Clear the Clutter

I find that when I’m mentally cluttered (frazzled, overwhelmed, disorganized), my environment (my car, office, home, even my wallet and desktop) often reflects the mess. I’ve wondered if it’s the chicken or the egg…does the mess in my space create the mental clutter or is it the other way around? I’m guessing a little bit of both. What I do know is that the physical clutter is something I can take care of and at times can be easier to take action on. As I find order in my physical world, my mental world calms too.

Handstand.jpg

As we create systems in our lives from paying bills to meal planning to avoid the after work stress of figuring out dinner, we can find more sustainable order. No one size fits all, but slowly, I’m finding my groove with what works for me. As my physical world is finding more order (thanks to coaching, trial-and-error, reading, podcasts, you name it!) I’m noticing that intentional mental strategies are finding a place in my daily life. It is and will continue to be a work in progress, but so far it is creating a much gentler start to my day so that I am able to show up at my best, grounded and clear for my patients, colleagues, family and friends.

So my challenge to you…

  1. Where is clutter showing up in your life? Mentally? Physically?

  2. Start by cleaning ONE area up.

    Is your computer desktop littered with files you will “get to tomorrow”? If so clear it. Create folders of urgency, importance or those to look at on a “rainy day”. Delete redundant files and empty the trash can. Create a system so that every file you save has a home, action step or its gone.

    Do you have a hard time remembering to do a list of home exercises from your Physio or Chiropractor so instead of doing some, you do none and then stress about not doing them? Pick one. Commit to doing one when you brush your teeth or set your alarm before going to bed. You will make more progress doing a little than none at all, and you will reduce some of the “shoulds” in the list of things you have to do in a day.

  3. As your physical world becomes less chaotic, how do you feel? How does it feel turning on your computer and having a clear screen, or a concise folder of things that require your attention rather than splitting it/ distracting it among noise? How does it feel getting into a car that smells good and is clean? How does it feel knowing where that favourite shirt is when you get that unexpected invite out for drinks?

  4. Once your physical spaces are in order (or before, if it feels right) take a minimum of 5 minutes a day to declutter your mind. Focus on breath, stare at the clouds, centre yourself in gratitude or a greater intention for the day.

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.”
Albert Einstein

A few of my Favourite Things

Last year around this time I picked up a book called the Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferris. The book is phenomenal, sharing a series of 100 interviews with high achievers (some known to me, some not). Each interviewee was asked the same questions, and a selection of answers from each person were published. One of the questions asked was “what purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?” This question prompted me to think about my own answer to this question. Below I share some purchases that brought the most ease to my life and has had the biggest impact.

 
  • I mention this to many people, particularly as the days get shorter and darker. The Philips Sun Alarm Clock not only wakes you with a gentle increase of “daylight”, but the audio alarm also increases slowly as to not wake you with a startle. I found when using this for a period of time, my internal wake cycle adjusted and I found it easier to get out of bed even on those cold, dark mornings where it is much easier to stay cozy in bed.

 
rumina.jpg
  • Rumina Natural’s Totally Tallow. I am lucky enough to work with one of the brains behind the amazing Rumina line. One particular product produced is “Totally Tallow”, a clean multi-purpose moisturizer. I had heard great things about this product for months and it was only this past month I decided to give it a try and I quickly fell in love. The Fall and Winter months here in Calgary are very dry and I have struggled to find a product over the years that offers moisture without being waxy, greasy or too heavy. Warming the product in your hands allows it to apply smoothly and leaves skin feeling soft. It smells great too! *Apply discount code drkaren10 to receive 10% off your order!

 
podcast.jpg
  • Podcasts! I was trying to pick just one to put here but I couldn’t choose, so below I list my favourites at the moment. I started listening to podcasts 5 years ago when I had a long commute to work. I was tired of listening to the radio, and was lucky enough to come across “The School of Greatness”. From there I’ve listened to a variety of other uplifting podcasts offering perspective on everything from business, life, goals, relationships, health to finances. The best part? Its free. You can download them to your phone when in wifi so you can listen on-the-road and save on data. The information we feed ourselves is just as (if not more) important than the food we eat. Choose wisely, and expand what you know. Seeing the world through another point of view can be eye-opening and may just offer a simple solution to a problem you’ve been facing. Of course, sometimes I just crave entertainment and something less introspective and there are podcasts for that too! In addition to Lewis Howes’ podcast above, Some of my regularly played podcasts include: The Ed Mylett Show (growth, business, mindset), Oprah’s Masterclass (life, overcoming failure, growth), Heavyweight (life, regret, righting wrongs, undone and unsaid, revisiting the past, entertaining), Without Fail (life, reality, failure and success, entertaining).

 
H20-Audio-Waterproof-Headphones-and-Case.jpg
  • I used to run as an outlet. It was my activity of choice and it had few barriers to get out the door. All I needed was a pair of shoes. Over the years, my pull to run has been replaced with a desire to swim. Sometimes my motivation to get to the pool is the hot tub soak afterward, sometimes its the meditation that comes with the swim itself. other times though (and here comes an item that was worth every penny), it is a new playlist on my underwater mp3 player. There are far more sleek versions that I see out now, but I actually purchased this a few years ago and it has been great. It holds my ipod nano and slides onto my goggles strap without being overly bulky. Music has always been a staple in my life, and has the power to change your state in tremendous ways. If you swim and struggle to stay motivated or get bored with lanes, I encourage you to order some underwater tunes.

 
2019-Planner-Blk2.jpg
  • Through the years I have gone back and forth between digital and good old fashioned paper planning. I think I have found my happy medium, with keeping all things needing a reminder, or simple daily tasks I need to get done and can’t forget in my phone (i.e. bills, appointments, etc) and the big goals, and long-term to-do’s in a paper daytimer (i.e. work tasks, long term plans, etc). Last year I found the daytimer to rule all daytimers (for me anyway) and even better, it was made by a local Calgary company. I’m talking about Wrinkle and Crease and their yearly planner. With ample space for weekly planning, monthly snapshots and lots of space in the back for collecting ideas and jotting down info you want to keep nearby. I have yet to pick up my planner for 2019 yet, but I will be ASAP because I love love love this one!

 
  • Last and certainly not least, another Calgary-based company The Gut Lab and their superfood shakers! I have only tried a couple and am so pumped to try more of their product, but I was blown away by the flavour of the Super Q shaker. Plus I loved the name…super…Q? You know, because my last name starts with Q? Anyway, this one had an amazing BBQ flavour and paired perfectly over popcorn. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a popcorn nut, and after trying this product, this will be a new staple for me. Most importantly, their products contain “sustainably sourced natural ingredients, no sweeteners, preservatives, fillers or artificial flavours”. Cheers to that!

 

There you have it! A snapshot to some of my favourite things that keep me moving, motivated and organized. Here’s to a strong end to 2018 and a fresh start to continue the momentum!

5 Thoughts on burnout & how not to

I’m currently finishing up preparations for a presentation this week to a local company about preventing burnout. I’ve done many presentations...stress reduction, eating well, lifestyle...and although the content I’m putting together overlaps a lot of that, somehow this topic resonates with me the most. Perhaps because I’ve been there. I know this stuff because I’ve lived it...and still do from time to time. But as any lesson in life, I don’t know that the point is never to fall again, but to gather tools along the way so we fall less often, fall less hard and get up quicker.

One of the daily rituals I enjoy (and yet still inconsistent with), is reading something uplifting as I drink my morning tea, as the start of my day. My favourite right now is to read one or two short essays from Timothy Ferriss’ Tribe of Mentors. The questions asked of 100 experts in their field are clever and applicable to anyone wanting to uplevel. I have come to believe over the years that there are no coincidences (thank-you Deepak Chopra), and those “that’s so crazy” moments of serendipity are in fact reinforcing that you are on the right path. So today, before I revisit my presentation, I grabbed Tim’s book and opened up to the next story. The bold quote at the top of the page reads “Burnout is not the price you have to pay for success” from none other than Arianna Huffington. I won’t rewrite the contents here because I truly believe this is a book that anyone would find valuable, but there were some key thoughts she shared about life and burnout in particular that I felt to be worth sharing here...and you can bet will be included in this week’s presentation also. Keep in mind I’m paraphrasing here, but this is how her words fell into my ears...

1. Express gratitude. Remember those who supported you when they had nothing to gain. She STILL sends a Christmas card to the banker who gave her a loan years ago when she (seemed to be) out of options. 

2. Put on your own oxygen mask first. This analogy is used a ton with coaching people to put self care as a priority. Arianna (may I use her first name?) describes her oxygen mask to be sleeping, meditating, walking, working out, etc. It took her collapsing in 2007 from exhaustion for her to see how important her wellbeing was to her productivity. She views taking care of herself as an investment (as we all should) that has pay-offs for years to come.

3. Reframe perception of time. This one is huge for me. I honestly always have felt this panic around “running out of time”. Even when I graduated at 25 from Chiropractic College, I felt I was late to the game (of work) and still feel that way at times. I think a lot of this is culturally constructed. In this context, she was discussing the parameters she had placed around work vs non-work time. She began to reframe what “work” time meant, and started to include walks and meditating and unplugging as part of her “work” because those habits were what enabled her to be productive, creative, effective and...happier. And isn’t that the grand poobah goal for all of us?

4. Changing your mind about something is one thing, but sometimes it is easier to start with a small action step to move us in the right direction. She gave two tech tips I love...one won’t be brand new but when I’ve done this, I had the best sleep of my life and got out of bed with ease. It’s as simple as plugging in your technology OUTSIDE your bedroom at night. NO scrolling through social media, or last minute emails. If you must remember midnight ideas, then leave a journal and pen beside your bed. But disconnect. The second, which was a new idea for me, is to periodically scramble the apps on your phone. She describes the benefit of giving you an extra amount of time to decide if you do indeed need to use their phone or if its more a boredom or habit. I’ve also gone so far as leaving my phone in my car if I’m waiting for an appointment. I’ve noticed things around me when my eyes aren’t glued to the screen and the biggest thing is that in a room full of people, no one is even aware of the person next to them. If I want to improve my connections in this world it wont happen by looking at my screen. From a neurology standpoint though, scrambling the apps on your phone or tablet is similar to taking a different route home. It causes the brain to pay attention and gets you out of the hardwired path you take each day. Any action that has novelty is brain food.

5. OK so, sometimes we can’t always be ahead of the game and lets face it. We all hit a wall from time to time. So what then? Typically that’s when we feel we have the least amount of time and often by then are in a headspace where solutions elude us and the downward spiral continues. SO what then? Arianna mirrors my thoughts on taking five minutes to breathe. If taking five minutes away from the task will make the next twenty more productive, you must pause and centre yourself.

There is so much more I could write on this, and I likely will, but these gems stood out. Start where you are, look to where you want to go and ask yourself if your current lifestyle and habits will get you there. If so, breathe and enjoy. If not, its in your hands to take one step (or one thought) in the right direction.

 

Healthy Bones

Did you know our bones are constantly remodeling and rebuilding? That's right. With various factors including nutrition and hormones, one of the most influential to bone health is stress. bone remodels in response to the forces which act upon it (Wolfs Law).

wolfs law.JPG

Often stress is seen as a bad thing but this is an example where stress is "food". Gravity alone creates a level of force on the body that helps with bone health. This is observed more clearly in astronauts who, without the impact of gravitational force, have exhibited 1-2% bone loss per MONTH compared to 1-1.5% bone loss in elderly or 2-3% in post menopausal women per YEAR. 

This is also why weight bearing, resistant exercises are so important for bone health as the balance of tensive and compression forces help maintain and promote bone health. 

What happens when this is out of balance though? Obviously if the bone "breakdown" occurs faster than the one "buildup" we will see a decrease in density. The opposite can occur also thought. If the stresses are abnormally distributed or if there is repetitive stress on a particular joint, the body senses this and starts depositing more bone to add stability to the area. This can eventually lead to bone spurs (as seen in the heel particularly with chronic plantar fasciitis) or joint degeneration in the spine or other jouints. 

Maintaining and optimizing body balance through alignment, posture and appropriate movement can be important considerations to promote bone health and to prevent or minimize pain and immobility that can accompany degenerative change. 

Guest Blog: Combatting Scar Tissue w/ Lindsay Burns

I met Lindsay Burns in a Muscle Activation Technique seminar last year. We were table mates and it was there that I first heard of Endermologie. Her excitement and knowledge on the modality was evident immediately and I have since referred some patients to her. Endermologie, in the context she uses it, helps remove scar tissue which can be a big barrier for a lot of people in adapting and finding balance and ease. She approaches her clients with holistic goggles, recognizing the role of scar tissue as a stabilizer, and that once that is removed, a person must also have means to continue that stability through strengthening and muscle activation. 

I figured if I had never heard of this technique, many others probably were also in the dark, so I asked Lindsay to share more about what she does... For further information, to meet Lindsay or to schedule a consultation with her, her contact is at the end of the article. Of course you can also contact me directly and I'll be happy to connect you. 

What is Endermologie? This is a question I get asked all the time and honestly I feel like it’s the best - kept secret around.

An Endermologie machine is 100% natural and non invasive. It breaks down scar tissue, increases blood circulation and boosts the Lymphatic System. And that just scratches the surface of what it can do.

Does this sound too good to be true? You aren’t alone in thinking that. Wonder why you’ve never heard of this before? You aren’t alone in that either. The European designed machine has moved away from it’s original use in North America and is being used mostly for cosmetic purposes but luckily, I spent time in the US observing, learning and training on how the machine can be used for more restorative, recovery and mobility purposes.       

I see the results and changes on a daily basis. I often hear, “I’ve been like this for twenty plus years. I’ve tried everything and it just stays the same”. I completely understand the helplessness that an injury past or present can make you feel. I’ve been there myself. Recently, one of my new and very active clients came in unable to completely extend her leg. After multiple knee surgeries and a lot of scar tissue built up she often experienced residual pain and constant aching. After trying a variety of things with little to no improvement my client was referred to me. Not knowing what to expect she booked her first appointment and was surprised when she could feel a difference almost immediately. After a handful of treatments this client has a greater range of motion. The dull aching is less, if at all, and her knee feels better then it has in years.

Knees, hips, tennis elbow, shin splints, neck, shoulder and back pain can all be treated with Endermologie plus much, much more. Recovery after surgery can also be expedited once you have the okay from your Physician to aid in regaining mobility.  

Endermologie works great on its own while complimenting other modalities as well. I like to think of it as a tool used to clear a roadblock. It increases blood circulation by 400%, which promotes healing and is able to get deeper then deep tissue massage.

The founding principles of Endermologie were to break down scar tissue, reduce inflammation and increase mobility. The bottom line is, it works. My clients are pleased with their results and how quickly they’re able to resume their everyday and active lifestyles.

I would love for you to come and check it out!

Lindsay Burns practices out of Lasya Healing Alternative Wellness Centre in Calgary, Alberta. For further info check out her website at www.endotechnique.com or find her on instagram @endotechnique!