After pursuing a Bachelors in Psychology and Business at Murray State University, Kathryn McDaniel studied at the Natural Health Institute in Nashville, TN. There, she obtained her LMT license, as well as certifications in Healing Touch, Reiki, and Life Alignment Technique. In 2002, she opened her first business – Green Hills Massage Associates. As her business evolved, Kathryn introduced other services such as hypnotherapy and group fitness. GHMA grew into Green Hills Healing Arts – inching closer to the dream of a full service natural health facility. In 2011, another expansion broadened the business model and GHHA is now Lilac Healing Center. Kathryn currently works with private clients to help them create personal health goals and is the Business Manager for Lilac Healing Center.

Q: I love the holidays but as they get closer I find myself getting tense and having headaches. What can I do to relax?

A: 1. One of the easiest ways to help you to relax is TO BREATHE!  It may sound silly but many of us hold our breath when we are stressed or excited and don’t even realize it! Just take a deep breath and visualize all that tension melting off of your neck and  shoulders– like water off a duck’s back.  Breathe in for 4 counts and then out in 4 counts….. do this 5 times and see what happens!

2. STAY HYDRATED!  — Over 80% of headaches are caused by dehydration…. regardless of the time of year.  Holiday cocktails, yummy coffee drinks, gas heat and fabulous foods don’t help . Rule of thumb — 1/2 your body weight in oz. is the proper amount of water to drink daily — i.e if you weigh 130 (I dare to dream), then you should drink 65 oz EVERY DAY! And NO — the water in coffee, soft drinks or juices DOES NOT COUNT- sorry folks.

3. SCHEDULE DOWNTIME: I know, “ha-yeah right” you say….. but make a promise to yourself  that you will spend 15 -30 minutes every day this holiday to relax in some way —mani/pedi, meditation, fitness class, DECAF coffee or hot tea, read the paper, light an aromatherapy candle and practice breathing — WHATEVER helps you to let it all go for a few minutes. What are some fun ways that you know  that help you  to relax?

Q: Is there anything I can do when my relatives are staying with me but I find myself stressed out from too much togetherness. I love them and certainly don’t want to hurt their feelings but I feel I need to take care of myself.

A: First and foremost — remember: if you are stressed, others can feel it and will respond accordingly! If you are happy and relaxed, your family will also respond accordingly. Pace yourself when entertaining. Most of the pressure you feel comes directly from yourself.
It is ok to take a few minutes for yourself — find a quiet place to escape, even for just a “sec” —your bedroom or an unused den. How about taking  the long way to your mailbox to “check for mail” or run to the store to grab milk?
Most people understand needing a break. What do you like to do for yourself? Would a short walk be helpful? A long bath? Make a list of your favorite de-stressors and commit to giving yourself permission to try a couple of them when you feel overtaxed ….. I promise — it’s for the greater good for all involved!!

We would love to hear about your favorite de-stressors! Please send in your helpful hints!

Q: I’m supposed to meet friends after work for a holiday celebration but I am exhausted. What can I do to get myself mentally ready to go?

A: Keep in mind — this is supposed to be fun! If the thought of another big night is overwhelming, how can you make the plan more “doable”? Maybe just stop in for an hour and make sure you don’t over-indulge so that you can reserve your energy.  Keep it simple — remind yourself that this is voluntary and it WILL be fun!

Be sure to eat well that day — plenty of protein and low carbs….. protein gives you longer lasting energy and carbs  actually steal energy when they turn to sugar in your system, leaving you feeling flat. Vitamin supplements are helpful: One of my favorite energy boosters is vitamin B-complex — if you have time to pick up some, please do. Keep it handy and on those extra long days you can use it for any easy energy boost. Also drink lots of water!

Big Picture Moment: How many social engagements can we handle? Do you know your boundaries? In a perfect world, we could schedule our December festivities in advance and stick to the plan. Great advice and definitely worth striving towards, but perhaps not always realistic. Is there a way for you to consolidate some of your activities to include more people at one time– thus reducing total number of times you feel required to go out?

If all else fails, JUST SAY NO! Your friends will still be there after the holidays (if they are really your friends). They may be disappointed, but your health and sanity comes first! They will understand. You may even inspire others to take care of themselves too! You will probably see the whole thing on facebook anyway…..  😀

Pace yourself! There is always time for MOST of what you want to do….. and rainchecks are available for the other things you didn’t get to.

Love yourself as you are loving others! Give yourself permission to rest a moment here or there.

Stay hydrated! Water is replenishing, cleansing, energizing and tasty! We can go a long way when we are properly hydrated.

Remember the spirit of the season — we are all here to love and celebrate each other and our universal connection to our fellow people. We are all in this together.

A reader asked Kathryn how to deal with stress while going through menopause – hot flashes and all. Here’s her answer:


Going through menopause is never on the top of anyone’s “favorite things to experience” list, but at least you are not the only one….. I have compiled some easy ways to help with symptoms during the Holidays (and other times) that should not be time/attention consuming.

Nutrition plays a big part in alleviating mood swings. Hormone fluctuations affect serontnin levels in the brain, resulting in mood swings. Eating foods that contain complex carbohydrates will stimulate serontonin production and create that “feel good “affect. Try adding turkey, black eyed-peas, black and English walnuts, almonds, sesame or pumpkin seeds, and cheddar, gruyere or swiss cheese to your diet.

Specific herbs to keep on hand to stabilize moods are Kava Kava Root (my fave is “Relaxed Mind” hot tea at Whole Foods), and Black Cohosh — also found a Whole Foods. More herbs are listed on the link below. If you can, eat small meals/snacks throughout the day instead of three large ones to maintain metabolic rateR.

TRY TO AVOID — Caffeine and sugars — they create a chemical rollercoaster in your body that is simply unpleasant.

EXERCISE — EVEN IF YOU ARE FATIGUED, PLEASE get out and at least walk for 30 minutes a day — the more exercise the better! Yoga, Movement Meditation and swimming are all great ways to calm the mind while challenging your body. This will keep your energy up and will help you to sleep at night. That is essential. Without proper sleep, your body will drag out the menopause process and drag you and everyone in your path down with it.

Websites that contain helpful info:

Hope this helps!

Happy Holidays!

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