About Danielle Ratliff

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So far Danielle Ratliff has created 21 blog entries.

Nurturing Ourselves With Self-Care Practices

The external stress of these uncertain times can overwhelm our minds with fear and grief. One news update can send us into a downward spiral. For many, our natural response is to focus on all the things that have unexpectedly gone wrong or to project worst case scenarios into the future. The mental toll of this fear-based thinking is unpleasant at best. At worst, it can progress into anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. And the adverse effects are not limited to our minds. Physically, stress can show up as headaches, digestive disturbances, muscular tension and pain, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Chronic stress can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.  It even lowers immunity, our body’s natural ability to protect us from viruses. It’s impossible to control the external situations that cause stress, but we can incorporate self-care practices to calm our minds and improve our health. There is no right or wrong way to nurture yourself during these uncertain times. The how and what you do for self-care is not as important as your consistency. [...]

By |2020-05-15T20:15:44+00:00May 15th, 2020|

Take a Time out From Fear

Coronavirus is shining a light on our darkest fears. Illness. Death. Losing loved ones. Isolation and loneliness. Being told where we can go and what we can do. Financial instability. Unemployment. Scarcity. We are facing the reality of uncertainty. No amount of planning and preparation could have prepared us. So much has changed in a short period of time. Nothing will ever be the same. We are scared for so many reasons right now. It's understandable. These are scary times. Mentally projecting fear into the future is a normal reaction, but it only made me feel worse. So, I decided to offer myself a fear time out. At least twice a day. First thing in the morning and every night before bed. The body scan and visualization below may help you manage your fear, too. If it feels right to you, step out of your mind and into your body. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Shift your focus to the top of your head. What do you feel? Tension? Pain? Tingling? Avoid mentally labeling what you feel [...]

By |2020-05-15T15:57:32+00:00May 1st, 2020|

Rising Above Fear

As I write this blog post, it’s April 10th and the world is on lock down. My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives to coronavirus. Essential workers are on the front lines putting themselves and their families at risk for the rest of us. Parents have become schoolteachers, many juggling those demands on top of working remotely. Numerous individuals like myself and the entire Serenity Now team are unemployed, our studio doors temporarily closed. Maybe you feel like you’ve lost control. You could be overwhelmed by fear. So much is uncertain and stress levels are high. Are you playing the “what if” game, believing if you come up with various action plans for worst-case scenarios, then you’ll be better prepared? Sure, it’s great to be prepared, but how is that impacting your mental state? I’ve realized the fear spills over into our reactions. It colors our perceptions and experiences with negative energy. Perhaps you’ve already figured this next sentence out, but it was an epiphany to me two weeks ago. The idea [...]

By |2020-04-15T20:47:38+00:00April 15th, 2020|

Shift Your Mental Focus With Gratitude

Yes, these are unprecedented times filled with uncertainty. The effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic evolve daily, often hour by hour. It’s extremely stressful and easy to become overwhelmed with negativity. Experiencing fear, anger, sadness, irritability, anxiety, depression, or mood swings is normal, especially now. And it's common for this mental stress to show up in your body physically. I’ll be fully transparent here because I think it may help you normalize your experience. Yes, I have faith everything is going to be okay in the long run. I have faith we will come out the other side stronger. At the same time, I’ve cried multiple times over the past two weeks. I've experienced moments of utter exhaustion. Sometimes my anxiety is off the charts or my heart feels heavy. I’ve noticed more tension in my shoulders and intermittent pain in my low back. I’m not going to pretend I haven’t felt these things. We are all human, and repressing or denying our experience is never healthy long-term. It’s okay to feel what you need to feel in this moment. [...]

By |2020-04-15T20:48:22+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Closing Temporarily March 19th-31st

Coronavirus Update 3/17/20: Serenity Now will be closed temporarily Thursday, March 19th-31st. We will continue to monitor the situation and currently plan on reopening April 1st, provided it is safe to do so. At Serenity Now, we love being a place where you can relax, recover, and rejuvenate with a great massage. We have been monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic daily. As more information has become available, we have learned individuals can spread the virus before showing symptoms. No matter how diligent we are with extra sanitation precautions and sending clients or therapists with suspected symptoms home, there are still health risks. We have made the decision to put the health of our valued clients, therapists, family members, and the general public first over the potential financial ramifications for us on a small business and individual level. Your health and wellness matters more to us. Therapists have been given the option to see already scheduled clients today and tomorrow (3/17 and 3/18) at their discretion, provided both therapist and client are comfortable with the potential health risks. All clients with March [...]

By |2020-04-23T18:35:25+00:00March 17th, 2020|

Increase Your Productivity & Lower Your Stress Levels by Having More Fun

When did we become so consumed with the idea of productivity that we forgot how to have fun? I remember fishing in my grandparent’s pond and playing in blanket forts with my brother in my early childhood. But somewhere along the way, productivity and achievement became more important. This transition into “24/7 productivity mindset” can happen at any age, but especially during our transition into the “responsible adulting” phase of life. I began measuring my worth by my productive output in my adolescent years. How many things could I check off my to-do list? How many commitments could I take on at once? How hard could I push myself? Those of us who are entrenched in this mindset experience guilt for spending even a few hours a week having fun. Because in our eyes, fun is unproductive and a time-waster. You’re probably thinking, “But I don’t have time for fun.” It’s easy to tell ourselves we don’t have time for fun. I agree there are so many important things to accomplish. I often wish there were more hours in the [...]

By |2020-02-27T14:57:44+00:00February 25th, 2020|

Massage Isn’t a Luxury – It’s Holistic Therapy

Many people view massage as a luxury reserved for special occasions only. If you’re receiving massage at a high-end spa with hot tubs while wearing a fluffy robe, then I agree. That’s an indulgence. On the other hand, therapeutic massage is a holistic way to maintain your health and well-being. It can alleviate chronic pain and lower stress levels. You might even find yourself popping fewer over the counter and prescribed pain medications after getting into a routine of regular therapeutic massage. I understand that trying to decide which type of massage is best for you can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. It simply depends on your goals for massage. If you want to relax and chill out for a bit, Swedish Massage is my recommendation. It’s typically a light to medium-pressure session with long gliding strokes designed to gently break up knots. Your therapist may throw a few stretches in there, but the main goal is for you to walk away feeling like a pile of goo. If you want to alleviate chronic pain [...]

By |2020-02-13T22:32:59+00:00February 13th, 2020|

Letting Go of Stress Through Acceptance

An unexpected work assignment with a short deadline. 5 o’clock traffic with tailgaters. Your preschooler throwing a tantrum because you cut their sandwich in thirds instead of quarters. This is everyday life. Circumstances mostly out of our control. Inconveniences that can send us into a downward spiral when our stress tolerance is low. The death of a family member. A cancer diagnosis. Job loss due to downsizing. Unexpected traumas. Understandably more difficult to navigate than the day to day inconveniences, but still circumstances mostly outside of our control. Often when I write about stress management, I share practical tips. Things like scheduling self-care in your calendar and prioritizing that time slot like a meeting with your boss … even if your self-care appointment is a bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil. This piece is different. Instead of practical tips, I am sharing the concept of acceptance. Accepting that stressful situations and the resulting emotions are 100% normal could be just the mindset shift that makes a difference. I’m not downplaying fear, grief, sadness, frustration and anxiety, especially when [...]

By |2020-02-25T21:47:07+00:00January 21st, 2020|

Pain Doesn’t Always Originate from Where It Hurts

The human body is pretty incredible. When everything is working well, we go about our daily lives not even realizing the gift of pain-free movement. However, when we push ourselves to our limits or hold our bodies in less than ideal postures, we can experience pain. I bet you might even be holding yourself in an unfavorable posture while reading this article … head tilted down, upper back slumped over, and shoulders rounded forward. When we continue these patterns, our muscles can become tight and constricted. We might feel stiff and achy. Our muscles can develop “trigger points,” which are spots along the tight muscles that are the most sensitive and painful. Blood flow can become restricted around the trigger points or they can interfere with nerve function. Sometimes the nerve interference is so intense that the nerve is “pinched” or compressed. Intense pain is more common in these cases and often pain will “shoot into” or be felt in other areas of the body. This phenomenon of pain being felt in other areas is called a “referral pain [...]

By |2020-02-17T21:36:08+00:00November 22nd, 2019|

Ep 38: Addicted to Busy

Are you addicted to busyness? In Episode 38 of "Serenity Now with Danielle" (my first recording in 11 weeks), I challenge you to think about whether or not you are "addicted to busy" like me. I know I was and I wore it like a badge of honor. It was part of my identity. I’ve made a lot of changes over the last year in regards to work-life balance. I stopped networking and saying yes to every social invite at the end of 2018. In June, I stepped back from my role as a weekly talk radio show/podcast host and only recorded new shows sporadically as I felt inspired. But it wasn’t until I stepped back from my role as a massage therapist here to just run Serenity Now as an owner that my work hours decreased to a traditional 40-hour work week. And as I suddenly had more time for myself, there was an epiphany moment … I was unconsciously using my busyness as an avoidance strategy. Underneath everything, there were buried emotions I didn’t want to acknowledge. [...]

By |2019-09-12T19:11:40+00:00September 12th, 2019|