A big work presentation. When a loved one is sick. Deadlines. Bills. Whether big or small, everyone experiences stress as a normal part of everyday life. And while we can’t eliminate stress altogether, evading stress may be easier than you think.
One of the best ways to get a handle on it all: Hit the yoga mat. Yoga, a mind/body exercise that involves stretching and structured breathing, is a proven way to reduce stress and calm your nerves.
“Yoga helps us slow down for a moment and tune into the breath. Simply the focus on one thing — which is the very definition of meditation — allows us to decompress,” Dr. Terri Kennedy, registered yoga teacher and president of Power Living Enterprises, Inc. “The actual asanas [poses] release tension in different ways, and help certain parts of the body.”
While most yoga moves are good stress relievers, specific poses may help more than others. Practice these poses to tame tension and find your inner calm:
- Corpse pose (Savasana)
How to do it: There are many variations to those pose, but they all begin with laying down on your back with your feed slightly apart, arms at your side with palms facing up. As you inhale, extend your right leg, and then the left, and allow them to drop to the side. Tense your whole body. Then allow your body to sink into the floor. With arms outward, let them rest on the floor. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, allowing your body to relax for five to10 minutes.
Why it works: This pose relaxes your body and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate. That means lowered blood pressure and decreased muscle tension, which are essential to ridding yourself of stress. It also helps clear your head.
- Mountain pose (Tadasana)
How to do it: Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides, with weight evenly distributed to both feet. Press your big toes together and then lift and spread your toes out. Elevate your kneecaps by tightening your thighs. Slightly tuck your tailbone in. Straighten your arms with fingers extended and your palms facing in. As you inhale, lengthen your torso. Keep your neck elongated and eyes forward. Hold for one to two minutes.
Why it works: This pose works to help you clear your mind and overcome you with a sense of calmness. Smooth breathing and regaining balance are also great stress busters.
- Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
How to do it: Place your palms on the ground and step back one leg at a time, keeping your hands and feet in line with each other. Stretch your arms forward and keep them straight. Lift your backside in the air and straighten your legs, while pressing your hands and heels into the ground. Your head and neck should naturally relax.
Why it works: Your spine is elongated during this position, which can help you feel and overwhelming sense of relaxation overcome your body. Downward dog is especially helpful if you’re experiencing a tension headache due to stress.
- Cat pose (Marjaryasana)
How to do it: Begin with your hands and knees on the floor, creating a “table top” position with your back. Straighten your arms and center your head, with your eyes looking at the floor. Inhale, then exhale and round your spine to create an arc. Let your head drop (but avoid bringing your chin towards your chest). Inhale and revert to the tabletop position. Repeat up to 12 times.
Why it works: The feeling of your spinal cord stretching may mimic the feel of a massage, which can ease stress. Cat pose also benefits your stomach organs and muscles.
- Child’s pose (Balasana)
How to do it: Begin on your hands and knees, with your knees about hip width apart and feet together. Stretch your arms forward and lengthen your tailbone away from your back. Extend your torso and lengthen the back of your neck as you place your forehead to the floor. Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing out. Breathe slowly and deeply.
Why it works: This pose works as meditation to tender feelings of calm by soothing the central nervous system. As your spine, shoulders and neck relaxes, so does your mind.
As stressful as life can be, there are ways to help calm you down and relax. Make sure to say Namaste to your stress levels after doing some yoga.
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- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
- 3 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about 2/3 of the way up the sides of a spring form pan. You don’t want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set it aside until you are ready to fill it.
In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.
Pour the filling into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Top will turn a bit darker at this point. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.
When cheesecake has become room temperature, put it into the refrigerator. When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Use dental floss to make a clean cut. Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream on top. Serves 8.
Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.
- 8 oz. package cream cheese
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 15 oz. can pumpkin
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Mix cream cheese and sugar together and beat until smooth. Add pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger. Beat until well combined. Serve with apple slices and ginger snaps.
Cooks note: Recipe can be cut in half by using a 3 oz. package cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 can pumpkin.
Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.
Coordinating your winter travel plans can be chaotic. In the midst of preparing for your trip, keep in mind these three tips to ensure smooth sailing while you’re somewhere warm.
1. Communicate your change of address.
There are several businesses that should be aware of your change of address for the winter season, including Merchants Bank. To ensure you continue to receive important financial, medical or family information or to discontinue specific subscription services, you should contact the following regarding your address change:
- Your bank
- The Post Office
- Your local newspaper (if you have it delivered)
- Other delivery services
To alert Merchants Bank of your address change, stop in or call your local branch (link to contact us page) to let us know of the change. Please include dates of departure and return as well as the names of other account holders living at your address.
2. Know how to access your bank account information.
Managing your money across a few states or a country is critical to helping you feel at ease during your trip. Make sure you are comfortable with getting information about your accounts and managing your money through one of the following free options:
Or, if you prefer assistance enrolling in any of the listed services, simply contact our Electronic Banking department at 866-496-0522.
3. Be diligent in protecting your identity.
In the course of your travels, there are a number of circumstances that could impact the chance of identity theft. You could lose track of a card, leave financial statements in the mailbox, or post publically on a social media site that you’re out of town, which lets criminals know that your house is empty. Review our security tips to ensure that your personal information is safe.
Click here to view our Snowbird Kit.
At Merchants Bank, we are happy to welcome new employees and celebrate new positions filled by current staff. These frontline employees are all looking forward to serving you. Take a moment to congratulate them.
Kelly Carter has joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Lakeville. Kelly lives with her husband, Jeff and their three beautiful daughters in Hastings. For the past seven years, Kelly has ran a day-care out of their home, which has allowed her to be home to raise their daughters.
Sam Ebner has joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Winona. Sam previously worked at Target. He recently completed his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Metropolitan State University. He is originally from Apple Valley and recently moved here with his fiancé, Jackie.
Paulette Reinhardt has joined Merchants Bank as a part-time Teller in Cottage Grove. Paulette previously worked at the Hastings Co-op as a Cashier and is currently attending Dakota County Technical College working towards her Supervisory Management degree. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, Malissa, reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Merchants Bank has pledged $50,000 in support of the new community arts center that is part of the proposed Confluence Project in downtown Eau Claire.
“We believe that the Confluence Project and the new community arts center are important for our community, and as a community bank, we believe it’s our privilege to join our neighbors in our support,” said Merchants Bank – Eau Claire President Mark Willer. “We expect that the project will contribute significantly to both the cultural and economic development of Eau Claire and the entire Chippewa Valley. One of the cornerstones of the Merchants Bank philosophy is to support its customers and the communities it serves by donating volunteer time and making monetary contributions to important community projects.”
Merchants is a full-service bank and is a regional leader in mortgage and business lending. The Eau Claire location, just off London Road, opened in February of this year.
The Confluence Project is a proposed revitalization of property commonly referred to as the “Haymarket Site” at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. The public-private partnership seeks to construct a community arts center, which is the centerpiece of the project. A privately developed commercial/retail complex that includes housing suitable for University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students also is part of the project.
The Eau Claire City Council has pledged $5 million in city funds toward development of the community arts center. The arts center project also seeks $25 million in state funding and $5 million from Eau Claire County. The remaining arts center construction costs are sought from donations and tax credits. The $26 million commercial/retail and student housing complex is being privately financed.
Other members of the Confluence Project public-private partnership are Haymarket Concepts LLC, composed of Market & Johnson Inc., Commonweal Development Corp. and Blugold Real Estate LLC, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, and UW-Eau Claire. For information about making a commitment to the Confluence Project, contact Wally Rogers, Confluence campaign director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-225-8685.
If Merchants Bank could be embodied in a person, it would be Pete Roehl. He was decent, caring, kind, loyal, sincere, dedicated to helping others, committed to always doing the right thing and a leader. As President and CEO of Merchants Bank and Merchants Financial Group from 1986-2000, he oversaw Merchants’ growth from $167 million to $500 million.
When, at the age of 79, his heart stopped beating on August 27 of this year, the Merchants Bank family lost a person who helped shape the culture of the Bank into what it is today – a true community bank where employees take leadership roles in making our communities better places to live, and where those employees take pride in knowing their customers by name.
One of Pete’s many gifts was the ability to make you know you mattered. When he asked how you were, he wanted the real answer – good or bad – because he cared.
Asked about his success a number of years ago by the Winona Daily News, Pete said: “I think my successes stem from a real and sincere caring for people. I like people. If you respect them, they feel that and give it back to you.”
Pete was at Merchants for 33 years in total, beginning in 1968 as a business banker. After his retirement in 2000, he continued to serve on the Board of Directors until he turned 75 and then as a Director Emeritus. His legacy continues in many ways, including through his grandson Ryan Meyer, who works in the Bank’s Operations department.
Our world was better because he was here with us. We will miss him, and we pledge to continue to honor and celebrate his memory every day through our actions.