Stress Management Tip: Control What You Can

Life sure is different these days, huh?

There are very few people whose lives have not changed drastically in the past month.  New ways of being created upheaval for just about everyone.  While we settle into new routines, I encourage you to be gentle with yourself, and take actions to reduce the stress in areas of your life that you CAN control.

What can you do to create a little less stress?

*Cut back on news consumption. While we want to stay informed, it can be done without being obsessed.  See how your body feels after going a day or two without the news.

*Put on your favorite music.  Dance as needed.  It’s amazing how much better your body can feel after you spend some time dancing to your favorite song(s), and you can multi-task while doing it! I regularly dance while working in my kitchen.

*Are you a parent?  Learning is not all about books and computers!  Baking with them can teach math and science.  Planting a garden teaches science. These are activities you can do together that will provide the quality time they crave, and household tasks completed.  (Can we argue that vacuuming is physical education?) child baking with adult

*For parents working at home, keep the morning routine you had when the children were going to school. Get dressed, eat breakfast, and complete your other routine activities before you retreat to your respective work and school stations. Eat lunch together to reduce anxiety and increase communication. Allow your kids to have afternoon down time. Yes, school is important however, little learning is accomplished when one is not calm.

*Keep a good sleep routine. Go to bed at a reasonable hour every night, it does wonders for your psyche.

*Drink more water, eat your veggies.  Food is fuel, and veggies (and fruit) are chock full of nutrients that help our bodies function properly.  Fresh is best, followed by frozen.  I like to get a variety of both when I go shopping, it makes for fewer trips to the store.  I even have some dehydrated veggies that I rely on when I need something and have run out.

*Take advantage of a hot shower.  While I don’t normally advocate being wasteful with natural resources, sometimes a nice hot shower with the water aimed at your shoulders and upper back is just the thing needed when you can’t get a massage! For other ways to relieve muscle tension, that do not involve seeing your favorite massage therapist, check out some of the products Linda loves and recommends!

*Lower your expectations.  The world will not fall apart if you don’t get everything done.  Set reasonable goals, and if you don’t reach them, don’t kick yourself.  Reward yourself for what you CAN accomplish.

And you know what? It’s okay to spend a day laying around watching movies now and again.  Sometimes, that’s exactly what is necessary. Just remember…when you tune in to tune out, choose wisely…avoid watching movies with violence and other stress-inducing topics.

Most of all, I encourage you to gentle with yourself.  Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, practice self-compassion, and remember that everyone else is struggling in some form or fashion.  Be okay with what you CAN do, and don’t beat yourself up over perceived failures to meet others’ expectations.

Introducing…The VIC (Very Important Client) Award!

There are a lot of incredible women who have come through the doors of Metamorphic Massage for Women.  From all walks of life, women of all ages have graced me with their presence on my massage table.

Very Important Client at Metamorphic Massage For Women

Karen was born in Raleigh and has lived here her whole life.  Her favorite thing to do in North Carolina is going to the beach…her favorites are Topsail and Kill Devil Hills. She has fond memories of annual family trips that have happened since she was an infant and always enjoyed hanging out with her seven cousins.  Both her grandmother and an aunt had beach houses, which made the annual trips easier.  Her favorite part of the beach is watching the sunset while feeling the breeze and listening to the birds and the surf.

When asked why she continues to come to Metamorphic Massage for Women, Karen responded “Linda is very flexible…Sometimes I sleep, sometimes she I talk a lot.  She’s also very considerate.  One time, someone wanted to bring their baby to their session which was happening at the same time as my massage, so she called me, to see if I was okay with that.  She also does a very thorough evaluation when I first arrive, always checking to see if something has changed, address issues each session.   I also love Linda’s sense of humor, and her knowledge about all things healthy.  I’ve learned a lot of organic food and natural remedies, which has been really fun to learn.  I never would have touched anything organic in a grocery store until I met Linda.  As soon as you eat one organic banana, you never go back.  Now I eat as organic as possible.  It tastes better, plus it’s better for you. I’ve also noticed my food lasts a lot longer…it has saved me money because of that.”

Karen retired December 16th,  and is very passionate about enjoying her time.  She’s spent the last several months catching up on reading, bible study, reconnecting with friends, church activities, doing home maintenance projects.  She is loving retirement, doesn’t miss work one bit, and knows it will be hard if she ever has to return to work for some reason.

When asked about what has been most beneficial about getting massage regularly, Karen quickly answered “The relief of achiness and stress has been great. Self- care in general has been much easier since retirement…regular massage, food, sleep…it’s all much easier now that I’m retired. My biological clock is kind of messed up due to the crazy work schedule for years.  I’m trying to find my balance again. I go to gym & work out with trainer twice a week.  I want to start walking again to make up for all the lost movement since leaving nursing, which had me walking all day long.

As always, Karen made me laugh…when asked “If you had one piece of advice to give to someone who is looking to incorporate better self-care habits in her life Karen answered: “Start with a massage with Linda because she can teach you everything you need to know. “

The Benefits of Regular Massage

There’s no denying the power of massage. Some see it as pampering, others as therapeutic.  Either way, massage is a powerful part of a good healthcare routine.

It is estimated that over 90% of disease is related to stress, affecting us both internally and externally. Ideally, we would have no anxiety and pressure at all in this fast-paced world. Unfortunately, that’s almost impossible for most of us.

Scheduling regular massage can do a world of good in managing stress, and it plays a part in how healthy and youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for massage at frequent, consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health.

As we all know, massage relaxes helps ease stress and tension found in muscles, and supports them when they are injured, tired, or overused.  It can also help reduce muscle spasms and cramping.  Most of us have heard that massage helps flush out wastes from the body.

There’s other benefits, as well.  It stimulates and tones the skin, and increases energy and vitality.  Massage has been reported to decrease inflammation, swelling and pain in joints, & increase joint flexibility. It is said that massage releases endorphins, the natural pain regulators that increase feelings of euphoria. Receiving regular massage helps reduce chronic pain, including migraine pain. Because massage pumps oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, it improves circulation, and contributes to healthy Blood Pressure levels. It also enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow.

Massage also  has been reported to affect your mind, and can help decreases anxiety and depression. It also can improve concentration, reduce fatigue, and improve sleep. Most of all, it just makes you feel good!

Remember:  just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.

Wellness Series: Let’s Get Physical: Eating Well

In my last blog post, I introduced the seven aspects of wellness… a well-balanced person will care for their physical, emotional. spiritual, social, occupational, environmental, and intellectual needs.  This week, I’m going to begin to tackle physical wellness.

What constitutes physical well-being?  If we are able to create healthy habits that allow us to have a healthy diet, quality sleep, and regular exercise, and avoid unhealthy amounts of things like sugar and alcohol, chances are pretty good we achieve physical wellness,  and can function without feeling fatigued or experiencing a high level of physical stress in our activities.

But how do you get there?  It can be daunting, trying to change habits.  That is why I always suggest to folks to chance one thing at a time.  Let’s talk about healthy eating.

I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life.  I grew up in a meat-eating household, and at the tender age of 14, decided I was done eating red meat.  I had to learn how to cook, because as my mother said”I’m not a short-order cook.  If you don;t want to eat what I cook, you’re going to have to learn how to cook for yourself.”  I bought a couple of cookbooks, made some really bad meals at the beginning, but over time, I started making better meals that my dad even wanted to try.

By the time I was 21, all meat, including fish, was gone from my diet.  I now go in and out of veganism…which means no dairy or eggs, either. I do this because dairy is my gateway drug…if I start eating cheese, then along with it comes crackers, chips, a lot of eggs (think omelets for breakfast every morning), and all of a sudden I’m 20 pounds heavier.  And so, I do my best to eat dairy in moderation, and if it gets out of control, it’s not in my refrigerator.

A lot of my clients ask me about my diet on a regular basis.  I’ve had clients say they wished they could see into my kitchen, to find out what I cook.     Newsflash:  While I like salad, I eat so much more than that, which is what many folks used to think when they heard I was a vegetarian.    When I do salads, they generally have beans or nuts in them to add protein.   I will chop veggies to make enough salad to get me through several days, and bring it to work for lunch.  


When I prepare meals, I try to make enough to give me leftovers for a few other meals,  That way, when I get home from work and feel too tired to cook, I’m not eating tortilla chips and dip for dinner.   Instead, I have something yummy, like a tasty vegetable and bean soup, curried tofu and vegetables, or beans, rice, and greens.






If I have a super busy week, on Sunday, I will do massive food prep….chop lots of veggies, cook a few meals, package up stuff for lunches and snacks at work, so I can just grab something out of the fridge in the morning, pop it in my bag, and head out the door.  My lunches and snacks usually consist of fresh veggie salads, a rice salad like the one pictured below, apple slices and nut butter, veggie sticks and hummus, and other things that can easily be eaten between clients.  


What about breakfast? In the winters, I like a hot breakfast.  While some mornings I like to eat oatmeal with fruit and nuts,  I tend to make something on Sunday that I can heat up a few mornings a week.   As a huge fan of vegetables, these breakfasts tend to be veg-heavy.






Eating a lot of vegetables fills me up, so that I tend to not want to eat as much junk.

I’d like to encourage you to consider doing some meal prep on Sunday for the week’s lunches that incorporated lots of vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins.


Make 2018 Your Year!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?
If you’re like most of us, you do, and then fail miserably. 
Many of us decide that starting January 1st, we’re going  to change our diet, increase exercise, get better sleep, or make a whole host of other lifestyle changes. We’re gung-ho for the first few weeks (or even days),  and then things start to fall apart.

The other night, I shared a delightful Indian meal with a friend. (I became a hermit in the last year, and one of my goals for the coming year is to spend more quality time with friends…what better way is there, than to do it while eating yummy food?) We were discussing some of the lifestyle changes we wanted to make.  She shared with me that she tends to fail when working to truly embrace a healthy lifestyle, trying to do too many things at once, and never really having the energy to make it all happen.  I reminded her that when you try to do too much, of course you’ll get overwhelmed.

I have found that the best way to make major changes in your life is to work on one thing at a time.  Wellness has a domino affect…..when you work on one aspect of wellness, all the others fall into place.  So choose one area, work on making some changes, develop those healthy routines, and watch the others fall into place!  It takes time, so be patient… Remember:  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  It takes time to create greatness, so be gentle with yourself!

There are seven main aspects of wellness:

  • Physical:  When we think of wellness, this is where most of our minds go….healthy habits that include regular exercise, a healthy diet, and quality sleep, while avoiding things that aren’t good for us like too much alcohol, sugar, or tobacco. These good habits give us the ability to maintain a level of health that allows us to go about our lives without too much physical stress or fatigue.
  • Emotional: When we acknowledge our feelings of joy, sadness, anger and more, and can regularly express them in a healthy manner, it is much easier to cope with life’s challenges. This allows us to move through the world with a lot more ease.
  • Social: Humans by nature are tribal…we have our “pack” that we travel through life with. Positive connection with family, friends and co-workers leads us to care about a larger community. The healthier our social connections, the better our connection to the world at large.
  • Environmental: Those living a true wellness lifestyle have a strong connection to the environment.  We do all we can to make a positive impact on the quality of the air, water and land, recognizing that there is only one earth, and we need to care for her. Our environment includes our home as well as the natural word.
  • Occupational: How we spend the majority of our time, whether it be in a career or as a full-time parent, is our occupation.  True wellness comes when our occupation is our calling…when we love what we do, and do what we love. A healthy occupational life comes when we have balance between work and leisure time.
  • Spiritual: Our never ending quest for the meaning and purpose in human existence leads some people to church, while others find it by spending regular time in nature or within the pages of books. This quest brings us  to find a balance of peace and harmony with the rest of the world.
  • Intellectual: Opening our minds to new ideas and experiences provides mental growth and stimulation. We tend to make better personal decisions, as well as have a better impact on those around us.  The constant pursuit of learning,  keeping involved in creative and stimulating mental activities, is imperative to a long, healthy life.

Good luck to you in your path to wellness! In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more about each realm of wellness, and choices you can make to lead a truly healthy lifestyle.

This entry was posted on December 31, 2017, in Wellness.