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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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‘Tis the Season to Relax

Many times, the hustle and bustle of the holidays can increase our already stressful lives. The last thing we feel we have time to do is relax; we feel we have to earn relaxation. We tell ourselves we must finish our entire to-do list before taking a break, or that we have to complete a physically challenging workout before a relaxing bath. Unfortunately, if we don’t find time to relax, we risk experiencing long-term, stress-related effects.

    While short-term stress may be bearable, long-term stress can have a significant negative impact on our bodies and minds. Long-term stress often leads to chronic health conditions, digestive issues, difficulty sleeping, decreased memory and concentration, and an increased risk of anxiety or depression. To decrease the potential for these issues, we have to make time to relax.
    While finding time to relax may seem like a challenge, spending a few minutes a day to take deep breaths or meditate can help reduce our overall stress level. If you have more time to devote to relaxation, a practice that incorporates movement, breath, and meditation, such as yoga, provides even greater stress reduction. Yoga can be tailored to address the specific physical and mental effects of chronic stress, which helps increase relaxation and decrease fatigue.
    The physical, asana practice of yoga, can help to relieve chronic muscle tension that often results from long-term stress. It also provides an opportunity to synchronize the movement of the body with the breath, which brings focus and calmness to the mind.
    The breathing exercises practiced during yoga help naturally activate the relaxation response in your body. These exercises can be utilized on or off the mat; simply taking deep breaths is enough to activate this relaxation response and immediately begin reducing stress. Lengthening the exhale works as an additional trigger to activate the calming response of the relaxation response as well. There are also breathing exercises tailored specifically to help those who are experiencing anxiety and panic disorders.
    Incorporating meditation into your day, even for a few minutes, helps to bring your mind into the present moment, further reducing stress. There are many kinds of meditation, some more active than others. There are also guided meditations available that you can listen to in the privacy of your own home.
    All of these practices help to build stress resilience, which is our ability to successfully handle and adapt to stressful situations. The more tools we have in our stress-reduction toolbox, the greater our stress resilience will be.
    As we move into this busy holiday season, take the opportunity to increase the importance of relaxation in your life. Whether you utilize yoga, breathwork, or meditation, see if you can begin to incorporate these stress-reducing activities into your daily routine.

    Kate Vernor is the owner of Palms Together Yoga, located at 1717 R.T. Dunn Drive Unit E in Bloomington. For more information, you may call 309-825-1800, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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