Have you ever heard of vitamin D being referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin?’ That’s because It absolutely is! Starting first with the skin, we use UVB rays from the sun to synthesize the majority of vitamin D that we need. With the help of the liver and the kidneys, it gets converted into D3, which is the primary, and most active form of the vitamin that is used in the body.
Vitamin D3 plays many essential roles; chief among them is the regulation and balance of calcium, primarily for the formation and maintenance of healthy bones.
However, vitamin D plays a wider role outside of bone health that you may not know such as:
- Gastrointestinal health: Vitamin D can be protective in many gastrointestinal disorders especially with respect to conditions related to IBD (Irritable Bowel Disorders). Crones and Colitis, and even irritable bowel disease and celiac disease and gluten issues. Vitamin D3 is said to be protective to the lumen (or walls) of the small and large intestine and is really important not only to help treat, but also can be used as a defence for lowering susceptibility of flare-ups in the future, or in disease progression.
- Hormone and endocrine functions: Vitamin D3 can also play a major role in hormone regulation and functioning. Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is also very important in the regulation of many steroid hormones. Because of this, it can play a role in helping with insulin resistance, fat metabolism, and blood sugar regulation. It can also be very helpful in benefiting issues such as weight gain, obesity, hormone imbalances, cardiovascular disease, and even some respiratory conditions as well.
- Mental Health: Vitamin D, has been known to play a crucial role in mental health, especially when coupled with other fats such as Omega 3 for example. Adequate intake, or supplementation, of vitamin D, can greatly improve symptoms of anxiety and depression especially when taken in the winter months when many people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) due to the lack of sunlight during these months..
- SKIN ISSUE: Many skin issues, are at least partly, due to inflammatory conditions either in the gut or somewhere else in the system. Vitamin D can play a major role to aid in inflammatory conditions, and in certain instances allergic signs and syndromes as well.
- Immunity: Vitamin D3 plays an important and vital role, in the immune system as it helps build immune factors in the bloodstream, which play a role in aiding with fighting infections. The technical term for these chemical messengers is called cytokines. These messengers are always working hard for your immune system to build the strength of these immune fighters and allows the systems in your body to function more effectively.
- Musculoskeletal: Vitamin D3, plays a major role in the movement of calcium into the bones, as well as plays a role in the function of growth hormone. Maintaining adequate vitamin D3, and calcium status (often coupled with vitamin K2) at times as well, will not only ensure healthy and strong bone formation, but it also, will be preventative to lower chances of developing, or progressing symptoms like Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, and many other musculoskeletal issues. This could include those such as inflammation in the joints, stress fractures, chronic pain, fibromyalgia and others.
There are also dietary sources of vitamin D as well which can be consumed as well. Foods that contain high amounts of vitamin D3 typically are fish, mushrooms, pork and beef. Many juices and milk products in Canada are also fortified with vitamin D, which means that it has manually been added to these foods, to increase vitamin D sources for those who consume them.
As well, you may often need to increase your intake of vitamin D3, with a good quality supplement or D drop. This is especially true in Canada, as we are far north of the equator and are likely not getting the proper UVB rays necessary to produce vitamin D3 to adequate levels.
So, as the sun is shining, make sure to get outside as much as possible. Typically, 20-30 minutes of direct midday sunlight each day is a great start, to help get a very healthy dose of vitamin D.
Go for a walk, ride your bike or sit outside – and soak in all that glorious sunshine vitamin! J
Hello! I’d like to introduce myself as Docere’s new provisional psychologist. As part of my intro blog, I thought it’d be useful to share my approach when working with psychotherapy clients. I’m very excited to serve Docere’s clients who may be struggling with common issues like anxiety, depression, sleep problems, stress, self-esteem, grief, loss, and relationship dynamics. My training includes evidence-based practice with an emphasis on building the therapeutic alliance.
I am keenly aware that each of you is unique regarding your current and historical
- physical health, physiology, genetics (biology)
- beliefs, thoughts, emotions, behaviours (psychology)
- upbringing, culture, family and relationship dynamics (social)
- meaning, connection, awareness (spiritual)
…and will meet you where you’re at.
Humanistic & strength-based
Along with uniqueness, I believe in people’s inherent goodness, subjective experience, and motivation towards fulfillment. I emphasize the importance of accessing your strengths and resources to help you fulfill your potential and growth-needs, rather than focusing on dysfunctions and pathology. How refreshing, eh?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) & rational emotive behavioural therapy (REBT)
Speaking of subjective experience, our beliefs tend to influence our thoughts, behaviours, and emotions; vice versa (bi-directional relationship), which is the theory behind the widely-supported CBT model.
Using CBT and REBT techniques, I work with you to acknowledge and address some core beliefs, thinking, and behavioural patterns that may be keeping you feeling ‘emotionally stuck’ and from fulfilling your needs.
by Dr. Alisha Rawji ND.
Hi everyone, I hope you’re all keeping well and staying safe during these unprecedented times.
As most of us have now transitioned into our new shared reality of staying home, socially distancing, and forgoing our regular day-to-day-lives, I thought it might be useful to share some tips and traits that, I hope can help you get through it a little easier – while staying healthy, safe, and a little more relaxed…and maybe even having a little more fun along the way!
First let’s get the nitty gritty out of the way:
I would like to re-iterate and remind everyone about the recommendations from the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) about how to stay safe during these times. I can’t express how important they are as the most crucial line of defense in keeping us all safe – and here’s why:
1-Wash your hands with soap and water, for at least 20-30 seconds. This is absolutely one of the most critical things we can do to protect ourselves and everyone around us, why?? Because bacteria and viruses actually get broken up by lipid containing agents (such as soap), and therefore, cannot survive. Hand sanitizers (with at least 60% alcohol) also work well, but not as well as handwashing, and therefore should only be used if/when handwashing isn’t possible.
A good little tip is to sing a song while washing your hands (you may need to sing them once or twice to make it work for a full 20-30seconds) but in doing so, makes this mundane and very repetitive task seem a lot more fun – especially for your little ones! Some popular songs that work well are: happy birthday, row-row-row your boat, ABC/Alphabet song…or you can be creative and use whatever chorus or lyrics you like – from any of your fav songs!
2-You’ve probably heard it being said many times before, not to touch your face, but why?? This is because, viruses and bacteria don’t usually enter our bodies through the skin but actually through mucous membranes – and those are mostly found on the face. Viruses enter through open areas such as our eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. Our hands act like a vector or a transport system to get them there, which is why avoiding touching your face is also such a vital defense.
3-Social distancing and staying home as much as we can– as social beings by nature, this is something that I know can be the most difficult thing to do right now but is also very important. Why do we have to stand at least 2 meters away from each other? Another way that viruses (and also bacteria) can spread is through respiratory droplets, i.e. from someone who coughs or sneezes, or even talks too close to one another – whether they’re showing symptoms or not.
Keeping one’s distance does greatly reduce the rate of spread and there is very widespread research out there, denoting this. Comparing how and when countries started implementing social distancing measures, and the slowing of the spread (or ‘flattening the curve’), can be seen not only throughout this pandemic, but from previous ones in history. This can make us feel a little better about the situation when we’re feeling sad or frustrated by it all. I always come back to the fact that collectively, we care enough about one other by social distancing, as well as by helping the health care system to catch up, and also evading hospitals from possible overwhelm.
What else can we do stay healthy??
The first thing I would like to emphasize, is to remember that like most things: this too shall pass. It’s SO easy to feel stuck or overwhelmed by any situation, but also remember that it will, in its own time, get better. Extensive work is being done in all fields and disciplines to help curve this, so for now, continue to do whatever you can to say stay safe: connect with the people you love, take care of each other and remember that it’s best to be alert not anxious.
In the meantime, here are some things you can do to help improve your health right now:
- Sleep: adequate sleep (7-8hrs/night) resets our circadian rhythms, keeps our body alert, and gets our protective immunity fighters (cytokines) to work in full force…this in turn creates a stronger immune system overall. Therefore, keep up with a daily routine, i.e. sleep at the same time, and wake up at the same time in the morning, to maintain overall health and balance.
2.Stress management: when our bodies are overly stressed out, the adrenal glands release cortisol (stress hormone) in excess. When cortisol is chronically high, it can severely deplete our immune system. This is why it is so important to practice healthy coping mechanisms and help lower our stress levels overall. Keeping up with practices like yoga, meditation, tai chi or any other stress-lowering activities are so key in managing stress levels, and improving our overall health and wellness. Another benefit, is that lowering our cortisol will improve melatonin release at night when we want to finally need to shut down, which also helps sleep quality.
3.Hydrate and eat well – generally speaking, this will always help support our bodies, in any situation, of stress that we’re faced with. Continue to eat foods with high amounts of proteins, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods, if possible. The reason being, proteins and fats will not only help provide satiety (feeling of fullness), it will also help us maintain blood sugar levels, and keep us focused and alert. Eliminating or even limiting sugars and simple carbohydrates will further help with this. Maintaining adequate blood sugar levels will greatly help us manage stress, and can also improve mood issues, such as depression and anxiety.
Likewise, fruits and vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that our bodies and immune systems needs to function at its optimal level. They’re packed with vitamin c, zinc, bioflavonoids, and other things that are protective to us. Furthermore, eating fermented foods such as kafir, kombucha, and sauerkraut, for example, help build gut bacteria, and probiotics. This is helpful because not only will that help increase gut and immune defenses, but it also improves brain health. This is because, brain neurotransmitters (such as serotonin) are largely produced in the gut, therefore it will even further help manage mood, stress, and anxiety.
4- Social distancing does NOT meal isolation – at this time, more than ever, people need to reach out and connect to others. There are many creative ways to do that – I’ll share my favs!
-Zoom app (for those who don’t have iphones/facetime): can have multiple people on at once.
-House Party app– I LOVE this one! You can have multiple people on at once, and play games together. You can plan virtual games nights with your friends – and it’s a blast!
-Meetup app: this is an app that has events for almost any/all interests, and there’s a ton of them that have been moved to an online format. Whether you would like to learn or practice a new language, have a virtual coffee shop hangout, or even a virtual pub hangouts. There are also virtual trivia nights, paint nights: so are many options to explore in a fun and creative way.
5-Creativity/productivity/creative outlets: This is SO important right now. There is more than enough evidence out there that convey the importance on creative outlets to greatly improve our mental health. By expressing ourselves creatively, it activates parts of our brain which help release dopamine and serotonin, and generally make us feel happy, inspired, and free. It also
I would suggest any of the following quarantine friendly outlets…and have fun with them!
- Learn or re-learn the guitar, piano, flute, recorder or any instrument!
- Learn a new language: Youtube, Rossetta Stone, there are so many resources out there.
- Singing: have an online jamming party with your friends…have a few laughs along the way!
- Blogging: about anything, or whatever you’re passionate about – talk about it with the world!
- Start a book club – keep yourself interested and engaged with your group of friends.
- Work out videos: so many out there – also many virtual classes in Calgary to check out.
- Dance studios: Many studios in Calgary are still promoting online classes – for many styles!
- Make a vision board, or map our your 2, 3, or 5-year plans: focus on good things to come.
- Be productive in many ways: clean a room, closet, pantry etc..you’ll feel clear and productive.
10.Nostalgia helps: Revisit favorite movies, books, songs, shows, even blog/write about them!
- Virtual cooking class with your parents: ask your mom to finally teach you her skills!
- Screen time: As tempting as it is, limit the amount of time you allow for Netflix binges!
- Turn off the Covid-19 news: instead just update yourself to stay current 1-2x/day.
- Arts, crafts, and games: on that virtual call play some Charades, Pictionary, or Karaoke!
- Take a walk (at a distance), and listen to your favorite playlist or podcast!
- Volunteer opportunities: Meals on Wheels and Food bank need lots of help right now.
- Grow some plants, inside the house or outside, and find joy in watching them grow!
- Put on your best dressed attire, listen to some tunes-you’ll feel confident and self-assured!
- Have a bath with some essential oils (my favs are-ylang ylang, sweet orange, lemongrass).
- Virtual movie nights on Netflix: it allows you and your friends to watch movies together!
- Gratitude: write 2-3 good things a day, or about the little things you’re grateful for.
- Journal your feelings: feel what you feel right now, and this is a great outlet to express it.
- Try your hand at poetry! You might just be a poet, and well…not even know it! J
- ANYTHING that makes you feel happy, healthy, connected, grounded i.e. meditation, yoga.
- A lot of companies are opening up courses, resources, entertainment for FREE see below:
These are some of examples of free resources available to the public right now: it’s great for adults and kids alike. You can learn about the arts, humanities, higher education and more:
Free IV/league courses accessed to everyone virtually:
Museums and zoos: Virtual tours of popular museums, zoos and popular places of interest.
Musicals: You can now watch many well-known musicals from the comfort of your own home!
Audiobooks: Many authors have starting to roll out free access to many different books.
Podcast app: Use your podcast app on your phone for free: history, arts, culture, and more.
YouTube: Many free documentaries and history lessons to be found -just do a quick search!
At the end of the day, do whatever you can, on a daily basis to make yourself feel better throughout this time, and please know that we are here for you! We are still available via telemedicine (phone/video consults) to help with our patients health at this time, whether it be for consultations or even meal plans, please ask we want to help in any way that we can!
I cannot WAIT to get back into the clinic and work with you, when the time is right to do so; but in the meantime, please reach out and I’m happy to help you out with your health, virtually!
Stay healthy, happy, and safe!
-Dr. Alisha Rawji ND.
Amanda Delamer, MSc., PCC, CPCC
I’m guessing I’m not the only one who was in a bit of shock when it was announced that, to prevent further spread of COVID-19, schools would be closed indefinitely. A few things went through my mind: 1. We don’t have to be up as early tomorrow, so movie night it is!; 2. I don’t have to make lunches, hooray!; and 3. I’m sorry, what? And what does “indefinitely” mean? Then a sudden rush of something came over me as I realised that I will be responsible for the thing I fear most: homeschooling. Or rather, the patience that will be required to homeschool my three children. I know I have it in me, but wow, this will be a whole new experience.
I’m happy to report that after four days at home, all three children are still alive and well. Even more noteworthy, we are all thriving and smiling and laughing and processing – together.
In addition to an increase in caffeine consumption, here’s what has supported me and my family to thrive.
Listen to your inner voice
Over the years, I have become pretty good at listening to, and working with, my inner voice. It has taken a lot of practice, experimenting and learning – to trust myself and what my inner voice is saying in each moment – but I continue to experience a great deal of confidence in the choices I am making when I listen to it. And choices that leave me feeling better, more fulfilled, more satisfied and more at peace than if I hadn’t listened to my inner voice.
Whether you call it your spidey-sense, your gut, your intuition or your inner voice, we all have it. That thing that attempts to guide us in making choices that feel right for us in each moment. That leader within us that truly wants what is best for us. It doesn’t always seem black and white, what our inner voice is telling us, and that’s okay. It’s simply communicating with us all that is going on in our mind and in our heart, and what feels best for us in this moment. Trust it.
During this time of uncertainty and “new normal” I hear my inner voice saying things like “what a uniquely amazing time this is to be at home with all of my kids”, “you can create some pretty awesome activities to do with your kids”, “look at you getting outside with your kids for ‘gym’ every day, keep it up!”, and “This week, what does your schedule look like? What’s the plan? When are you with clients and when are you with the kids? Who do you need to ask for help?”, and “it’s okay to feel frustrated with the kids fighting again, what about creating a family agreement and talking to/asking the kids how we want to be and feel together?”
What is your inner voice saying to you?
Now, sometimes there may be a voice that doesn’t seem so supportive, or it’s disguising itself as being supportive. This is your saboteur, your gremlin, and while it can be something that helps us to grow (when we learn to work with it), it can create a whole lot of panic, insecurity and overwhelm. When we listen to this voice, we may find ourselves making choices that are not in line with what is most important to us.
Some clues that my saboteur, not my inner voice, is present – I hear things like “it’s impossible to schedule in clients and be home with your kids”, “Soccer is cancelled, how on earth are you going to keep up your fitness goals?!?”, or “How are we going to do this?!?!?!” Our saboteurs love coming out to play when fear is present. My saboteur usually presents itself when, if I dig deep, I’m afraid of not being good enough, not being liked, or missing out on something.
What is your saboteur saying to you?
Hint: When listening to and making choices from your inner voice, you will more often feel movement forward. When listening to your saboteur, you may often find yourself feeling stuck or overwhelmed.
Choose where you will put your focus
There are a ton of things currently out of our control, and many circumstances that are presenting themselves. No, we didn’t ask for them, but we do need to work with them.
Whether or not I can play soccer at the end of April, out of my control. Creating an exercise schedule for myself, in my control. Being able to visit my 95-year old grandmother at her assisted-living home, out of my control. Working with the staff at her residence to schedule in face-time calls with her, in my control.
What are the things within your control? What are things you have no control over? What happens if you make a plan that relates to those things you control?
It’s an uncertain time, and things are changing at a crazy pace. One week ago, schools were open, hockey and swimming lessons were on as usual, and I played two soccer games with my league. This week, nothing. I take it day by day. It helps me keep focused and allows a lot less room for anxiety.
Love and compassion
We are all processing, and we all process in our own way.
For me, I am really practicing more love and compassion at home. I notice that my kiddos are quite calm and engaged in the mornings, and then 1pm-ish comes. What on earth?!? They become different little humans. Love and compassion for me means not raising my voice with them, and instead (just as I am good at in the mornings) lowering my voice and talking calmly with them. This is all new to them too. They are processing so many feelings and thoughts, and that is sometimes going to result in a heated spat over who gets to wash their hands first.
Patience. With our family. With our colleagues. With that guy at the grocery store.
I very much appreciate that we are all experiencing these uncertain times differently, and we all have different circumstances to consider. Listen to your inner voice, focus on what is within your control, draw on love and compassion for yourself and others, and ask for help. We can do this.
Lets schedule in a sample session! You don’t have to process all that your inner voice is saying alone, lets process together. Book in for a complimentary sample session today, and discover how Coaching can support you to thrive. Call 403-452-6262 or email email@example.com.
Amanda is a self-awareness and fulfillment coach. Amanda coaches and supports people in living healthy, balanced and fulfilled lives. She coaches and honours the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Her clients experience fulfillment in all parts of their lives – health, family, relationships, career, etc. – and they value and appreciate that all parts of their lives are connected, and that we all have responsibility in and for the world around us. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her loving husband and three inspiring children.
Halloween, a very exciting time for kids! Don’t fret about the large amounts of candy that they are going to bring home. This doesn’t have to be a scary event. There are many options that still involve your child having a great time, but not gorging themselves on candy. Moderation, moderation, moderation…
Whatever works for your family, but my biggest suggestion is it is all about moderation. I have found when parents make candy something that is forbidden it can sometimes work against them. It may lead to kids hiding it or gorging on it when they have do have access to it. So here are some tips:
There are lots of great options out there to reduce the amount of candy in your home there are candy buy back events where kids can get money for their candy. Some parents have used the candy fairy option where they substitute candy for a toy.
Educate kids on the effect that sugar has on our body it can feed bad bugs in our tummy’s, it can cause bad behavior and too much can really make us sick. If your ok with your kids having some candy just talk to them about having small amounts at a time, so that those negative effects don’t happen.
It is also very important to ensure people/children don’t get bored of their diet and don’t feel restricted. Trying healthier alternatives, can help satisfy while having positive benefits. There are great alternatives that don’t involve lots of refined sugar using alternatives to white sugar including honey, maple syrup, stevia, banana or other fruits as a sweetener. Also if you focus on the less sweet options then the palate naturally will adapt and the sweet options become too sweet, and cravings for sweet decrease.
By Amanda Delamer, MSc, CPCC, PCC
Have you experienced “the fog”. That feeling when you’re in the kitchen cutting veggies for dinner, kids around you sharing ideas for the next best lego elephant spaceship or how they just learned how to do a cross over at ringette, but you are so not in the moment because you are preoccupied with something that happened earlier in the day? That feeling when you’re in bed, wide awake, because all you can think about is a conversation you had with a colleague earlier in the day? I have and me too.
In these moments I am in the fog. My mind full of thoughts, trying to process, and not letting any part of me be present in the moment. It’s foggy, and nothing seems clear.
I have become pretty good at getting myself out of the fog quickly these days, and identifying what got me there in the first place, but it wasn’t always the case. What makes it easier for me to feel less foggy is being very connected in with my values.
Three things come to mind, and I notice help me remain present and out of the fog:
- Be clear on what you value
- Say “yes” with intention
- Say something
When we are clear on what we value, and we make choices consistently and on a daily basis that align with our values, this is when we experience the most joy and fulfillment. This is when we feel less foggy. What do you value? What does that word mean to you? Make a value string, put a few words behind the value so you are really clear on what it represents for you.
Say “yes” to those things that align with what is most important for you. This will also require you to say “no” sometimes. I know that for some of you reading this, the thought of saying “no” is making your palms sweat, but you can do this! And you might find that at times, saying “no, but here’s what I can do” is also helpful and keeps you aligned with your values. If you are asked to take on an additional task at work, or there are still emails to respond to at 4:55pm, say “yes” to leaving those things until the morning. Nobody will die, and if family, for example, is something at the top of your values list, this is you choosing to say “yes” with intention and honour what is most important for you. When we make choices on-purpose it is empowering, and feels clear. We go home ready and excited to learn how to make an elephant spaceship out of lego without an ounce of fog or guilt.
Say something. If a friend or family member, or colleague or supervisor makes a comment that you agree with or are not on board with, say something. Have a voice and honour who you are. In the boardroom, at the office, on the playground, at the rink – honour what you value and have a voice. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you may be replaying that moment in your head at midnight wondering why you didn’t saying something. When you agree or disagree, honour yourself and share what’s coming up for you.
One of the first exercises I go through with clients is mining for values, and supporting them to get clear on what it is they value. It is part of their big picture, and it connects in with every session we have. Get in touch with me, and let’s create time and space for you to process and connect deeply with what you value.
Amanda Delamer is a self-awareness and fulfillment coach. Amanda coaches and supports people in living healthy, balanced and joyful lives. She coaches and honours the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Her clients experience fulfillment in all parts of their lives – health, family, relationships, career, and beyond. They value and appreciate that all parts of their lives are connected, and that we all have responsibility in and for the world around us. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three children.