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  • May 18, 2022 9:48 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    In my practice, when clients pro-actively embody mindfulness into their daily lives, a seismic shift in their self-care follows. This is due to a focus on self-awareness and moving away from automatic negative self-talk. When I teach about mindfulness, I explain it as a practice that helps you to be fully present with all of your senses, without judgement towards yourself or the situation you are experiencing.

    In fact, UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center defines mindfulness as a “means of maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.”

    The Center explains, “Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.”

    Therefore, a mindfulness practice can actively foster both self-compassion and self-awareness so you can tune into what your body and mind need at this very moment to feel nourished, cared for, and safe.

    Mindfulness can take many forms, such as the practice of active listening, where you are intentionally listening undistracted through a lens of non-judgement and presence. Mindfulness can also take the form of mindful breathing, where you take a few moments to practice deep breathing and being in the moment. In this practice, when an intrusive thought comes into your mind, you simply go back to your breath with no judgement toward yourself or the situation. You are simply present.

    If depression is regret about the the past, and anxiety is fear of the future, practicing moments of mindfulness throughout your day helps your thoughts take a pause from rumination about the past and future. Instead, mindfulness allows you to revel in the present moment. Being fully present serves as a vacation for your mind from obsessive thought patterns. This in turn helps your nervous system escape from an overactive sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight” mode) and move into the parasympathetic nervous system (the “rest and digest” mode). 

    Take the first step to a deeper level of self-care by incorporating a daily practice of mindfulness throughout your day. The goal is never perfection because perfection leads to paralysis and anxiety. The intention is to practice mindfulness so you can grow a greater sense of self-awareness and presence to help your life and health. 

    An easy way to start a mindfulness practice is to practice active listening in your next conversation and simply notice what it is like to be fully present without multi-tasking or being distracted. 

    In my practice, I help clients move away from future or past tripping, so they can fully embrace the present moment with self-compassion, which also helps them be more understanding to others around them. Mindfulness coupled with self-compassion is a super power for self-care because you become aware of healthy boundaries and setting your intention in the present moment.

    For more inspirational tips and information, follow Mai Health Now's social media feeds: 

    Instagram: @Mai Health Now
    Facebook: @Mai Health Now
    YouTube: @Mai Health Now

    Mai Health Now is committed to teaching people how to focus on their health first so they can be happier, healthier, and more productive. To book a program, presentation or personal session, or to learn more, visit www.maihealthnow.com

  • May 04, 2022 2:04 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    There is no love like a mother’s love. But what about when this love no longer plays a role in your life? What if this love is something you are grieving? And what if this love is something that never actually existed for you? 

    After witnessing years of alcohol abuse and enduring the emotional abuse that followed, I was estranged from my mother at the age of 12. We were reunited again in my early twenties, right around the time I met my now husband. With my husband, I was experiencing solid, loyal love from another human which jolted me to seek the biological love of my birth mother. Due to what I now know is defined as Mother Hunger, I reached out to her. My desire for connection, approval and love blindsided me to the reality that I was initiating contact with someone who had abandoned me for twelve years.  In the high of the early days of my relationship with my husband, I felt invincible. Beautiful. Strong. Worthy. “Maybe now,” I thought, “maybe now she will be ready to love me.”

    My mother and I were reconnected again for five years. Those five years were a gift to the young girl that I was. The girl that held out hope for the mother she knew she deserved to have. In the five years I had with my mother, there were good times. We did things I always imagined mothers and daughters would do together. We went to farmers markets and spent time on the phone before noticing it had been hours.

    There were also times within those five years that brought me back to childhood again. Days, weeks, and sometimes months would pass and I wouldn’t hear from her. My mind would race off and I felt I was being abandoned all over again. At twenty seven years old, I felt the adolescent girl inside me still crying out for my mother’s nurturance, protection, and guidance. I also felt guilty for becoming a healthy version of myself without her. I felt guilty for thriving despite her lack of guidance. There I was, in my late twenties, and I had never felt more caught up in a relationship with someone who was lying, gaslighting, and emotionally abusing me. 

    While I’m saving the specific details of what happened for my memoir, last May, the weekend before Mother’s Day, it became clear that cutting off contact with my mother was the healthiest, safest way for me to continue living. Today marks the one year anniversary of my decision. It has been one year since I learned the most important truth of my life: I can offer myself what my birth mother cannot. I deserve to offer myself what my birth mother could not. I am worthy of nurturance, protection and guidance. 

    Through my lens as a therapist, working with adolescents and teens, I witness many young girls struggling to understand their relationships with their mothers. Whether a mother is present in your life or not, feeling disconnected from your mother can be excruciating. It is something that is not talked about enough and many girls grow up to be strong women despite the cavity this pain causes inside. Our society glamorizes motherhood and mother-daughter relationships. This can make some daughters and motherless woman feel invisible and unseen. 

    While there's no love like a mother’s love, it is important to recognize that sometimes the absence of this love is an enormous source of pain. The greatest gift my mother ever gave me was her absence: the opportunity to become the mother of my own heart.  This Mother’s Day, I invite you to recognize and nurture the motherly love that exists inside of you. 

    Reflections to consider: 

    1. If you are grieving a mother you have lost to death, allow yourself to be sad. Honor the ways your mother held you in her life. Share funny stories; talk about her! What we don’t speak about, we store in our bodies. A mother’s love is something to celebrate and it's allowed to exist outside of you. Reflect on how you can continue living your mother’s love both internally and externally. How are you allowing yourself to keep her with you? 

    2. For those of you with complicated relationships to your mother, I encourage you to validate yourself more often. How you feel is not wrong. Allow yourself to explore your childhood. Growing up, did you ever feel obligated to take care of mom? How did this role impact you as a child? How is it still currently impacting you as an adult woman? How can you amplify your own voice?

    3. I talk a lot in my personal life and professional work about building an inner mother. What does this mean, exactly? Secure motherhood involves nurturing, protecting and guiding. Wow are you offering these things in your life, to yourself and others? Are there feelings you tend to avoid or downplay? 

    4. If any part of your relationship with your mother hurts, grief work is essential. You owe it to yourself. Grieving can be immensely validating. Growing up without a mother or in a toxic relationship with your mother can begin to feel normal. In order to meet your own needs moving forward, it is essential to grieve what you were not given as a child. 

    5. If there is a girl in your life who lacks a mother, or is in a complicated relationship with one, don't be afraid to ask her what she needs. Please, notice her. How can you show up to offer her the nurturing and protective guidance that is needed for her development into a healthy woman? 

    Please don't hesitate to reach out for support:
    Whitney Taylor

    Suggested Readings:
    Discovering the Inner Mother by Bethany Webster

    Mother Hunger: How Adult Daughters Can Understand and Heal from Lost Nurturance, Protection, and Guidance, by Kelly McDaniel

    Wild, by Cheryl Strayd

    Somebody’s Daughter, by Ashley C. Ford

    How To Do The Work, by Dr. Nicole LePera

    Motherless Mothers, by Hope Edelman

    The Wise Family is a Northern Virginia-based counseling and assessment practice with over 30 years of training and experience in the field of child and adolescent development. Through individual and group counseling, strategic psychoeducation with families, and educational assessment, The Wise Family works to encourage the growth of emotional intelligence, flexibility, resilience and family connection in order to ensure success both at home and in life.  Learn more at thewisefamily.com

  • April 27, 2022 9:00 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    More sun means more UV exposure, both for your skin and eyes. Just like we protect our skin by applying proper SPF and wear a hat to reduce glare, wearing proper sunglasses are the “sunscreen for your eyes."

    Water reflects up to 100% of UV, but what about other activities?  Dry sand and concrete reflect up to 25%, snow reflects up to 85%, and grass reflects up to 3%. Basically, UV is coming at you from all directions.

    Why protect your eyes? Sunburned skin isn’t fun, so imagine how sunburned eyes feel. Red, irritated, burning, and/or blurring that doesn’t get better after putting in over the counter drops, are all signs that your eyes are probably sunburned. In more severe cases, extreme sensitivity to light and swelling lids can also occur.  Preventing accumulated UV exposure helps reduce your risk of developing cataracts and developing irreversible macular degeneration as you age.

    What about the kids? How often do you see parents wearing sunglasses, but their kids are in the stroller or walking with a hat, squinting because UV rays are going into their eyes.  Parents, take off your sunglasses and see how long you are comfortable before you get irritable and cranky.  Remember, problems come from cumulative UV, so early prevention is key.  Make sure your kids are wearing sunglasses too.  Just like with any habit, you need to be consistent and carry sunglasses along with you wherever you go.

    Haven’t had a baseline wellness eye exam in a while? Or ever? Schedule one now to make sure your eye health stays on track with your other wellness goals. Click here for your Del Ray Eye Exam.

    eye2eye is a locally owned & operated optical boutique with two locations in Alexandria, VA. They are a community-oriented eye care practice offering the most unique selection of eyewear & cutting edge eye care.  Learn more at www.myeye2eye.com

  • April 20, 2022 10:04 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    Last month I returned from a trip to Colorado visiting my daughter, who recently relocated for graduate school.  Denver is known as the mile-high” city for obvious reasons. We left Denver on day two, heading for the Rocky mountains and a ski adventure at 14,000 feet.   At high altitude barometric pressure is significantly lower than at sea-level. The result? Oxygen molecules are spread further apart, lowering the oxygen content of each breath.  Because of the reduced availability of oxygen in the air, blood oxygen levels decrease, and the body struggles to efficiently deliver oxygen to tissues, muscles and the brain.  The result for some people, including me, is headache, insomnia, fatigue, nausea and brain fog. 

    I could feel my heart racing as I lay in bed nursing a headache on our first night in Denver.  Admittedly, an ill-advised margarita may have had something to do with it too, but I could feel my stress level rising as I thought oh no…what if Im like this the whole trip.”  

    In an effort to reverse the trend, I began to channel my yogi-friends Tara and Rosie who have taught me some awesome breathing techniques, such as pranayama, ujjayi and alternate-nostril breathing, all of which can be helpful.  And then…I recalled the SIMPLEST YET MOST EFFECTIVE advice I have given to my stressed-out patients over the years.

    Women, in particular, tend to carry their stress in their shoulders and neck. This habit can come from (and/or lead to) a very shallow breathing pattern that can fuel anxiety, an increase in blood acidity, inflammation and pain.  After their adjustment, as the patient and I review their “at-home” instructions, Ive prompted over and over…

    “BREATHE TO THE BASE OF YOUR LUNGS (touching around the lower ribs and diaphragm) AND DROP YOUR SHOULDERS.”  

    I tell them to think of me as the tiny angel/devil on their shoulder reminding them throughout the day to slow their breathing pattern and STOP over-using muscles that arent required for breathing.  

    It's amazing how many patients respond to this very simple reminder, and how much better they feel as a result.  

    Upon remembering my own advice and incorporating supplemental oxygen therapy, I did enjoy a few days on the slopes.  But the experience led me to further contemplate the importance of healthful and efficient breathing.

    Working on an improved breathing pattern during the day is feasible, but what about during the night? Disordered night-time breathing can profoundly impact quality of life, and Im not just talking about sleep apnea.  Many people, especially those with sinus issues, breathe through their mouth, particularly at night.  Your Dentist/Orthodontist will remind you that mouth breathing will change the shape of the hard palate and can cause TMJ issues, gum disease and crowded teeth. 

    Additionally, the nose is a miraculous organ.  It filters, concentrates and moistens the air we breathe. The nasal and sinus mucous membranes produce an essential gas called nitric oxide (too bad its not nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, LOL!). Its list of important functions includes: vasodilation, decreased blood pressure, improved blood flow, support of normal hormonal secretion, normalizing bladder function, regulating the binding of oxygen onto hemoglobin and supporting digestion.  Its REALLY important, and you have a lot more of it if you breathe through your nose, not your mouth.

    Once I learned this, I decided to try mouth-tape during the night to encourage nasal breathing, (see photo). It worked!  Initially, I felt a bit claustrophobic, but the forced nasal breathing increased the nitric oxide present in my sinus’ and acted as a natural decongestant.  I no longer wake with a dry mouth and feel better rested throughout the day  While my sleep isnt perfect (thank you menopause), my quality of sleep is much improved.

    So, whats the takeaway? Be aware of your daytime and night-time breathing patterns, relax your shoulders, breathe through your nose, but most importantly, remember to just breathe.

    The Healing Tree is dedicated to providing the best in chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, and acupuncture in a professional healing environment. They approach every client/patient with respect, compassion and integrity and make every effort to listen to, and treat the person and not simply the condition, ache or pain.  Learn more at www.healingtr.com.

  • April 13, 2022 6:20 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    "Exercise is the closest thing there is to a miracle drug, and strength training is one of the best kinds of exercise, practically like magic: more healthy and more efficient than most people realize, and a valuable component of fitness and most injury rehabilitation, but not just for the reasons most patients and professionals think. " -- Paul Ingraham of PainScience.com from "Strength Training for Pain & Injury Rehab"

    The quote above was published by the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges in 2015. This fascinating paper gives us a glimpse into the future of medicine (Exercise Applications in Certification In Lifestyle Medicine, Evidence In Motion), and brings up many nuanced thoughts for me, starting with my more critical views on it.

    First, it’s important to acknowledge that strength training is not risk free. This quote comes close to claiming that it is perfectly efficient and impervious. Second, conditions like hyper mobility and chronic fatigue are often misdiagnosed and a simplistic outlook concerning exercise can be dangerous to someone with these conditions. ⁠

    As a co-author in Lifestyle Medicine, I see a big gaping hole between recovering from an injury and having the confidence to succeed with strength training. If you have dealt with injuries, surgical repairs, neuropathies, joint weakness and tightness, then you may have been frustrated by the notion that exercise and weight training can cure your ailments. Perhaps that is because a definitive point when your body begins to feel better rarely exists, let alone a clear process outlining how to get there. Healing can be a long and winding, sometimes confusing, trial and error process that requires looking at and modifying many parts of life. In fact, according to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, lifestyle medicine is defined as “the use of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic intervention—including a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connection—as a primary modality, delivered by clinicians trained and certified in this specialty, to prevent, treat and often reverse chronic disease."

    Here is one of my top pieces of advice for people healing from injury: commit to understanding the foundation that exercise is built on. With that knowledge give yourself the freedom to adapt, develop, and create what works for you specifically. It's like learning to cook rather than following a recipe. Reach out for professional help if you need it. I hope to be the Julia Child of your strength training goals. 

    One important concept to understand in the healing process is called load management.  Instead of thinking of your muscles as weak, think of them as needing stimulation and load management.  Load management is a system that smashes old school ideas, including over conditioning and taking the field with a ‘just do it’ and ‘mind over matter’ fitness approach.  Instead, load management advocates for simple strength training and baby steps, with the mindset that you aren’t broken.

    Load Management has a technical and an academic history in the field of study called strength and conditioning.  From my experience with injury rehab for athletes and chronic pain recovery for other people, I believe load management is essential. Being active requires an understanding of your body’s limits and potential. This applies to those who exercise regularly and to those who want to use exercise as a tool for longevity. 

    Principles of load management that apply to strength training with old injuries:

    1. Maintaining basic fitness levels is always important.  If you have a knee injury, it might be time to find a pool, recumbent bike or a seated routine.  Think outside of the box. If you can manage physical activity like walking, jogging or a dance class while recovering from a wrist injury, then do that instead of something like yoga that requires weight bearing on your wrists.  The minimum for weekly exercise is around 150 minutes per week. This number will change depending on the activity, but maintaining movement is key in any stage of life (WHO, 2020). The missing ingredient for most people though is eating enough protein to maintain the muscle you already have which also gives the body healing power. 

    2. When exposing an area of concern or injury to exercise I advise doing it minimally, precisely and carefully.  The more precise, the better. If this is not possible for you, you need the help of a trained professional.  A physical therapist or a specialist at Impact Your Fitness can support you.  

    3. Avoid peaks in load bearing around the weakened joint, muscle or tendon. Don't put too much load into your routine in the early stages, like right after you gain permission from your medical provider for activity.  The goal with load management is to ensure you can tolerate an activity before you continue to do it repetitively and possibly injure yourself again.  For example, my "walk to run" program for clients involves multiple rounds of thirty seconds jogging pain free before advancing to the next incremental stage. 

    4. Maintain work to rest ratios.  This is where you must measure load and stress exposure and balance them out with rest. The most well known work to rest ratio is high intensity interval training.  

    5. Don’t overdo it. For example, when I’m working with a client during recovery from chronic low back pain, I suggest doing exercises around the area of concern with a decreased range of motion, like deadlifts with 25% less bending.  I suggest working within a range that is pain free and using a rest period to examine the body’s response to the work. Learning and practicing how to listen to your body will give you important feedback that you need in order to heal.  

    6. Track and record progress. This seems simple because it is.  Download our free journaling tips here: https://www.impactyourfitness.net/journalingtips 

    The specialists at our studio, Impact Your Fitness, help clients every day with building a healthy foundation in fitness. Building a sturdy, productive relationship to exercise can be a challenge to do on your own at first if you don't know how fitness works. Our studio is accepting new clients for personalized work to address old injuries, balance muscle structure and more.

    On April 25th, you can sign up for my webinar to dive deeper into this topic and learn how to go from recovering from an injury to better than ever! BYOEG Webinar Registration 

     Impact Your Fitness provides strategic consultation services to individuals recovering from chronic injuries, sports injury prevention, and programming for specific athletic/life events.  Schwartz is the only Master level Muscle Activation Technique specialist in Alexandria.  Learn more at impactyourfitness.net.

  • April 06, 2022 1:18 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    Technology allows us to speak with others across the country and around the world without having to leave the office. While these modern-day opportunities may be convenient, they could actually be contributing to loneliness. We all have an innate need to be connected to others, to belong. Loneliness pulls us away from social connectedness and if not addressed it can impact office productivity, morale, and employees’ health.

    Research shows that the impact of loneliness on mortality is equivalent to smoking fifteen cigarettes daily in health care outcomes and costs. Negative consequences of loneliness include, among others:

    • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
    • Compromised immunity
    • Increased risk of depression
    • Shortened lifespan

    Like many mental health conditions stigma exists around loneliness. Many people feel ashamed to disclose their feelings of loneliness due to fear of being negatively judged and treated differently by others. Ironically, the technology connecting us in and out of the workplace is the same technology that contributes to isolation. Despite the technologically advanced world we live in, more than 40% of American adults report experiencing loneliness. Additionally, loneliness has a significant effect on work output, limiting individual and team performance, reducing creativity and impairing reasoning and decision making.

    Factors that contribute to loneliness include:

    • Teleworking—employees working virtually may feel cut off from the rest of the team.
    • Introverts and Extroverts—introverts working on a team of extroverts may feel they can't get a word in edgewise. Extroverts surrounded at work by introverts may find it difficult to form workplace relationships.
    • Personality Differences—office misunderstandings are common, but if not resolved, feelings of resentment may build up, eventually leading to self-imposed isolation.
    • Lack of Social Support—employees may display signs of mental sluggishness that impairs productivity, stifles creativity and hinders decision-making.

    If prolonged, these issues can lead to:

    • Diminished productivity
    • Physical and emotional stress
    • Withdrawal from the team or absence from work
    • Weaker team performance

    This directly impacts an organization’s revenue, spending and organizational performance. The mental and physical effects of social isolation lead to higher costs for sick leave and health insurance claims. On the other hand, positive social relationships strengthen employee retention and productivity—positively impacting the bottom line. The best way to tackle loneliness in the workplace is to build a culture of connection and community.

    Here are some strategies to consider:

    • Take interest in people’s lives
    • Remember the little things
    • Tackle exhaustion
    • Remember virtual colleagues
    • Leave your desk once in a while
    • Ditch the technology for a bit
    • Be proactive about contact with others

    Grace Kim is a Resident in Counseling providing services at the Healthy Minds Therapy Woodbridge location. She is a Qualified Mental Health Professional for Children (QMHP-C) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Grace has extensive experience providing outpatient counseling services to children, adolescents, and young adults. She also has sufficient experience working with adult clients with longstanding substance abuse issues. She is an individual who has had her own share of mental health challenges and, with the help of those around her, has been able to overcome obstacles and barriers in her life. 

  • March 23, 2022 6:15 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    As spring nears,  I often find myself drawn to the idea of spring cleaning and renewing my space. As we become mindful of our surroundings, we become more motivated to shift our environment and to clear out the “clutter” or negative aspects of our space to make room for brighter and more joyful stimuli. As a couples therapist, I implement the same idea of “spring cleaning,” to the relationships I support by identifying what is going well in addition to identifying what they hope to change. Together, we are able to identify the strengths and qualities we want to keep and augment in conjunction with identifying patterns we wish to eliminate or shift. 

    In my experience, many couples have experimented with various strategies to improve their relationship such as personal recommendations from family and friends, tips from social media, and from various popular self-help books. 

    While these work to varying extents, couples often hit roadblocks in their efforts because much of the relationship guidance is not rooted in evidence based practices. 

    Fortunately, Drs. John and Julie Gottman are pioneers in the field of couples therapy, offering insights and proven interventions to support happier relationships. After nearly 5 decades of research, they have identified the clutter that often impedes a healthy relational environment while providing us resources to build a “Sound Relationship House.” In the same sense as we have different cleaning solutions for specific household concerns, the Gottman’s anecdotes are specific to particular relational concerns. While a professional may be able to support you in identifying the maladaptive patterns and provide you with tangible interventions to “clean house,” the resources via the Gottman Card Deck (free via the AppStore) provide exercises necessary to foster a supportive foundation. By exploring your partner’s inner world via these exercises, you are more likely to begin to see beyond the clutter while strengthening the crucial layers of a Sound Relationship House. 

    As spring approaches, bringing the pleasantries of warmer weather and blossoming nature, I encourage you to explore ways to increase warmth and positive experiences in your relationships by engaging in readings, apps, workshops, or therapy that highlight the contributions of these brilliant minds.

    Amy Begnal is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor at Del Ray Psych & Wellness, LLC., a holistic mental health practice located at the Wellness Junction in Del Ray.  Learn more at delraypsych.com.

  • March 08, 2022 9:14 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    As I write this, birds are chirping and temperatures are getting warmer. We know we could have cold front come in at any moment -- the joy of living in Virginia. We could start out with a Monday in the 70s and by Friday we could be pulling out our parkas again.   At this moment though, I feel spring and summer on the way. 

    What else is on the way? The biggest wellness festival on the east coast!  I might be exaggerating a little, but for sure it's the biggest one in Alexandria, Virginia. The annual Well Ray Festival, held in the streets of Del Ray, is back after a two year hiatus. You'll want to put this one on your calendar as a must attend event on June 11, 2022

    The Well Ray Festival is an outdoor celebration of health and wellness. Come spend time visiting health and lifestyle inspired experiences such as mediation, yoga, weight lifting, school yard games, and more. 

    Spend the day at the festival meeting health and wellness inspired vendors and practitioners. Experience a range of services including therapeutic massages, acupuncture, physical therapy consultations, chiropractic assessments, meditation, wellness coaching, energy work, nutritional counseling, blood pressure screenings and more.  

    Bring a water bottle, yoga mat and your work out shoes because at this festival there will be free outdoor classes for you and your family! Sessions will include yoga, dance, pilates, cycling, CrossFit and more. There will be great classes for kids too! Class schedules will be posted on the Well Ray Festival website soon, so stay tuned.

    Do you have a healthy lifestyle business? Want to be a vendor at the festival? Want to sponsor the festival?

    See you there!  You can follow us on  Instagram and Facebook @wellraydelray for updates.

    At Chrysalis Chiropractic, patients have the opportunity to choose chiropractic or nutrition (or both!) to help restore and maintain health using natural solutions.  Learn more at  chrysalischiropractic.com 

  • March 02, 2022 11:30 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    Spring is quickly approaching and I'm feeling like the holidays are long past.  While I love a good break from school and work, I love getting back into a routine.  That's partly because I love boundaries.  I work better with boundaries.  I'm a better friend when I have boundaries and I appreciate others who hold good boundaries too.  I know this about myself because I have anxiety and knowing what to expect makes me feel better.  I'm seeing many kids in my practice right now with anxiety.  Some parents make the mistake of becoming too lax with anxious kids, while I reinforce making sure that parents set healthy limits and boundaries with all kids, especially anxious kids, who need it the most.

    So, what does it look like for a parent to set healthy boundaries?  Let’s break it down:

    • Say what you mean and mean what you say. When you say you will be there at pickup, do it.  When someone asks you to help and you are overwhelmed, say you can’t.  Be honest with yourself and your family about what you need.  Kids need to know that they can rely on their grownups.

    • Avoid overextending yourself. If you you able to help at school that's great.  Help when you can, but not when you can’t.  Don’t feel pressured to overextend yourself, teach your children that boundaries are an important part of health.

    • You are not your child’s friend.  I get burned on this one sometimes, because the idea of being your kid’s friend can sound cool.  Children get one (set/single) parent and many friends.  They don’t need more friends.  They need a strong parent who sets boundaries and limits, encourages them and sits with them when they fall.  Which leads me to my next point....

    • Avoid oversharing with your children.  Giving age-appropriate information to our children is really important.  Telling them that a family member is sick or dying.  Sharing information that may hurt them or make them sad.  Giving them consequences for breaking a family rule.  Most of these situations cause parents to have discomfort and the response is usually over-sharing or under-sharing.  Make sure to give them enough information in age-appropriate terms so that they feel like they understand.  Let them ask questions.

    • Assess then re-assess.  Take a moment to pat yourself on the back when things are going well, when you planned well and showed up for yourself and others.  Don’t be critical when things go wrong but help yourself understand where things went off kilter and how to get back on track.  This is a process kids should get comfortable with early in life!

    As always, if things with your child seem a little off, check in with a local therapist to see if your child might benefit from some support.  The Del Ray Wellness District is full of wonderful therapists who are here to serve your family.  I host two groups on a consistent basis: confidence for girls ages 8-12 and worried kids ages 7-9 & 10-12.  More information can be found here: www.wonderologie.com/groups 

     wonderologie offers child and family counseling services in Del Ray and virtually. Their mission is to serve children of all ages who struggle with emotional regulation, anger, anxiety, depression, chronic health challenges and/or extended hospitalizations. They also offer robust group therapy programs for children and adults.  Learn more at www.wonderologie.com 

  • February 23, 2022 8:31 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    When you hug someone lovingly, that's Reiki.  When you place your hand on someone's shoulder who is struggling, that's Reiki.

    Reiki is an ancient Japanese energy healing technique that promotes relaxation through gentle touch. Reiki practitioners use their hands to deliver energy to your body, helping reduce stress, anxiety and promote healing by removing energy blocks and encouraging a healthy flow of energy, similar to acupuncture or acupressure.

    Emotions are held deep in our bodies and can be expressed when given time and space. Unfortunately, society has conditioned us to stay relatively disconnected from our emotional bodies and we can move further and further away from our feelings, leaving them unaddressed and unmet.  In a reiki session, we have the opportunity to be held safely and in stillness by a practitioner and to become aware of our body, breath, mind and emotions.  This allows us to feel connected.  Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit.

    A reiki session can feel like a prolonged hug for your soul. It can occasionally bring up discomfort, but ultimately the relief that can be experienced through an energetic release makes it worthwhile. Energy release can produce a delightful lightness in the body, a deep peace and calm, a new home base. This is the place where balance, health, and joy lives. 

    I look forward to sharing this most sacred and healing journey with you.

    Curious about trying Reiki? Sign up here for a mini session with Danielle at the Wellness Junction’s Spring Sample Sale on March 5, 2022! 

    Danielle Reynolds, LCSW, is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and Reiki Healer at Del Ray Psych & Wellness, a holistic mental health practice located at the Wellness Junction in Del Ray.  Learn more at delraypsych.com.

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About The Wellness District Blog

The Wellness District is a dynamic group of health, wellness, and fitness professionals offering a comprehensive and broad range of services to the Del Ray community and beyond.

In addition to day-to-day collaborations for best patient care, the group works tirelessly to educate the public on health issues and promote wellness, hosting wellness workshops and events throughout the year, plus this blog, delivered to your inbox every #WellnessWednesday!  

Click here to subscribe!

Meet The Team!

Click here to read about the incredible local wellness providers that regularly contribute to the  blog.

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