Phoenix Integrated Health Professionals
Counselling - Massage - Reflexology - Yoga
Posted on June 20th, 2018

​A good night’s sleep is one of the most important things to have as a base for overall wellbeing. Did you know that just one week of insufficient sleep can increase stress, and have an effect on immunity, inflammation and overall health? Poor sleep is associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety, higher risk of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and strokes?

Sounds scary, but not to fear! Improved sleep can be achieved by employing some fairly small changes in your sleep hygiene. In the same way that we’d get smelly and sick (and probably lose some friends) if we didn’t employ regular old body hygiene and wash ourselves, we can get sick and tired if we don’t employ some good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is just taking the time to employ some good practices/habits so that we have a good night’s sleep and
a good day of alertness to follow. Below are some tips to get you started:

Good morning sunshine!
Where better place to start talking about sleep than to talk about waking up? Natural sunlight is one of the best ways to wake up in the morning. Open the blinds wide and embrace the sunshine! While this can be difficult in Alberta in the middle of winter, there are alarm clocks you can purchase that slowly wake you with blue light, which is stimulating and helps our body’s natural sleep/wake cycle do what it needs to do to get you out of bed (aka: circadian rhythm). Enjoy the sunshine and listen to the birds sing while you wake up and enjoy a wholesome breakfast.

Say no to Joe.
Although that midday cup of coffee might smell oh-so-good coming from the break room, try and avoid getting a jolt from caffeine after 2 P.M. (at the latest). While coffee has a lot of health benefits, the caffeine can have a major impact on your sleep. One study showed that caffeine that was consumed even 6 hours before bed affected sleep amounts by over an hour! Opt for decaf if you need a warm drink, or even better drink some tea or water.

You need to move it, move it.
You already know that exercise is incredibly important to overall wellbeing and health. But did you know being active during the day will help you sleep at night? Keeping active during the day can increase the amount of time spent in deep sleep, which is the most physically restorative sleep phase. It increases sleep amount, relieves stress and anxiety, and helps with insomnia. Spending time in deep sleep also boosts immune function and supports cardiac health. Just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week can improve your sleep!

Make a plan.
Create both a sleep ritual and a sleep schedule. While this can be tough (let’s be realistic, you won’t always sleep in the same environment, and late night adventures come up!), try and stick to it most of the time. It's important to try and go to sleep and wake up at about the same time. Like I said, things come up and realistically we can't always be in bed at the same time, but it's important to stick to the schedule as much as you can.  Create a good sleep ritual that revolves around calm and quiet. Don’t do anything strenuous or exciting. A good way to boost your body’s natural release of melatonin is to have a nice warm shower about a half hour before bed. Our bodies need to cool down to release that melatonin, so causing your body to warm up and cool down can help that release occur. Spend some time meditating or doing some breathing exercises or calming yoga. Put on some cozy pajamas. Crawl into bed and enjoy the dark and silence as you wait to restore your body for all the exciting things you are going to do tomorrow.

Don’t go into the light!
Keep your phone in its home! Last blog post I wrote, I talked about giving your phone a home. Like I stated earlier, blue light wakes our bodies up—opposite what we want in our beds. Find a good home for your phone, tuck it in, say goodnight, and go to your bed techless.

Don’t try too hard.
Don’t spend more than about 20 minutes in your bed trying to fall asleep. Yep, you read that right. If it is taking you more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, get out of your bed and do something VERY boring. Re-fold your dishcloths. Count the stars. Lay on the floor and belly breathe. Listen to a podcast about the colourful history of wicker basket weaving. Give yourself 10 minutes to be very boring, and head to bed again. The more you condition your brain that your bed is for sleep and not laying and thinking, the faster you’ll fall asleep in the future.

Take deep breaths.


Breathing exercises don't need any kind of special equipment. You can do it laying down or sitting somewhere comfortable that has no distractions. It might seem silly that breathing can help--you do it all day! But some breathing techniques actually alter brainwave activity, helping you lower stress and get right to sleep. One of the simplest ways to do this is to practice "Breath Counting". You simply focus on your breath going in and out. Start by taking a deep inhale (make sure your belly is expanding), exhale slowly and count "one". The next inhale/exhale, count "two". Go all the way to 4, and repeat. Breathe in peace, breathe out stress. 

The key message is that your brain loves habits and routine—it’ll love it when you create a healthy routine for sleep. Creating sleep hygiene that increases deep sleep is a good habit to start so you can ensure that the basis for your overall wellness is solid. As always, if you need some help getting into healthy sleep routines or help with your overall wellness give us a call at 780-842-3112, and we’ll help you out!

Happy sleeping!

-Kendra

by Kendra Barss on June 13th, 2018

​Technology is everywhere. If you’re here, you’re reading this on a screen. Chances are, you stumbled across this post while scrolling Facebook and are reading it on your phone or tablet. Screens aren’t inherently bad--we use technology to connect with others, to learn, to grow, and to find the things we need (Google maps anyone?). But more often, we use technology to disconnect. We use it as a tool to take our minds away from the day, and into the world of our friends beautifully filtered HGTV-worthy home images, perfectly behaved clean children, and meticulously put together meals. We use it as an escape from our present moment.

Statistics are showing that people are living with more stress, depression, and anxiety than ever. They’re a by-product of our busy, fast paced, technology driven world. We even have a word for the fear of being without our phone—Nomophobia. But how the heck do we find a way to function without our phones when they’re such an integral part of our lives?

Making a few simple changes can help balance out our need for technology and our need for mindful presence in our day-to-day lives:
  • Schedule time with your tech.
  • Give your phone a home.
  • Fall in love with the “Do not disturb” feature
  • Find a mindful hobby

Schedule time with your tech. Decide that you’re going to spend time with your phone, enjoy it, and then let it go. Ideally, this time will be at least an hour before you go to bed, and not immediately after waking. Pick a time, schedule it into your day, set a timer, and stick to it. Enjoy your time surfing Facebook, or connecting with people who are elsewhere. When you put it down, maybe make some time to be face-to-face with that friend.

Give your phone a home. Again, ideally, your phone should be away from your sleep space (good sleep hygiene is important!). Find a place that your phone can stay in your house that isn’t immediately visible (to avoid the temptation to use it), but accessible if you need to make a call. “Put it to bed” at night in its spot, and keep it there when you’re not on scheduled phone time. An added bonus is no more searching for where it went!

Fall in love with the “Do not disturb” feature. Do a little digging in your settings and see what your phone can do. Most smartphones these days have this feature. Pick a time at night that the phone doesn’t alert you. If this causes anxiety, start small—shut off notifications from 10:00 PM-6:00 AM. Gradually lengthen that time. There are often features that you can set to allow “urgent” calls and texts through by prompting the person calling to indicate that it’s urgent. Check out your settings, and if you’re having trouble you can always consult a friend or Google it!

Find a mindful hobby. What will you do with all this free time!? Find a hobby that keeps you present and mindful. Try colouring, doing puzzles, sewing, cooking, moving (yoga is great!), or read, keep a journal or even try and memorize a poem! Spend time in nature, really look at the sights around you, and enjoy the smells and sounds. Look at the clouds, and see what you can imagine. Let your thoughts float by like the clouds do, and spend some time meditating.

Spend some time thinking about how spending more time “in the now” can benefit you and the people around you and see if you can build it into your lifestyle! If you need some help building a life you love that is centered in true well-being, health, and happiness, you can always call the clinic (780-842-3112) and book an appointment. I’d love to help you out!

-Kendra

Posted on May 17th, 2018

​Join us this summer for GO GRRRLS, a fun way for girls to learn about themselves and navigate the world we live in today.  This program is for girls ages 10-12.

Sessions will be 1 week long, and will be offered July 16-20 and August 13-17. 
We will be gathering from 1-4:30 PM daily during your week of choice, with a healthy snack offered every day. We’ll celebrate completion of the week with a Friday afternoon pizza party!
 
Monday: Who Am I?
*Finding your strengths and being confident in who you are

Tuesday: Positive Mindsets and Mindfulness, Handling Stress
*Learning about meditation, inner locus of control, positive outlooks and how it affects our everyday, and how to handle stress in a healthy way when it arises

Wednesday: Media Messages and Positive Relationships
*Navigating social media and fostering positive relationships in our lives

Thursday: Healthy Body, Healthy Me (Body Image, drugs and alcohol, age-appropriate sexuality)
*Learning about good nutrition and healthy exercise, creating good body image, try some yoga, learn about drugs and alcohol, and the straight facts about puberty, sex, and consent.

Friday: Planning for the Future
*Using your strengths and passions to plan for the future and find hobbies you enjoy now.  We’ll wrap up with a pizza party this day!

Cost is $350 per participant (Receipts can be written for reimbursement to submit to extended health benefit plans).
If you have any questions or would like more information or to register, please call us at (780) 842-3112, or email phoenixcounselling08@gmail.com. 

Posted on May 10th, 2018

Phoenix Integrated Health Professionals

The Science of Well-Being

​Based on the science of well-being, known formally as Psycho-Neuro-Physio-Immunology, Phoenix Counselling & Psychological Services plans to expand into Phoenix Integrated Health Professionals. What is psychoneurophysioimmunology, and why use this approach?

In non-clinical terms, this simply refers to the science of the mind-body connection, and the deeply complex, yet enduring key role it plays in unlocking your potential for optimum mental and physical health. Stress management, along with lifestyle and behaviour patterns (including cognitions/thoughts, diet, exercise, and relaxation) have been proven to be pivotal factors in both preventing and treating any chronic illness, whether mental or physical, that occurs within the human body.

Neuroscience and biomedical research is leading collective health fields toward a paradigm shift in prevention and treatment of health problems. We now know that personalized, holistic treatment programs, dictated by the individual (not just simply prescribed the clinician), who is supported by allied health/wellness resources, is necessary to achieve true health management, maintenance. Healing programs are not “one-for-all”, and should not be developed based on a criteria of symptoms alone. The goal is to address the underlying mechanisms contributing to the health problem/symptoms. This involves and in-depth, individualized journey to discover, unlock, and recover your optimum level of physical and mental health. Janine and the team of professionals at Phoenix Integrated Health will guide you on this important, life-changing (and potentially life-saving) journey.

In addition to psychology treatment, lifestyle and behaviour management strategies/considerations will be offered to the clients at Phoenix Integrated Health. These include complementary/alternative/holistic allied health treatments such as massage, meditation, private/small group yoga – all of which target overall health and assist clients in learning to relax, manage stress, and maintain more positive coping styles. Diet/nutrition and exercise/physical mobility concerns will be addressed through holistic nutrition coaching and physical trainer service.

Follow the progress towards expansion on our Facebook Page:
​www.facebook.com/PhoenixIntegratedHealth




Posted on October 10th, 2017

World Mental Health Day is every October 10th. The theme for this year is Mental Health in the Workplace. The World Health Organization says that '"During our adult lives, a large proportion of our time is spent at work. Our experience in the workplace is one of the factors determining our overall well-being." Taking care of your mental health at work, and at home, can help you to be more productive. 

Dr. Dan Siegel talks about the different aspects needed for us to have a healthy mind, as pictured above. The Healthy Mind Platter seems fitting after just celebrating thanksgiving, as we may have had full plates and full hearts, we also need to have a full and healthy mind. Here is a little insight from Dr. Siegel about each aspect of the platter:
​Focus Time - When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, we take on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.
Play Time - When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, we help make new connections in the brain.
Connecting Time - When we connect with other people, ideally in person, and when we take time toappreciate our connection to the natural world around us, we activate and reinforce the brain's relational circuitry.
Physical Time - When we move our bodies, aerobically if medically possible, we strengthen the brain in many ways.
Time In - When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, we help to better integrate the brain.
Down Time - When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, we help the brain recharge.
Sleep Time - When we give the brain the rest it needs, we consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.

Taking time to nurture your mental health is important. Are you filling your platter in the best way for you? 





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