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 email@example.com.
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!
As we all navigate a path through uncharted territory during this time of quarantine and self-isolation, we at Hudson Healing Arts recognize that self care and wellness practices are more important than ever. We want to reassure you that several of our practitioners are available to help you remotely, in a way that's structured to fit into your life during this period of time. Herbal consultations, health and wellness consultations, psychotherapy, Bach Flower Remedy consultations, and energy balancing work are all available by phone, Zoom, or Skype. And do follow and like us on Facebook and Instagram - our posts offer supportive and encouraging messages for you.
Our remote offerings:
Joe Del Giodice - Herbal consultations and Health consultations (201) 653-7700 ext.3
Carla San Diego - Available for in-person acupuncture treatments by
appointment. Herbal consultations available remotely (917) 830-5877
Beth O'Boyle Bach Flower Remedy consultations, AshWork Energy Clearing,
Distance Reiki treatments
(201) 653-7700 ext.1
Andrea Inauen Psychotherapy (973) 886-0941
How to Transcend the Limitations
As we're being asked to limit or forgo our usual range of activities in the world, it can be challenging to make these adjustments. It's normal to look upon self-isolating and social distancing as taking something precious away from our lives, depleting the richness of life. Yet this is a time that holds powerful energy for regeneration, renewal, and self-reflection. We have only to look at nature awakening to Spring right outside our windows to see renewal happening right before our eyes. Flowers are in bloom, the trees are putting out new leaves, the grass is greening, and nature is breathing easier. If you need help refocusing on what's good in your life, we've listed some thoughts below on ways to help shift your mood from stress to one of greater ease.
Consider the Gifts of this Period:
1. Extra sleep - it's good for your immune system!
2. Parents have real time to spend with their children and families are eating meals together.
3. We're getting really creative figuring out ways to connect. Groups and clubs are meeting virtually. If you're used to meeting friends after work or on the weekends, get together for a virtual brunch or cup of coffee.
4. There are loads of online classes, from art courses to yoga and everything in-between, many of them offered at no charge. It's the perfect time to learn something new.
5. There's time for that book you've been meaning to read...
6. We're realizing the power of connection and taking time to reach out to those who need company or an encouraging word.
7. It's giving us time to understand the value of what really matters.
8. We will get through this. Take this opportunity to let go of what doesn't matter and focus on keeping yourself strong and well.
How to Create a Sense of Structure for Yourself
It can be daunting to face a totally unstructured week. Humans are creatures of habit and we tend to feel better when there's a sense of structure in our lives - it helps to support a sense of purpose and self-worth. Consider what you can do to build a gentle, yet supportive routine for yourself, especially if you're not employed at this time.
Meals are great way to begin. Your body likes and thrives on routine, so try to have meals at regular times. It's a good opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen. Not only is cooking a wonderful creative outlet, it's a way to nourish yourself deeply with good food. Make it a point to actually sit down for meals.
Try to get up and go to bed at the same times each day. Yes, there may be those days when all you want to do is stay in bed and if that's what you need - do it. But getting up and getting dressed can actually help you feel better about yourself. Make time for exercise - it's a great way to release stress. There are lots of online classes being offered now.
We wish good health and safety for you, your families, and your loved ones. We're all in this together. Let's come through this time as wiser, more compassionate, loving people.
These past few months, stress seems to be swirling in the air, and our reactions to all the uncertainty are as individual as we are.
The good news is, regardless of how you experience stress, Reiki and AshWork are wonderful ways to soothe your frayed nerves and balance your energy. When stress is released from the system, it then frees up your body’s energy to support your health and wellbeing. Even more good news: Hudson Healing Arts is currently offering distance Reiki and AshWork energy clearing sessions at a discounted rate!
How Distance Sessions Work
Have you ever thought about someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, and then suddenly they call? It’s no surprise when you consider that everything is energy, and we send and transmit energy all the time. We’re essentially in an ocean of energy that’s always flowing — we constantly interact with everyone and everything.
Energy has no geographic boundaries; it’s all about intention. This principle is the reason that remote sessions conducted over the phone or internet are possible, says HHA founder Beth O’Boyle.
“When there's an intention set to make a connection with the energy, it flows, whether I’m sitting beside you or on the other end of the phone,” says Beth. “During remote sessions, I'm completely focused on the client, and am open and receptive to what’s going on with them.”
In fact, even before stay-at-home orders were in place, 99% of AshWork sessions were done over the phone. Being in a different energy field than the client gives the practitioner an edge, helping them to be as “clear” as possible and immerse themselves in the flow of a certain energy vibration (to learn more about AshWork, feel free to check out our past article or our Tele-Services page).
Reiki or AshWork?
To figure out which modality will best serve your needs, first ask yourself what you’d like to achieve. If you’re stressed and in need of replenishment, Reiki can be incredibly helpful, because you simply lie down and receive (from your comfy bed, no less!). If there are specific areas where you feel stuck — for instance, a fear you can’t let go of or a relationship issue bothering you — AshWork may be your best choice. (Note: Beth doesn’t work directly on the problem with AshWork; rather, she works on the energy surrounding or supporting it.)
The biggest difference with distance sessions is that you have to make a conscious decision to set aside quiet, uninterrupted time at home. If possible, request 45-60 minutes of peace and quiet from your family or roommates prior to your session. To set the tone, you may want to snuggle up in bed with your favorite blanket. For a Reiki session you may wish to play calming music. The more receptive and non- distracted you are, the more effective a session will be!
For Reiki, Beth will kick things off with a brief phone call to learn what you want to work on and then follow up with you after the energy work is completed. For an AshWork session, you'll remain on the line the throughout the session - usually about 45 minutes. If you’d like to address a particular problem, rest assured that you can’t choose “the wrong thing” to focus on; no matter what you choose, releasing stress has a lovely domino effect on other areas, too.
Reiki is always seeking a balance, so if you’re feeling drained, you’ll often feel more awake and grounded after a session. Or, if you've been agitated or stressed, then there's generally a deeply relaxed feeling. Clients often describe it as feeling like they've just had a good nap! After AshWork, many people say they feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted. Sometimes the problem feels farther away, more distant, or even gone.
There are a smaller handful of people who don’t feel an immediate change, and it’s nothing to worry about. It doesn't mean that it hasn't “worked,” just that it's taking longer for energy to settle in. Ideally, you want to give yourself a little space after a session to let it integrate: take this time to drink some water, stretch, walk, or nap if you want. Often clients notice that they feel better later on in the day or when they wake the next morning.
A Final Word
Beth works with clients of all ages, and notes that energy work is a wonderful way to support children and teens during this difficult time. Whether your child is struggling to focus, agitated from being cooped up, or perhaps dealing with sibling rivalry, both Reiki and AshWork can help restore emotional balance. Even pets can benefit from energy work (their “humans” can act as surrogates).
It’s also worth a mention that AshWork can help with environments that feel unsettled, because energy gets stuck in spaces. 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, AshWork can be a wonderful way to restore the flow and fluidity.
To book a session for a discounted rate, feel free to call Beth O’Boyle at (201) 653-7700 ext.1 and mention this article.
Note: Beth does not treat medical conditions with either Reiki or AshWork. This is purely energy work and is not intended to directly address physical or mental issues. Anyone needing help for these conditions should contact their physician or medical provider. Energy work can, however, be a great addition or compliment to whatever other treatment a person may be receiving, since it helps 'free up' energy to more fully support wellbeing.
Well, it’s no secret that the past few months have been crazy...and that we at Hudson Healing Arts miss you all like crazy!
As we navigate a path through these unprecedented times, the HHA team wants to remind you that you’re not alone— we are all in this together. We remain committed to helping you find balance and a sense of greater wellbeing, and right now, that just looks a little different than usual.
For some expert tips on finding peace, purpose, and connection during this crisis (and general stress relief, of course), we turned to our resident counselor, Andrea Inauen. As usual, she was full of sage advice. Andrea’s greatest message for each and every one of us? Be kind to yourself!
How can people deal with feeling up and down, moment to moment?
Andrea: These times are hard. Whether you’re affected emotionally, financially, and/or physically, there are so many layers to what’s happening right now...and it makes sense to have feelings about that. I would be more worried if people weren’t having any reaction to these circumstances. It's perfectly okay to experience a wide range of emotions on any given day. This can mean a mix of fear, gratitude, restlessness, contentment, guilt, grief, and anger. The hope is that you don't stay stuck in those negative spaces; you acknowledge them, but don't live there.
I’m a big fan of emotional toolboxes, which means helping clients identify things that they can control and work through. Usually, we develop these tools by talking about previous challenges, and we identify strengths that we can build off of. This is a totally different situation. It’s unprecedented, and your “go-tos” for coping with stress may not apply (especially if they require leaving the house!). The most important thing is to not judge yourself for feeling stressed, or whatever it is you’re feeling. All of the uncertainty is understandably exacerbating stress for a lot of people. Above all, the ultimate challenge right now is to be kind to ourselves.
How can we get “unstuck” so we don’t linger in those negative spaces?
Andrea: When you’re feeling challenging emotions like stress or sadness, ask yourself the question: “What do I do when I feel like this?” Hopefully, the answer isn’t, “Put a lid on it and don’t acknowledge it.” That approach will only cause the negative emotions to build up and fester. When you’re feeling sad, maybe that’s a day where you decide to just lay low, read, or sleep. If you’re feeling fear, ask yourself, “What can I do that's within my control?”
At the base level, figure out where you are and how you can be in the driver's seat of your own life. You can't control the news or what's going on across the globe...that’s too far-reaching. But if you’re staying home, that’s one tangible thing that you’re doing already. It’s all about the small self-care wins right now, like putting on some music to change the energy, giving yourself extra sleep, reading a book that makes you feel good, or sipping tea to relax. Your toolbox right now might seem “low level” to you, and again, that’s absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.
As our fast-paced lives slow to a crawl, how can we get more used to the idea of existing as “human beings” instead of “human doings?”
Andrea: One question I usually ask my clients in normal circumstances is, “What’s important to you? What would your ideal day look like?” Right now, given the constraints, this question applies on a more basic level. Your answer might be to get better sleep, stay in shape, or to have gratitude. That gives you a direction to head toward. It doesn’t mean you're going to necessarily arrive at the “destination,” but it can help give you some shape and focus.
The idea that you’re going to be ultra-productive during this time is not really fair. Don’t put your expectations into doing something huge; the idea is to survive this time, and if you can do it with some moments of peace, calm, and gratitude sprinkled in, that’s great. It’s not a time for “optimizing,” “maximizing,” and so on and so forth. When your energy levels are up, it might feel amazing to organize a drawer or pantry, but on other days, maybe just cracking a window and enjoying some fresh air is nourishing to your spirit.
Your productivity isn’t a measure of our self-worth, yet that’s something that’s been ingrained in us. It’s worth repeating: As a human being, your value doesn’t come from how much you accomplish! A few months ago, we were operating on a different plane: One that said, “It’s a good day if I’ve done 27,000 things.” Ask yourself what truly gives a human being value, and pay attention to how you answer. The answer is so much broader than checking things off your to-do list. We’re slowly being forced to reckon with that!
Do you think there’s any growth opportunities to come from this crisis?
Andrea: For those who have lost loved ones during this pandemic, this is a horrible time that I would not wish on anyone. I have worked with kids with life-threatening illnesses, and when I hear the words “getting back to normal,” it sort of makes me cringe because there is no getting back to normal for families who have had a child with cancer. The hope is that there’s a new normal. The same sort of concept applies here, in a way.
Now, we’re aware of the fact now that things can happen. Our world can be turned upside down. We were going so fast, and I think most of us would agree that this much slower pace may not be the answer. However, maybe the idea of “being” is something that we can incorporate into the new normal. Perhaps we won't go back to “100% doing” and there will be greater balance. Before, we were all moving at such a rapid pace that it was hard to find time to check in with ourselves. Now, we are all taking inventory. Each day, ask yourself: How am I doing? What is important? How is my family? Maybe some of those questions will continue down the road, so we’re not running through our days with blinders on.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the HHA community?
Andrea: Please be kind to yourself! Create really small, manageable portions of structure (“What do I want this morning?”) rather than trying to build out too far. When you do this in brief intervals, you’ll feel more satisfied with that bucket of time; conversely, if sadness or anxiety took over, it was just a small portion of time. Then you can say, “That’s done now, and I feel good about it,” or, “Well, that kind of sucked, but that's not going to define my whole week!” Embracing these digestible moments of time, rather than setting big goals, can help you manage and navigate and replenish and cope. These times are hard and very different from what most of us have ever experienced, so allow yourself to be human. This means having a whole range of successes, challenges, and emotions. That's what it's all about! And of course, it all comes back to being kind to yourself.
Finally, are you still working with clients?
Andrea: I am. Some clients prefer in person sessions and are going to wait, and others are continuing with phone or FaceTime sessions. I miss meeting in person, of course, but I do think it can be helpful to have a space to check in with yourself throughout the course of the day, whether it’s alone, with me, with another counselor, or with a loved one.
We're keeping it simple this month and sharing a great recipe for a super anti-inflammatory antioxidant salad. Yes, Joe's back in the kitchen!
This salad requires only a few ingredients, but is loaded with health promoting benefits. One of the most challenging aspects of the times we are in is the feeling of not being able to help in the way we would perhaps desire.
We can, however, take charge of our health and that our families. Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask whenever you go outside, and remember to maintain social distancing - or physical distancing as we prefer to call it, Get some sunshine whenever possible, exercise every day, and be kind to yourself. And remember that good food nourishes not only the body but also the spirit!
Our heartfelt wishes for good health and safety for you and your loved ones. We're here for you with phone, video, and remote sessions to help you when needed. And do let us know how you enjoy the salad!
At Hudson Healing Arts, we’re passionate about bringing humanity into our healing services. By now, you may have noticed that we’re not a “get in and out the door” wellness center: We truly love to hear what’s on the hearts and minds of our clients, and similarly, we want you to feel connected to our practitioners.
A big part of that connection means understanding the “why” that drives them. To spotlight this vital question, upcoming blog posts will explore each of our practitioners’ wonderfully unique philosophies, backgrounds, and approach to working with clients (and of course, some fun trivia too!).
We’ll kick things off with the amazing Joe Del Giodice, who has been part of the HHA family since 1999. If we were playing “2 Truths & A Lie” about our board-certified acupuncturist, Chinese and Western herbalist, and naturopath, we’d say...
1- His mission is to heal bodies and inspire souls.
2- He makes a mean tabbouleh salad. Actually, he’s an all-around salad connoisseur.
3- He’s really good at picking things up with his feet.
A Human-Centered Approach to Healing
Okay, we’ll admit it...all three are actually true (and there’s more fun facts where those came from).
The concept of embracing food as medicine and as a tool for longevity has been a lifelong fascination for Joe. He still vividly remembers receiving his first nutrition book at seven years old— and reading it until the pages fell off! Today, he loves to share his passion for making healthy, delicious recipes on his YouTube channel, supernatural health.
Joe strongly believes that food that nourishes the body and soul can be every bit as enjoyable, fun, and satisfying as unhealthy food. He also has an interesting comparison to the benefits of a nutrient-dense diet...
“When you think about it, your birthday is a day you want to celebrate with loved ones, not people who couldn’t care less about you. It gives us a sense of trust, joy, and mutual reinforcement of who we are and what’s good for us,” Joe says. “What if we could think of food as a celebration? Healthy, whole foods help make you the best, strongest, most joyful version of yourself. Unhealthy foods might be amazing for a fleeting moment, but then you feel awful an hour later.”
Joe’s passion is helping clients integrate these life-affirming foods in a way that’s convenient and sustainable for their lifestyle, as well as pleasing to their taste buds. He creates personalized nutrition plans based around each individual’s purpose.
To unlock this purpose, Joe typically asks clients the same question: “Are you looking to gain a bit of an edge, to become substantially healthier, or to obtain supernatural health?” This isn’t a trick question by any means— rather, it’s a way to meet you where you’re at.
No matter what your answer is, Joe’s mission is to find healthy versions of the foods you truly enjoy. He often looks to the Blue Zones for inspiration, which are the areas across the globe where people tend to live the longest (from Loma Linda, CA to Okinawa, Japan).
“For me, success is when someone tells me they feel better or that they shared what we talked about with others,” he says. “This is what I wake up in the morning for: To help people be well, to heal bodies, to inspire souls.”
In acupuncture— his other great love—Joe is also guided by a strong desire to treat human beings, as opposed to diseases or symptoms. He has always been inspired by the concept of the old farm doctor who would come to your house and tend to you when you’re sick, but also help you rebuild a fence and put shingles on the roof.
“Those doctors listened to their patient’s stories, and I try to follow in their footsteps. I really care about hearing my client’s narratives, because I believe my approach and communication style needs to fit their heart as well as their body,” he says.
Joe believes that everyone can benefit from acupuncture just as much as a nutritional tune-up. Though it’s wonderful for targeting a plenty of specific issues and conditions, acupuncture is also a powerful force for preventive health and long-term maintenance.
“Maybe you feel healthy and strong, but you know you’re about to work on a big project for the next six months, for instance. Acupuncture is a really proactive way to protect your immune system and buffer against excess stress,” he says.
Outside of HHA, you can find Joe playing the acoustic guitar, working in the garden, cooking, experimenting with new recipes, cross-country skiing, or longboard surfing.
Interested in scheduling a session with Joe? He can be reached at (201) 653-7700 ext.3.
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.