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That Christmas Time of Year – Part 1

So here we are again in the lead in time to Christmas. Whether you love Christmas or loathe it, Christmas has the potential to be a stressful time of year. So here are some tips to help you through the Christmas period.

Decide which Christmas activities and traditions are most significant to you. Only participate in those activities that have significance for you and decline the activities which cause stress or are insignificant for you.

Christmas time tends to be a time when people spend more money than they can afford. Make a Christmas budget and stick with it.

Take care of yourself. Eat right, get enough sleep and exercise. Control your alcohol consumption and limit your indulgence in high fat or sugary foods.

Recognise signs of stress and use relaxation techniques when you begin to get irritated or upset such taking a few deep breaths, going for a walk or taking a break.

Have realistic expectations of family and friends. Just because it is Christmas, does not mean the attitudes or behaviours of relatives and friends will change. Accept this and plan how you will respond to help keep the Christmas spirit.

Make time for yourself. This time does not need to cost anything and can include going for a walk or reading a book. Schedule time for yourself during the busy Christmas period.

For help relaxing from stress contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 5 December 2017

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Uplifting Orange Essential Oil

Essential oils are natural aromatic plant compounds that offer a variety of health benefits. When an odour molecule is inhaled into the nasal cavity, it is first sensed by the olfactory cells, which eventually make their way into the brain. The olfactory system is closely connected to the limbic system of the brain—the one that includes the hippocampus (responsible for long-term memory), the amygdala (associated with emotions), the hypothalamus (regulates the autonomic nervous system and hormones), and the cingulate gyrus (regulates blood pressure, heart rate, and attention). This chemical process is the foundation of essential oil’s profound psychological effects.

I love using essential oils to help balance my mind and emotions. There are times when we feel drawn to using an oil for weeks, months or years, and then suddenly we don’t need it at all. Our needs change as we change, grow and develop and the essential oils we’re drawn to or need often reflect that.

Orange essential oil helps us to develop joy, feel uplifted, sunny, balanced, lighthearted, creative, positive, self-confident, and courageous. When we need a boost, simply taking a quick smell of a bottle of orange essential oil can help switch our mind from an anxious, serious or negative place to a more positive place. Putting a couple of drops of essential oil into a diffuser or on a cotton pad can help clear brain fog at work or when studying.

For help relaxing from stress contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 28 November 2017

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Managing The Winter Blues

As I write this week’s column, it’s dark at 5pm, it’s cold and it is raining heavy. Winter is here. While dark nights beside the fire can be cosy, they can also be long. The cold, damp air does impact how we feel, especially when we experience week in and week out.

Thinking about the winter blues reminded me of a woman who used to come to my meditation groups two years ago. An extreme case of being affected by winter is someone like this who had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in the winter. Coming to the weekly meditation group helped this woman and she didn’t experience symptoms for the first time in a long time.

So how can we mind our mind throughout the winter? Learning to effectively relax by activating the parasympathetic nervous system is part of giving your body a chance to resist the winter blues. Last week I spoke about having a wellness plan in which you’ll have your list of relaxation and wellness methods. Examples of relaxation methods include massage, reiki, meditation, yoga, exercise, diet, music, walks in nature during the day, journaling and spending time with family and friends.

For help relaxing from stress contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 21 November 2017

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A Wellness Plan

Do you have a personal wellness plan? This is simply a list or a notebook you turn to when you need to take care of yourself. It can include everything from your doctor and dentists name and phone number to a list of things to do when you’re feeling down.

A wellness plan isn’t just about keeping note of when to go to the doctor. It includes your personal plan to cater for your nutritional needs, exercise needs, mental health and emotional needs. In other words, how do you take care of yourself? When we feel down, overwhelmed or angry, it can be hard to remember how to look after ourselves. When we have a wellness plan written down, all we need to do when we’re feeling down, overwhelmed or angry is to remember to look at the list and do something on it! Activities on your wellness list can range from one minute to sixty minutes. The only thing is you need to enjoy them, otherwise you’ll never do them.

Examples of things to include on a wellness list is: massage, meditation, yoga, nature walk, reiki, journaling, cooking a new recipe, meet a friend for a cuppa, trying a new therapy, listening/dancing to music, smell a favourite essential oil, or take a nap. These are simply examples. What is on your wellness plan?

For help relaxing from stress contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 14 November 2017

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Emotional Balance

Emotional balance is a term used often in mental health and holistic wellness. Emotional imbalances occur when a person is not coping with life effectively. For example, high stress levels, depression, anger or feelings of frustration or loneliness can cause an emotional imbalance within us. We may not be able to find a solution to life’s ups and downs. We can feel like the world is out to get us, and that we are jinxed with bad luck.

It is important to balance these emotions to avoid further problems. When we balance our emotions, we see that life is more manageable than we realised. We begin to notice moments of joy or happiness easier. We practice gratitude and we complain less. When we come from an emotionally balanced place, our mental and physical health seems easier to manage.

Emotional balance involves regular practice of things we enjoy. This can be developing hobbies we love, spending time with people who lift us up or taking a few minutes every night to notice things to be grateful for. Other ways to balance our emotions include exercise, meditation, art, yoga, relaxation, energy healing such as Reiki, herbal medicine, massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology, counseling, and spending time in nature.

The most important thing is to find something you absolutely love to do regularly, and emotional balance will begin to follow.

For help relaxing from stress contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 7 November 2017

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Aromatherapy and Meditation

Two of my favourite ways to manage my mental and emotional health is aromatherapy and meditation. Aromatherapy is the use of specific oils from plants for physical, mental and emotional health. Guided meditation is a practice of breathing and body relaxation along with visualisation to help develop relaxation skills for physical, mental and emotional health.

Aromatherapy inhalation is the best way for the chemistry of the essential oil to enter the body and bring it’s many benefits. Aroma anchoring is a way of connecting particular aromas to a relaxing feeling. Anchoring is a method of training the brain to associate a particular aroma with relaxation. Some people feel relaxed when they smell lavender. Others feel relaxed when they smell roman chamomile, tea tree, lemon or marjoram. There are so many oils to choose from depending on individual tastes.

In my upcoming six week aromatic meditation course with I will guide participants through a breathing and body visualisation, followed by a guided reflection on the way each essential oil helps support us, mentally, emotionally and energetically. The essential oils that will be covered on the 6-week block of classes are Peppermint, Juniper, Orange, Basil, Grapefruit and Cypress. Participants also receive an aroma-inhaler, choosing one of three blends. This inhaler can use anytime you need a boost.

For more information and to book on a place on this meditation group, contact Tracy from Relax From Stress Holistic Centre on 086-2202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie.

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 31 October 2017

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Understanding Awareness

Awareness can be such a buzz word, but what does it actually mean? The dictionary definition of awareness is “knowledge that something exists, or understanding of a situation or subject at the present time based on information or experience”.

We learn to understand our wants, needs and motivations by using awareness. For example, in 2011 when I was getting recurrent chest infections, I realised that it was caused by stressful, grief related shallow breathing. By breathing properly into my belly, and my managing stress, As well as going to the doctor, the recurrent chest infections stopped.

Awareness means questioning your behaviours and reactions to situations. When you have a sugar craving, it’s asking yourself a few questions. Why do I need a sugar high? What am I trying to emotionally numb? Is there a better way to deal with this feeling?

Awareness can be brought to relationships, work, money and health. Through awareness, you’re looking at sources of joy and seeing how those sources can be built on for the future. You’re also looking at sources of tension, and seeing how you can stop experiencing that tension in the future.

Awareness, rather than burying our head in the sand, helps things to pass. Through awareness we identify how we need help and support to face what’s going on in our lives.

For stress management and mental health support contact Tracy Fitzgerald from Relax From Stress Holistic Cente on 0862202734 or visit http://www.relaxfromstress.ie

Published in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper on 24 October 2017

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