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Archive for the ‘stress’ Category

Stop Staring, it’s starting to get weird

Posted on: April 24th, 2017 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

I recently saw this quote written by a friend and it made me laugh out loud.  I love laughing out loud…it doesn’t happen that often but when it does, I take notice.

By the way, your past called to say, stop staring, it’s starting to get weird.”

Dr. Rajesh Ragbir, N.D.

If my past could talk she’d definitely yell this out with a few other words as a reminder to move on, to stop being stuck.  It’s so easy to get stuck though, to stop and stare.  Part of the staring can be helpful – to reflect, to learn and understand how to change outcomes in the future, but so much of the staring is the opposite of helpful.  Why I love this quote so much is the friendly and humour-filled reminder points out that the staring is weird.  Just like if you caught someone staring at you for long periods of time, it’s weird.  You can’t do anything about it, so stop staring, stop ruminating, stop beating yourself up over a moment that is done.

So much about getting better on all levels of our being, whether that be the emotional, the mental or the physical is about moving on…not being stuck.  Yes, reflection is important and necessary at times, but the staring…not so much.  What a fun and playful reminder Dr. Ragbir, N.D. gave us with these words.  I hope if you catch yourself staring at the past, that you’ll gently remind yourself to stop and maybe in that moment, you’ll stare around at the now where real change can take place and where you can actually do something about it.

Dr. Amanda Cressman, N.D.

Expectations

Posted on: January 9th, 2016 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

The holiday season is a time of year where expectations run high. We’re told where to go, how long to stay, what to do, what to eat, what to buy and sometimes even, how much to spend. Now, of course they can also be filled with wonderful moments and experiences but that’s not what this blog post is about. This post is about dealing with the expectations from others and from ourselves. We are past the holiday season, but the expectations don’t go away…especially those from ourselves and they are the cause of great frustration and stress for some. So, how do we work with them?

I had a very different holiday season this year, as I kept a mantra in mind. It came from Brene Brown and it really helped.   A few weeks ago on her facebook page she wrote, “Choose discomfort over resentment.”

I’ll write it again, “Choose discomfort over resentment”

I liked it immediately but knew it would be hard. I have been very good at ensuring others are not uncomfortable while at times I can be overstressed, overtaxed and inevitably become resentful for overextending myself. This past season, I kept Brene’s mantra in mind and created a holiday season that worked for me.

So, I said no…a few times to a few different people. I said no to others and yes to myself. It was hard but I feel so much better with no uncomfortable resentment lurking inside.

Boundaries are one of the biggest things I talk to about with my patients. Whether we’re dialoging about boundaries with family, coworkers, children, etc. When people breach our boundaries we feel the effects and what can start, as annoyance and frustration can then become bigger issues that can affect our health. This is where I see people with anxiousness, panic attacks, long standing resentments, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, etc.

This year consider using Brene’s mantra. If you haven’t put your needs first in awhile, it may be difficult, even incredibly uncomfortable, but consider it. Choosing discomfort over resentment doesn’t mean others will necessarily be uncomfortable, it just means you’re choosing to do what genuinely feels right. And when we do things authentically, I believe we all win. See what you think.

Dr. Amanda Cressman, Naturopathic Doctor

Mental Wellness Summit…it takes more than a pill!

Posted on: August 8th, 2015 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

MentalWellness_600x150_Attend

The Mental Wellness Summit is an educational and empowering experience that explores better ways to approach and treat mental health from a root cause perspective–it’s designed with everyone in mind.

WHY ATTEND?

Today’s powerful treatment options, including specialized diet and improved nutrition, integrative medicine, naturopathy and functional medicine, somatic therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, yoga and meditation, to name a few, are available but rarely considered for treating mental health everyday. Let’s go beyond just psychiatry and pills, and explore the best options for wellness in this evolving field.

Register for FREE now at the following link:

Mental Wellness Summit

The Mental Wellness Summit will benefit:

  • Health care practitioners and providers across the wellness spectrum
  • Anyone curious about or seeking solutions to mental health challenges
  • Family, friends, loved ones and coworkers who are supporting one another

Here are a few of the incredible experts who will speak at The Mental Wellness Summit:

  • Kelly Brogan, MD, Holistic Medicine and Root-Cause Resolution
  • Sayer Ji, GreenMedInfo.com, Deeper Into Mental Wellness Research
  • Peter Osborne, DC, Grainflammation, Food Toxicity and Microbes
  • Robert Whitaker, PhD, The Perils of Big Pharma
  • James Maskell, Revive Primary Care, Mental Health from Scratch

With 25 additional presenters sharing their expertise about mental wellness, this invaluable (and FREE) resource is intended for men and women everywhere!

Better yet, if you register today, you’ll have access to the following FREE GIFTS as soon as you register!

  • Free Gift #1: Deeper Into Mental Wellness Research by Sayer Ji
  • Free Gift #2: Holistic Medicine and Root-Cause Resolution by Kelly Brogan
  • Free Gift #3: Microbiome: A New Frontier in Mental Health by David Perlmutter

The Mental Wellness Summit is online and free from August 10-17, 2015!

Register for FREE at the following link today:

MENTAL WELLNESS SUMMIT
I’ll see you at the summit!

A Journey with Colic

Posted on: May 22nd, 2015 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

This is a very difficult article for me to write as my baby has just turned 4 months and is coming out a period where she experienced “colic”. I put the word colic in quotation marks as it’s a very misleading and confusing word. In general terms it is defined as a baby crying for 3 hours a day for more than 3 days a week, for 3 consecutive weeks in a child that is otherwise healthy. The usual onset is 2 weeks of age and it usually lasts until about 3-4 months. But the reasons for colic can be very different and it’s not always due to gas, as the word colic implies.

Some babies have reflux – where it’s noticeable with obvious signs of spit up and pain after eating or silent with no symptoms present at all. For other babies it’s digestive and gas is usually the culprit. For others, they are incredibly sensitive, reacting to any stimulus that is strong, loud or bright. And for others, it is developmental, meaning it is a normal phase, which is now being coined as The Period of PURPLE Crying®. For anyone who has had or known a baby to go through colic…the last word that you imagine being associated with it, is normal.

But this article will not focus on the causes and treatments of colic…that will be for another article, which I will soon publish. This article is about the stress and impact it has on those caring for the crying child and talking about options of support. This article is hard to write, as this experience of having a colicky baby has been one of the hardest I have been through and I feel very passionate about helping anyone who is or will be going through it. It’s a vulnerable place to write about one’s own experience, but I feel there will be value in sharing, as this topic is a difficult one to speak about with others. Let me tell you a bit about my past 4 months.

When my baby was born, she screamed for her first 90 minutes of life. The midwives and myself found it a bit odd, but she was deemed healthy and normal and went home soon after her birth. I had hoped her screams were just signs of her strong vitality but as the days came and went her crying increased. At 2 weeks it was bad – lasting close to 12 hours/day…at 4 weeks it was worse, lasting 12-16 hours/day and at 6-8 weeks it was horrible, lasting upwards of 18+ hours/day. She was gaining weight, peeing and pooing as expected and considered healthy with no other underlying causes for the crying.

With each week, I hoped the next would be better but my heart sunk further and further as it kept worsening. I would rock her most nights from 11 pm-4 or 5 am while she screamed in my arms. Sometimes I may have cried just as much as she did, as the screaming was what I call, ‘crazy making’ for me. Sometimes she slept in the day due to exhaustion, but there was always more crying than not and the kind of crying that breaks your heart as it seemed it did not matter what we did, it remained.

Leaving the house was awful, as the crying was worse in the car, in the stroller or in anyone else’s arms. Everytime we went grocery shopping I’d literally have 5 or 6 people come up and ask me if she was ok or worse yet, they’d tell me what I should do to make it better. I realize everyone was trying to be helpful, but it generally did the opposite.  Having people over was stressful, as no one likes listening to a baby crying and I would feel the need to try to entertain or try to hold a conversation, even though it felt more like a burden than a gift of having a visitor. As the days came and went, my babe and I found no routine that we could latch onto…we just got by and I hoped the next day would be better…but it usually wasn’t.

I would feel embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn’t make my baby stop crying, especially being a Naturopath.  My babies colic wasn’t due to gas or reflux which there are natural supports that can sometimes help dramatically.  For her the best medicine was time which was the hardest medicine for me to swallow.

I had hoped to exercise, to eat clean, to get my former body back in shape and strength, just like I had after my first daughter was born. But with time, the weight kept staying on, eating clean foods no longer was a priority or possible and I had no desire to exercise, take supplements or do anything good for myself. I tried…I really, really tried, but I was burnt out in every aspect of my being and I had nothing left for myself.  What was worse, was that I knew how to do all the “right” things but I had nothing left in my tank.  My body and emotions reflected how burnt out I was.

So many women that I see in my practice who have had colicky babe, difficult babes or post partum depression often suffer in silence. Speaking for myself, I’ve felt it inappropriate to complain or share about this struggle, as I know many others struggle with their own journey’s…whether that be infertility, miscarriage or the loss of a child.

Now, I need to preface this article, with saying I am and always was grateful for my daughter and don’t take it lightly, how fortunate I am to have a babe. I know many women would love to have babes who can’t…that some women would gladly have a colicky baby. The reason I share this, is I feel it is important to keep perspective. But it’s also important to be honest about where you’re at and this article is written with the hope that if you’re suffering from exhaustion, anxiety, depression, loneliness or lack of will to look after yourself…that you’re not alone.

Whatever your journey has been, please know that if you’re wanting or needing support, you have options. Your emotions need a place where they can express what you have gone through, your mind needs a place to make sense of your experience and encouragement to shift perspectives if you’re ready for that and your body needs a place to rebuild its depleted stores and get strong again.

I lost myself in the care of my colicky daughter. I lost the drive to prepare healthy foods, I lost the drive to run and be outside which helps my body and mind, I lost the drive to connect with life and ultimately myself. I’m in the process of rebuilding myself and it’s taking work and love and care on many fronts…but I’m getting myself back and grateful that there are natural supports to do so.

The process of rebuilding takes time and needs nurturing care but is the most important thing you can do.  I’m in this process myself and if you’re needing a place to help rebuild yourself, I’d be honoured to a be a part of that. Know you have options and that you’re not alone.

Amanda Cressman, ND.

The Compound Effect

Posted on: February 24th, 2015 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

When it comes to health, many of us would like to have instantaneous change when things are not well or balanced. Whether it’s for weight loss, hormonal balancing, digestive improvement, skin health, pain or mental well being…we would all like to see these things improve easily and readily. But unfortunately, that is generally not the case. As illness or poor health take time to develop, it also takes time to improve. But how do we have patience and time for creating positive change?

I recently came across a book, The Compound Effect, that speaks about a principle that we often disregard or under value. The principle is the same as the title, The Compound Effect. The author, Darren Hardy, explains it as:

“The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. What’s most interesting about this process to me is that, even though the results are massive, the steps, in the moment, don’t feel significant. Whether you’re using this strategy for improving your health, relationships, finances, or anything else for that matter, the changes are so subtle, they’re almost imperceptible. These small changes offer little or no immediate result…

Success is earned in the moment to moment decisions that in themselves make no visible difference whatsoever, but the accumulated compounding effect is profound.”

This is a great reminder that positive change often happens with small, incremental steps.  Whether it’s taking the stairs at work, refraining from eating after 8 pm, going to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual, going for a run twice a week, shutting down all screen time an hour before bed, daily writing down something you’ve appreciated from the day…the list could go on, but I think you get the point.  Small changes are needed to achieve great change…profound change, as Hardy explains.  Doing small things is something we are all capable of, no matter how busy or full life is.  Choose one small thing you could do to enhance your life today and stick to it, commit to it and if that’s hard to do, find someone to help you with this process.  The gain and improvement in your life will be well worth it.

Your job is to be you!

Posted on: June 12th, 2014 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

We so often talk about stress and the effect it has on our lives.  As a Naturopathic Doctor, stress is an important piece to identify in addressing the obstacles to wellness.  Whether it is a physical, mental or emotional stressor…the same cascades of reaction go off in the body and we are affected.

On my intake forms, I have a question that often highlights where one source of stress comes.  The question is: What is the most misunderstood aspect of you?

It’s an interesting question and is often left blank.  The rare individual feels understood, but the majority feel very misunderstood and this causes great stress.  Some of the most common answers revolve around comparing ourselves to others and hoping to be perceived as though we have it all together like, whomever it is we think does.

The comparison game is as old as time, I imagine.  We are humans who judge, compare and aspire to be like others.  This can be positive, helpful and motivating…but often it tips the scales in the opposite direction where self talk is brutal, unkind and disapproving of self.  Most of us have played this game or are active players.  Feeling like our bodies are not as fit or healthy as that person in spin class that we ride beside, our skills at work are not as strong as our coworkers, our relationships are not as fun as that friend who is always out socializing and so on.  I find the comparison game annoying and depleting but yet it’s hard to not take part at times.  But then I read something that helped shift it.

Joseph Campbell once said, “the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”

Wow.

We each have a job and that is to be who we are.  We teach children this, we actively remind them to be who they are, embrace it, love it and know it’s enough.  Where and when did we forget this?  That throughout our lives, this is one of the most important jobs we have…to be us and stop playing the comparison game where we can come up short.  In the poem Desiderata, written by Max Ehrmann in 1927, he reminds us of this concept, “If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”

So what is it that you could do to compare less and accept yourself more?  For me, something that really helped was closing down a social media account.  As wonderful as these sites are for staying connected, for me, it tipped the scales in the direction of comparison and I never felt good after browsing.  Find out what it is for you and do it.  Your job is to be you, no one else and the sooner we own that, the happier and less stressed out we will all be.

 

A Twist on Why Exercise is Good for You!

Posted on: January 8th, 2014 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

The New Year often brings aspirations of increasing exercise in our lives.  But with the demands and busyness of life, exercise is often the first thing to go on our day to day to-do lists.

The Harvard Business Review published an article about the positive relationship between regular exercise and management of the  work/home-life front.  It’s worth a read and may create more incentive to move that body, which in turn will help you feel good and reduce stress…allowing the time you do have at home and at work, to be more productive and enjoyable.  See what you think.

Harvard Business Review

 

Shoulding All Over the Place

Posted on: November 24th, 2012 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

This time of year offers many possibilities; whether it is events, dinners, engagements, there is much to do.  And alongside the fun there can be expectation.  Louise L. Hay in her book, You Can Heal Your Life reminds us of the word ‘should’.  She says that ‘should’ is a powerful word and implies we were wrong, we are wrong or we will be wrong.  When we look at it like that, doesn’t seem too enjoyable, does it?

Watch your words and ask those close to you to remind you when you say the word ‘should’.  Here are some examples….

“I should really get all my Christmas shopping done as soon as possible.”

“I should lose some weight before the Christmas parties begin.”

“I should be working out everyday.”

“I should be meditating everyday and making time for me.”

The statements offer great intentions but when analyzed and felt, there is guilt and expectation.  And if you’re like most people, when guilt and expectation are there, generally we are not inclined to want to do the desired effect.

Let’s try something different.  Change the word ‘should’ to ‘could’

“I could really get all my Christmas shopping done as soon as possible.”

“I could lose some weight before the Christmas parties begin.”

“I could be working out everyday.”

“I could be meditating everyday and making time for me.”

See the change?  But most importantly, do you feel it?  ‘Could’ offers choice and with choice you have power to decide what you want.  Louise L. Hay reminds us to ask…”If I really wanted to I could…”  And if you’re still not feeling it and there is resistance, then ask, “Why haven’t I…”  When you take time to check in and really listen to what’s there, you may be surprised with the answers.  Then you are no longer working against yourself but with…something that can benefit us all, especially amongst holiday expectations.

And more importantly you won’t be shoulding all over the place because that just stinks.

 

Reference: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay

Life Lessons from a Cold Sore

Posted on: May 19th, 2012 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Life lessons can come in a variety of forms.  Sometimes it’s presented by way of a difficult relationship, a tedious task or surprise situations.  This past week I had a life lesson presented to me in the form of a cold sore.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, there is an assumption that I eat perfectly, carry no stress and meditate emphatically.  Although these are all aspects of my life, I cannot embody them fully nor would my expectation be that anyone else can.

A week ago, I developed a little cold sore that I treated with tea tree oil topically and an anti-viral immune support internally.  Everything was going beautifully and the cold sore was diminishing.  But one sunny day later with 11 hours of being in my garden, the little cold sore that could…did.  It was triple the size and in its glory for everyone to see.

Whether it’s having a cold sore on your lip, acne on your face, eczema on your skin or loss of hair on your head, it can be a humbling experience to show the world that something is going on internally with your health. Comments are generally given to people about what they should do about such conditions.  The reasons for these concerns are multi-factoral and often of a personal nature.

My cold sore this week reminded me that is ok to show vulnerability and once again enhanced my appreciation for those with conditions that are literally shown to the world.  It also reminded me that more rest time is needed amongst the busyness that my life holds at present.

Even a cold sore can a teacher to promote compassion to others and a reminder to relax.  I think I’ll do so today, but this time with a hat.

Photo from: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder…what can be done to help

Posted on: October 22nd, 2011 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

As the autumn weather blows in its coolness, we begin to shift into a different gear that is preparing for the winter season.

Are you beginning to notice a change in your eating habits?  Are you migrating toward the root vegetables, carbohydrates and sweets?

Are you noticing you are wanting to be outside less and feel more comfortable bundled up inside?

Are you feeling your mood is a little bit lower than you’ve known yourself to be?

This is the time of year when many of us feel the seasonal shift internally with mood and externally with our food cravings and body composition.

The term SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) has been coined in recent years to explain this phenomenon.  It is essentially bouts of depression or depressed mood at certain times of year, mostly in the winter months.  Younger people are more susceptible and it is more common in women.

So, what can be done to help?

LOTS.

Taking a mind-body approach to treatment is the best way of making positive change in someone’s life that is affected by SAD.

To break it down in categories, these are the areas that exert positive change.

Light: with SAD people tend to want to be inside, in dark spaces and away from stimuli.  Get out, get up and get some light in your eyes.  Full spectrum lights are incredibly powerful in lighting up your mood and energy.  30 minutes per day is most beneficial and when used upon rising, it mimics sunrise.

More Light…in the form of Vitamin D.  Get your levels tested.  Low levels of this powerful immune and mood supporting vitamin can increase rates of SAD.  See your Naturopathic Doctor to assess your levels and begin supplementation to get you on track.

Movement: We want to be the hibernating bear, but this only makes things work.  Even if all you can do is walk around the block once, that is progress.

Breathing: while you move, remember to breathe deeply and easily increasing oxygen to cells.

Nutrition: what we crave only perpetuates the mood we are feeling.  To get out of that mood, eat clean.  Choose to have a strong focus on vegetables and always in heated form.  Teas are also great.

Acupuncture: to balance the energy meridians and support stable mood.

Supplementation: Naturopathic Doctors can help create plans with botanical, vitamin/mineral support to increase mood and overall wellbeing.  Winter is a wonderful time to support your mood, your adrenals and your immune system.

Environment: For me television almost always makes the mood worse.  It feels good for a minute, but after I’m done watching a program, I feel heavy and frustrated with wasted time.  Choose to have nourishing music, programs, book, and company around you.

There is so much that can be done to support depressed mood and SAD, turning your winter into a more enjoyable experience.

If you are interested in learning how Naturopathic Medicine can support you, please contact the clinic at: info@touchstonehealth.ca or 1-888-454-4667

564-572 Weber Street North, Unit 3A
Waterloo, Ontario
N2L5C6