Category Archives: Balance

Naturally Purposeful: Building the Dream with Andrea Shields Nunez

After our interview, I asked Career Liberation Coach Andrea Shields Nunez if she would answer a career/business question with a (health and wellness slant) quarterly.  She agreed!  I am really excited about this collaboration because I believe pursuing a dream you feel passionate about is integral to good health.  Our timely first installment is below.

Everything gets so crazy this time of year with the holidays.  It would be easy for people to get side-tracked from working on their dream.  Do you have any tips for people not to lose focus during all the holiday madness?

Not falling prey to the inevitable holiday madness that this time of year brings requires you to be very intentional. Even things that are truly important to you can get bumped for family obligations or just out of pure exhaustion. As much as I tout the importance of staying focused and taking action, in this case—at this time of year—my advice is not to fight it. In fact, build the downtime into your plan. Chances are you probably need the break, and what better time to give yourself permission to wind down then when everyone else is allowing themselves to be stressed! (I’m nothing if not a contrarian!)

The keys here are intention and full permission. Make it your intention to actually get some rest, recharge, do things you enjoy just for the sake of the enjoyment. Understand that this is as important to achieving your goals as taking action. Giving yourself this time can actually help you gain even more clarity and focus once you get back into action! And give yourself full permission to take the break. Absolutely NO guilt; None! For some, this time of year comes with plenty of that already. Don’t pile it on!

As we head into the season full force, take a few minutes to declare your intention to juuuust chill, give yourself full permission to do so, and know that you’re doing the very best thing possible for moving yourself forward in the New Year!

I agree with Andrea that rest and taking time to recharge is very important especially this time of year.  What do you think?  Please leave a reply in the comments section.

Many blessings,

Cynthia

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Naturally Adjusted: Treating Neck Pain (Part 1)

Part I: The Problem

My neck has been bothersome for a very long time… decades really.  Goodness knows why I never really did anything about it. I just got used to being stiff or sore and having tight shoulders.  Yoga always helped.  I just explained away the occasional tingles in my fingers as a result of my bag being too heavy.

After I fell in March of 2013, my neck issues became significantly worse.  I had so many other things to worry about, like how to get my mouth put back together, I couldn’t handle that too.  I just figured with yoga and time, it would improve.  It always did before.  Not this time.  By March of this year, it caused me so much pain and discomfort, I could barely stand it. It would start in the left side of my neck and radiate up to my temple and down my shoulder.  Sometimes, I even felt it in my fingers.  Desperate for some relief, I found a chiropractor who took my health insurance.

My first appointment was an eye-opener.  My new chiropractor spent about an hour and 20 minutes with me.  I was impressed by how thorough he was. He asked me a lot of questions about and in addition to the paperwork I filled out.  He observed my standing and sitting posture.  He weighed me to see if I put more weight on one foot than the other (I do…10 pounds.)  He checked the sensitivity on both sides of my body and compared one side to the other.  He checked my spinal alignment and flexibility.  He took several X-rays of my neck.  He had been cracking jokes and telling stories while he worked but when he saw the X-rays, he looked concerned and grew quiet.

He didn’t want to give me a full diagnosis until after he got my MRI from the hospital but he showed me the X-ray and pointed at three of my vertebrae.  “You see how jagged those three are compared to the others?”  I did.  He went on to explain that he never saw that much damage in someone as young as I was and it couldn’t have been caused by just the fall.  Since he mentioned it, I remembered older injuries: a car accident at 17.  A cyst had been removed from my neck as baby.  Oh yeah, I had been born with a broken collar bone!

My first adjustment was subtle.  He wanted to do a full work-up before he put a treatment plan together for me but it was obvious I was suffering.  He wanted me to be more comfortable.  I can’t say that first appointment or even the first several were like a miracle fix.  I had a lot of damage and it was going to take some time to reverse.  I felt enough of a shift though that I knew I was on the right track.

The MRI revealed a bulging disc and two herniated discs.  One of the hernias even had its own little hernia.  The discs were pressing on the surrounding nerves, creating the radiating pain, intermittent numbness and tingling. The X-ray had, as mentioned, shown the three degenerated vertebrae.  Essentially, I have spinal arthritis due to injury.  The overall functionality of my neck was at about 65%.  Suffice it to say, my neck was (pardon my French) fucked up!  Luckily, I do have a knack for finding very confident, competent practitioners. My chiropractor felt certain he could get me back up to 90-95% functionality and relieve the pain.

To be continued….

Many blessings,

 

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Naturally Balanced: Halfway Check-in and Knowing When to Take Five

Fifteen blog posts in fifteen days! That is not bad at all. I am going to call this the half-way mark even though the month has 31 days in it. I figure it is the closest you can get without going over.

Curious thing started to set in the last couple of days: fatigue. Fatigue and injury are probably the only two legitimate reasons to stop or slow down when you are up against a challenge or establishing a new practice. Thankfully, I am only dealing with fatigue.

Fatigue and I are no strangers. I have mentioned in earlier blog entries that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) was a big part of why I became interested in learning about health and wellness. One of the things I have learned how to do; is pay attention to what is going on with my body, mind and spirit, to determine whether when I start feeling resistant, if I merely being lazy or if I am truly fatigued.

When we got let out of work a little early yesterday, my first thought was, “great, I can get started on my writing tonight then instead of tomorrow. My immediate bodily reaction to that thought was dread and a profound heaviness. Now to be clear, I am not tired of writing. I still currently have a lot of ideas jotted down. However the very thought of doing it yesterday just overwhelmed me. I knew then it was time to take a time out and relax for the evening.

Writing is a sedentary activity. So, the idea that it can be exhausting at all in a way sounds ridiculous but that’s actually why it can be exhausting. Sitting, as I wrote about in Naturally Fit: Keep It Moving… So, You CAN Keep It Moving!, for prolonged periods of time is terrible for the body! I have been doing a lot of sitting lately at work and at home. Additionally, I think probably what has been really getting to me is staring at a computer screen every day for hours on end between my job and increased writing practice.

Years ago, I might have been tempted to push through and not lose the extra time. I don’t do that anymore. More importantly, there was no reason to be so aggressive with myself. I was already on track; I didn’t need to get ahead.

I think we are far too willing to sacrifice our health and well-being here in the United States in order to gain approval or money or whatever it is that we think will make us somehow better in that moment. Sometimes, you need to take advantage of moments to rest and recharge yourself. Usually, when you do, you come back to your project or practice with renewed vigor and fresh insight that you wouldn’t have had if you just kept toiling, toiling, toiling… toiling!

Do you take care of yourself when you feel weary or do you constantly push yourself beyond the point of exhaustion, even when you don’t have to? Please leave me a reply in the comments section and let me know.

Many Blessings,

 

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Balancing Through the Holidays: Am I Grinch?

How we doing?  Are all you turkey-eaters wandering around Black Friday-Shop Small Saturday-and whatever marketers have deemed today is-sales in a tryptophan haze?  Did ya drink, eat and party a little too much this week?  Exercise a little too little? Okay, take three nice, slow, easy breathes.  Pour yourself a big glass of water, squeeze a little lemon in it (if you have it… ) and read on.

Every year from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, I kind of feel like I am holding my breath.  Then on New Year’s Day, I exhale with relief that it is all over.  I know there are people that wait all year long for just this time and revel in it (probably in the same way I feel about late Spring and Summer) but I imagine that I am not alone in finding all the trappings, over-indulgence and pressure of the Season a bit OVERWHELMING (if I could make that word blink like a neon sign I would.)

I gave away my Christmas decorations in 2010 and opted for just a fresh wreath on my front door ever since.  I lived alone and didn’t celebrate the holidays at home.  So what was I buying a tree and hanging pine boughs and lights every year for?  My mom thinks it makes me a bit of a Grinch but it’s been one of my better decisions.  We are all bombarded with holiday images and music everywhere we go from now until New Year’s.  For me, it was really nice to pass that wreath and be at home where I can control the stimuli I am influenced by.

It is really easy to get knocked off balance by brilliant marketers who want us to consume more, our own sense of guilt and obligation to make sure other people are happy and just the sheer volume of temptation that is available this time of year.  It is REALLY easy to overdo everything: spending, eating and drinking…

So, this is my suggestion:  Take a pause.  Before buying holiday gifts, pause and remind yourself what you can afford to spend.  Before grabbing that decadent, beautiful oh-so-tempting red velvet cupcake, pause and say to yourself, “I am going to enjoy this because I make healthy choices at least 80% of the time and I exercise regularly.” (If you don’t eat healthfully and exercise regularly, pause and ask yourself, “when I am I going to determine that I am worthy of being healthy and feeling good?”)  Before you grab that cocktail, pause and remind yourself what your limit is for the evening and determine to drink a full glass of water in between each drink.

Since we’re doing all this pausin’, the end of the year is a really good time to pause and reflect back on everything that has happened over the last eleven months and determine what we are grateful for.  And really isn’t that Thanksgiving is all about?

By the way, I am very grateful for all the people who take time to read my blog.  Thank you so much!  I also really appreciate the comments, wisdom and kind words readers have shared.  You guys rock!

Love and Blessings to All,

Cynthia

 

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justdragonfly

Pajama Day

This may be the word’s shortest blog post…

The reason why is because I need a pajama day.  Pajama Day is when you stay in your pajamas (and maybe even in bed) all day not because you’re sick… just spent.  I think everyone feels this way sometimes but whether they acknowledge it is a different story.

When you are a creative person (writer, artist, musician… whatever) it becomes obvious pretty quickly when you have reached this state.  The ideas may be there swirling around but the act of actually bringing them to fruition seems suddenly daunting and impossible.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is just stop.  Animals do this naturally.  When Chauncy and I get home from a walk, he’ll plop down right in front of the front door for as long as he needs to.  He doesn’t worry about getting anything done …or even being in the way.  He just does what he needs to do in that moment, nothing.

Next time you feel frenzied, just stop.  Give yourself permission to do nothing.  It doesn’t have to be for a whole day.  Try an hour or even five minutes… See what happens.  You may be pleasantly surprised by what happens next…

Love and blessings to all,

Cynthia

Please follow me on Twitter.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page

justdragonfly