Archive for December, 2011

Happy Holiday!

Image by sibhusky2 via Flickr

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

At this time of year, many of our clients and Working Well Massage team members are celebrating holidays. Regardless of your faith or religious beliefs, most people feel extra stress during the holidays. There are more people on the road driving to stores and to holiday events. There is more time spent traveling in general. More time spent eating more and exercising less. Many of us spend time with friends and family. Others feel the grief of previously lost loved ones more intensely this time of year. And for families with loved ones that are physically ill or psychologically troubles, the holidays can bring extra stress.

For these reasons, I offer you a few pointers on getting through the holidays with the least amount of trouble possible:

1. Make sure you plan extra time for travel. I know this sounds cliché and obvious, but many of us try to pack so much into each day and the holidays are no exception. My solution, do less. Slow down. Enjoy the time you spend on the road or in a plane, bus or train. Bring a good book or magazines to read. Play word games with family members and small children. Crossword puzzles, sudoku and the game of “hangman” help us keep our brains strong and our memories sharp while helping us enjoy, not merely pass the time, while we travel.

2. Feel free to sample the various snacks, and holiday treats but use a smorgasbord mentality. Try a little of everything, but don’t over do. And if you are sensitive to salt,  fats or sugar, make sure you bring your own snacks or treats to holiday events so you don’t feel left out or tempted when others eat foods that cause you health problems. I can’t eat refined sugars and I like to bring some fruit or Larabar treats to events so I have my own snack while others are chomping down on  baklava and chocolate turtles!

3. Be kind to yourself and others.  And enjoy the moments you have with loved ones.  And,

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Recently I found out that a fellow student in the graduate psychology program at Roosevelt University has a company, Personalized Relaxation, that provides personalized relaxation CD’s. As a fellow personal trainer and master’s level psychology student, Jason Klinowski, , founder of Personalized Relaxation,  knows stress–and relaxation techniques–to help you combat the damaging effects of stress. In addition to his normal training in the master’s program, Jason also completed an additional Stress Management certification program at Roosevelt.

Here is what Personalized Relaxation  CD’s offer (from his website):

Jason offer two types of relaxation CD’s, a standard and a personalized. The standard CD includes progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, autogenic training, sound meditation, mindfulness meditation, yogaform stretching, and imagery. All are proven forms of effective relaxation exercises and can be done anywhere.

Mini Personalized Relaxation Workshop in a client's private home

The personalized relaxation CD includes 5 personalized spot relaxations (© Johnathan Smith 2009), or ‘Stress Stoppers’ tailored for individual lifestyles. Stress Stoppers are quick simple exercises that utilize certain aspects of relaxation exercises for use in highly stressful and inconvenient situations. These exercises can be used quickly and suddenly to help stop the negative effects of stress before they start.

Personalized relaxation offers you the following options:

  • A standard CD with 8 basic exercises that are great for all experience levels – (Order the download version and save on shipping costs!) The standard CD will help you to discover what forms of relaxation work best for you.
  • A personalized CD with up to 120 minutes or 10 tracks of exercises based on experience and preference –
    (CD’s Available Upon Request.) Each personalized CD will have different and unique tracks and scenarios. New personalized CD’s can be made for increasing experience levels and different themes/scenarios. Jason also gives you an added bonus with  every personalized CD order– A free stress ball!
  • Workshops tailored to fit the needs of your company or organization (church group, not-for-profit, spa party)

To learn more about Personalized Relaxation, click on the website here.  Or call Jason directly at  708-574-9298.

Note: Other than attending classes with Jason, I have no affiliation with Personalized Relaxation and receive no compensation for recommending his company. I am simply sharing the information in case any of my loyal readers is looking for stress management assistance beyond massage and exercise!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I like to give my nephews gifts that are not only fun but also educational. (Yes, I am THAT Aunt.) But educational toys don’t have to be lame.  Some toys can not only be exciting, but they can open a new world to a child that he or she might not even have know about. Depending on a child’s interests, Fat Brain Toys can teach children about chemistry, electronics, history, geography, Erector sets, how to build your own catapult for Medieval lore lovers, solar power and how to use their imagination.

According to their website, “Fat Brain Toys® is a retailer and developer of unique specialty toys, games, and gifts. They stock over 6,000 high-quality products, most shipped the same day, including: Erector Sets, Melissa & Doug, Science Projects, Games, Puzzles.”

The website is super helpful for those looking to find the perfect gift for a child (or for an adult. A lot of the toys  appeal to adults as well). I also like that I can search toys by intended age groups.

Here are some of the toys I found intriguing:

Solar Deluxe Educational Kit

Solar Deluxe Educational Kit for about $20.00

  • Everything needed to see solar power in action!
  • Increase awareness of solar energy & energy-conversion
  • A wonderful introduction to the basic concepts of electricity
  • Several different avenues for exploring how solar energy works
  • Understand voltage, amperage, circuits in series and parallel
  • Includes a fan, light bulb, solar panel, sound box with connecting wires
  • Well made and well configured; Easy to assemble
  • Ideal for a science fair project, classroom demonstrations, or home use
  • Comprehensive instructions
  • Durable solar energy kit

The Ultimate Spa and Perfume kit

The Ultimate Spa and Perfume kit for about $27-30. Using natural ingredients, kids create bath oils, oatmeal soap, foaming baths, bath balms, and more. Kids can learn about aromatherapy as they blend five different kids of perfume. For use by up to 8 kids–fun for parties and sleep overs!

Spa Science

Spa Science for about $18.00. Make colorful, fragrant bath gels, bath fizzers, spa lotion, bath balm, a face mask, and shampoo. Mix colors and fragrances to create your own product line with secret and exclusive mixtures. Explore the science of gels, fragrance, and fizzers.

Physics Workshop

Physics Workshop, for about $50.00. This toy is the recipient of the Parent’s Choice Silver Award in 2006.  Like chemistry, physics is an essential science for everyone to study, and Physics Workshop is the essential introduction to physics. The kit allows kids to build 36 models and 37 experiments (with 305 building pieces) to learn the principles of physics.

Why does a brick feel heavier than a pencil? At what angle should you throw a ball into the air to get the greatest distance? How is a screw like a ramp? Why can you balance more easily on a bicycle when you are moving than when you are stopped? How does a car transfer power from the engine to the wheels? What is power anyway? Gravity, force, simple machines, acceleration, momentum, work, and power are all demonstrated right in front of you–a hands-on approach that is fun and effective.

Snap Circuits

Snap Circuits 300-in-1 for about $56.00 is a Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products Winner

The kit allows a child to engineer over 300 exciting, useful electronic gadgets & play lively electronic games with Electronic Snap Circuits. This kit includes colorful and easy-to-follow format of the instruction manual makes circuit assembly stress-free and fun. All parts are mounted on plastic modules and snap together with ease. 

Here are just a few projects your kids can make with the 300-in-1 kit: Lamp & Fan, Musical Doorbell, Laser Gun, Police Car Symphony, Reflection Detector, Spinning Rings, Pencil Alarm, Race Game, Photosensitive Electronic Organ, Space War Music Combo, The Lie Detector, Mosquito, Musical Motion Detector, Fire Fan Symphony, Water Detector, Screaming Fan, Daylight Music Radio, Blow off a Space War, Red & Green Control, Touch Buzzer, Laser Light, Flooding Alarm, Make Your Own Battery, Hissing Foghorn, Blow On a Candle, Mosquito, Voice-Controlled Rays of Light, Spacey Fan, Old-Style Typewriter, Blinking Double Flashlight, Hummer, Motor That Won’t Start, Steamship, Pressure Alarm, Feedback Kazoo, Race Car Engine

Check out the FatBrainToys website for ideas for your children, nieces, nephews, grandkids or that adult in your life that still has a passion for learning and the wonder of a child inside!

Toy Categories
Stocking Stuffers
Active Play
Arts & Crafts
Baby Toys
Bath Toys
Building & Construction
Classic & Retro Toys
Dolls & Dollhouses
Early Learning Toys
Gear & Apparel
Gift Certificates
History & Geography
Imaginative Play
Kids Furniture
Kites, Planes & Rockets
Magnets & Magnetism
Office & Desk Toys
Organic & Green Toys
Outdoor Toys
Playroom Furnishings
RC & Electronics
Room Decor
Science & Nature
Trains & Vehicles
Travel Toys
Wooden Toys

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Yesterday I was talking to a friend who works in the addictions field. She told me about a book to help people stop smoking. In my view, smoking is one of the hardest addictions to quit. I quit smoking cigarettes about 20 years ago and I know how important positive thinking and a good support-network can be to help quit! This new book, “I Don’t Smoke” looks like an excellent tool for those either looking to quit smoking cigarettes or for those with loved ones they want to help quit smoking. What I like about the approach is that it centers on the addiction, not the substance. Our brains pleasure centers get addicted and it’s the pleasure centers in our brains that we need to work with to stop the addiction. Hammering home the future potential hazards of smoking (lung cancer, emphysema, heart attack), don’t help smokers quit. A fear based approach makes smokers want to avoid the informer…and go have a cigarette to deal with the anxiety of hearing about potential future health issues.

Some of the main points covered in the book (from the author’s website):

  • The importance of self worth
  • Addiction theory and brain function
  • A method to change that function
  • The importance of our emotions in recovering from addictions
  • Receiving help and helping others remain free from an addiction to nicotine.

To order the book (for the 2011 price of a pack of cigarettes, about $11), click here.

Who is the Author of I Don’t Smoke and Why Should We Listen to Him?

Joseph R. Cruse, M.D, wrote the book I Don’t Smoke.

Joseph R. Cruse, M.D.

Dr. Cruse is an oncologist-surgeon, an addiction medicine specialist, author, and lecturer. He is the Founding Medical Director of The Betty Ford Center at Eisenhower Medical Center. He served as President of the Medical Staff at Eisenhower. He served 8 yrs. on the Governor’s state alcoholism advisory board for the State of California and 12 years on the California Medical Association’s Impaired Physicians Help Committee. He was Medical Director of Onsite Workshops for 12 years. He has served as consultant to industry, school systems, hospitals, and universities.

He has been a guest on “60 Minutes”, “Good Morning America” and the “Late Night Show”. He has been featured in magazines in the U.S- and Australia.

Joe has written books and several booklets and teaching videos:

Books Published

“I Don’t Smoke!” 2008*
Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul, contributor 2004
The Pharmer’s Almanac II, co author, 1993
Understanding Co-Dependency, co author, 1993
Painful Affairs: Loving Drugs and Alcohol, 1992
Experiential Therapy for Co-Dependency, co-author 1990

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