I’ve been going through old photographs lately. When I find something really cute, I love to share it with my brother. This is a favourite game in many families and circles of friends and it's a big part of social media. Shared memories can build a sense of connectedness and belonging. The nostalgia can be bittersweet with longing for something or someone, but nevertheless, often the primary emotions are positive. Research shows that recalling moments of success or joy can help buffer us against stress. This is because remembering happy times can cause our brains to decrease the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, while increasing the production of neurotransmitters associated with happiness, like serotonin. At the level of our hormones, our bodies may not be able to tell the difference between actually experiencing the event and remembering it. Given that it will soon be Remembrance Day, it seems important to also point out that we have evolved to remember negative experiences better than positive ones. Obviously this can work against us as in the case of difficult memories and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Memory is a complex subject. Many of us can, however, benefit from using joyful flashbacks to encourage pleasurable feelings that can be enjoyed in the present moment!
Remember to take time for healing in your life!
This summer, like most people, I've been unable to travel very far. As a result, I've been taking a look at doing things that are nearer to home and trying to think creatively about how we can enjoy something slightly new. Sometimes this has involved trying a new sport such as kayaking in the local river. Other times it has taken the form of a road trip to see a particular garden or just simply taking the time to eat dinner outside. I have found it calming to slow down to enjoy the simple things such as watching a sunset, listening to the cicadas or spying on the antics of the Finch family that lives in our backyard. Tuning into nature like this is a good way to be present in the moment. This can leave us feeling peaceful and makes us more likely to realize when our bodies need rest or TLC. I think that simplicity is part of the reason that so many people love to get back to nature by going to a cottage or camping in the summer.
I am pleased to finally be able to offer Reflexology and Indian Head Massage sessions again with COVID protocols in place. Faith's story, below, is a reminder of how important it is to stay in touch with your own body and ensure you get the TLC you need!
Faith* brightens a room just by walking into it! She has a big heart and her smile radiates warmth. She works long hours in long term care, where her expertise combined with her wonderful sense of humour bless everyone she encounters. However, after giving so much to others day after day, she can become physically and emotionally exhausted. When she is able to make time for a Reflexology session at Time for Healing, she is always amazed at how good she feels afterward, "I feel so so good, so light, like a weight on my shoulders is gone! I feel so good on the inside and the outside!" By taking care of herself, Faith finds the strength to carry on with the critically important work that she does to keep others safe.
Curious about how Reflexology can support your own self-care routine?
Know of someone who could use some TLC? Contact us!
* True story used with permission, but her name was changed.
6/1/2021 0 Comments
Have you ever watched “Antique Roadshow” before? On this television show a group of experts visit a town and the locals bring in their treasures to have them appraised. When you first start watching, it is pretty intriguing and shocking to see what some of the items are actually worth. However, as you continue to watch, you may begin to realize that learning about how the object was made and the history around its creator is quite interesting too. However, the most intriguing part of the whole thing, for me anyways, is when the person who is bringing the item for appraisal actually has a story associated with it. Sometimes these stories are simply how they managed to snag this item at an antique show, but often and even more fascinating is when there is a family story associated with the item. Hearing how the family used or didn’t use the item and what they named it and how they took care of it, is for me, the best part!
Something that I’ve been trying to do more deliberately this past year is journal. Sometimes I’ve been using writing prompts to inspire me. One of my colleagues, Joy Seunarine, who is a gifted writer and coach, has been posting little bits about her jewelry collection and what she recalls about the person and circumstances that she received it. This is not meant to be about flaunting flashy baubles, but recalling the stories behind them. At the end of the day, it is the stories that are the most interesting part. I have begun to tell some family stories in my own journal about special items I received over the years, such as this precious quilt that my grandmother made. While the items do not have a high monetary value, they do have sentimental value and special stories attached to them, some of which are intergenerational. I often see my teens’ eyes glaze over if I begin to tell them one of these tales, but perhaps some day in the future they will be more interested (or maybe not). In any case, I am enjoying the process of remembering the story and recording it. Perhaps this will even make it easier to let go of some items as I declutter? If you are a sentimental type of person, maybe you too would enjoy reflecting on the stories associated with special items that have kept you company in your home during the pandemic.
We continue to face uncertainty about when Ontario will open up for social gatherings and businesses This uncertainty is affecting everyone for many different reasons. If you know of someone, in particular a male, who is feeling stressed or who is looking for tips to stay happy and healthy, read about Canadian Men's Health Month below.
June is Canadian Men's Health Month!
Did you know that men are more hesitant to get help for mental health difficulties and feel like they need to be seen as strong and “tough it out”?
Studies show that physical activity can help increase self-reported happiness and lower levels of sadness and loneliness, both in the short-term and later in life.
Why not get active, get informed & improve your mental health this June?
Attend a virtual speaker event with star athletes, experts, and professional broadcasters, join an easy fitness class and/or make a fun "Move Pledge"!
The Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF) and Anxiety Canada have joined forces to create a new experience to improve the state of men’s mental health in Canada and inspire men to live healthier.
For more information or ideas
Crunch, crunch, crunch. I pause. This is the spot. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. The sunshine warms my face. A sense of calm descends on me and my shoulders relax. So quiet. I look up to see the bare branches of the trees reaching out to one another as if to embrace. The sky seems impossibly blue. So clear. I look down. I am knee-deep in snow. I see the sun is casting shadows through out the forest. The snow glitters. I inhale the cool air. So pure. My heart slows and my breathing becomes steady. I exhale. My ears fill with silence. I close my eyes to savour the moment. My heart begins to sing...
Have you ever stumbled into a quiet space like this? Sometimes I don’t even realize how much I need silence until after I experience it. Studies have documented how noise can affect our stress levels and contribute to high blood pressure, anxiety, memory issues and sleep problems. There is no doubt that silence can be nourishing to our bodies and souls. Most of us, however, are regularly exposed to a constant stream of noise. Even when we do have a moment that could be a quiet one, we often feel compelled to fill it with sound or activity. We turn on the radio, stream music, listen to a podcast or scroll through social media every quiet moment we get. Our lives are filled with near constant noise and busyness.
Recently I’ve been leading a study group on a book entitled, Whisper, by Mark Batterson. In it Mark describes seven different languages that God/ Creator/Spirit uses to communicate with us: Desires, Doors, Dreams, People, Promptings and Pain as well as Scripture. In order to be open to hearing and learning through any of these languages, first we need to figure out how to listen. And to really listen, we need to quiet ourselves. I would love to know how you do this. Do you think our society encourages this? Is this something that you value? What gets in your way? What helps you to be still?
Last month, I noticed that I was getting into the habit of wearing the same colours day after day. In particular, I’ve been wearing the colour grey quite often. I think that part of this is because many of my grey clothes contain wool and as a result they are nice to wear when the weather is cold. However, I also own some winter items that are a bit more colourful. I decided to start experimenting by wearing some pieces during lockdown that I would normally only put on if we were going out socially. I have been curious to see how this affects my energy levels and perspective. There are also some other habits that I have adopted during the pandemic that I intend to continue, such as reading more spiritual books and taking photos of painted rocks!
What habits have you been clinging to lately? Getting through this pandemic experience has been different for all of us. It is interesting to take stock of the new behaviours we may have adopted and to think about which ones we want to hold onto and which ones we’d like to let go of. I know some friends have decided they want to stop dyeing their hair. I know others who have decided that they will never again, ever, be out five nights of the week at meetings or activities. I encourage you to reflect on your pandemic habits and what you’ve learned about yourself!
I am happy to let you know that Time for Healing is now open again for in-person appointments including Reflexology and Indian Head Massage!
Running from Heel Pain: Normally Nick enjoys getting out for a run a few times a week. It keeps him fit and he admits that he looks forward to having that dedicated time alone. He often gets his best ideas while out on the trails! Unfortunately he started to notice a burning sensation in his left heel when he got out of bed in the morning. He suspected plantar fasciitis and had to put the brakes on running for a while. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick band of tissue along the bottom of the foot and can cause a lot of pain. After trying targeted foot reflexology sessions combined with some new stretches at home, Nick was amazed at the difference he felt in his feet and his energy was better too. He was thrilled to be able to get back to running again.
Curious about what Reflexology can do for you? Contact us.
Anthony knows how to fix just about anything. He works on his feet all day long maintaining a building that is several stories high. After a long day at work, he would describe himself as "hobbling around" and was not able to enjoy his favourite way to relax, getting outside on the Bruce Trail. After trying Foot Reflexology, he reported "the next day, about half way through the morning, I suddenly realized I was getting a lot done and walking around without pain!" In addition to ensuring he wears proper footwear and hydrates well, he has added monthly Reflexology sessions to his self-care routine. Now, he has more energy at work and even some left over for those nature hikes!
Curious about what Reflexology can do for you? Contact us!
Something that tends to get me in trouble this time of year is my expectations. High expectations can be sneaky. To be honest, I know I can find myself running towards them without even stopping to think about it until I'm completely stressed out or exhausted! There is something about the holiday season and its rich traditions that is wonderful and overwhelming at the same time. It always starts out innocently enough; for example, "I'd like to bake some favourite cookies." Then it changes, almost imperceptibly to: "I want to make EVERYONE'S favourite cookies, or at least, I have to do one chocolate kind, one nut kind, one rolled cookie, one shortbread, one gingerbread and oh, they need to be Instagram worthy too." The list of requirements gets longer and before you know it, you have a ridiculous amount of baking (shopping/decorating/card writing/volunteering/wrapping/cleaning/cooking, etc) to do and not enough time to do it. On top of this you're not even enjoying any of it anymore! And just because you are capable of making all those sweet confections, does it mean you really should?
The emotional build up to the holidays can be huge. If we are lucky we can find ourselves remembering many happy times and this is great except that we may tend to forget all the days of work that actually went into making that huge meal and giving all of those perfect presents. After all, how could we possibly capture all of those wonderful times again in just one simple day? Logically we know this and yet we still think we ought to try... Or alternatively we may focus mainly on the sad times. In either case we can end up feeling disappointed, disengaged and empty. This year with many of our holiday celebrations looking a bit different and our calendars sadly void of any parties, why not take the opportunity to set yourself free from old expectations? Maybe you can meditate on or pray and rethink what is most important to you in the present, today, now in December 2020 and focus on that while giving yourself permission to let the other expectations go.
Wishing you Hope, Peace, Joy and Love this season and into 2021!
Donna-Michelle Rancoeur is a Registered Reflexologist (RRPR), a Reiki Master and an Indian Head Massage Practitioner.