Why Pacing Beats Push-and-Crash (and How to Best Manage Your Energy) | The Health Sessions

Why Pacing Beats Push-and-Crash Cycles (And How You Can Best Manage Your Energy)

If you’ve been living with a chronic illness for a while, you’ve probably heard of the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino. For someone who’s seriously sick, each day starts with a limited amount of “spoons” of energy. They carefully have to decided how you can best spend each one, knowing that even mondain tasks like taking a shower or making lunch costs you precious spoons.

The Spoon Theory is a helpful analogy of what it’s truly like to live with chronic illness or disability. But how does it work in reality? How do you decide how to spend your spoons? What do you do when you have no spoons left but still half a day ahead of you?

In my experience, there are two broad strategies: pacing and push-and-crash. 

I used to be the queen of push-and-crash cycles. At the time, it really was the only way to get things done: resting up and preparing before an event – going to school, necessary shopping trips, hanging out with family and friends – putting every last drop of effort into getting to and through the event and then… crash. Hard. It meant my symptoms would exacerbate and I couldn’t do much else but rest the next day(s) to recover from that activity.

Read more >Why Pacing Beats Push-and-Crash Cycles (And How You Can Best Manage Your Energy)

Taking An Ice Bath: What You Can Learn From Breathing & Cold Exposure Training | The Health Sessions

Taking An Ice Bath: What You Can Learn From Breathing & Cold Exposure Training

Ronald Aartsen is a practitioner of Japanese acupuncture and other acupuncture styles with classic roots in Rotterdam & Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He also gives workshops teaching Breathing and Cold Exposure after finishing an instructors year in 2014 with Wim Hof, better known as The Ice Man.


1. What is Breathing & Cold Exposure training, based on the Wim Hof Method?

It’s a method that consists of 3 components: breathing techniques, cold exposure and mindset/focus.


2. Why would anyone voluntarily take an ice bath? What are the benefits of cold exposure?

Excellent question. If you would have told me before 2014 that I (being a big fan of tropical sun and climates) would be sitting in an ice bath, take outdoor swims in the winter or be hiking through snowy landscapes in shorts, I probably would have thought you lost your mind.

But as an acupuncturist and a meditation & qigong enthusiast I am very interested in our self healing abilities and our inner power. So I read about Wim Hof and the research that was going on and decided to step out of my comfort zone and registered for a workshop.

I loved the effect of the breathing techniques and the power I felt in and after the ice bath! Me as an Indo chilling in a tub filled with ice cubes. And I loved the simplicity of it all. You don’t have to train for years and years to be able to do this.

Let me be clear, the components are not new. The East has a long tradition of similar disciplines and people know the benefits for their health. Same goes for Russia and Northern Europe for example. Wim Hof just made it available to larger group and involved science to research the combination of these techniques.

After the one day workshop I immediately registered for the instructors year including a week of training in Poland and walking up a ski slope in shorts to name one element.

I will just name a few results here without getting into the scientific details. Research has shown that cold exposure can lead to a better functioning immune system (and how to voluntarily control it), increase in metabolism and an increase in brown fat. Combined with the breathing and focus techniques it can help to reduce pain, lead to better cirulation and boost your cardiovasclular system and energy. You can find a great overview on the research here.

The Cool Challenge was a project to measure the effects of cold showering. The report can be found here.

Read more >Taking An Ice Bath: What You Can Learn From Breathing & Cold Exposure Training

3 Ways to Stay Awake Without Caffeine | The Health Sessions

3 Ways to Stay Awake During the Day (Without Caffeine)

This is a guest post by Sarah Cummings from The Sleep Advisor.

The mid-week slump. We’ve all been there. Some of us even experience the midday slump, every single day. Really, it’s exhausting. And when we find ourselves drained of energy, sugar is often the first thing we turn to for a boost. That, or caffeine. And caffeine, while it may appear to be your secret weapon sometimes, is not your friend.

So here are a few ways to stay awake during the day…without the caffeine buzz.

Read more >3 Ways to Stay Awake During the Day (Without Caffeine)

How to Work Your Way Up to Walking 10,000 Steps A Day | The Health Sessions

How to Work Your Way Up to Walking 10,000 Steps A Day

When you’re healthy and fit, you don’t realize how essential it is to be able to move around on foot. Walking is probably just a boring activity you mindlessly do.

It’s not until you become ill or injured that you discover that being able to walk places is key to living a ‘normal life’, even in our sedentary society. Pain, dizzy spells, shaky legs and extreme fatigue can make the simplest moves difficult, from browsing the aisles of the supermarket to getting across the parking lot or going on a day out with friends.

But even many able-bodied people don’t get the recommended 10,000 steps a day in. No matter what your current fitness level is, there are doable ways to gradually increase your walking stamina. 

Read more >How to Work Your Way Up to Walking 10,000 Steps A Day

3 Morning Exercises to Start Your Day with a Bang | The Health Sessions

3 Morning Exercises to Start Your Day with a Bang

This is a guest post by Sarah Jacobs from Lea-p.com

Waking up early and doing a bit of exercises can help boost your overall mood and productivity all throughout the day. This is because exercising helps release happy hormones (serotonin) from your brain and can also improve blood and oxygen flow into your brain – making you more active and feeling positive for the day.

Going out for a walk or a short jog is the best kind of exercise in the morning because you get to breathe in the calm and fresh morning air, go around your community and entertain yourself with the outside view.

However, not everyone is lucky enough to live in a good neighborhood. If you are living in an apartment in the middle of the city for example, walking or jogging outside is not exactly an inspiring exercise with all the honking cars, busy pavements and unshaded concrete streets. There are however different exercises you can do inside the house – and these can also improve your mood and productivity too.

Read more >3 Morning Exercises to Start Your Day with a Bang