Helping your body to function at its best so that you feel great and live the life you love!

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Healthy Lifestyle

The Benefits of Cold Showers and Extreme Temperature Exposures

extreme temperature exposureHere in the Midwest winter is definitely upon us, and the cold weather will not be going away any time soon. Many people do not enjoy this weather and prefer to hibernate inside during the colder months sipping on a warm drink by the fire or taking a hot bath. The last thing they want to do is to take a cold shower or embrace the cold in other ways! 

Today I want to talk to you about the benefits of embracing the cold weather and engaging in extreme temperature exposures. You may be surprised to learn that practices like taking a cold shower have many health benefits.

I invite you to come into this discussion with an open mind, no matter how much you would prefer to live in a sunny, warm climate year-round! 

 

Our Ancestors

If you have been following me for a while, you may know that I often look at how our ancestors lived as a guide.  There is a huge discrepancy between how our ancestors experienced the weather and how we experience it. Our current society does not have the exposure to the elements that people did in our ancestors' time. 

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A Look at Gratefulness and Contentment

twas the day after thanksgivingThere are many things that make Thanksgiving so special. For many the time spent with family or friends gives the day special significance, while others particularly enjoy the traditional tasty dishes of the holiday. I enjoy both these aspects of the holidays as well, but the thing that sets this holiday apart from the others is the focus on gratitude!

It is the one day of the year that our culture encourages us to pause and be grateful for what we have. I hope that you were able to spend some time enjoying the many things you have to be grateful for yesterday. And I want to encourage you not to stop the gratitude there.



'Twas the Day After Thanksgiving

Our culture makes a huge shift from encouraging gratefulness, and the contentment that comes with gratitude, right after the holiday as we are thrown into the busy shopping season. 

This year, consider how you can intentionally keep gratitude alive in your heart by establishing a gratitude practice. When you develop a simple gratitude practice you open yourself up to all kinds of health benefits. 

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"Sugar & Stress" Season

Sugar and StressMany people believe that it is the beginning of the dreaded flu season! It is true that there are more cases of the flu diagnosed this time of year, but germs for the flu are around all year. So, if these germs are always around, why do we see an increase in the number of flu cases during the fall and winter months?

I really like the way that Dr. Angie Elliot explains this phenomenon in her article “There’s No Such Thing As ‘Flu Season’.”

 

“Think for a moment about what would happen if you planted a seed in the ground. You covered it with soil, didn’t water it, offer it sun, or supply it with air. Would the seed grow? NO! Why not? 

The answer is that the condition of the soil was not ideal for the seed to take root and for the plant to flourish. Now, consider your body equivalent to soil and a virus or bacteria as the seed. If you planted that seed in your body right now, could it grow? 

Many people get sick with colds or the flu this time of year because the condition of their body is primed for pathogens to thrive and grow.” - Dr. Angie Elliot

 

Tis the Season

When you look at it this way, it is easy to see some of the factors that impact our bodies immune system and create an environment where germs can thrive. Some of the things that cause us stress are obvious, while other things are more subtle. Often we are so used to these things that we don’t even realize that they are causing stress on our bodies.

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Wholehearted Living (part 2)

wholehearted living and letting goHow Letting Go Helps You Embrace Wholehearted Living

 

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.

- Anonymous

 

Last week we began to explore Brene Brown’s 10 Guideposts to Wholehearted Living with an article focused on the things we need to cultivate to live this way. Today we will focus on things we must let go of to live wholeheartedly.

While releasing these things may feel scary, holding on to them will weigh us down and keep us from living life to the fullest. Take a look at the list and consider if you would benefit from letting some of these things go. It's the perfect time of year to release the things that are holding you back.

 

What Others Think

Brene Brown recognizes that something is lost when we worry too much about what other people think of us. She encourages us to question, “What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?” She encourages us to consider whose opinion really matters to us and to write those names on a one inch by one inch piece of paper. The only names that belong on that list “are the people who love you and care about you, not despite your imperfection or vulnerability, but because of it.” 

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Brene Brown on Wholehearted Living

10 guideposts for wholehearted living

 

“Wholeheartedness is like a North Star. You can never get there, but you know when you are headed the right way.” - Brene Brown

 

Brene Brown is a researcher and social worker best known for her work on shame, vulnerability, and living a wholehearted life. She is a compelling storyteller which allows her to communicate deep concepts in an accessible and enjoyable way. 

In her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead she explores 10 guideposts to living wholeheartedly. 

Brown says, “wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think - no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough! It’s going to bed at night thinking; yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging. Wholehearted living is not a one-time choice; it is a process. In fact, I believe it’s the journey of a lifetime.”

 

Cultivating the Positive

Brown created the 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living based on her research of people she describes as living a wholehearted life. Each guidepost has something positive to cultivate as well as something that must be released. As the term guidepost implies, the goal is to be heading in the right direction, not achieving some level of perfection.

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Top Fitness Picks

Top Fitness PicksWhile I was an active child, I have never been a super athletic person. Working out and staying fit does not come easy to me. Because of this, it is especially important for me to find the right type of workout at the right kind of gym. 

In the past I have tried places that did not give enough guidance, made me feel intimidated, or even shamed me for not keeping up. This was discouraging and at times dangerous. (Like the time I was told to just try a 60 lb deadlift, when they knew I had never lifted before!)

But I have also had a handful of incredible experiences. Though these experiences were very different in style, they had a few things in common. Both gyms provided adequate guidance, encouraged me to work at my own pace, and celebrate my achievements. The instructors created a nurturing, positive environment where it was safe to take risks and grow. 

Two of the best gyms that I have found are H4 Fitness in Wheaton/Geneva and Mindful Movements in Glen Ellyn! 

 

H4 Training

Nexus by definition is a means of connection between members of a group or things in a series; link; bond. To us the name Nexus truly defines what our small group training is all about and that is a bond and connection. -Hank, owner and trainer

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