Chronic illness doesn’t have to take you out of the game.

That game being your life. Whether you have chronic pain or food sensitivities such as gluten intolerance or food allergies, it can sometimes be a struggle to just get through the day. We get it.

And it’s OK to get angry — even furious — just don’t dwell there. In fact, if you’re a member, go over to the Whine Bar and get it out of your system. Then come back here, pour a cuppa, and we can get to what DOES work for you.

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It’s easy, in a season of giving, to let yourself fall into the background and get steamrolled by all that’s happening around you. Leave that to the regular-old stressed-out folks whose bodies can handle that (for now — soon they’ll be right beside us).

Here are some things to remember as the calendar gets busier. As you read them, you might think to yourself, “Thank you, Captain Obvious.” But are you genuinely putting these things in place and making them a part of your life? Every single day? Consistently? Really?

1) Get it out of your head and on to paper.

That sense of overwhelm? It comes from all the information swirling around in your head, because it isn’t managed. Get it down on paper, put it in a calendar, and start getting responsible for how you manage your time and what can realistically be accomplished given where your health is at this very moment. Which leads us to the next one:

2) Make non-negotiable time for yourself.

Take a minimum of 15 minutes a day to sit quietly and breathe deeply, letting go of all the stress you might be experiencing. You might be sitting there thinking “Oh, sure, I’ll just duct tape the kids to the refrigerator and go sit quietly.” To that we say: Do what you need to do. The sticky stuff washes off.*

Note: This time in your calendar is NON-NEGOTIABLE. It doesn’t get put aside for any reason whatever. You MUST have time to sit and decompress.

3) Remember to breathe.

Aside from the 15 minutes we prescribed above, be mindful of your breathing when you get overwhelmed. A few deep, cleansing breaths can do wonders for the mind, body and spirit. If you need to, set a reminder on your phone or computer to take 3 deep breaths every hour. Even if you achieve only half of those, you’ll have done yourself a world of good.

4) Get enough rest.

Sleep is that other thing that falls to the wayside when we’re busy. After all, there are only so many hours in a day. Yes, and the most important ones are those devoted to helping your body recuperate from the day. So put sleep at the TOP, not the bottom, of the list.

5) Enlist your support network.

If you don’t have a support network, get one. It doesn’t have to be family. It can be neighbors, friends, co-workers, or someone you pay to help get things done. Don’t try to be a Lone Ranger and do it all yourself, because that leads to meltdown of the mental and physical sort. Seriously, there are people who love wrapping presents, or shopping. We’ve never understood them, but they are a rare gift in and of themselves.

*Our lawyers are going to have a fit about this, so we say very loudly, in bold letters: That is a joke.


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The holidays bring with them family and with family can come drama. But there are easy steps you can take to keep your weekend from turning into a horror story.

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I don’t know about you, but I can’t make gravy to save my life. It hasn’t really come back to haunt me, that one Thanksgiving I hosted for co-workers at the newspaper aside, especially now that I can let my husband do it. He makes a damn fine gravy, so I’ve never bothered to learn. […]

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As the days get shorter and darker, do you find yourself feeling a bit blue? It may not be the holidays. It may be seasonal effective disorder. Read on to see what causes it and how you can cope.

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Dr. Alex shares his top 5 natural recommendations to help alleviate PMS symptoms and bring the body back into balance.

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