This month, our resident wellness expert is focused on teaching restorative mind and body activities that will help improve your mood.
Restoration for mind and body is not optional if we want to feel well.
Think of a car: it needs to be serviced, fueled, and maintained regularly in order to function well – really to even function at all.
If we neglect the car’s upkeep, it will backfire by running out of gas or by malfunctioning.
If we keep it well-oiled and up-to-date by giving it the attention it needs, it will serve us well for an extended period of time.
Of course there are inevitable accidents like nails that get stuck in tires, broken pieces here and there, and general wear and tear. But with regular repairs, washes, checkups and gas fillings, we reap the benefits of the vehicle.
Are you getting the metaphor that the body – the vehicle for our brains and souls – is no different?
Not unlike a car that’s been overused or thrown by the wayside, if we ignore our body’s natural needs for care, love, and attention, it will let us know one way or another by not functioning optimally or completely breaking down all together.
Our physical and mental wellbeing depend on us taking time and carving out space to take care of ourselves – whatever we are able to do, however often possible – so that we are well fueled to take care of our loved ones, get our work done, and very simply just feel happy and healthy.
Consider what feeling good means to you, and try incorporating a few of these restorative movements into your day or week to help upkeep your vehicle physically and mentally:
- Restorative Yoga. Practice a sequence of a few fully supported postures that allow you to totally relax, breathe, open up, and receive a host of health benefits.
- Yin Yoga. Similar to restorative yoga, but with the aim of targeting deeper muscle tissues through longer holds that are only slightly supported – depending on your needs. Amazing for both emotional and joint health.
- Mindful walking. Put one foot in front of the other, and repeat (and repeat again). This is a wonderful form of moving meditation.
- Stretch. Stretches can be specifically organized to target certain body parts, or as general as lifting your arms up and leaning side to side – whether you’re standing or sitting down or laying in bed. There is always room for creativity.
- Qi Gong or Tai Chi. Both have incredible health benefits for mind and body, and incorporate easeful movements (Qi Gong can sometimes be a bit more active).
- Gentle swim. Without the goal of counting laps or treading in a deeper area, take gentle movements in shallow water whether you swim or just squirrel around and swirl your limbs – almost like a semi-submerged modern dance class.
- Slow dance. Explore creative and interpretive movements – there are no rules here. Swivel your hips, roll your shoulders and neck and head (all your joints, for that matter), sway side to side to the music, and indulge yourself.
- Lowers heart rate.
- Deepens awareness.
- Opens up stuck, tight, or tense areas in the body – which can cause both physical and mental stress.
- Reduces overall inflammation.
- Relieves the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and kickstarts the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest).
- Improves flexibility of brain/spirit and body/muscles.
- Prepares for an energizing workout.
- Prepares for restoration post-workout.
- Calms you down pre-bedtime.
What will you try, and when? Hold yourself accountable or pick a buddy who can support you, and vice versa.
All it takes is consistently making a little space in your schedule, and the result will make more space in your brain, body, and spirit. You certainly won’t regret it, and your body will thank you.