“The only certainty is uncertainty, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen
For the past 14 or so months, this quote is certainly one we’ve lived by. And while the future may feel brighter than it has for a while, the structure of our days is still largely in limbo. With all of the constant upheavals, it’s no wonder we’re scratching our heads trying to figure out what day it is...and where the past year has gone!
If you’re feeling a bit adrift, rituals are a wonderful way to center yourself amidst the changing tides and create an anchor to mark the passage of time. They don’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate; we at HHA find that just carving out a few minutes each day can be remarkably nourishing to your mind, body, and soul. Best of all, there’s endless room for creativity.
Below, check out some of our favorite ideas!
Wake Up Gently
It’s no secret that our mornings set the tone for the entire day. That’s why it’s so important to begin as you mean to go on. Just waking up five minutes earlier — perhaps to a more pleasant alarm sound — can give you time to think about the energy you want to bring forth. Here’s a few way to start the day with positivity and intention:
❖ Practice gratitude. Whether you write out a list or just take a mental note, starting the day with a grateful heart opens your eyes to the miracles and blessings at play in your life.
❖ Take a few minutes for deep breathing. The quality of your breath is the quality of your life!
❖ Visualize wellbeing. Imagine light in whatever color appeals to you, and guide it down your body to wake you up. Visualize this light bringing health and wellbeing to every part of your body as it flows. Or, picture yourself in a beautiful spot in nature; your energy system still gets the same charge from visualizing it.
“There are always things on the agenda that needs to be done, but we really do have the ability to choose how we go through the day,” says HHA founder Beth O’Boyle. “These rituals can help shift our energy in a powerful way. We can choose to feel empowered and at ease, rather than resentful.”
“Heaven Rushing In” Practice
For those moments you feel disconnected, Beth recommends an uplifting practice called “Heaven Rushing In” from Donna Eden.
Here’s how to do it: Simply stand tall, take a breath in, and on your exhale, bring your hands into a prayer position in front of your heart. With another deep breath, open your hands and arms to the sky and invite in its healing energy. Then, scoop all of that energy from the universe and bring your hands back to heart center.
If you can try this outside, there’s something extra nourishing about opening up your arms to nature and reconnecting with the bigger picture.
In today’s chaotic world, a little grounding goes a long way! Taking the time to regularly ground yourself allows you to be present and feel fully more connected to your body and life. Practices that connect us to nature are inherently grounding, whether it’s walking barefoot in the grass or just reading a book outdoors.
“Touching your feet to the earth actually harmonizes the energy in your body in just 10 minutes,” Beth explains. “The soles of our feet and the earth have magnetic charges, so it’s almost like a magnet for us. When you place your feet on the earth, you’re reconnecting that circuit.”
There are endless ways to use essential oils to support your health and wellbeing. If you work from home, diffusing a scent you love can start the day on a more positive, upbeat note. Certain essential oils have different benefits; for instance, peppermint is well-known for keeping you awake and focused. Lemon, tangerine, vanilla, and spearmint are all great options too. Or, to unwind before bed, consider starting a nightly ritual of rubbing essential oil onto the soles of your feet. Lavender is a popular choice for encouraging relaxation, but feel free to use whatever scent is relaxing to you.
If you’re looking for specific benefits (rather than just a good smell), make sure to use a diffuser that doesn’t rely on heat to preserve the biochemical integrity of the oil. Cool-air diffusion will keep its delicate properties fully intact. For a great selection of cool-air diffusers and high-quality essential oils, we love www.youngliving.com. If you’re new to the site we’re happy to share our number: 220708.
Take Intentional Breaks
It might seem obvious that taking a break should be a daily ritual — but we know it’s easier said than done! Instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media or skipping your break altogether, find a way to nurture your spirit while taking a breather. You can pour a nice cup of tea or a latte, talk a walk, stretch or enjoy some yoga. Whatever you choose, try to take a break from your devices.
It’s also worth a mention that spring is an ideal time to simplify and refresh your work environment. You don’t have to do it all — just pick one area to focus on at a time. Perhaps you create a little altar with fresh flowers, stones or crystals, or cherished photos, add brighter colors, or display a meaningful quote.
Visualization is an incredibly powerful way to release negativity and deliberately direct your energy for the day. Here’s two great ideas from Beth:
❖ For when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed: Find somewhere quiet to sit and close your eyes. Whatever it is that feels burdensome, imagine it as a backpack or weight on your shoulders. Visualize yourself putting it down, taking a breath, and feeling free. Just breathe and notice what arises with a pleasant, slightly detached curiosity (without any praise or blame). Give yourself a judgment-free zone. If you don’t attach to it, it will release of its own accord. You don’t have to feel the emotions connected to it; let the thoughts float away.
❖ For when you’re feeling isolated or disconnected: Find somewhere quiet to sit and close your eyes. Here, we’ll tap into that invisible web that connects us all. Imagine sending out threads or strands of light to all the people you love (pets included!). You can even send it to the earth, or imagine the strands of light connecting everyone. Just that gentle touch with light registers with them, and it’s a nice way to bring them into your little tapestry. If it’s nighttime, you can imagine drifting off to sleep surrounded by the people you love and care for.
We truly hope these ideas inspire your days and give you a stronger sense of meaning and purpose despite the uncertainty of the times. And of course, we’re always here to help you find greater balance with both remote and in-person offerings. Check out our holistic healing modalities here: https://www.hudsonhealingarts.com/our-services.html
After what feels like an eternal hibernation, sweet spring is finally on its way. This year, the promise of renewal and fresh beginnings is more significant than ever — which is why we want to enjoy it in optimal health!
At HHA, we draw from a variety of ancient and modern wellness techniques to help you feel your best in mind, body and spirit. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is just one area we draw from, and we feel incredibly fortunate that Joe DelGiodice, our board-certified acupuncturist, Chinese and Western herbalist and naturopath, specializes in harnessing this ancient wisdom to support clients through the seasons.
Spotlight On… The Liver
If you have seasonal allergies, you’ll need no telling that the body experiences fluctuations just like the earth. In TCM, this “transition” period is eased by focusing on the organ associated with each season. Spring is all about the liver, which makes perfect sense when you consider its role in detoxification.
The liver plays a central role in all the metabolic processes in the body (more than 500!), so it benefits in a major way from a little “spring cleaning.” According to Joe, there are plenty of nutritious options you can easily add to your diet to support the liver. Take a cue from the season and think green; arugula, dandelion, celery, watercress, chard, lettuces and sprouts are all great choices. Liver-friendly foods tend to be naturally a bit sour or bitter, and also include lemons, limes and grapefruit. Shiitake mushrooms are another delicious choice.
“Mushrooms contain amazing compounds called beta-glucans, which are immune-boosting and simultaneously anti-inflammatory,” he said. “This is important because part of the problem we face with COVID-19 is a systemic inflammatory response in the body.”
Abundant hydration is also essential. Now is an ideal time to add mint, lemon, ginger, or goji berries into water or tea, all of which cleanse and nourish the liver. Joe also recommends a hydrating “lemonade” to encourage detoxification, which consists of water mixed with a squeeze of lemon, cayenne pepper, organic extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil, and grade B maple syrup.
Releasing Baggage for New Beginnings
Supporting the liver isn’t just beneficial for your body. In TCM, emotions and physical health are interconnected — it’s truly a mind-body approach.
The liver processes stress, and when functioning smoothly, it prevents pent-up tension and anger from controlling us. It’s also responsible for the smooth delivery of chi throughout the body. As the buds begin to blossom and fresh air revitalizes your home, you too can harness the energy of spring to welcome a new experience of greater wellbeing. Spring is the perfect time to shed the resentments and beliefs that no longer serve you, and nourishing the liver is a great first step.
In TCM, the seasons are also associated with an element. Springtime happens to be wood, since it’s a time of new life and growth (for nature, trees and humans alike). Balancing this element can help you keep your body, mind and spirit in greater harmony as we enter spring.
“Remember, flexible green bamboo is technically stronger than steel,” said Joe. “It can bend and adapt. This is the element that prepares us for the fluctuations and encourages us to be emotionally flexible.”
Wood asks us to look ahead across the horizon, now that we have increased daylight. It invites us to capitalize on the alert, vital energy of spring to refocus our vision. One great way to balance your wood element is to rise earlier in the morning, and take this time to consider the seeds you’d like to sow.
“Spring is the first season of the new year. Those New Year’s resolutions feel more in reach and we get that second chance to usher in a beautiful new beginning and greater wellbeing,” said Joe. “Now is the time to activate new life for 2021.”
Here’s a few final tips to start your “spring cleaning” from within...
● March is a changeable month — be ready for both warm and chilly days alike! Don’t forget to dress in layers to protect yourself from the wind and sudden drops in temperature.
● Schedule an acupuncture session to fine-tune your body for the moods of the coming season and completion of the past season.
● Check out this liver-friendly salad from Joe’s YouTube channel! You can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3eAUxgV2-g
● Avoid heavy or fried foods, which are taxing on the liver.
● Get outdoors as much as possible! Whether it’s getting your hands dirty in the garden or enjoying outdoor exercise, fresh air and increased Vitamin D will help you feel your best.
Thanks so much for reading this month’s post. We hope to see you soon at Hudson Healing Arts. Wishing you a spring season full of hope, health and renewal!
How Holistic Healing Builds Patterns of Self-Love “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” -Buddha Regardless of how you feel about Valentine’s Day, there’s no denying that February is the month of love...which is why we at HHA felt it was apropos to focus this month’s post on self-love! After all, the most important relationship you’ll ever have in your life is the one you have with yourself. Of course, we also understand that self-care can feel downright impossible at times. Yet the more you build patterns of treating yourself with love, the more you’re able to extend that love to others. At HHA, we offer a variety of healing modalities to help you find balance in mind, body and spirit. From this place of relaxation, it becomes far easier to soften that critical gaze and embrace the beauty that lies within, finding greater self-acceptance, peace, and confidence along the way. Read on to learn more about how our healing services can help nurture self-love — because you’re so, so worth it! Bach Flower Remedies There’s no shortage of blocks that can prevent us from prioritizing self-care. The beauty of Bach Flower Remedies is that there’s a remedy for pretty much all of them! You may be surprised just how much a little flower power can balance your emotional state. Below, here’s just a short list of common emotional blocks that these remedies can help address. ● Guilt: While taking care of ourselves enables us to better care for others, guilt often creeps in regardless. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re responsible for everyone else’s happiness first and foremost. Pine is an amazing remedy that helps gently remove that weight from your shoulders so you can treat yourself better. ● Procrastination: Does your to-do list leave you with a sense of inertia or mental weariness? If so, hornbeam is a brilliant remedy. The wood of the hornbeam bush is used to make tool handles, so its essence is great for strength and helping you take on life one step at a time. ● Rigidity: If you’re holding yourself to overly high standards, rockwater can help you be more realistic with the demands you place on yourself. It helps you to deal with perfectionism so you can find the joy and peace you deserve! ● Physical exhaustion: Sometimes, pure exhaustion keeps us from even being able to consider the thought of self-care. Olive is wonderfully restorative, helping to give you a subtle second wind while encouraging balance and mindfulness about your limits. This is particularly great for tired parents. ● Numbness: Putting on a brave face and minimizing your emotions can be an ingrained pattern that’s tough to break. However, your feelings are worth tending to — in fact, acknowledging them is the only way to truly move through them! Acrimony helps nudge you to care for yourself and lean into whatever it is you’re going through so you can move forward. ● Lack of confidence: Sometimes, we stop ourselves before even trying to start something that will bring us comfort (say, a new exercise routine) because we think we’ll never be able to accomplish it. Larch helps give that much-needed boost of self-esteem to try new things with some faith in ourselves. ● Apathy: It’s been an incredibly tough year, and for some of us, it’s led to a feeling of resignation. If your enthusiasm and happiness feels hard to access, or you’ve had a lot of “Why bother?” thoughts as of late, wild rose is great for reigniting that spark of aliveness inside you. ● Stuck: Perhaps you’re simply not feeling the way you’d like to, or you’re stuck in the same pattern of behavior that’s just not working. Chestnut bud can help you connect the dots, learn from life’s lessons and create new patterns of behavior that encourage your desired result. ● Obsessive thoughts: Whether you’re a teen whose self-conscious about a blemish or an adult whose become obsessive about handwashing in the pandemic, crabapple is a remedy that can ease these thought patterns and help you find a sense of balance. As you can see from just this short list, Bach Flower remedies are incredibly versatile tools for everyday support. Our Bach Foundation Registered practitioner, Beth O’Boyle, offers phone consultations to listen to how you’re feeling and where you’re facing challenges, and identify the right mix (of up to seven essences) to help your unique situation. Since each person responds differently to different situations, Beth gets to the root of why you’re feeling a certain way. This helps find the appropriate remedy to help your emotions flow through so that you can experience a greater sense of wellbeing. Acupuncture When we’re dealing with physical issues, such as migraines or insomnia, treating ourselves with kindness is often the last thing on our minds. It’s far more common to beat ourselves up or even berate our bodies for “failing” us. Acupuncture is a wonderful way to activate the body’s selfhealing mechanisms — sans medication and unwanted side effects. The ancient healing art has a long track record of successfully relieving stress, migraines, insomnia, chronic pain, and far more. From a space of feeling good in your body, it becomes so much easier to nurture your mind and spirit as well to truly thrive. AshWork Energy Clearing If you’re hung up on a specific problem or pattern, AshWork offers a way to ease your burden and shed the baggage that’s been wearing on you. This gentle, new paradigm for energy clearing provides a new, broader perspective or resolution and a feeling of lightness and calm. Regardless of the type of issue you’re dealing with, AshWork helps to support greater acceptance of yourself, in turn helping you to accept others too. Counseling Counseling doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment; in fact, our resident counselor Andrea Inaeun excels in offering short-term support for clients. Counseling is an incredible way to get a framework for what self-care truly looks like for you. Andrea is passionate about helping clients identify things that we can control and work through (whether in-person or via Zoom) in a time where so many of us feel powerless. Emotional toolboxes are just one way she helps clients find ways to tackle their challenges with less injury to self. Guided Imagery It’s only natural that many of us are having a hard time relaxing after the events of the past year. If you’re sabotaging the possibility of happiness by mentally preparing yourself for the worst, guided imagery (offered via Zoom) can deliberately direct your mind to a healthier, more productive path...one that’s open to joyful possibilities! The Feldenkrais Method There’s no doubt that the pandemic has affected us in all areas: mind, body and spirit. If you’re feeling achy, stiff and lethargic from so much time shuttered indoors, Feldenkrais (offered via Zoom and in-person) is a wonderful way to put the pep back in your step and uncover greater ease and pleasure in movement. This method helps better support your body and improve oxygen flow, which then positively affects the way you think and feel. It’s like a tapestry; once you pull at one thread, you realize just how much everything is affected! Hypnosis Counseling How often do we think, “I’ll love myself when...?” If there’s an issue that’s holding you back from reaching your fullest potential, whether it’s quitting an unhealthy habit or starting a new one, hypnosis counseling (offered via Zoom) is a powerful way to harness the power that already exists within yo
Keeping our immune systems in good shape is always a wintertime priority. This year, in the midst of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that it’s even more important than usual.
Thankfully, HHA’s acupuncture extraordinaires — Carla San Diego and Joe Del Giodice — were kind enough to share their expert advice on staying healthy during cold and flu season. They also illuminated just how vital acupuncture is for resetting the nervous system, which is connected to immune system function (it’s all connected!).
Read on for simple tips to feel your best this winter.
The Effects of Fight or Flight Mode
It’s no stretch to say we all experienced a heaping of additional stress in the past 12 months. The beauty of acupuncture lies in its ability to address the recipient of all this extra stress: the nervous system.
While the nervous system is designed to respond to change, the amount we’ve been experiencing has been unprecedented. Our nervous systems have been tasked with processing a global pandemic, political strife, isolation, and so much more. It’s no surprise that this astronomical change has sent most of us into fight or flight mode.
In this state, the body lowers immune function. In fact, it lowers any function that isn’t considered essential to your immediate survival, such as digestion, reproduction, and sleep. As a result, Carla notes that many patients are now reporting new symptoms. She’s seen an increase in dizziness, mental fogginess, fatigue, dryness, back and neck pain, constipation or other GI discomfort, irregular periods, or insomnia, all of which can compromise the immune system.
Finding Your Way To Rest and Digest
The great thing about acupuncture is that it essentially resets the autonomic nervous system, which means you can find your way to rest and digest mode. In this state, we’re able to experience overall wellbeing and a deeper sense of relaxation. Many clients describe experiencing a sense of “letting go” during a session.
Taking care of yourself also means getting back to the basics. Our bodies need basic things to keep going, let alone thrive. Check out Carla’s recommendations below:
1. Juice/fuel/Qi. It’s essential to eat a healthy, balanced, nutrient-rich diet and to stay hydrated. Check out Joe’s organic winter salad recipe on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6P8roR_hn0) for some inspiration!
2. The ability to process this juice/fuel/Qi. Immune function begins in the gut. Are you drinking enough water to process everything? Is your digestion functioning? Are you urinating and moving your bowels daily to get rid of toxins?
3. Rest. Just as your phone rests while charging and your computer goes to sleep, your body charges while you rest in sleep.
4. Movement. It’s important to move regularly to get the juice/qi flowing. This doesn’t just mean sweaty cardio exercise. Your body needs to move inwardly also, which is why meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, relaxing walks, and dancing are all great options.
“When you’re getting enough (not too much or too little) of these four things, your immune system will protect you as it’s supposed to and your nervous system will take care of the rest,” says Carla. “You will feel good, stay well and be happy...or at least, have more joyful moments.”
Safety Precautions at HHA
Because the last thing we want is to add to your stress during your pursuit for stress relief, we want to emphasize that Carla and Joe are taking precautions to create the safest possible environment.
Beyond the precautions you’d expect (wearing masks, taking client temperatures), both practitioners have limited their hours and number of patients, which gives plenty of time for sanitation and proper ventilation in between sessions. Surfaces are disinfected between all client sessions and disposable coverings are used on the massage tables.
“I continually run an air filter/purifier with a medical-grade H13 HEPA filter, and confirm all appointments the day before with an inquiry of symptoms and exposure,” shares Carla. “Hand sanitizer is provided throughout the office. I also get a rapid and PCR test regularly.”
Joe also incorporates immune enhancement and stress relief into every acupuncture session, regardless of the purpose for the treatment.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, Joe can be reached at (201)653-7700 ext.3. “Not everyone gets the same points, but it’s personalized based on their circumstances and evaluation that day,” he said. “I also instruct my patients to be abundantly hydrated and to eat well on the day of treatment. Piggybacking the treatment with proper hydration and nutrition will show the biggest benefits.”
Finally, as a special bonus, Carla is offering a New Year special through the end of March for new patients: Six visits for the price of five (unless you’re using insurance). For pricing details, she can be reached at (917) 830-5877.
Here’s to a healthy, happy winter!
Hygge — pronounced as hoo-gah — is a delightful Danish concept that can’t be translated into a single word. Rather, it’s one of those “you know it when you feel it” situations.
Hygge has been described as a coziness of the soul, a hug without the physical touch, the art of creating intimacy, and even cocoa by candlelight.
The essence of hygge is comfort, coziness, and contentment. Though it’s considered an art by the Danes, it’s only recently gained popularity in the US. And now that we’re all spending more time inside than usual, we at Hudson Healing Arts believe it’s more important than ever to prioritize creating cozy spaces we love.
The beauty of hygge is there’s no one right way to go about it; in fact, there’s infinite ways to impart this quality into your daily life and boost your wellbeing, and it doesn’t require you to spend a dime!
Boosting Your Home’s Hygge Factor
Intuitively, you probably realize why hygge can’t be distilled to a single word. You can get this warm, fuzzy feeling from a variety of sources, whether it’s a warm, crackling fire or bundling up in your favorite robe.
In pre-pandemic times, you may not have thought much about consciously creating hygge — it was likely something you were pleased to stumble upon, like the nourishment of running into an old friend. This winter, however, we’re facing the loss of our normal activities and the traditions we hold dear. To create a greater sense of wellbeing amidst these challenges, being proactive about enjoying the small things and making the season feel special means everything.
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite ways to cozy up and create a soothing atmosphere this holiday season!
Embrace Warm Lights
Lighting has a remarkable impact on our mood — just think of how you feel under the glare of fluorescent lights, versus a soft, candlelight glow. One of the positives of being home so much is the ability to control the lighting we’re exposed to to a much greater degree than usual.
To create ambience and a touch of romance, consider candles, Himalayan salt lamps, twinkling lights, light therapy lamps, and lanterns to be your best allies. If you have a fireplace, this is also a wonderful time to make the most of it.
Tap Into the Power of Scent
Did you know that smells have a stronger tie to memory and emotion than any of the other senses? There’s no better way to nourish yourself with memories of past holiday seasons than with a little nostalgia in the scent-department. Whether it’s with potpourri, essential oil
diffusers, candles, plants, flowers, or perhaps baking a delicious treat, filling your home with a feel-good aroma will also fill your heart with a greater sense of peace. One quick way to create hygge is to pour fresh coffee beans into a decorative bowl, and then nestle a few tea lights into the beans.
P.S. At HHA, Young Living essential oils are our favorite way to embrace the power of aromatherapy. If you’re interested in ordering any of Young Living’s products, visit www.youngliving.com and use #220708 as the referral number. Or feel to call us– we’re glad to be of help.
Create Sensory Delights
Hygge is all about treasuring the simple pleasures, which is why we’re huge advocates for having an abundance of soft, pleasing textures on hand. Velvet blankets, fuzzy socks, comfy robes, fluffy pillows...okay, we think you get the picture! Having these items readily available encourages you to treat yourself to self-soothing on a more regular basis, which in turn gives your nervous system a little TLC.
Indulgence tends to get a bad rep in the US, but the Danish believe that adding some mindfulness to the process is nourishing to the mind, body and soul. This means taking the time to slowly savor the treats you love, instead of completely restricting yourself or eating every treat in sight. It’s even been referred to as “a food hug.” Whether it’s a steamy beverage, a warm bowl of oatmeal, or a hearty, seasonal stew, give yourself the gift of being present to fully enjoy it.
The vibration of sound influences every cell in your body. This probably comes as no surprise when you consider just how good you feel when you hear your favorite song. Playing calming music or instrumentals, or nostalgic music that reminds you of happier times, is an incredibly simple yet effective way to cleanse your energy, relieve stress, and harmonize your emotions.
Refresh Your Home’s Energy
Perhaps you’ve made an effort to bring more coziness into your home, but something still feels unsettled. We’ve all been home much more than usual, so if you’ve noticed the energy in your house getting condensed or heavy as of late, not to worry: It’s common for energy to get stuck in spaces. AshWork energy clearing is an effective way to restore the flow and fluidity in your home and pave the way for greater hygge. Feel free to contact Beth O’Boyle, our advanced AshWork practitioner, at (201) 653-7700 ext.1.
As always, we truly hope at least one of these ideas resonates with you and helps you find greater peace during this difficult time. Here’s to a safe, healthy and joyful holiday season, from the HHA family to your family!
This holiday season, our beloved traditions stand on shaky ground. Feeling sad, stressed, and anxious is completely natural — so is loneliness and missing your loved ones a little extra.
Because we know the magic of the holidays may feel harder to access than usual, we at Hudson Healing Arts wanted to share two powerful antidotes: gratitude and connection.
2020 may not be a year to get everything we want...but it is a year to be grateful for what we have. Here’s a few ideas on how to make the most of this unusual holiday season, and maybe even start some new traditions, too!
The Power of Gratitude
Did you know the human brain is wired to concentrate on the negative and overlook the positive? That’s why it’s so, so important to be intentional about cultivating gratitude. The pay-off is well worth the effort: Gratitude boosts your mental and physical health, strengthens your relationships, enhances your happiness and self-esteem, eases anxiety, and improves your sleep (and that’s just the short list).
Plus, it can help bring back that spark of holiday magic by opening your eyes to the miracles all around you. Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and the best part is that it’s contagious. When you start to truly recognize your blessings, your family and friends may just be inspired to do the same.
Here’s just a short list of things to be grateful for to inspire your own gratitude practice…
These are just a few broad ideas, but the possibilities are endless. Writing down a few things you’re grateful for is a wonderful way to start the day with some perspective, or to close the day on a peaceful note. It helps to find a journal you love to inspire you to write, or you can simply keep a list in your phone (or in your head). While most of us only share what we’re grateful for on Thanksgiving, you can even start a new family tradition and take turns sharing more regularly...little ones will have fun getting creative and can even make it into a game of who can count the most blessings.
And if everyone is having a really, really bad day? It’s enough to simply be grateful that the day is over, and that tomorrow is a fresh start!
Hopefully, a gratitude practice can help you feel more connected to your loved ones just by reinforcing how fortunate you are to have them in your life. While many of us can’t spend the holidays with our families in person, there are some creative workarounds that can help you celebrate and combat loneliness.
We know, opening presents via video chat isn’t the same as in person...but it’s still comforting to see our loved ones’ faces. There’s plenty of platforms to choose from, like Zoom, FaceTime, Whatsapp, FaceParty, Skype, and Google Hangouts. Perhaps consider getting a video call on the books ahead of time, even if just for a few minutes.
Relive the holidays of the past.
Now’s a perfect time to take a stroll down memory lane and reminisce on your favorite holiday memories. Why not use time you’d normally be celebrating to make a scrapbook, print photos to display around the house, or watch those ancient home videos that have been collecting dust? Bonus points for reaching out to the people featured in the photos/videos to let them know how much you cherish your memories together!
Put pen to paper.
Instead of sending the typical holiday card with just a photo, consider writing notes to your loved ones expressing just how much they mean to you. After all, who doesn’t love a handwritten card? Plus, you never know just how uplifting your caring words can be, or just how much someone may need to hear them. To extend even more goodwill, send holiday cards to those who may be feeling extra lonely this year, such as your local nursing home.
Make a new family video.
If anyone in your family has some video editing skills, one fun way to feel connected to the whole clan is to have each person send in a brief video. It could be them simply sharing how they’re doing, or there can be a fun theme (favorite holiday memory, most surprising fact about them, etc.). Then have your resident video whiz put it together and send it out. You may be surprised just how much you learn about your relatives!
Create a shared family playlist.
Nothing connects us like music. Though you might miss singing and dancing with your loved ones this year, one creative workaround is to create a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music that the whole family can share. All you have to do is click “Add collaborators” to invite others to add their own songs. Knowing you’re all listening to the same tunes can make you feel that much more connected in spirit! Plus, you may just gain some new favorite songs.
Experiment with new traditions.
Let’s be honest: Sometimes our holiday traditions can cause more stress than they’re worth. If you’ve felt yourself slipping into overdrive the past few years, there’s no better time to reevaluate. With our typical festivities stripped away, it may become more clear than ever what truly matters. Maybe it’s as simple as trying a new dish you’ve always been interested in (and giving up on the one that stresses you out!), scaling back on mass gift giving, or choosing to give experiences instead of presents. Whatever it is, embracing this year to do something new that you wouldn’t normally try can help you feel empowered, rather than defeated.
Give your loved ones the gift of wellness.
Hudson Healing Arts offers a wide range of treatments, many of which are based upon ancient wellness techniques, for balancing body, mind, and spirit. Surprising your loved ones with a gift card is the ultimate show of affection...who couldn’t use a little relaxation during this time?
Cozy up with a good book.
When you’re feeling extra lonely, reading is a wonderful way to get out of your head and feel more connected with the bigger picture. Books remind us that we’re never truly alone, and just how much every single one of us has in common. Seeing our favorite beloved characters overcome obstacles is also a great reminder that we too will get through rough times and come out stronger on the other end.
As always, we at Hudson Healing Arts hope that at least one of these ideas resonates with you and makes this holiday season a little more joyful. We are sending good energy and wishes for health and safety to all of you!
Also, if you’re looking for a peaceful break from the bustle of the season, we’re still offering remote services as well as safe in-person sessions for select services. Check out our full list of healing modalities here, and “like” us on Facebook for regular encouraging and informative posts on wellness.
It’s safe to say we’ve all been sufficiently cooped up this year. Many of us have been working from home for the first time ever, in addition to doing nearly everything else at home.
So if you’re feeling a bit confined and leaning into unhealthy patterns of movement— finding yourself hunched at the computer, for instance— you’re not alone. The good news is, the Feldenkrais Method can help you shift away from these habits and rediscover ease, joy and pleasure in movement, just like when you were a child.
At Hudson Healing Arts, we’re fortunate that our certified Feldenkrais practitioner, Noreen Haren, R.N, also works at the Hoboken Department of Health, meaning she’s uniquely well-suited to keep clients safe for in-person sessions. Also, in an effort to meet everyone at their comfort level, Noreen is offering Zoom consultations at a discounted rate as an introduction to Feldenkrais.
How Feldenkrais Works
Feldenkrais is a powerful yet gentle approach to improving students’ lives through mindful movement. It’s not about finding one “perfect” way to move; after all, we all have different bodies, bone lengths, histories of injury, fitness levels and so on. Rather, the goal is to create awareness and options personalized to you as a unique individual, which can guide you toward positive changes.
This can be helpful if you have a specific physical issue you’d like to work on. In fact, Noreen herself first found Feldenkrais as a student to address minor problems with her gait. However, it’s also beneficial for anyone and everyone. Why, you may ask?
For one, our sedentary culture lends itself to unnatural patterns of movement that make achy backs and stiff necks the status quo. Even if you don’t sit at a desk all day, chances are you spend a fair amount of time hunched over your phone or computer. Two, we’re all dealing with an incredibly stressful year...as a result, we’re all holding stress in our bodies in ways we’re likely unaware of.
“As a Feldenkrais practitioner, my role is to guide people through movement sequences designed to make them aware of their habitual patterns of movement,” says Noreen. “We then work together to identify options to move more freely and comfortably. The best part is, it’s fun, positive, accepting and entirely non-judgmental.”
This process will include safety precautions in line with state and national guidelines, so masks and social distancing will be in full effect. Noreen also opens the windows at Hudson Healing Arts for ventilation, so it’s a good idea to bring a sweater in case it gets chilly.
To learn more or book a session with Noreen, either in-person or via Zoom, she can be reached at (201) 798-1632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working from Home Checklist
As a special bonus for those who are cooped up on the computer all day, Noreen shared a few tips to help you move well and feel better.
1- The most important (and easiest) thing you can do? Breathe! Make frequent check-ins with yourself to take three deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Everyone’s breathing is different, but when your breathing is continuous and uninterrupted, you’ll feel far more relaxed, at ease and ready to handle whatever life throws at you.
2- Because most of us unconsciously scrunch our shoulders up high, one simple way to reset your nervous system is to deliberately lift them all the way up your ears. Take a deep breath in, breathe out slowly through pursed lips like you’re breathing through a straw, and then drop your shoulders down for an immediate sense of relief.
3- Another way to retrain your nervous system is through natural, easy and small movements with your neck. Take it slow and move your head a little to the right, through the middle, and then to the left; then, reverse your neck roll. The goal is not to move as far as you can, just as far as you can while remaining completely comfortable. Now try the movement again but this time keep your eyes straight ahead as you very slowly move your head little bit to the right, through the middle and to the left. You won’t be able to move as far as easily and that is fine. Pause for a moment, relaxing your face and jaw. Now return to the original movement of turning head and eyes to the right, through the middle and to the right. Remember to move very slowly, and only as far as you can comfortably. Notice if you can move a little further with ease after doing this small variation. You can also move your eyes and head in opposite directions, which is slightly more difficult. Do it very slowly, remember to breathe and don’t worry about doing it perfectly. Your nervous system will learn anyway. After this variation, again slowly turn your head to the left and right and notice if it is a bit easier.
4- Remember hula hooping as a kid? Turns out, mimicking this movement is wonderful for freeing your lower back. Simply come to the edge of your chair and rock your pelvis back and forth. As you rock back, you can round your spine and look down a little bit, and as you rock forward you can lift your head and chest just a little and look upward.
5- Finally, don’t forget to take a daily walk to get fresh air, or at the very least be sure to take frequent breaks to stretch your legs during the day.
“During these times, simple pleasures are so important,” says Noreen. “We all need that little boost. Feldenkrais might not solve all the problems at hand, but it’s a remarkable way to feel better and reclaim pleasure and ease in movement.”
It's no secret that this year has taken a toll on our stress levels, both individually and collectively.
When chronic stress builds, the effects tend to show up in every area of our lives, straining our relationships, energy levels, physical health, work performance, and beyond. Essentially, it puts us in survival mode - which isn't a place from which we can lead and nurture others very effectively, or have compassion for ourselves or our loved ones during these trying times.
Now more than ever, we must put on our own oxygen masks first, especially when it comes to buffering our immune systems against the detrimental effects of stress. At Hudson Healing Arts. we remain dedicated to helping you find balance and greater harmony in body, mind, and spirit through a variety of healing modalities (both remote and in-person sessions are currently available).
Without further ado, here are a few ways we can help ease stress and guide you back to your highest self...
There's a common misconception that you need a specific physical reason to get acupuncture; for instance, to sleep better or ease migraines. However, there are hundreds of acupuncture points that can be stimulated for a desired effect on your energy flow (such as reconnecting with joy). Acupuncture is amazing for general stress relief - this holistic health technique lowers cortisol levels, calms the nervous system, lowers blood pressure, and releases endorphins - and all you need to do to reap the benefits is lie down!
The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education might sound intimidating, but its goal is simple: to help you move better and feel better. Through gentle movement and directed attention, Feldenkrais practitioners help you to improve function and breathing, facilitate ease of movement, and decrease pain and tension.
With this ease of breathing and reduction of muscular tension comes a deep release form the chronic stress that so many of us store in our bodies. Feldenkrais lessons also develop your ability to bring yourself out of "fight or flight" mode to consciously relax. For more on how deep breathing boosts our immune system, check out this wonderful article from Smithsonian Magazine.
Bach Flower Remedies
Bach Flower Remedies are an all-natural source of stress relief; powerful enough to restore emotional balance, and gentle enough for kids, pets, and even babies. One reason they're uniquely effective os that while they address the issue at hand, they also clear room for the next layer to surface - allowing you to slowly balance out the root cause of your distress at your own pace. At HHA, we call this "peeling the onion"! THere's no shortage of remedies to choose from for any given emotional state, from loneliness to uncertainty to general burnout. Plus, these flower essences are safe for everyone since they don't interact with medicatons, supplements, or any foods.
AshWork Energy Clearing
Sometimes, it can feel pretty tiring to revisit a challenging experience or problem repeatedly. AshWork is a new paradigm for energy clearing and stress relief where there's minimal talking involved. It's not focused directly at the issue, but on the energy surrounding it . Afterwards, it's common to feel lighter, relieved, happier, and more at ease with yourself and the world around you.
Wherever you are emotionally, Reiki is brilliant at helping to restore a sense of balance. If you're feeling gown or weary, it will give you a boost; if you're agitated or operating on overdrive, it works to calm you. It's very easy for our emotions and experiences to get 'stuck', and Reiki's main purpose is to relieve stuck energy, allowing the natural flow to be restored. It's unique to each individual's personal sense of balance.
We're currently offering distance Reiki sessions, and it's important to note that they are just as effective as what you may be used to in-person. The Reason? When there's an intention set to make a connection with the energy, it flows. You don't need to be in the same room as a person to affect their energy; in fact, we send and transmit energy signals all the time. For more detail about how distance sessions work, check out our previous blog post here.
We may think we're always operating form out conscious mind, but there's an enormous amount of work going on beyond our conscious awareness. In fact, the subconscious works just like the Wizard of Oz, pulling its little levers behind the curtain. Often, the outdated messages and beliefs are running the show - and the beauty of hypnosis is that it goes directly to the subconscious to address those patterns and behaviors, tapping into your intuition to offer an entirely new perspective.
While we can't go back and change certain experiences, we can reframe them through hypnosis...and it turn, we can feel empowered and wiser, even richer, for situations that previously caused us great distress. It's pretty incredible what can happen when you go straight to the source!
Finally, because the last thing we want is to add to your stress during your pursuit for stress relief, here's a glimpse into the measures we've taken at HHA to create the safest possible environment:
* Masks are required for both practitioners and clients, with no exceptions.
* Each client will receive a temperature check prior to the start of the session.
* Each client is required to wash their hands upon arrival, and hand sanitizers/paper towels are readily available in every area of our space.
* Surfaces are disinfected between all client sessions and disposable coverings are used on the massage tables.
* For those who aren't familiar with the layout of HHA, our two treatment rooms )and welcome space) are large enoiugh to be socially distant without discomfort. We're also located in a quiet building where you generally don't see other people, which cuts down on exposure.
* Currently, only one client is scheduled at a time. When yoyu come to HHA, the only other person in our space will be the practitioner.
* All practitioners are keeping up to date on CDC coronavirus guidelines for safety.
* We're fortunate to be located in a beautiful historic building with windows that open, so there's a flow of fresh air.
August is typically a month full of fresh starts, from new classrooms for the little ones to the kick-off of fall sports. This year, the back-to-school experience looks a bit different. Whether you’re gearing up for homeschooling or preparing for your children to return after a long hiatus, you may be concerned they’ll be affected by the uncertainty and anxiety swirling in the air.
For children and teens, who don't have the same emotional toolbox as adults may have for dealing with stress (or past experience to draw from), mindfulness can hold profound benefits in helping them to self-regulate and find calm in this new normal. This doesn’t mean sitting silently for hours on end either — there are plenty of fun and age-appropriate activities to introduce mindfulness to your child. Below, you’ll find a few of our favorites!
Create a Scent Tent
There are endless ways to reap the benefits of essential oils...and creating a ‘scent tent’ is a sweet, simple way to introduce children to the magic of aromatherapy! This exercise also encourages kids to take a deep breath, which can work wonders on their mental and emotional state. Place a few drops of essential oil (lavender is one universally calming option) in your child’s palms, have them rub their hands together, and then instruct them to make an enclosed ‘tent’ over their nose to breathe and enjoy the healing properties.
For another creative way to help your child breathe, have them spread their fingers wide like a starfish. With the pointer finger of their other hand, have them trace up and down each finger slowly, while matching their breath to the movement. Each time they trace up, tell them to breathe in; each time they trace down, have them breathe out. Starfish breathing encourages an immediate relaxation response by bringing your child back into their breath and body.
Guided imagery is essentially directed, deliberate daydreaming as a tool for deep relaxation and stress relief— something that children are already naturals at! Because kids are so receptive to stories, HHA founder Beth O’Boyle shares that bedtime stories are the perfect opportunity for parents to hold an impromptu guided imagery session.
To set the atmosphere for guided imagery, it’s helpful for parents to anticipate where the child might have challenges (for instance, having to homeschool amongst siblings instead of friends) and set the tone of a welcoming environment. Keep it short and be mindful of the language you use, gently reinforcing experiences in a positive way. Beth emphasizes the importance of evoking the senses: tap into what’s heard, sensed, smelled, tasted, felt, and set that up in an imaginary way that’s pleasant and comfortable. You’ll likely find that kids don’t need a lot of prompting to go into a relaxed, receptive state, getting there quite quickly!
Magical Meditation Stones
Even for adults, meditation can be difficult. However, when you have a focal point to call upon, the act of slowing down and turning your gaze inward becomes much more accessible, Go on a nature walk with your kids to find some rocks, and then have them express their creativity by painting them. Then, impart some mindfulness with the help of these ‘magical’ stones. To end your evenings on a good note, you can pass the stone around and have each family member share the best thing that happened all day. Or, have your child lie down and place the stone on their belly as they relax. Watching the rise and fall of the stone is a good way to tune in to the rhythm of the breath. You can also teach them mantras — “I am loved,” or “Everything will be okay”— and have them hold onto their stone each time they need a reminder of their strength.
Yoga Freeze Tag
With limited access to playmates, it’s likely your child is experiencing greater levels of restless energy or agitation than usual. And who can blame them? Help them channel their energy with a fun game of yoga freeze tag. Pick one child to be “it”; the tagged child then has to take a downward-facing dog pose. To get unfrozen, another player has to do a cat-cow pose (or whatever posture they’d like!) underneath them. Feel free to teach them a few new poses each time you play, and before long, they’ll have a whole slate of yoga poses under their belt to call upon.
AshWork Energy Clearing, Distance Reiki Sessions, and Bach Consultations
Whether your child is struggling to focus, feeling agitated from being cooped up, or perhaps dealing with sibling rivalry, energy work can be a wonderful support. Both Reiki and AshWork are safe, gentle modalities help to restore emotional balance in people of all ages. Beth is currently offering distance Reiki sessions and AshWork Energy Clearing by phone; to learn more, feel free to call her at (201) 653-7700 ext.1.
Bach Flower Remedies are a safe, gentle, and effective way to help balance children’s emotions – as well as the ups and downs parents are feeling too! Whether it’s discouragement, a lack of confidence, fear, worry, anger, or difficulty adjusting to the uncertainties of this time – there’s a Bach Remedy to address it. To schedule a phone consultation, call (201) 653-7700 ext.1.
As always, we hope that one of the above ideas connects with you and your family, helping to instill a sense of peace and resilience during this turbulent time. We’d love to hear about how you’re holding up and what you’d like to see more of in our blog in the comment section below. As a special giveaway, we’re offering a free bottle of Rescue Remedy to one lucky reader. Simply like us on Facebook and share this blog on social media to enter for a chance to win and enjoy some natural stress relief!
At HHA, we’re firm believers that a little aromatherapy makes everything better...including summer!
Of course, it goes without saying that this summer is a little different than most. As the pandemic interferes with our traditional vacations and festivities, 2020 is the year of the “stay-cation” -- and what better way to keep calm and invite all the varied, tantalizing scents of summer into your home than with essential oils?
At Hudson Healing Arts, we honor the notion of medicine as anything used to facilitate healing, and we use only the highest-quality oils, Young Living Therapeutic Grade A Essential Oils. Essential oils promote well-being of the mind, body and spirit, and are especially wonderful for soothing stress (you can learn more about these benefits on our previous blog post). Many people are familiar with using a diffuser to reap the benefits of aromatherapy, but the opportunities for enhancing your summer with essential oils are truly endless… check out some inspiration below!
❖ After a long day of sun, refresh yourself by adding a few drops of peppermint, eucalyptus, or Panaway blend to a cold washcloth. Place it on your forehead, the back of your head, or over any achy muscles. For a maximum cooling effect, pop the washcloth in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before using.
❖ To carry your favorite summer scents with you all day long, add a few drops of oil to your laundry soap or natural dryer balls.
❖ Did you know essential oils are highly effective for natural bug protection? Citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, clove, eucalyptus, mint, cedar, and geranium are all wonderful insect-repellent choices — and the fact that they smell far better than conventional bug sprays is just the icing on the cake! You can make your own spray bottle mix (with water, natural witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, and/or vinegar), squeeze a few drops on a crackling camp fire, or dab on your clothes or wrist. For ease of use and no mixing, Young Living offers a wonderful blend called Purification that’s superb for protection and repelling insects. Already targeted by mosquitos? A drop or 2 of Purification will soon soothe the itch and help calm swelling.
❖ For super skin-soothing and hydration after being out in the heat, add a few drops of lavender oil to all-natural aloe vera gel and massage into your skin.
❖ If your outdoor furniture is looking a little grungy, add a few drops of tea tree, lavender, lemon, spearmint or lime essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water for a nice-smelling polish. You can also freshen up old beach towels!
❖ For sweeter-smelling sunscreen, add 2-3 drops of carrot seed, lavender, or sandalwood to your SPF. Just make sure to be mindful not to mix any photosensitive essential oils to your sunscreen or lotion, because these make you more sensitive to the sun’s rays (here’s a helpful guide to photosensitive oils from the Young Living blog).
❖ If your hair is feeling the frizz from Hoboken’s heat and humidity, you’re not alone! Tame flyaways by adding a few drops of geranium, eucalyptus, rosemary, or lavender to your shampoo, hair serum, or oil.
❖ We love this nourishing DIY nighttime exfoliant from the Young Living blog! Simply mix 1 tablespoon jojoba oil with 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, and 4 drops lemon essential oil. Gently apply the scrub to your face and massage in a circular motion for about 1 minute. Rinse and then moisturize.
❖ Whether you’re working out in the garden or your AC simply isn’t doing it for you, beat the heat with a refreshing face mist. Add a few drops of peppermint, lavender or chamomile oil to a glass spray bottle filled with water. Spray on your head, neck, and chest, being careful to avoid your eyes and also to avoid using photosensitive oils.
❖ To freshen things up in your car, add a few drops of your favorite summer scent to a cotton ball and place it in your car vents. An added bonus is that essential oils are known to reduce stress and increase mental alertness, which is extra helpful for long road trips. Think peppermint!
❖ During the dog dogs of summer, getting enough water is extra important. Adding a few drops of lemon, lime, or other citrus oil essential oil to your H20 is a wonderful way to give it a little flavor and inspire you to get enough to stay well-hydrated. Be sure you’re using a therapeutic or food-grade oil for this purpose, since many brands contain substances that may not be safe for consumption.
We hope these ideas spark your inspiration and invite some relaxing summer aromatherapy into your life! As always, we’d love to hear from you and learn about your favorite ways to embrace essential oils during the summertime in the comments section below! Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy summer making new memories :)
If you’re interested in ordering any of Young Living’s products, visit www.youngliving.com and use #220708 as the referral number. Or call us– we’re glad to be of help!
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.