ARE YOU STRESSED?
The definition of stress in the Oxford English Dictionary is "a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances".
It's Stress Awareness Month and it can affect us all, whether it be through a poor diet, toxins, emotions or physically, sometimes without us even being aware of it!
What it does to the body is that it triggers the fight or flight" response which is also known as the acute stress response when we are faced with something that is either physically or mentally terrifying. The response is triggered by the sudden release of hormones from the adrenal glands, namely adrenaline and cortisol.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP LOWER STRESS LEVELS?
Firstly, my suggestion would be to look at your diet. If you eat a lot of processed foods, grains and sugars, these can put tremendous stress on the body. Look at trying to introduce fresh, real foods and cook from scratch whenever you can.
Next, would be to increase your water intake. If you feel that you are not drinking enough water, here is a little tip for you. The next time you are standing at the kettle waiting for it to boil for your cuppa, drink a small glass of water. Don't gulp it down, take large sips instead.
Thirdly, stress can affect your sleep pattern. If you find that you are losing sleep due to stress, why not go for a short walk each day to increase your exposure to daylight. You could also try regular exercising as this is considered one of the best ways to maintain mental health and reduce stress.
Finally, you could have some complementary therapy, such as reflexology.
You will see from the photo that you can give yourself some hand reflexology, all it takes is 5 minutes a day, to try and keep the stress levels in check (If you would like one of these cards, please ask at your next appointment).
I hope that this has helped.
TO KNIT OR NOT TO KNIT, THAT IS THE QUESTION?
When I was a teenager, my fabulous Nan taught me how to knit and there were quite a few scarves made in various colours for family and friends. Since then, I haven’t knitted a thing that is up until just before last Christmas.
As you may or may not know, I am a complete animal lover and whilst scanning the various local and national animal rescue sites one evening looking to see what I could fall in love with and want to bring home (which was every dog and cat I saw!), I discovered a pattern for dog blankets and it got me thinking. Could I remember how to knit? Could I remember how to cast on and cast off? I looked at the pattern in more detail and saw that it only involved knit and purl stitches, which I could do, sounds simple enough, but could I follow a pattern as I have never followed a knitting pattern in my life, well what have a got to lose and it’s for a very worthwhile cause. So I went for it, downloaded the pattern, bought the correct needles and wool. I waited until Christmas, when my Mum was here, so that she could give me a refresher in casting on and casting off and off I jolly well went with my needles, click clack click clack.
I found that I really enjoyed it and have been knitting ever since. I don’t do anything fancy, mind you, just working on cat/dog blankets, as I would consider myself to be a beginner, so I’m just sticking to plain and purl patterns which don’t require much effort.
So I thought I would have a look to see whether there are any health and wellbeing benefits to knitting and by jove there are loads.
I discovered that research carried out by Knit for Peace showed that knitting can reduce depression and anxiety levels by releasing serotonin (the happy chemical). It can also slow the onset of dementia whilst being a distraction from chronic pain as focus is turned elsewhere. This is AMAZING.
Another study which was conducted by Harvard Medical School’s Mind and Body institute, found that knitting lowers the heart rate, by an average of 11 beats per minute, and induces an “enhanced state of calm”, similar to that of yoga. It can also provide a sense of usefulness and purpose which is really important to all age groups and can help fight loneliness and isolation as knitting is such a sociable activity.
Having spoken to some friends and clients, it appears that there are a lot of people who have knitted for a long time or have recently taken it up. FABULOUS!
So the next time your Mum, Nan, Auntie or a friend offers to teach you to knit, take up the offer, I promise you won’t regret it.