Finding Ways To Stay Active This Fall


Finding Ways To Stay Active This Fall

As the temperatures drop, we tend to have more and more movie nights, all warm and cuddled up at home. It can feel almost impossible to bundle up and drive to the gym to get a workout in. The house is just so cozy!

While it is extremely tempting to stay snuggled up on the couch, fall and winter shouldn’t be a time when you let your fitness plans slip away. We won’t deny it – it is harder to motivate yourself to exercise when it’s dark and cold. In the summer, it was so easy to go on an impromptu run or bike outside. But, with the right attitude and mix of exercises, fall can actually be the perfect opportunity to mix up your workouts, get innovative, and try new things.  There is hope to stay active in the cold weather.

Here are four fun, easy ways to stay active this fall:

Revamp your home: Get creative and turn your home into a mini gym. From free YouTube fitness videos to fun workout DVDs, you can easily exercise from the comfort of your warm home. Invest in some fitness equipment, like hand weights and a stability ball, and you will be sweating in no time!

Set a goal for the spring or summer: Keep yourself motivated by setting a big goal for yourself. Choose a goal that will get your out of your comfort zone (and maybe one that even scares you a little). Sign-up for a 5K, 10K, half marathon, a long bike ride, or hiking that mountain that always intimidated you. Then, set small, achievable action steps for the winter to reach the end goal. Instead of forcing yourself to exercise during the winter, you’ll be challenging yourself and getting closer to your big goal.

Go Hiking: The best kind of workout is one where you don’t even realize you’re exercising. Take advantage of the cool temperature, and get outside and play!

Get sneaky: You don’t need to go to the gym or have a full 60-minute aerobic workout to stay active in the fall. The goal is to keep moving, so incorporate activity in your daily workday. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away, walk around the mall before you shop, or do lunges and squats while you watch TV.

Staying active this fall and winter months will help you sleep better, boost your immunity, and fight off the winter blues. And, your hot chocolate will taste even better after a full day of activity.

Do you want more health and wellness tips like this? Sign-up for our email newsletter and we’ll send you fitness advice and updates about Dreamclinic directly to your inbox!

How to Create a Stress-Free Workspace

548a04dbb0ae2_-_rby-desk-03-makeover-after-s2“Stress-free” is usually not the first thing that pops into our mind when we think about our workplace. Long meetings, hard deadlines, and dozens of distractions make work feel like, well, work.

As a result, we become more stressed. And as our stress levels increase, our productivity falls lower and lower, which only stresses us out even more! This vicious cycle can seem unavoidable, but in actuality, a few small changes to your workplace can make a profound difference on your attitude and stress levels while in the office.

Here are some 5 easy, DIY tips to create a stress-free workspace:

  • Personalize your space. Decorate your desk, with favorite pictures or mementos. This way, you’ll feel less like you’re at the office and more like you’re at home (or at least, in a space that feels like yours).
  • Organize. A messy desk is the number one cause of workplace stress. Start by keeping small garbage and recycling cans underneath your desk, so that it’s easy to get rid of trash and unwanted papers on a regular basis. Figure out which items you use most often, and sort them so that they are easily accessible. Make sure that you minimize the amount of papers out on your desk, because visual clutter can cause clutter in your brain, making it harder to focus.
  • Take five. It’s important to give your brain mental breaks, especially when working on something stressful and complicated. Short breaks between 1-5 minutes are incredibly helpful for reducing stress, and the aches and pains you may feel from long hours at a desk. Studies have shown that taking just one break, for less than five minutes, improves mental sharpness by an average of 13%, and that regular breaks of two minutes increase productivity by 11.15%.
  • Become one with nature. Add some plants to your office space, like a succulent or a houseplant. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, working in an environment with plants has been proven to lower stress, and decrease noise, room temperature, and humidity, ultimately creating a calming and cool space.
  • Make sure to stretch. It’s important to get regular exercise outside of work, but during the workday, you should also do small exercises to reduce your fatigue and stiffness. Oftentimes, we subconsciously tense our bodies when we’re stressed, so working out our knots is an important part of staying healthy. Try standing and stretching your arms over your head, resting your eyes on something calming, stretching your fingers, and slowly rotating or massaging your temples, neck, and forearms.

It’s no surprise that most people think of the workplace as a stressful environment. Our bodies are not made to be stationary for long periods of time, and stacks of clutter only add to our stress levels. In order to keep a positive mindset, it is incredibly important to listen to your body. Make your office space clean and let it reflect your personality, and you’ll be on track to a healthy and stress-free workday.

Photo credit:

Meditation – The Challenges Can Be Overcome

seattle meditation class

For those of us who are constantly in motion and juggling work, family, and a social life, the idea of sitting still can seem ridiculous. Many people try meditation and find themselves feeling like they’re wasting time, or like they can’t stop thinking about all of their responsibilities. Others think they’re doing it wrong because they don’t feel peaceful or enlightened, even after several attempts.

If you feel like you just don’t “get” meditation or can’t understand the value of sitting silently for an hour, don’t worry. These doubts make sense, and are actually quite common. Although it’s true that meditation comes easier to some, anyone can become a mediation master.

If you feel like meditation is a daunting task, check out some of our expert tips to better understand this ancient practice:

  • Don’t try to imitate Buddha. It’s important to remember that your meditation is solely to help you de-stress and focus on yourself, so make sure that your style of meditation works for you and your lifestyle.
  • Good posture is key. Listen to your body, and if it’s uncomfortable, don’t hurt yourself trying to fold your legs into the traditional meditation position. Sit with a straight back, crossing your legs or sitting in a chair. If this is uncomfortable, you can try lying down.
  • Bring it back to your breathing. Breathe normally and regularly, simply focusing on the rhythm of your breath rather than trying to control it. You can experiment with deep breathing as well, but many people are able to relax with normal breaths.
  • Find a focus point. Closed-eye meditation can be disorienting for beginners, so if you’re having trouble, try lighting a candle or picking one stationary point to focus on.
  • Make it short and sweet. Start by meditating for shorter periods of time, generally five to ten minutes. Increase the duration as you get more comfortable with the concept, adding five minutes every week.

The key is to take meditation in small steps and work your way up to a 45-minute session. But, remember, even if you’re experienced, meditation can still be difficult. Sometimes, you may feel relaxed and enlightened, while other times, it may take extra focus and attention to empty your mind. Make meditation a priority, and you’ll soon notice your practice and diligence paying off.

Photo credit: 

The Long-Term Health Benefits of Meditation

The Long-Term Health Benefits of Meditation, original blog by Dreamclinic Massage and Acupuncture Seattle, Redmond, BellevueThere are some weeks when we barely have time to go to the grocery store, let alone relax and enjoy ourselves. With our hectic lives, it seems like those nagging thoughts of to-do lists, and responsibilities creep in even during the calmest times.

So, why are we letting these pesky thoughts ruin the time we do have for relaxation? They’re our thoughts, in our brains, and we should be able to control them. As nice as that sounds, sometimes we need help calming our brain.

Meditation is a powerful first step in reducing stress and finding the peaceful space between our thoughts. Humans have been using this natural practice for more than 3,500 years, and it is a simple, effective way to improve concentration, decrease anxiety, and improve your mood, all by learning how to be an observer of our thoughts first and then learning how to let them go.

Not only does meditation prevent stress in and out of the meditative state, it also has some important long-term health benefits:

Brain changes in attention, memory, learning, and perception. A study done on Buddhist monks showed that these effects last for many years after habitual meditation. These monks also had more brain activity in areas responsible for positive emotions like happiness and relaxation.

A stronger immune system. Studies have shown that those who meditate will produce more antibodies at a faster rate than those who do not meditate. A healthy, peaceful mind reflects on the body.

Milder symptoms of PMS and lower infertility rates. Meditation has been known to help women alleviate uncomfortable symptoms of PMS, hot flashes, and breast-feeding. In addition, after a ten-week meditation program, women struggling with infertility problems exhibited lower anxiety and fatigue than they did before the program, and within the next six months, 34% of those women became pregnant.

Better sleep. Good sleep is essential for peace of mind, and sleep deprivation often goes hand in hand with anxiety and depression. In a study done by the American Journal of Medicine, 100% of the insomnia patients reported that their sleep had improved after practicing meditation. Of those patients, 91% completely eliminated or significantly reduced their use of sleeping pills after the meditation course.

Improved alertness at the office. By eliminating anxious thoughts, meditation enhances other positive aspects of the brain like creativity, intelligence development, and relationship skills. All of these qualities are helpful for the workplace, and can help enhance your best qualities.

If you want to improve your quality of life today, and for the next five to ten years, there is no simpler solution than meditation. Even meditating five minutes every day will reduce stress and improve long-term cognitive function. And, a week when you don’t have time to go to the grocery store won’t seem so bad after all.



Book Review – Live Longer by Moderating Your Food Intake

By Larisa Goldin, MBA, LMP


I am reading a wonderful book by John Robbins, who has authored a number of popular health books, with the provocative title “Healthy at 100.” In the book, Robbins describes the diets of the four populations with the longest recorded average life spans on Earth.
One tidbit I found fascinating was the discussion about caloric intake. In the US, with our epidemic of obesity, it is well known that long-term excessive caloric intake leads to being overweight or, worse, obese. But there is another benefit to lower caloric intake, apparently, that has not only been observed in these long-life societies – The Okinawans, the Abkhazians, the Vilcabambans, and the Hunzans – but has been confirmed through scientific studies. A calorie-restricted but nutrient-rich diet of between 1500 to 1900 calories per day leads to a longer lifespan and significantly lower rate of disease in old age.
Robbins’ recommendation is that when you are eating a meal, do not keep eating until you are full but until you are about 80% full. Apparently it takes about 20 minutes for our stomach to expand fully and register satiation. Stopping earlier allows your body to catch up and helps you avoid overeating. Another suggestion is to eat at a leisurely pace in a relaxed setting. Not only are you less likely to overeat but also are aiding your digestion by avoiding the negative effects of stress that are typical for so many of us with a hectic schedule and chronically rushed meals. And one more thing – avoid processed foods and sugar as much possible.
So this idea of eating less seems like one ridiculously simple tip and yet those who follow a high-nutrient, moderate calorie diet have been found to have hearts in the same or better condition as individuals who are 15 years younger and also have 50% to 70% lower incidence of heart attacks, stroke or diabetes. And I am barely doing justice to the wonderful and highly pursuasive information Robbins provides in his book.  If you are intrigued, buy a copy and go to the source.
Now… if we could just transform the American food industry to stop peddling so much nutrient-empty edible garbage!