TWENTY + REASONS TO LEARN HOW TO MEDITATE…

During this trying time on us all it is essential that we keep as fit and healthy as possible and one way of achieving this is by learning how to meditate.

Here’s 20+ reasons why you should learn to meditate.

It makes you feel happier. It improved your memory. It makes you feel more grateful. It reduces stress. It improved sleep. It improves concentration. It encourages compassion. It helps with decision making. It encourages mindfulness. It helps fight addictions. It delays onset of Alzheimer’s. It encourages a healthy lifestyle. It reduces back pain. It reduces loneliness. It encourages weight loss. It slows down the ageing process. It’s FREE. It involves no physical exertion. It heals your soul. It improved your cardiovascular health. It helps process emotions. It’s linked to a more creative mind.

Some tips on learning and practicing meditation are – Practice daily, decide a time you can practice without interference everyday. Start small, say just two minutes. Get comfortable, choose your space and sit in a comfortable position. Focus on your breathing and realise that your mind will have a lot of thoughts going through it at the moment. Your thoughts will wander, this is normal.

Four great FREE apps you can download to start your journey are – HEADSPACE – one of the most popular apps characterised by cute animations to help people start their meditation journey. Some meditations can be as short as 1-3 minutes so a great app for beginners. CALM – a great sleep and relaxation app with great pictures rather than words to help you stay with the app for longer. INSIGHT TIMER tons of free guided meditation and mindfulness. MINDFULNESS – this app was created by two yoga and mindfulness professionals. You can start your meditation practice with only 5 mins per day, and track your progress. It’s indicated for beginners, kids and even people that have been meditating for a long time. A great all rounder app.

You can find lots of infographics on meditation from Pinterest and I have written a few blog posts on the subject –

It’s Sleep Sunday – Let’s Talk About Sleep and Meditation Therapy,

Practice Mindful Breathing to Help Ease Pain

Top Tips on How to Find Your Inner Peace with Meditation

DIARY – COPING WITH COVID-19 WHILE IN CHRONIC PAIN…

For many of us in chronic pain just trying to keep in control of it can be an uphill daily battle but with the COVID-19 here it makes it twice as hard.

We have been in self-isolation for two weeks now after our children felt we were in the high risk category. For me, they felt I was high risk due to the amount of drugs I take and chest infections I’ve had in the past and for my husband because he is in his late 70’s.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 the government stressed over 70’s in particular were high risk so we felt sure we had done the right thing but it has been quite a struggle. Although “I” would probably have been ok popping into our local shop with gloves and mask on, I don’t think my husband should do this so then we have a problem. I never go into the supermarket without someone as I can’t bend to get certain things, shouldn’t stretch for anything and couldn’t pack or lift the shopping bags so it means we need the home deliveries.

Our first delivery which we had booked ages ago came last Thursday and we had a local green grocers who dropped of fresh fruit and vegetables but since then it’s been my daily task to try and get another slot with a supermarket.

During the week I get up first and make us a cuppa then take it back upstairs to start our day so my morning started with me going straight onto the websites to see if there are any delivery slots or even click and collect slots but so far no joy.

I also decided last week that I was determined to “get fit, not fat” and told my husband I wanted to lose a pound a week which if all goes to plan would mean a 12 pound weight loss over the 12 week isolation.

In my diary most of my days in the first week were spent catching up on washing and ironing as I have to pace myself for this and I definitely spent a lot of time online reading and watching videos about COVID-19. You can’t help it really, it’s so new to us all. I also decided I was going to re write my Complimentary Therapies book as I have so much more information and contacts I want to put in it but I have to admit that at the time of writing this all I have done so far is to download the old pdf to decide where to start.

We also go on a daily walk as we are lucky enough to have access to several South Downs walks from the back of our house. My new Joya Shoes have certainly taken a battering over the last two weeks but I feel so much more confident and secure walking in them. One day we did walk just over 5000 steps and although I thought I was fine I was in a lot of pain when I got home so we have planned our routes much better now.

Every day I fill in my C-19 health questionnaire from the symptom checker app which I wrote about on a post last week. Check the post out as you really should do this and it’s very easy to fill in and download. I am sure like me that some of the symptoms for COVID-19 we endure ever day so we just have to understand the important symptoms.

I had one day where I spent the morning looking for low fat biscuit and cake recipes and had an afternoon before and after my rest making sugar free cookies, apple and blueberry crumble made with oats and a fat free and sugar free fruit cake for my husband.

After my rest every afternoon I would try and get a slot from a supermarket but I still haven’t managed it and with the governments new criteria for vulnerable and elderly my husband just didn’t seem to fit in their list so this morning I decided to phone our GP to see if they had sent the letter they keep saying you will receive. The GP said they have nothing to do with that it’s the government bodies that deal with it (which seemed a bit strange to me) but which means we cannot get any ‘special case’ slots.

It’s now beginning to become quite a chore doing the same thing twice a day to find a slot but I won’t give up. Our local vegetable shop has now become so busy they won’t deliver for another week but I found a butcher in another village who would deliver where we are so I managed to get a few bits from him. I also had a card through the door from someone living near us offering help with shopping or picking scripts up etc so I asked her if she could pick up our scripts from the chemist today and pop in the local shop for some bread, milk and eggs. She had kindly dropped the food bits before we were even dressed this morning and is dropping the scripts off later for us.

I am on the waiting list to join the chemist delivery service and I had to wait a little longer for my paracetamol as they had sold out but if I can sort home delivery it will be another one off my list to stop worrying about. I kept wondering where the hours disappear to in a day but I can see after writing this just how much time is spent online. The mixed up weather over the last couple of weeks has caused a few flares but as long as I get my afternoon rest I am usually fine. I did wonder if I should try and manage without the paracetamol in case I caught the virus and needed it then but having only recently got myself down to 50mg Tramadol and paracetamol I don’t want to need to start taking it again.

I’m sure once I have a supermarket slot booked in my diary I will be able to concentrate on sorting my book out but at the moment that just seems to preoccupy my mind 24/7. How are you coping in isolation with your chronic pain? However you are managing the main thing is to stay safe. Ending on a good note, I’ve lost one pound on week one of my 12 week weight loss plan so I am very happy with that.

The beautiful view 5 mins across the fields from our front door.

TOP 6 THERAPY TOOLS YOU ALREADY OWN…

US chiropractors aren’t a fancy lot, we don’t need a great deal to do what we do. Fingers, elbows, a bed, knowledge of anatomy. That’s about all we need to start the healing process, but what about you guys who want to do a bit of self massage? It’s impossible to dig your own elbows into the knots in your back, so what are you supposed to do? Well, I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that you already own all the tools you need to be your very own self massage therapist!

These everyday things you’ve been walking past are actually secret therapy tools, so get to using them!

Doorframe…

I bet you’ve never looked at a doorframe and seen the hidden massage therapist in there, have you? Well, go take a closer look because they are waiting for you and they’re great for the shoulder girdle. Some of the biggest muscles in your body are your lats – your back muscles – and these can get an amazing stretch from a doorway.

Stretch that back

This is a great stretch as the muscles it affects start down at the tailbone and run up across the back, meaning that this one stretch can impact on a large area.

Doorways are great because you can also stretch the front! If you’ve been slumped at a desk all day then you probably have tight chest muscles, here’s how to stretch them.

The further through the doorway you go the better stretch

You can really improve this stretch by trying to squeeze your arm across your chest, your arm won’t go anywhere because there’s a doorway stopping you (unless you’re the hulk…), but holding that squeeze for 3 seconds means you’ll be able to move forward and get a deeper stretch when you relax.

Chair…

Chairs have a lot of making up to do. We slouch in them, we sleep on them and they generally give us more problems than they solve, so here’s how to even the score. If doorways are great for the upper body, then chairs are great for the legs! There are lots of stretches you can do on a chair, such as…

Hamstrings

You can also stretch your glutes on a chair too,

Just lean forward from here to get a great stretch.

These are all very easy to do if you aren’t very mobile for whatever reason and make the positions easy to get into, as well as helping to even the score against chairs.

Bed…

This one is the same as the chair, but it can be easier to get into these positions on a bed with it being higher up. Also, here’s an extra stretch you can do on the chair too.

Put your back foot on the bed to get a very deep stretch. Be careful with this one, use the bed to stabilise yourself with the back foot on the floor first to see how much of a stretch you need.

Rolling pin…

A rolling pin is an absolutely essential tool for anyone who wants to perform self massage and yes, you are going to treat your muscles like dough. Your thigh muscles will really benefit from this, so just straighten your legs out and get to rollin’! Go slowly and vary the pressure on yourself, some parts will be more tender than others. The sore parts need extra attention, but can’t take as much pressure, so take your time with it and go easy.

Tennis/golf ball…

These underrated tools are some of the best out there and I have a bag of golf balls up in my bedroom for when I need a quick self massage session. These can provide a smaller, more pointed surface area than the rolling pin. Whilst the pin is great for broad, sweeping strokes, the ball gets much more specific, so if you have an area that just won’t relax, try digging the ball in instead. However, it will be painful. It shouldn’t be, so the level of discomfort you feel is directly proportional to how much you need the work doing. A tennis ball is for beginners and the golf ball is for more experienced people.

Hands…

So obvious you almost forgot them, right? Don’t underestimate the power of giving yourself a good rubdown. Use your own hands and get your knuckles deep into the muscle, paying extra attention to the parts that are sore.

So there you go, that’s a great start to becoming your own self massage therapist. Some things can be hard to do or to reach on your own, such as your back, so if these tools aren’t helping you hit the spot correctly, then come and visit me or someone in your area. You can also check out my review of Kelly Starrett’s book and see about picking it up, he’s written a masterpiece on how to be your own therapist.

An article from Calm Body Chiropractic

5 WAYS TO LEARN WHILE WALKING IN THE FRESH AIR…

Getting out into the fresh air at the moment is very important to us all but if your nearest walk is not very exciting then you could learn while you walk.

You could listen to endless Podcasts. Good Housekeeping has 30 Best Podcasts for 2020 to listen to now.

You could learn a language. Lingualift has a list of the top 10 best language learning apps.

You could learn all about the birds and bees flying around at the moment. Dr. Hilary said this morning how you can here lots more bird song in the capital now the roads are so quiet. Hobby Help has listed the top 5 best Bird Watching Apps for 2020.

You could learn all about the flowers, trees and the leaves you pass on the road. The Telegraph has a list of the 10 best apps to identify unknown plants and flowers and Techigem has the 10 Best Plant Identification Apps for 2020.

If you just simply want to walk for health and some fresh air and don’t own a Fitbit then why not download an app and keep your phone in your pocket so it can register how many steps you have taken. I get a real buzz from knowing how many steps I’ve done as I know it’s so important for your health. Good Housekeeping have a list of the 10 best Step Counter Apps.

Nature is all around us, even if you live on busy streets or in cities. If you stuck in an apartment you could still take up bird watching, just zoom in your camera and take a picture of the bird then find out what it is from one of the apps. Being outside is very important and no matter how small your garden if you cannot get out into the streets then you could enjoy any off this list just walking around your garden.

We all want to get through this terrible ordeal we are now in ‘fit not fat.‘ There is also a brilliant book called Every Day Nature by Andy Beer (National Trust Book) which encourages you to find beauty in the everyday and forge a powerful connection with the nature than can be found on your doorstep.