“There’s no crying in baseball”

Posted by Maria on August 24, 2009 under Newspapers and Newsworthy, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

How often do you cry?

I cried today already.

My brother’s family came home for a brief visit from Dubai. They’ve been here for 11 days. I have a niece (2) and a nephew (4) and this morning they packed up and went away for a couple of days. I guess I woke up feeling stressed and that carried over into my interactions with my family even though I knew I was going to see them later again this week and it was not the final good-bye.

The two year-old, as delightful as she normally is, was in a real mood. My mom said she had gone to bed late and woke up too early at 6:30am. I think sleep deprivation had reared its ugly head. She was crying and kicking and hitting and was generally being a royal brat. I guess that’s what they mean when they say, “Terrible two’s.” I of course can’t use that excuse for myself though.

The four-year-old was quieter when I came over but was generally feeling a little sad. He wasn’t interested in eating his lunch and tears dripped from his eyes. He was trying to wipe them all away. I asked him, “Are you tired?”…”No.” “Are you sad?”…”No.” “Do you want a hug?” “Yes” and he reached around me and we hugged each other for three or four long minutes and that’s what made me cry. Now I’m crying just writing about it. It was a lovely moment between me and my God-son.

All kinds of things make me cry. That was just today’s trigger. Usually, I cry because someone tells me something I don’t want to hear. Or I cry just because I’m frustrated from mounting tension and it just boils over like a volcano. Or my hormones may end up being the culprit. Sometimes I cry out of sheer sympathy, empathy and compassion for someone else. I can’t remember the last time I cried from physical pain. For me to cry, something sets off a chain reaction and I haven’t figured out how to de-rail the train mid-way so I can somehow avert the cry. It’s a work in progress.

If I’m going to cry at a movie, it will be during a separation or a reunion scene, like when a mother gets separated or reunited with her children, out come the waterworks, as they say. But Terms of Endearment, the biggest tear-jerker of all time, made me laugh the first time I saw it. In that case, it wasn’t the movie itself, it was the audience’s sniffling that triggered me. How insensitive.

A couple of weeks ago, I cried because my favourite co-worker was threatening to quit her job. Somehow as I was talking to her, I spontaneously combusted into tears as a last resort plea to make her re-think her actions. There was a lot more background that I won’t go into. Suffice it to say, crisis dodged…barely. Those were some tough negotiations and crying bought some time. And it made her see how serious things were. I wouldn’t recommend that tactic, unless you’re a seasoned pro like I am:> Then again, pulling out the ol’ surprise cry makes people go, “What the…???” and it just may work in your favour.

I also cried that same week as I was driving home from Jazzercise class when I should have been feeling pretty good. I don’t know what came over me but Barry White’s, You’re the First, the Last, My Everything came on the radio and there I was crying. Who does that??? I couldn’t help myself. That was more of a happy cry, by the way.

According to an article published on August 12, 2009 in the telegraph.co.uk:

“Women spend the equivalent of 16 months of their lives crying, according to a new poll.”

“And for women aged 26 and over, who also cry for 2 hours and 14 minutes a week, the most common causes for an emotional outburst include falling out with a partner, hearing someone else’s bad news and feeling tired.”

Check out the whole article at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6013010/Women-cry-for-16-months-of-their-lives.html.

I’d say I cry at least that much and for those kinds of reasons. We produce emotional tears because it’s a means of communication and it starts at birth. Before developing speaking skills, infants express frustration, pain, fear, or a need through tears. Meanwhile, adults may use crying to reach out to bond with others and to exchange some level of comfort and support.

According to an unnamed study of 300 adults mentioned in Wikipedia Encyclopedia, women cry on average at least five times per month, especially before and during the menstrual cycle when crying can increase up to 5 times the normal rate, often without specific and obvious reasons. Men only cry once every month, probably because in many cultures, it is not as socially acceptable for men to cry as it is for women and kids.

I say, if it helps release stress, it can’t be all that bad. Crying may be embarrassing and it may be ugly but it helps restore the chemical balance in the body. And a good cry does help people feel better.

What do you think? Do you use crying as a tool to deal with stress or do you think people who cry are weak?

Stay Cool as a Cucumber this Summer

Posted by Maria on August 2, 2009 under Bath and Body, Home spa, Homespunspa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Pets, Recipes, Self-Care, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Is it hot enough for ya?

Somehow I’ve managed to stay pretty cool during this past week’s record-breaking heatwave on the West coast.

Sleeping through the night hasn’t been much of an issue for me. For once I’m grateful for living in a basement apartment. It stays pretty cool without air conditioning.

Water on the Inside

I’ve also increased my water intake during the day. Staying hydrated is key.

And the same goes for your pets. You can tell if your animals aren’t getting enough fluids if they’re panting or if their muscles are twitching. Of course, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make ‘em drink. At least have some bowls of cool water available to them in case they do get thirsty.

A few weeks ago, I asked my personal trainer why I was feeling so tired when I woke up in the morning even though I went to bed early and thought the quality of my sleep was pretty good. She said I wasn’t drinking enough water and recommended drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning and sipping water throughout the day, especially since I’m exercising more.

Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. I don’t recommend drinking beverages that have extra sugar, sodium, caffeine or alcohol, however. These ingredients will dehydrate you and will get you back to square one – that is, being uncomfortable in the heat. Being dehydrated makes you sluggish, tired and fatigued – which isn’t fun at all.

On the other hand, keeping yourself well-hydrated during the day will help you regulate your body temperature at night, which in turn will help you sleep better, which will make your days brighter.

Take a page from the book of cucumber

Cucumbers are mostly composed of water. The expression “cool as a cucumber” stems from the fact that the inner core of a cucumber is known to be significantly cooler than the outer skin, in spite of the external room temperature.

According to folklore, cucumbers are said to be “ruled by the moon” and everyone knows that the moon influences the tides and our moods and affects our sleep.

Cucumber Water

1/4 English Cucumber, thinly sliced in rounds – is widely known as a remedy for puffy eyes. Its soothing, cooling and toning properties also work on general skin problems including wrinkles.
1 Litre of fresh water – Drinking water hydrates skin, lubricates joints and muscles and helps the body flush out toxins.

Wash the cucumber and cut into slices. Place the cucumber slices in a glass pitcher. Fill the pitcher with cold water. The taste of cucumber will infuse the water over time, making a refreshing drink.

Keep chilled in the fridge. Pour over ice in a nice, tall glass. Alternatively, you can freeze the cucumber water as ice cubes and then add them to your favourite drinks like tomato juice.

Water on the Outside

And don’t forget, water and cucumbers work well on the outside of your body, too. Taking a cool bath or shower before bed could make all of the difference for you when 2:00am rolls around.

Cucumber Bath for Hot Summer Nights

Soaking in a bath cleans the body and relaxes the mind.

1 cucumber, pureed – Matches the pH level of skin and is good for all skin types. Contains potassium and Vitamin C. Helps relieve the pain from sunburned skin.
1 12″x12″ piece of cheesecloth or sieve.

Wash the cucumber and cut into chunks. Place the cucumber in a blender or food processor and puree to an even consistency. Put the pulp in a sieve and strain out the water or achieve the same result with a cheesecloth. Reserve the cucumber water for your bath. If you want, you can add the pulp to a salad or apply it to your face as a face mask.

Draw a cool/warm bath before bedtime. Add the reserved cucumber water to the bathwater. Sit, soak and cool off.

I hope these tips help you enjoy your summer more. If you have any comments about this post or have any sleep-related questions, please let me know.

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