I’m just grateful that it was not the flu! So many people have been seriously ill and even dying this flu season that I could very well have put myself into a bad situation.
I’m afraid that I’m going down that road again of writing a confessional blog… I did not follow my own advice and I ended up with a nasty cold.
So where did I go wrong? What do I normally do that I did not do this time? Here are the 5 self-imposed rules I usually follow to stay healthy during cold and flu season:
- Neti, Neti, Neti! More than a decade ago I found myself sniffling through a yoga class. The teacher asked me if I use a neti pot. I had recently been introduced to the neti pot nasal cleansing system, but it looked so uncomfortable to me that my response was, “ugh, no!” And I went sniffling along my merry way. Not long after that, I was visiting a really good friend and noticed that she had a neti pot in her bathroom. I asked her about it and she told me that she uses it on a regular basis. She was getting sinus infections quite often before she started using it, but after using regularly she saw a significant decrease in them!
So, I decided to try it out! I’ll admit, at first it was really weird. But, I read an article in a yoga magazine about how to do it correctly and soon got the hang of it. I have been a neti enthusiast ever since! Not only does it cut down on sinus infections (upper respiratory infections), but it also helps to alleviate my allergy symptoms. And this is very important since I moved to Charleston, SC! I scored 100% on my allergy test here – ACK!!!
Earlier this year I stopped using my neti pot. I didn’t do this on purpose. I just got really busy and I kept forgetting to put salt in my shower – that’s where I keep my neti pot. And sure enough, I got sick! (The neti cleansing includes using a dash of salt in the pot of warm – not hot – water). Now I’m back to regular neti use and so far-so good.
- Less Work, More Yoga! At that same time I was burning the candle at both ends getting my new Well-Life Coaching for Teens and Tweens program ready. I was working 10 to12 hour days on top of taking care of my kids and house. That, coupled with the fact that I was canceling yoga classes because of the post-holiday lack of attendance, and not filling in with my own practice, caused a serious dip in my immune system strength.
There has been a lot of research, both epidemiological and physiological, showing how yoga and meditation strengthen the immune system.
And of course, even more research has shown that overwork and overtiring the body also compromises the immune system.
The moral of our story here is that overwork and lack of immune boosting yoga and meditation wear the body down and make it susceptible to illness.
- Wash Your Hands! I know that we all know this. But, here’s what I did and I’m pretty sure this was the icing on the virus cake. I went to of all things a health and wellness fair. I was networking and meeting lots of new people in the health and wellness field here in Charleston. As part of this, as is our American custom, I was shaking lots of hands. I would normally go to the restroom and wash my hands before getting back in the car to go home. But, we were running late… so I skipped it. NOT A GOOD IDEA!
Within 48 hours I was feeling that slight stinging sensation in my sinuses that precedes an upper respiratory infection. Within 72 hours I was completely sick! I had to cancel a workshop I was putting on and went to bed for 2 days.
- Get a Flu Shot! I know, this is very controversial. All I can say is that through my own personal experience and looking at the research findings I believe that it is better to err on the side of caution and get the shot. Again, I was really busy working and just did not take the time to get the shot this year. It is geared at colds and flus, so it may have saved me from this cold.
Now, if you are an anti-flu shot person, that’s okay. I understand your point of view. I think the other tips will help prevent cold and flu just as much as the shot. That said, if you are one of those people who thinks that the shot gave you a cold or the flu, that is just not the case. The viruses in the shots are “inactivated.” In other words, they cannot make you sick. There are reasons you can get sick after receiving the shot: You were exposed right before or right after your shot or you unfortunately contracted a virus that was not included in the vaccine mix for the present year.
So do as I say! Not as I do! – hee hee
I hope that you all stay healthy and peaceful this cold and flu season!
As always, I am grateful for your comments and shares!
And don’t forget to follow me on Facebook & Instagram for lots of inspiration and information!
In Love and Gratitude,
Three steps to survive back to school. Try Not To Overreact, Set Boundaries, and Take Extra Good Care of YOU.
I don’t know about y’all, but back-to-school time is always a humdinger in our family! Don’t get me wrong, I am always grateful to have my little lovelies go back into the care of those sainted teachers. But…
The mindfulness and other practices discussed in this blog are not meant as a substitute for licensed clinical therapy or medication as recommended by a medical doctor. If you are seriously depressed it is very important that you seek the advice of a licensed therapist or medical professional. If you are feeling at all that you may harm yourself or someone else, please call 911.
My son recently said to me, “mom, I wish your business was not about all of the peace and love stuff.” – Spoken like a true 14-year-old! LOL
My response to him went something like this:
AJ, my business is all about peace and love, joy and happiness, because I had so much depression and anxiety earlier in my life. And, I had to learn to heal myself so that I could live with peace and joy. Now I share that with others.
He seemed to understand and accept that. But, he brings up a good point.
“I have found that mindfulness, self-acceptance and meditation have given my daughter and I the strength we needed to get through the darkest of days and emerge blinking into this new life we have found ourselves in.” -Liane Richardson
It wasn’t until my recent experience with the death of my late partner, that I really realized the true darkness and pervasiveness of grief. It was if a light had been extinguished, the raw fear of realising that your life, complete with all the hopes and dreams you had together, was over. The support that I had so often taken for granted, gone in the blink of an eye. It has been fifteen months since his death, and I marvel at how resilient our daughter and I have been, faced with the lack of his physical presence in our life. It’s no time at all really, not in the grand scheme of things, but it sometimes feels that he has been gone forever. We have overcome all the major milestones for the first time and the rawness of our loss is fading.
There isn’t a one size fits all aspect to grief. In fact, it is quite a selfish emotion, we grieve for the loss of something or someone in our life, be it a person, a pet or a lifestyle. As such it is something that can overwhelm and, if we let it, consume us. That said, it is perfectly normal to grieve, and there isn’t a time limit, however, don’t let it be the sole focus of your life. Life comes at us pretty fast nowadays and change is something the majority of people shy away from. No-one chooses to wallow in grief, it really isn’t healthy, BUT it is an essential part of the process of momentous change after a loss.
I did a lot of research on grief and the grieving process after his death, especially trying to find a way to help our daughter live with her loss. Children deal with loss completely differently to us adults, my daughter needed to be with friends, to do normal things, not be whispered around or treated differently. Which was just as well because I nearly fell apart! It is true that one really finds out who your real friends are when the chips are down, and I was blessed to be surrounded by many people who softened the blow of his passing.
There is a general consensus amongst psychologists that there are stages to the grieving process:
- Denial. We can’t or won’t accept the loss and what it means for our future.
- Anger. With them for dying. With others for not saving them. With ourselves or a higher power.
- Bargaining. “Don’t let them die, please God, if you let them live I’ll do X.” Or in the event of their death ”if I do this God, will you bring them back to me?”
- Depression. This is the one that, if you allow it to take hold, will take you down with it. You dwell on the unfairness of it all, the lack of their presence in your life and the “what ifs” and “if only’s”. To be depressed as a result of the situation is a normal reaction to a loss and it is a necessary emotion to be able to heal and move on. To allow the depression to take hold of you is another thing altogether.
- Acceptance. The acceptance of your new reality.
There is no defined way that we will experience these emotions, indeed some of us won’t face all of them, although I did, to a lesser or greater degree. Ultimately the final stage is the one that will allow us to move forward in our new altered reality, because, like it or not, we can’t turn back the clock.
I have found that mindfulness, self-acceptance and meditation have given my daughter and I the strength we needed to get through the darkest of days and emerge blinking into this new life we have found ourselves in. He would be so proud of us and how well we have coped with his passing.
So we’ll keep on keeping on knowing that as each day passes the pain will slowly get easier to bear. I liked a quote I once saw on Pinterest, it said; Grief is like a stormy sea, the waves crash over you incessantly, gradually the storm, and the waves will subside and where once there were huge engulfing waves, there remain just tiny ripples and you can edge forward into your altered future.
With love and light,
Liane Richardson is a mother to four amazing children and a perpetual optimist bobbing around in the Sea Of Life. Her mission in life is to give others a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. She is a strong believer in laughter being the best medicine (and chocolate!). What we think, we attract, so stay positive. Receive more goodness from Liane on her website: Liane Richardson
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
The past couple of weeks have been a trying time for me. If you have been following my Facebook “Lives” you have heard me talking about how I attempted to go-back to grad school again and how it was a struggle. If you missed the videos, you can find them on @peacefullivingwellness
I was initially excited to go back to school. I was pursuing a degree in counseling, and as a coach I thought it would enhance my coaching skills. I started with a class called Theories and Practices and really enjoyed the subject matter.
The problem for me was the professor. (more…)
“A quiet mind is focused on the task at hand. It is calm and helps us to appreciate our lives from peaceful moment to peaceful moment. With a quiet mind, we are happier people overall.” -Diane Webb
It was an early morning and I was a fatigued, busy, working mom. The sun was not up yet, but my six-month-old son and I were. He was wide awake, and I was trailing behind in a sleepy stupor. All I could think about was coffee. The smell, the creamy taste, and the heavenly shot of energy that would come from that dreamy cup. I looked down, at to my dismay I was scooping my infant’s formula in the coffee filter instead of coffee grinds!
This made me laugh and jolted me awake a little more. It was a human moment for a mom that was trying to be super-human. Whether you are a parent, a working parent, a working person, or simply a fellow human being this scenario is all too familiar to you as well. I’m sure that at some point you have found yourself doing something mindless that left you feeling confused and maybe even embarrassed- such as walk into a room with purpose only to forget why you were there, or forgetting a ‘special place’ that you put an item you didn’t want to misplace.
These moments happen to us humans when we have too many thoughts running in our minds at once. This is a mindless state of being that creates tension, anxiety, confusion and irritability. It’s a common issue among all of us, but something we are not stuck with. If we approach our thoughts in a different way, we can reduce all of the running mindlessness that occurs in our minds and achieve a quiet, peaceful state of mind.
A quiet mind is focused on the task at hand. It is calm and helps us to appreciate our lives from peaceful moment to peaceful moment. With a quiet mind, we are happier people overall.
Some people reading this might only view a quiet mind as a lovely thought, but not a realistic goal. This misconception could not be farther from the truth. Running thoughts and mindlessness may be a given of human nature, but it is something that we can improve upon with consistent effort over time.
To learn how to quiet your busy mind, try these strategies:
- Adopt a different perspective on your thoughts. See yourself as an observer of your thoughts as opposed to the thoughts being an extension of you are: It is extremely important that you understand that your thoughts are not you, they are separate from you. Everyone has hundreds of mindless thoughts throughout the day. Adopting a perspective as a neutral observer of your thoughts, will help you to navigate through the maze of mindlessness when running thoughts creep up. As an observer, you can choose what you pay attention to, and what you want to follow up on. You will learn that every thought does not need attention or action. This will give you the ability to let thoughts come go out of your mind peacefully.
- Do not give yourself unreasonable expectations. Aim for only one or two minutes of a quiet mind at a time: In the beginning, it will be extremely difficult to quiet down your mind. After years or even decades of an unfettered mind, you may find it extremely difficult to let thoughts come and go without attaching values or emotions to them. Reducing mental chatter is a skill that you develop over time. In the beginning, it is best to aim for one or two minutes of a quiet mind. With consistent practice, you can increase your goal a little at a time until you are able to create a lifestyle of mindfulness. As the famous Chinese proverb goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
- When you are in the middle of a task, try to put all of your attention to it: Set your sights on being really be present in all parts of your life, including seemingly mundane tasks. Practice quieting the mind during routine tasks. For example, when you are washing the dishes you can use this opportunity to tune in and reduce mental chatter. Instead of running a to-do list in your mind, tune in to being fully present for the task at hand whether it’s washing the dishes, taking a walk, or playing with your children. Use these moments of being fully present to practice quieting the mind so that you can use this skill in more challenging or stressful conditions as well.
- Pay attention to your sensory experiences: When we focus on our sensory experiences (what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell) we are less ‘in our heads’ and more in the present moment. To help yourself reduce mental chatter, focus attention to those sensory experiences that surround you. What do you feel in your body? Savor the flavor and warm temperature of a cup of tea. Look out the window and focus on the colors you see. These practices are simple, but in the practice of them you learn how to redirect your attention away from mental chatter and into a more peaceful state.
This is not nearly an exhaustive list of ways to reduce mental chatter to achieve a quiet mind. However, using these strategies you can get a jump-start on the peacefulness you seek. As with all things that are worthwhile, the ability to quiet your mind will come in time with persistence and follow-through. They are not strategies that you do once or twice and write off if they do not work. They are strategies that need to be replicated over and over again to help us create the skill set necessary to reduce chatter and achieve peace. I hope they help you live more fully in the present moments of your precious lives!
Guest Blog by: Diane Webb, LMHC. Diane is a psychotherapist in upstate New York that specializes in anxiety reduction, post-traumatic stress disorder, overcoming depression, transpersonal therapy and achieving emotional peak performance. For more information and how to work with Diane, visit: The Peace Journal Connect via Facebook Here: The Peace Journal Facebook