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New Year Resolutions

News, Wellness

How Are Those New Year Resolutions Coming Along?

March 3, 2014

Written by guest editor and milk + honey licensed massage therapist, Matt W.

New Year's Resolutions

Hi everyone. I  wanted to check in and see how those New Year Resolutions were coming along.

I know, New Year Resolutions were so three months ago, but if life got in the way, and we didn’t follow through, we may just forget that we wanted something different for ourselves in the first place. Don’t wilt if your “New Me” hasn’t completely hatched yet. Often we begin things without realizing there’s also a middle and an end to them. These things take time, about three weeks according to some, or a life time according to others.

Changing often requires a lot of hard work, faith, and support. In the beginning, it can be difficult. In the end, it will ideally be second nature. Yet we are constantly changing in between those two poles. We can change what we habitually do, and by doing so, we can change, at the very least, our experience of ourselves. There’s some science behind this for sure, and a lot of it is very exciting.

As the mechanisms for brain change become better understood, the implications seem to grow. The enormous generalization I would like to make here is that the things you do in your daily life change you. I would add that the way you do things in your daily life also changes you. We can all take advantage of the brain’s adaptability in creating new habits by, well, doing new things. Every activity you undertake affects the physiology of your brain, the neural networks, and the body. The more you do a thing, the easier it is to do it. This goes for habits of mental action and feelings as well as for physical action.

The double edged sword inherent to the brain’s nature for change and engraining will conjure arguments for free will, and this is where you’ll find the best results. Frustration and one’s ability to tolerate frustration seems to play a key roll. Something about just barely succeeding (or failing) sends all kinds of urgency cues to your brain that you really want to improve your skill, or your effort, or your will power right here specifically.

Weightlifting provides the obvious analogy whereby the weight you almost cannot lift is the very weight that will increase your strength the most. You can fine tune and take advantage of other components of the equation to get the most out of your efforts.  Collectives of individuals striving for the same excellence, expert coaching, goal affirming environmental cues all contribute to this phenomenon. I find it interesting that, under the right circumstances, you can change your habits of thoughts and feelings as well.

If you have a strong sense concerning what you want to change, and why, you can get some great advice on classic goal setting and accomplishment. You can change your basic behavior and there are some great tools to help you with that. Take advantage of a service like HabitForge or simply follow the wholesome and common sense advice available regarding goal setting.

Humans are complex, no doubt, and this brings me to the paradox of self-initiated change. We are who we are. Not liking who we are can provide enormous motivation for change, but ultimately provides your inner saboteur its greatest monkey wrench. It is what Buddhist nun Pema Chodron describes as “self-aggression.” We all have pieces of ourselves we’d rather not see, let alone show to others, and yet these are the very aspects of our being that require the most love. Change that ignores this, or skips over this step, will only provide incomplete results.

Working with this habit, the habit of seeing oneself as not good enough, or the habit of seeing success and failure in absolute terms, can be pretty interesting. Working in this way requires a new habit, and that habit is compassion, for yourself and others. So you didn’t make it to the gym today, and aren’t going to. Maybe tonight you give yourself some love in a different way, and support yourself for going back tomorrow. Cut yourself some slack.

Now, you have a couple of options. You can agree to forget, or agree to remember that you made your resolutions. Should you agree to remember, then you can notice where you fail. You can be gentle with yourself when you do. You can gently but firmly pull yourself back up, and put yourself back on that horse. Good luck, and enjoy the rest of 2014.

Beauty, Living

Is Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution Giving You Sore Muscles? We Have the Solution.

January 14, 2014

So, you’ve made your New Year resolutions — namely, don’t skimp on the exercise, to eat healthier, and to remember to squeeze in dedicated “you” time every week. Now it’s time to follow through. It can be hard, it can be an uphill battle, and it can be a little discouraging… especially when the sore muscles (after an indulgent holiday hiatus) kick in.

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Our advice to you? Stick with your new fitness routine — you got this! But be sure to give those aches and pains a little extra TLC, too. Courtesy of our Hill Country Galleria location, here are a few milk + honey ways to keep morale high, your body stretched and limber, and your mind at ease. Hey, there’s a reason we were voted “Best Spa Exeperience” by Austin Fit Magazine:

–  Treat yourself to a sports massage. How is this different from, say, a Lux Massage? This full-body massage incorporates deep stretching and tissue manipulation to ease stiffness and pain in muscles and joints. It’s particularly useful for restoring mobility, preventing injuries, and relieving stress. In other words: athletes, fitness-minded folk, and people looking for a way to offset exercise-caused stiffness, what are you waiting for? Reserve your sports massage at milk + honey’s Hill Country Galleria location stat.

– We’ve got this magical potion — okay, it’s technically called Sore Muscle Bath & Body Oil No. 18 — that helps fight the not-so-fun soreness for you. This new milk + honey blend features Arnica oil, a potent anti-inflammatory, which speeds up the healing process while eucalyptus and other essential oils reduce joint pain and delight your senses.

– Have you ever heard of Arnica patches? We’ve got those too. And they’re life-savers. They’ll help treat bruises, sprains, and muscle pain.

– Finally, after the massage, the oil, and the patches, don’t forget about one crucial way you can help alleviate and prevent future soreness: use a foam roller. Among the many benefits of utilizing a foam roller? It smoothes and lengthens your muscles, and breaks up adhesions and scar tissue. You’ll also be setting yourself up for better blood circulation, which in turn speeds workout recovery and boosts performance. Lucky for you, we’ve got foam rollers on-site too.

Now, keeping your fitness resolution doesn’t have to be painful — in fact, it will feel really good.

Source: fitnessmagazine/Instagram

Living, News

How to Keep Calm and Carry On This Holiday Season

December 21, 2013

three stooges turkey edit useWritten by guest editor and milk + honey licensed massage therapist, Matt Walker

I love the holidays, but let’s face it, they can be pretty overwhelming. With the trifecta of Thanksgiving, Yuletide festivities, and New Year’s Eve in our midst, it’s inevitable that we get sucked in, overrun, depleted, lifted, and celebrated. Regardless of where you’re at in this spirited procession, you’ll want to take care of the “basics,” as in, first and foremost, take care of yourself. This also means that it’s a really good idea to keep things in perspective, and when all else fails, take refuge (or you know, a night off).

Here are some other life reminders — trust me, we all need a little call to action, and this is mine to you.

Have a self-care plan, one that embraces moderation:

  • Try hard to get in about eight hours of sleep — here’s what’s in it for you.
  • Daily movement is key. Or if an everyday schedule doesn’t work, try for 30 minutes of intense exercise a couple times a week.
  • Whole, nutritiously dense foods with a minimum of ingredients, such as vegetables and meats present the most reliable pre-prescription for health.
  • Be merry. That’s a given.
  • Always get home safely.

And when you know “moderation” might not be in the cards for your night out, be honest with yourself.

  • Know when you intend on pushing past your limits, and under which conditions.
  • Avoid sugary treats and alcohol until sundown.
  • Try to clear part of your day after the company party.
  • Carpool or take a cab home on the nights you plan on over-indulging.

We can all lose a grip on things, especially when the holiday energy is high. Remember: a little perspective goes a long way. No holiday — no day, for that matter — has to be perfect. So, be thankful for the time you’re spending with family and friends. Count your blessings.

When all else fails, it’s time to take refuge:

  • Move a little slower.
  • Savor quiet time.
  • Go outside.
  • Cross something off your list without doing it, and go do something for yourself instead.
  • Stay home.
  • Schedule a massage.
  • Visit a sauna.
  • Meditate.
  • Pray.

In the grand scheme of things, the holidays punctuate our daily lives, helping us to reaffirm those very things we would cherish everyday if the ideal were actual. It’s the best time of year to reflect, rejoice, and recharge for the year ahead.

Happy holidays, everyone!

 

Image: ABC Studios

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