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In America alone, 85 million women suffer from PMS, with symptoms including insomnia, depression, irritability, bloating, breast tenderness, and digestive issues. While PMS is common, it is not normal. Yes, there is some natural water retention that happens during a healthy menstrual cycle, and your energy will dip as you get closer to the first day of your period. But if you dread the days leading up to the start of your cycle, something is out of balance.
I am proud to say that I recently had my first colonoscopy. Although I’m 43 – and thus, seven years away from the age when colonoscopies are first recommended – there is a history of rogue colon cells in my family. And, my college roommate was recently diagnosed and underwent treatment for stage-2 colon cancer. I felt like I had gotten enough hints from the universe that it was time for me to follow the advice of my mother’s doctors and come in to get a baseline for colon health.
I’ve been practicing yoga for close to two decades. The awareness and grounding it offers has steadied me through cross-country moves, crazy deadlines, tragic breakups, getting married and becoming a mother. Yet when I had the second of my two kids in just over two years, I gave up all forms of mind-body practice cold turkey. I just couldn’t take on anything that wasn’t directly related to keeping those kids alive and cared for.
Stuck. Stymied. Spun out. Stressed. Sick. Silently (or perhaps not so silently) freaking out. We’ve all been there, we’ll all be there again. Because, sadly, personal development isn’t a tidy, linear, upward-moving arrow. It’s a curlicue, a doodle. At times it loops back on itself and shoots you somewhere you never expected to be.
This is an incomplete list of what to do in those moments when you need an energy boost, stat. And you can probably already tell I’m not talking about the energy that means physical stamina or strength, or how tired you are or aren’t. I’m talking about how you view, interact with, and show up in the world. It’s your own personal frequency, and when you learn how to access the higher energy levels, that’s when the inevitable detours stop feeling so hard and avoid becoming cul de sacs.
Here’s how to access those groovy-feeling higher energy states when you find yourself bogged down in feeling sorry for yourself, ticked off at someone else, or replaying events over and over in your mind:
In theory, evening is a glorious time of day — a time to eat and spend time with loved ones and then unwind before bed. In reality, though, it’s often a stress fest – feed the kids, put the kids to bed, answer some emails, fall into bed. Or simply lost time – eat whatever, channel surf, cruise the Internet, then look up and wonder how it got to be 11:30 already.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much to transform your evening hours into the respite they ought to be. Here are four of my favorite tips for a peaceful evening. I’d love to hear yours!
Raise your hand if you’re sitting down. Now raise your hand if you’re wearing shoes that have a heel height of an inch or more (running shoes and men’s dress shoes count).
What do these two seemingly unrelated things (your shoe choice and the likelihood you’ll be sitting most of the day) have to do with your hammies? Here are a couple basic things you need to know to connect the dots:
Contrary to the deluge of advertisements, magazine articles and greeting cards floating around right now, not everyone looks forward to Valentine’s Day. Lots of people can’t stand it. Hate it, even. (I know; I used to be one of them until I got engaged on Feb. 14th five years ago.) It can seem like just another excuse to spend money and an opportunity to wish your love life were somehow different.
If you detest this time of year or just aren’t looking forward to this particular V-Day, try these simple ways to shortcut through the schmaltz and societal pressure and go straight to what this high-pressure holiday is really all about. Not flowers, chocolates or over-priced dinner reservations, but love. May one or some or all of these activities help you transform Valentine’s Day into an opportunity to recharge your love batteries.
I have had two babies via natural childbirth. I can’t candy-coat the experience: My first labor was agonizing — it lasted a full three days, all but five hours of it at home — and, at times, excruciating. (Thankfully, the excruciating part was only an hour or so, during transition.)
I freely admit that winter is my least favorite time of year. I don’t mind it so much in December and January, when I welcome the excuse to hibernate, cook hearty foods, and do more reading. But by mid-February, crankiness sets in. I’ve always chocked this shift from tolerance to twitchiness to the gradual build-up and onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder—a sort of mini-depression induced by a lack of sunshine experienced by an estimated 11 million Americans each winter. To compensate, I always planned a late-February/early-March visit to see my grandmother in Florida—which provided a mega-dose of sunshine and could carry me until April.
To celebrate the release of her new book Yoga for Pain Relief, Kelly McGonigal, PhD, is getting the message out about how yoga can help you improve your health and happiness. Below, she shares some of the most exciting findings on the benefits of yoga from the growing field of mind-body research. I wanted to share these developments with you so perhaps you can use them to persuade the people in your life who are on the fence about yoga and meditation to give it a try.