hospital stay where parents were kept away doesn't seem all that significant now. Money has always been a bit tight but it is manageable. The baby is not sleeping well and caring for a relative with dementia is just what you do. It's just life...but then one day there is a pain in the low back, nothing significant happened, probably bending down to pick up more discarded clothes. However, the pain doesn't go away. Painkillers don't help and eventually worry sets in. How will life be manageable? Nothing shows on investigations but the pain is still there and it is affecting daily life. Will it be there forever? Nothing seems to help, exercise hurts, it is really tiring and difficult to make people understand. Lying awake at night doesn't help but sleep seems illusive. Physical therapy (massage, yoga, pilates, reflexology, acupuncture) hurts and doesn't seem to last for more than a few days. This feels like it is for ever...

 

All these things in isolation may not be significant but each one has an emotional component attached. Fear, anger and frustration. A lack of stability, lots of stoicism and despondency at the inability to change. If you add them all together and using our pressure cooker analogy you have now built up quite a head of steam that needs to escape. This pressure feels dangerous to the body and overwhelming so the body produces pain to slow you down and get you to listen. 

 

Your life story is important to your body and in most cases of chronic pain we have to tell some of that story to get the pain resolved. At Osteopathy For All we take a biopsychosocial or #MindBody approach to chronic pain. This means we consider everything that is happening to you now and everything that has happened in the past from both a physical and emotional point of view and use this information to develop a treatment plan to help you recover, not just manage, chronic pain. 

 

For more information please contact pippa@osteopathyforall.co.uk

The importance of being...Ernest in your efforts to get MOVING.

For many people the thought of exercising fills them with dread and so by this point in the year the ‘going to the gym’ resolution has got up and gone!

However, the thought of MOVING is less daunting so maybe your new, New Year’s Resolution, could be to try moving instead of exercising.

Moving our bodies will benefit so much more than just our muscles and joints. It helps our heart and circulation, our digestion and the latest research shows that it can even promote the formation of new neurons in our brain that can help our memory, mood and emotional well-being. Moving in childhood and adolescence is essential for bone density in adult life.

 

There is a level of activity to suit nearly everyone but if you are unsure about taking up moving then check with your osteopath or doctor before starting.

 

So how might you introduce moving into your day? Well, the best way to sustain a new habit is to find an activity that you enjoy... anything from Pilates to mud runs but before you panic, not all activity requires you to leave the house. You can dance to the radio each time you are waiting for the kettle to boil or you can do squats whilst you brush your teeth or march on the spot during the ad break but if moving is a real challenge you can still do it whilst sitting down. There are some links below for exercises that you can do in your favourite armchair.

 

If you are able to get out and about then there is walking, cycling and gardening. There is an added social benefit of doing an activity with others and in East Hoathly (and just beyond) there are many opportunities to do this: at the Tennis Club, at the Community plot at the allotments, at Pilates classes in the village hall or join the Preservation Society on their monthly walk. There are also a wide variety of classes at the East Sussex National's Horsted Health Club so find what suits you and keep moving. If pain,discomfort or stiffness is preventing you moving then you may wish to seek some physical therapy. An osteopath will be able to assess, treat and advise you on the best way to get active.

 

Chair exercises  

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/sitting-exercises/

https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/health-wellbeing/exercise-fitness/nine-easy-chair-exercises

 

 

Exam Stress

We are coming up to the most stressful time of year for our children and teenagers...exam season.

However well prepared they are, there is a lot of pressure put on youngsters to perform well and whilst some will sail through relatively unscathed, others can struggle on many levels both physically or mentally.

Symptoms of stress include headaches, stomach aches (especially in younger children), sleep issues, irritability (more than usual!), problems concentrating and planning, negative behavioural changes, more frequent illness and general anxiety.

They won't necessarily be able to say that they are stressed, they may just appear very angry, so watching out for the above symptoms is important. When the body is under stress it activates the fight/flight/freeze response which is designed to protect us and help us deal with the threat. The problem with exam stress it is persistent and you are not able to run away from it or fight it to make it go away so this leaves you with high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, continuously coursing round the body making it an uncomfortable and edgy place to be.

The unfortunate thing about stress at exam time is it affects the student's ability to do organised revising, retain information or concentrate in the exam so anything that can be done to help settle their system is a benefit. 

We have put together an EXAM STRESS TOOLKIT from our recovery toolkit with the aim to help children and teenagers - and their parents! feel more relaxed.

Gentle Osteopathic treatment is also an excellent way to help children and teenagers feel more relaxed. When the body relaxes there is less tension and discomfort which helps the head and stomach and it also reduces the fight/flight response which decreases the anxiety and psychological symptoms and should promote better mental concentration and sleep. 

 

Exam Stress Toolkit:

Breathing Exercises: The simplest breathing technique to help reduce stress levels is a 6 IN : 6 OUT pattern. Breathe in for 6 counts and out for counts and continue for 1 to 2 minutes. For more information visit our Breathing Exercise page. 

Meditation: Meditation is an excellent way to reboot the body's computer. It is like switching the body off and on again. On our Osteopathy For Children page we have some great video links for mediation for children. They are like bedtime stories and you can sit and relax with them too.  I understand getting your teenager to meditate may seem as impossible as getting them to revise but it is worth a try. There is a great 'calm your CNS' mediation on the Meditation page that will be more suitable for them. 

Movement: If you can get them moving do. This improves blood supply and circulation which will aid concentration and promotes relaxation in the body. How about some Tai Chi...?

Sleep: Often students struggle to get to sleep or are waking in the night so again we have some links to some deep sleep meditations that can be listened to at bed time Check out the Sleep Disturbance page for video links.

 

Good Luck to all those taking exams this year and If you would like our help for your child then please do get in touch. We have after school and Saturday appointments for children.

Osteopathy For Children Part 1 - Babies

With the imminent arrival of a Royal Sussex Baby and the school holidays being upon us it has made us think of our younger patients. 

Children don't always display their symptoms in the same way as adults. Babies cry for many reasons...predominantly they need something but when you have sorted their basic needs; a cuddle, a full belly or a dry nappy, then if they are still unsettled then there is a chance that they may be uncomfortable. 

The rigors of birth can leave tension in many areas of a baby's body. The head and neck are particularly susceptible and tension here may manifest as discomfort on lying down which affects sleep and also problems turning the head to feed. Lack of neck rotation can make for a fussy feeder and that can mean more air intake with the milk which contributes to extra wind and possibly colic. There can also be tension around the pelvis, as that area also bears some of the brunt of the contractions too. The diaphragm can also be tight which sometimes is indicated by lots of hiccups and reflux.  The diaphragm sits just above the stomach and excess tension can exacerbate symptoms such as colic, reflux or bringing up wind.

We offer check-ups to all babies as young as 24 hours to ensure they have no tension left after delivery and we especially like to see them if the birth has been very long, very quick or has required any intervention such as forceps or a caesarean section.

Gentle osteopathic techniques, including cranial osteopathy techniques, can help ease tension in all areas of your baby's body including tension in the head, neck, spine, diaphragm, abdomen and pelvis.  If you would like any further information then please do contact us at Osteopathy For All in East Hoathly.

 

Read More

What does your pain mean...?

There are many different sorts of pain and each can mean something a bit different. This is why if you visit an Osteopath or other medical practitioner you will be asked a whole range of questions about your pain and any other symptoms that you have. As well as being asked where your pain is, you might be asked what sort of pain is it: is it sharp or dull. Does the pain change over the day and what makes it worse or eases it. You will also be asked how long you have had it and whether it is there all the time or comes and goes.  The more information that you can give about your symptoms will help give a clearer picture about what is causing it.

 

Pain can be categorised into 2 different sections; Acute Pain or Chronic Pain... acute pain is pain that has come on and has lasted for less than 3 to 6 months, such as a sprained ankle, and chronic pain has been there for more than 6 months. The sensation of the pain is the same but the treatment approach needs to be different as often with chronic pain there has been an alteration in the body's way of processing pain. 

 

Here are just a few examples:

Sharp pain - this may be from an injury such as a sprain or strain or a muscle spasm.

Shooting Pain - this may also be related to muscle spasm but could be nerve irritation - such as sciatica. Sciatica is a shooting pain across the buttock and into the back of the thigh and may be as the result of one of the buttock muscles (piriformis) trapping the sciatic nerve as it goes through the muscle. If shooting pain is accompanied by pins and needles or numbness in the same limb then it is worth getting some advice. It may be a bulge on a disc which should fix itself over time but advice on how to manage it can speed recovery.

Muscular pain - can be a dull pain and may be there on the initiation of movement and is often worse in the morning and evening but eases up during the day. 

Chronic Pain - this is very persistent pain. It can vary in intensity and location. It can manifest as back pain, headache, plantar faciitis or abdominal discomfort and is often accompanied by chronic fatigue and anxiety.

 

Pain feels like a danger signal and often has a tendency to stop us moving but with many types of pain keeping the body moving speeds recovery. If you are unsure about your pain or accompanying symptoms please don't suffer in silence - seek some advice. 

 

All Osteopaths are trained to medically diagnose your pain and treat or refer as appropriate. If you would like any advice do email or call us hello@osteopathyforall.co.uk 01825 840582

Read More

Chronic Pain - The pressure cooker effect

Imagine the body being like a pressure cooker. Most of a lifetime it has been bubbling along with no major issues. A couple of things may have happened in the past but they have been coped with and moved on from. Maybe as a youngster a close family member died but everyone got over it and a short childhood hospital stay where parents were kept away doesn't seem all that significant now. Money has always been a bit tight but it is manageable. The baby is not sleeping well and caring for a relative with dementia is just what you do. It's just life...but then one day there is a pain in the low back, nothing significant happened, probably bending down to pick up more discarded clothes. However, the pain doesn't go away. Painkillers don't help and eventually worry sets in. How will life be manageable? Nothing shows on investigations but the pain is still there and it is affecting daily life. Will it be there forever? Nothing seems to help, exercise hurts, it is really tiring and difficult to make people understand. Lying awake at night doesn't help but sleep seems illusive. Physical therapy (massage, yoga, pilates, reflexology, acupuncture) hurts and doesn't seem to last for more than a few days. This feels like it is for ever...

 

All these things in isolation may not be significant but each one has an emotional component attached. Fear, anger and frustration. A lack of stability, lots of stoicism and despondency at the inability to change. If you add them all together and using our pressure cooker analogy you have now built up quite a head of steam that needs to escape. This pressure feels dangerous to the body and overwhelming so the body produces pain to slow you down and get you to listen. 

 

Your life story is important to your body and in most cases of chronic pain we have to tell some of that story to get the pain resolved. At Osteopathy For All we take a biopsychosocial or #MindBody approach to chronic pain. This means we consider everything that is happening to you now and everything that has happened in the past from both a physical and emotional point of view and use this information to develop a treatment plan to help you recover, not just manage, chronic pain. 

 

For more information please contact pippa@osteopathyforall.co.uk

The importance of being...Ernest in your efforts to get MOVING.

For many people the thought of exercising fills them with dread and so by this point in the year the ‘going to the gym’ resolution has got up and gone!

However, the thought of MOVING is less daunting so maybe your new, New Year’s Resolution, could be to try moving instead of exercising.

Moving our bodies will benefit so much more than just our muscles and joints. It helps our heart and circulation, our digestion and the latest research shows that it can even promote the formation of new neurons in our brain that can help our memory, mood and emotional well-being. Moving in childhood and adolescence is essential for bone density in adult life.

 

There is a level of activity to suit nearly everyone but if you are unsure about taking up moving then check with your osteopath or doctor before starting.

 

So how might you introduce moving into your day? Well, the best way to sustain a new habit is to find an activity that you enjoy... anything from Pilates to mud runs but before you panic, not all activity requires you to leave the house. You can dance to the radio each time you are waiting for the kettle to boil or you can do squats whilst you brush your teeth or march on the spot during the ad break but if moving is a real challenge you can still do it whilst sitting down. There are some links below for exercises that you can do in your favourite armchair.

 

If you are able to get out and about then there is walking, cycling and gardening. There is an added social benefit of doing an activity with others and in East Hoathly (and just beyond) there are many opportunities to do this: at the Tennis Club, at the Community plot at the allotments, at Pilates classes in the village hall or join the Preservation Society on their monthly walk. There are also a wide variety of classes at the East Sussex National's Horsted Health Club so find what suits you and keep moving. If pain,discomfort or stiffness is preventing you moving then you may wish to seek some physical therapy. An osteopath will be able to assess, treat and advise you on the best way to get active.

 

Chair exercises  

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/sitting-exercises/

https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/health-wellbeing/exercise-fitness/nine-easy-chair-exercises

 

 

Exam Stress

We are coming up to the most stressful time of year for our children and teenagers...exam season.

However well prepared they are, there is a lot of pressure put on youngsters to perform well and whilst some will sail through relatively unscathed, others can struggle on many levels both physically or mentally.

Symptoms of stress include headaches, stomach aches (especially in younger children), sleep issues, irritability (more than usual!), problems concentrating and planning, negative behavioural changes, more frequent illness and general anxiety.

They won't necessarily be able to say that they are stressed, they may just appear very angry, so watching out for the above symptoms is important. When the body is under stress it activates the fight/flight/freeze response which is designed to protect us and help us deal with the threat. The problem with exam stress it is persistent and you are not able to run away from it or fight it to make it go away so this leaves you with high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, continuously coursing round the body making it an uncomfortable and edgy place to be.

The unfortunate thing about stress at exam time is it affects the student's ability to do organised revising, retain information or concentrate in the exam so anything that can be done to help settle their system is a benefit. 

We have put together an EXAM STRESS TOOLKIT from our recovery toolkit with the aim to help children and teenagers - and their parents! feel more relaxed.

Gentle Osteopathic treatment is also an excellent way to help children and teenagers feel more relaxed. When the body relaxes there is less tension and discomfort which helps the head and stomach and it also reduces the fight/flight response which decreases the anxiety and psychological symptoms and should promote better mental concentration and sleep. 

 

Exam Stress Toolkit:

Breathing Exercises: The simplest breathing technique to help reduce stress levels is a 6 IN : 6 OUT pattern. Breathe in for 6 counts and out for counts and continue for 1 to 2 minutes. For more information visit our Breathing Exercise page. 

Meditation: Meditation is an excellent way to reboot the body's computer. It is like switching the body off and on again. On our Osteopathy For Children page we have some great video links for mediation for children. They are like bedtime stories and you can sit and relax with them too.  I understand getting your teenager to meditate may seem as impossible as getting them to revise but it is worth a try. There is a great 'calm your CNS' mediation on the Meditation page that will be more suitable for them. 

Movement: If you can get them moving do. This improves blood supply and circulation which will aid concentration and promotes relaxation in the body. How about some Tai Chi...?

Sleep: Often students struggle to get to sleep or are waking in the night so again we have some links to some deep sleep meditations that can be listened to at bed time Check out the Sleep Disturbance page for video links.

 

Good Luck to all those taking exams this year and If you would like our help for your child then please do get in touch. We have after school and Saturday appointments for children.

The importance of being...Ernest in your efforts to get MOVING.

For many people the thought of exercising fills them with dread and so by this point in the year the ‘going to the gym’ resolution has got up and gone!

However, the thought of MOVING is less daunting so maybe your new, New Year’s Resolution, could be to try moving instead of exercising.

Moving our bodies will benefit so much more than just our muscles and joints. It helps our heart and circulation, our digestion and the latest research shows that it can even promote the formation of new neurons in our brain that can help our memory, mood and emotional well-being. Moving in childhood and adolescence is essential for bone density in adult life.

 

There is a level of activity to suit nearly everyone but if you are unsure about taking up moving then check with your osteopath or doctor before starting.

 

So how might you introduce moving into your day? Well, the best way to sustain a new habit is to find an activity that you enjoy... anything from Pilates to mud runs but before you panic, not all activity requires you to leave the house. You can dance to the radio each time you are waiting for the kettle to boil or you can do squats whilst you brush your teeth or march on the spot during the ad break but if moving is a real challenge you can still do it whilst sitting down. There are some links below for exercises that you can do in your favourite armchair.

 

If you are able to get out and about then there is walking, cycling and gardening. There is an added social benefit of doing an activity with others and in East Hoathly (and just beyond) there are many opportunities to do this: at the Tennis Club, at the Community plot at the allotments, at Pilates classes in the village hall or join the Preservation Society on their monthly walk. There are also a wide variety of classes at the East Sussex National's Horsted Health Club so find what suits you and keep moving. If pain,discomfort or stiffness is preventing you moving then you may wish to seek some physical therapy. An osteopath will be able to assess, treat and advise you on the best way to get active.

 

Chair exercises  

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/sitting-exercises/

https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/health-wellbeing/exercise-fitness/nine-easy-chair-exercises

 

 

What we can learn from nature

Yesterday, before it started raining, I did a little spot of gardening to re-pot a couple of shrubs that were getting a little pot-bound. Their roots were being compressed for being in too small a pot. I put them in larger pots, added some new fresh compost and gave them a good water...then it rained!

 

This morning when I looked at them, ridiculous as it may sound, they looked happier -more vibrant and perky. and it made me think about human beings. 

 

Firstly being in nature is very good for us. Connecting with the ground and breathing the fresh air so getting out in the garden even for a few minutes boosts us. 

 

Also our bodies are so much better if they are well hydrated and well fed. So ensuring that you are drinking enough water each day is important and getting as much variety of nutrition. To check out more information why not have a look at our HYDRATION and  EAT A RAINBOW pages by just clicking the words.

 

The other aspect that made the plants look better was space for their roots. In our busy lives we are often lacking space...the space to relax, the space to rest, the space to exercise, the space to connect with our fellow humans and the space to breathe.  It is important that we give ourselves permission to have some space.  This might be achieved by gently declining something we really feel will not nurture us or having a social media free day a week or just putting some free time in the diary. 

 

We are unable to function efficiently or to help others if we are depleted so maybe spend a few minutes this weekend re-potting and nurturing yourself.

Read More

The Pain/Tension/Stress Cycle

It is ever-so easy to get stuck in this cycle. It can start with tension or pain and lead on to stress or it can start with stress and lead to pain. 

At Osteopathy For All we take into consideration all aspects of your story, physical and lifestyle, past and present to find the cause of your pain and then treat and manage it accordingly. 

So many of our patients remark on how much more comfortable they feel physically but also about feeling more well in themselves generally after their treatment.

If you would like more information or would like to feel better then do contact us.

Christmas Survival Toolkit

With Christmas day fast approaching many people will be juggling lots of preparations for the holiday period. Wrapping presents, wrangling over-excited children, organising relatives, doing last minute shopping and food preparations. This can be overwhelming both for our minds and our bodies. Here is simple tip to help you survive.

 

Breathe - yes it really is that simple!

 

When we get stressed our sympathetic nervous system is triggered and this produces our fight and flight response. Even though we don't need to run away or have a fist fight with ...... (insert name here) our bodies cannot differentiate and so our heart rate increases and our blood pressure rises and this physiological response can make us feel quite unwell. There is a very simple technique to help reduce this effect.

 

Breathing - slow deep breaths- can re-balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic parts of the nervous system and make us feel much more relaxed and comfortable. 

Breathe in for a count of 6 and breathe out for a count of 6. This reduces your respiratory rate from 10 - 14 times a minute to about 5 - 6 times a minute and in turn this settles our body (and soul).

So if over the next few weeks it all gets a bit much, find a quiet corner (or lock yourself in the bathroom) and spend five minutes breathing slowly. If anyone asks what you are doing, tell them it is essential maintenance!

 

Happy Christmas and here's to a healthy 2019.