This weekend I tried cryotherapy. Yes, that’s right. I voluntarily put myself into a -250 degree box for fun. The session lasted for three minutes and, while it was the longest three minutes of my life, the benefits I experienced afterwards were well worth the cold.
Cryotherapy is a method of pain treatment that exposes the body to extremely cold temperatures in order to heal muscle soreness, reduce inflammation, and improve health. Cryotherapy is also said to boost energy, relieve stress, and improve skin among other things.
Although all the benefits sounded great, it was the promise of reduced inflammation and muscle soreness that peaked my interest. You see, I am in the process of training for my second half marathon. If that wasn’t hard enough I am still recovering from a foot and ankle injury that set me back big time. As my training runs begin to get longer the discomfort and soreness I’m experiencing in my foot, ankle, and legs is worsening. And so, despite working with my physical therapist and using a training plan I was eager to see if the benefits associated with cryotherapy were true.
And the verdict?
Yep! Cryotherapy definitely helped to ease my muscle soreness and stiffness. I highly recommend it for those looking for an additional way to recover from injury. I must say the effects I felt were not immediate and it took about to day for me notice a change. However, after an amazing night sleep, the pain I was feeling from my run the day before was gone and the soreness/stiffness in my feet, calves, shins, and ankles was greatly reduced. DISCLAIMER: The only benefit I did not experience was the energy boost, I was absolutely exhausted afterwards. But, looking back it’s not the worst benefit to miss out on (plus I got a great nap out of it). If you are considering cryotherapy, don’t let the cold deter you from all the benefits it has to offer. Your body will thank you for it!
Who doesn’t love opening up a good book in order to escape life’s stresses for a little while? For me, a big part of my wellness plan includes curling up with a nice book and getting lost within the story. No matter how busy life may get I strive to read two books a month [even if it’s only a chapter a day]. Here are my two November reads.
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan:
This book is a fascinating tale into the mind of Susannah Cahalan, a New York Post reporter, who loses her sense of self and memory after coming down with an unnamed, and not yet treated, disease. Her story is a raw, touching, honest, and heartfelt account of her month of madness. You won’t want to put it down!
Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard:
I was asked to read this book for work as part of a local farming and environmental series we were doing and I am so glad I did. This book is a first-hand account about the journey Forrest Pritchard and his family took to save and recreate his family farm. In a time where subsidized farming and mass marketing are prominent, this book allows you a peek into the world of family farms, farmers markets, and the benefits of purchasing and consuming local foods. It will definitely leave you thinking about the food you are consuming and where it is coming from.
It had become a routine. After a long day of work the last thing I ever wanted to do was run errands and pick up around my house. Multiply that times five days a week and I now had a weekend loaded with things to do…or so I told myself. I had mastered the art of procrastination and the mantra “I’ll get to it tomorrow” became a common phrase. When Monday morning’s wake up call hit, it usually hit hard. Overwhelmed with the immense task of having even more things to do than before, I decided to work proactively to reduce the stress I was putting on myself. It has worked wonders.
To best manage life stressors make to-do lists your best friend.
That’s right. It sounds simple and unnecessary, but making a list, and more importantly, sticking to the list is as helpful to managing stress as a bloody mary is to a Sunday morning “headache”. Items usually topping my list are what to make for my meals and snacks, a vague outfit idea according to my inaccurate iPhone weather app, errands to run to and from work such as get gas, mail some late thank you cards, a coffee stop, the gym, and grocery shopping.
Disclaimer: my abnormally long list is usually due to the aforementioned weekend procrastination. Learn from my mistakes people.
What I have come to learn is this. Instead of thinking of your to-do list as a tedious inventory of chores change your mindset. Think of your list as a set of intentions to complete that day. Holding yourself accountable to your intentions creates a sense of purpose and achievement. I mean honestly, what a good feeling it is to take pen to paper and scratch out something you’ve been meaning to do for a while. Daily lists are made up of small, obtainable goals that hold a bigger meaning than you realize. Setting your sights upon a goal and completing that goal according to your predetermined timeframe is known to improve self-esteem and time-management, as well as attitude and sense of accomplishment. All while decreasing levels of stress, anxiety, and worry. Plus the more you get done that day is less you have to do during your weekend.
Start small. Make a small list of priority items for one day and see how far you get. If you don’t get around to all of them don’t get defeated. Just add it to next days list. You’ll find list making improves organization, saves you time and stress, and allows you to better remember those last minute notes-to-self you need when running out the door. I sure did.