By: Dr. Virgilio Sánchez Jr.
I think the best way to handle stress is to move and sweat. Physical exercise is proven to quickly improve mood and reduce one’s stress level. Another of my favorite techniques to reduce stress is by learning simple deep breathing exercises. I like the method where you inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, then hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. This is repeated 4 times. Yoga and tai chi are great because they combine both breathing and movement.
Other great ways to reduce stress are through meditation, biofeedback, aromatherapy, acupuncture, getting a massage, listening to relaxing music, going outside in nature, and walking in the woods or barefooted on the beach. You can even try taking a relaxing bath by adding about 2 cups of Epsom salts and a few drops of lavender oil, and soaking for at least 20 minutes.
What advice can you give to live a healthy holistic life?
There is nothing more powerful for long term health than having a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, and feeling that what you are doing is worthwhile. Begin by building your network of friends, family and community. There is no worse emotional torture than feeling alone or socially isolated. We humans are very social creatures; it is ingrained into our nature. We inspire and help each other. Attempt to always reach out to people in need, especially those who have crushed spirits and have lost hope. I believe there is nothing more energizing and gratifying than helping others. Change your negative thoughts, don’t judge, be kind and authentic, follow your passion, and don’t get too attached to material things.
What advice can you give to help kids live a holistic life?
First, I think we need to be good role models. This is not to say you have to be perfect all the time, but try to eat right and keep physically active. This sends a positive message that good health is important to you and your family. Keep kids curious and positive. Keep it fun, let them create their own superfood smoothies. Let them get involved with cooking and planning the meals sometimes. Celebrate successes and help them develop a good self-image. Be realistic and set limits and goals. Start with small steps that gradually make a big difference. Get them to read food labels so they can be conscious about what they eat.
What do you suggest would be the best way to start a family on a holistic lifestyle?
If you want to create a change with your family, I suggest to NOT start by lecturing or forcing those changes. Keep it fun and entertaining. For example, if you want them to eat more fruits and vegetables, try to visit a farm or farmer’s market. Start a family garden, it is great for everyone to get back in touch with nature. Plan fun physical activities together such as bike rides, canoeing or walking in nature parks. Make dinnertime a family time where everyone can sit down together, enjoy the meal and spend some quality time, which seems to be unfortunately rare these days. Always attempt to stay connected no matter how far away you live from each other. Laugh together!
Virgilio Sanchez Jr., M.D.
Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at the prestigious MCCI Medical Group based in Miami, FL. He is a graduate from the University of Miami School of Medicine and is a Board Certified Family Physician, Diplomate in Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine. He has been in practice for over 24 years specializing in Integrative and Advanced Natural Medicine. Dr. Sanchez has written hundreds of articles that have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. He is one of South Florida’s most widely sought after physicians, appearing regularly on television and radio shows, educating the public on the latest advances in medicine and optimal health.