Living in the moment: a journey to become more present

Over the last few months I have learned the powers of the brain. You can’t see it but it truly is miraculous how it works in mysterious ways to protect us – protect us from pain.

Just 5 short months ago I was running on zero sleep, zero food, my whole body was in pain as I anxiously waited for my husband to wake up from a coma, bot worrying how bad his recovery would be after a traumatic brain injury.

5 months later and life has returned to “normal”. Did you know that the brain actually suppresses pain. Scientists call it state-dependant learning. When the brain creates memories in a certain state, like trauma, those memories  become inaccessible in a normal state of consciousness.

It is like my conscious self forgot about the accident, it was long gone from the front of my mind, however there were still random moments of PTSD. I hated saying that it was PTSD because I always associated this with real trauma. With people who were in war, who were robbed or beat. I never thought the loved one who had to watch the accident unfold from the outside could suffer from it. And so random moments, an ambulance would drive by me, I would drive past the hospital, little things and moments would trigger the pain, but it wasn’t all the time like it was 5 months ago.

It wasn’t until I joined my friend Joti Samra’s podcast recently and she read a piece from a blog I wrote shortly after the accident. I found writing to be a form of therapy for me. A way to let out my emotions when I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone. It was this moment that took me past PTSD, it took me right back to the hospital bed, holding his hand, praying for him to be ok, for us to be ok.

It also took me back to a promise that I made in the hospital, to live more in the present. As someone who works in media, social media is a big part of that. The first thing I do in the morning is check my social media accounts. It is also the last thing I do before I go to bed at night, and throughout the day as well.

When I was in the hospital I didn’t check my social media for 10 days straight. I was just living in the present moment, talking to my husband in a coma. And during that time I made the promise that if we made it out of this, I would continue to live in the moment. That present conversations would be more important than what was on my phone.

5 months later and as life returns back to “normal” I realized I broke that promise to myself.  I had already gone back to old routines, to the dreaded social media life consuming days. While I still value what social media offers I am re-committed to finding a balance of living more in the present. Phone down at dinner time, conversations at night instead of scrolling. The little details that make all the difference.

As for the PTSD that I am finally accepting that it is ok for me to feel this way. I did go through a traumatic experience. Through accepting, I have been able to do research and find some ways to deal with it. I still speak to my therapist, I have been practicing different breathing techniques, I have continued journaling and also speaking to my husband when I need to share my emotions and feelings. It is going to be a journey for sure, one that is going to last a lot longer than just 5 months and that’s ok. Just like it is ok to sometimes have a bit of a detour when you make a promise to yourself, as long as you eventually find the right road again.

I know that sometimes on this blog I write about beauty, lifestyle, travel, etc. But as I mentioned this blog is also an outlet for me to share my feelings, my fears, my emotions, my accomplishments. A place for me to vent,  to share, to connect and this was one of those moments where I just had to write it all down and hold myself accountable.

xo

Mia

 

 

Four reasons you should make a dentist appointment regularly

I know that we have all been shook by COVID 19. We have been dealing with shutdowns, isolation, restrictions, you name it, but it is still important to take care of yourself.

Dentist appointments aren’t just there for when you have an issue that needs to be seen. In fact prevention is better than waiting around for a problem to come up. I actually had a dentist appointment right as the shutdowns happened, and getting to see my dentist was one of my top priorities when things started to open again (after I confirmed with the office that it was safe to do so).

I know that the dentist can cause some people to worry. Heck, up until recently my dad hadn’t made an appointment in 5 years because he was afraid to get anymore cavities filled. Fear, bad experiences, you name it can cause this anxiety and so it is important to choose dental care you can count on  says dentist Alistair Graham of Mona Vale Dental

 

 

dentist Alistair Graham of Mona Vale Dental  say it’s important to choose dental care you can count on. 

Here are four reasons why even though it can be scary, it is important for you to keep up with your checkups:

 

To Watch out For Mouth Cancer

This is one of the most vital things that your dentist will do at every check-up. They don’t just check that your teeth and oral hygiene are healthy, they will also do an examination that looks for any signs of mouth cancer, head cancer, and neck cancer. They will check for any lumps on your head and neck. They will also keep their eye out for any white or red patches in your mouth. Usually, nothing out of the ordinary will be found, however, these checks could be potentially life-saving.

Hygienists

Dental therapists and hygienists are quite often overlooked when it comes to your oral health, however, they can be extremely useful when it comes to the advice and the service they can offer you. Dental hygienists are ‘preventive’ dental health and will treat gum disease, they will also educate you on the right way to look after your teeth and gums at home (at my last appointment I realized I have been brushing my teeth wrong my whole life).  This will normally include professionally cleaning your teeth, referred to as a scale and polish (removing plaque and tartar). 

Talking Through Teeth Whitening 

Tooth whitening has grown in popularity in the most recent years, however, there are many myths that are circulating leaving people unsure about what is safe and what isn’t. You dentist is the best person to offer you advice on this department, they will know and understand all the options that are available for you.

Prevent And See Early Signs 

They can catch things early or prevent them from happening. With the use of a tiny mirror and a routine exam, your dement is able to see under your gums, this is an area where there can be a lot of action without you even releasing. Dentists will both solve and prevent problems. Potential problems include tooth decay and gum disease. When it comes down to your oral health, it is key for you to be proactive, seeing your dentist is the way to follow through with this. 

 

There isn’t anyone who is better qualified to advise you and help you keep on top of your oral health than your dentist. This means they should always be your first port of call if you have any concerns or worries. 

 

Faster Healing After A Joint Injury – What Can You Do?

When was the last time you stopped to think about how your body does what it does every day? Back when I was a professional athlete I used to think about it all the time. The aches and pains, taking care of them right away so that they don’t explode into something larger. But now that my tennis days are over, I hardly take the time really think about my body, and unless you work in the health care professional, I am sure you don’t either. 

Yet sometimes things go wrong within the body, and accidents can cause all kinds of problems, including joint injury. These kinds of injuries can cause massive disruption to your daily life, and ideally you will want them to heal as quickly as possible, I would know, I am dealing with chronicle joint pain in my wrist form years and years of sports.  Although you must be careful not to damage yourself further, there are some things you can do that will help your body heal more quickly; read on to find out what they are.

Have A Massage

My mom used to be a massage therapist and would help relieve muscle pain after every big match. A massage from the experts at I Am Health will definitely help when it comes to your joint injury and the pain it leaves behind. A massage doesn’t touch the joint itself, but rather the muscles around it, so it’s usually a safe option (especially when you engage a professional massage therapist to help you). The great thing about a massage is that it will reduce the pain you are feeling and also make the muscles around the joint that has been injured stronger. This means that there is less chance of the injury occurring again once it has healed, and on top of helping your muscles loosen up, it also feels incredible. 

Rest 

It is imprinted in my mind: RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate). It is what I was told to do after every injury when I played tennis.  This isn’t just good advice; it’s crucial if you want your injury to heal faster. When you rest and don’t put any weight on the joint that should be healing, your body can regenerate more quickly. The more you can rest, no matter how hard that might be if you are usually an active person, the more quickly your body can heal. 

This is an important thing to note. Although you might want to get back to work or your hobbies quickly after an injury, if you rush things and don’t allow enough resting time after you have been hurt, it will take you longer to get well, and you can even make things worse, as the body won’t have a chance to repair itself. It might be hard to stay still and do nothing for what seems like a long time, but it will take even longer if you don’t do it at all.

Eat The Right Foods 

To heal properly, and more quickly, the body needs to have all the right nutrients. These nutrients come from the food we eat, which is why, if you want to heal faster, you need to eat the right foods. 

Vitamin C is particularly useful when it comes to your joints, and this can be found in citrus fruits, broccoli, berries, and kiwis, for example. Vitamin A is also excellent, and for this, you should ensure your diet contains carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes, as well as many other foods. 

It’s only natural that, when we are injured, we want to put our lives back together as quickly as possible, and there are – as you can see from the list above – several ways this can be done. However, you must always be careful to check with your doctor before trying any additional measures to speed up the healing process, as you may cause more harm than good.

 

Alternative Healing Therapies: The Uses And Benefits

Going through a global pandemic can be stressful. Many studies have showed an increase in stress an anxiety across North Americans. There are many different ways to try and cope with your mental and emotional health. On one end there is the field of science and medicine. In fact I have recently turned to therapy to help cope with both the pandemic as well as a personal traumatic situation at home. But there are also some alternate therapies and ancient healing methods that are also gaining popularity world wide during this time. Some of these techniques include physiotherapy, yoga, aromatherapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, and Ayurveda. I wanted to share some of the benefits I have found through some of these alternative healing methods.

1. Ayurveda

Ayurvedic treatments are based on ancient Indian practices and use medicines made from herbs and plants to restore balance in the mind and body. It is an all-natural form of treatment that also incorporates massages as a mode of healing. 

Image credit: Pexels

 

2. Physiotherapy and Chiropractics 

Physiotherapy and chiropractics take a more holistic approach to heal physical pain, looking at the body as a whole and focussing on overall well-being and lifestyle of the individual. Both practices work on the principle that the body can heal itself when it is correctly aligned, which in turn helps the nervous system function at its optimum.

It is not difficult to find a chiropractor nowadays, as it has become a popular choice of treatment for ailments such as back pain, whiplash and problems of the spine. 

 

3. Acupuncture 

Acupuncture involves inserting very fine thin needles into the various acupuncture points within the body. This then stimulates the nerves and muscles to release natural pain-relieving chemicals that help one heal without painkillers. 

4. Homeopathy

While homeopathy might not yet be widely recognized  as a field of medicine the world over, there is a growing number of believers who swear by it. Homeopathic medicine is based on the principle of diluting natural substances to a great extent, thus making it a holistic treatment with no side-effects.

5. Aromatherapy

This mode of alternate healing makes use of essential oils (oils that are extracted from plants). It is believed that inhaling particular oils (via steam or a diffuser) or infusing them into the body (with an aromatherapy massage or adding a few drops to your bath) helps alleviate pain, stress, insomnia, depression and other mental and physical disorders.

Image credit: Pexels

6. Yoga

This ancient Indian technique of keeping the body and mind in sync has gained immense popularity the world over and is widely practiced in Western nations too. It involves physical aspects such as correct posture, stretching and breathing exercises but also has a spiritual side to it involving meditation and visualization . 

 

7. Hypnotherapy

Some people are still a bit wary of this method of healing, but hypnotherapy – putting the patient in a deep state of relaxation in order to access their subconscious thoughts, beliefs and memories – does have its fair share of followers. 

 

It is believed that our actions/ fears/ ailments are a direct result of our subconscious. Hence by seeking the root of the problem, we can change unwanted behaviours and cure deep-seated traumas such as depression, anxiety, phobias and addictions.

 

The Self Care Domino Effect: Look Good, Feel Good

I know these last few months have been hard for all of us. Dealing with isolation, social distancing, and working from home. There are days where I don’t even get out of my PJs! But here is the thing I have found lately, the lack of effort I have put into my physical appearance and well being has had a much more negative effect than just my hair looking a little on the greasy side.

When you’ve made an effort with your appearance, you’ve more than likely felt the association between looking good and feeling good. You feel confident and ready to take on what the day has to throw at you. Be it an interview to land a promotion or a date with a crush you’ve been swooning over for months; your appearance plays a large part in influencing the way you feel about yourself. When we have something important in our lives, we usually put in the effort to look our best, because it helps us feel our best. 

Another example of how the way we look affects our emotions is that a bad haircut can reduce many to tears (first world problems I know, but oh so true). In fact, I can’t deny I shed a few tears when I dyed my hair a little to dark.  Frustration strikes when a splodge of mascara lands on your foundation. Or your nails you’ve committed to growing for some time begin to chip!

The main point being, whether you like it or not, appearance to a degree matters, from fashion choices to skincare regimes, it influences the way you think and feel about yourself. So let’s delve into more about why that is, and why spending time to beautify and love yourself just a bit more, will boost your health and wellbeing.

Self Love

Primarily, paying attention to the way you look is about self-love. Self-care can include a myriad of positive activities, from morning and night beauty rituals, dedicating time to sleep more, getting in that hour of exercise, and being mindful about what you eat. Above all, Self-love is essential for our wellbeing. When you’re old enough to fend for yourself, the one person in the world that should love, and take care of you the most, is you! The positive effects of self-care manifest throughout your life, affecting the way you feel, look, and act. 

Taking Back Control

Plus, taking care of yourself also gives you back control of your feelings, particularly when you’ve had a bad day. Familiarity, such as applying your favourite night time serum with an aroma of lavender, makes you feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable. Or getting active every day after work is something you can look forward to, to round off a hard day of work, and shake off any stress and negativity. Which also releases those feel-good endorphins and helps you keep your body in shape. Knowing what is going to make you happy, and applying it is you being in control of your well-being. 

Making Progress To Be A Better You

But self-love isn’t just about taking control of a chaotic day; it’s also about making progress. In each area of our lives, we seek to make progress in one way or another. Whether building wealth and working towards financial independence. Going back to college to improve our education and get a better job. To calm addictive behaviours that impair our lives, such as constantly checking social media (guilty) or maybe it is one too many glasses of wine with friends. Our appearance is no different. And so whether you’re committing the next 6 to 12 months to invisalign treatment to enhance your smile, or cutting out some sugar to have a more well balanced diet. Feeling as though you’re taking steps to improve your body, boosts self-esteem, and makes us feel like we’re making progress to be the best versions of ourselves.

Tell-Tale Signs

I know the last few months our appearance hasn’t really been a top priority, but it can say a lot about a person. On top of that looking our best just helps us feel our best. I mean my wedding day I felt my most beautiful, from my hair staying in place to having just the right amount of blush. I know I am guilty of looking back at old photos and wishing I still had the same body from when I was playing professional tennis, or the long locks I had when I was younger, but but maintaining beauty as we age, is a work of art (key word there work). It takes time, dedication, and commitment to make healthy choices for your body and groom regularly. 

For example concerning our largest, external organ;

“The skin is an extremely sensitive organ that, unfortunately, reveals a lot about how we feel both physically and emotionally.” – Isabella Koretz, founder of Ciel Spa in Beverly Hills.

The statement above couldn’t be more accurate. I can notice changes within hours, like if I didn’t get a good night’s sleep I see the bags the next morning, or if I am dehydrated and drained, my skin looks lifeless. 

The way our body looks gives us a strong indication of whether we’re taking care of ourselves. For example, thinning hair could be due to stress. Emerging wrinkles could be due to not using sun protection cream. Red puffy eyes could be due to drinking too much. 

Beauty is more than skin deep. It reflects the effort, time, and love you put into looking after your whole body. If you feed your body nutritious food, drink lots of water, sleep 8 hours a night, exercise, take time to unwind and pamper you will undoubtedly look better, Your skin will glow, fine lines will reduce, and you’ll smile more! Continuous self-care forms a cycle of positivity. From making an effort to look great, your appearance improves, and you’ll feel happier.