Today we are going to focus on the breath. So simple, so basic, but so important. There are a bazillion breathing exercises to find online, in a yoga class, or in a book, but today we’re going to keep it simple. We are just going to focus on two things: breath and sensation. You need no special tools, just yourself and your lungs. Don’t forget your lungs.
Happy holiday weekend! I hope you get some extra time to recharge and take care of yourself.
Today I challenge you to take a yoga class or even do yoga in the comfort of your own home.
Yoga has endless benefits for your mind and body. There are many types of yoga, so if you've had a bad experience with it don't rule it out! My first experience with yoga was, well, not great. I swore it off for a while, then was dragged to yoga weekly by a friend who swore by it. I had noticed changes in her such as her physical strength and flexibility, but also in how she felt about herself and how she managed stress. With her forcing me, er, encouraging me I found a class and an instructor who I loved and realized how awesome it is.
If you deal with anxiety, depression, or PTSD, yoga can be particularly helpful! Research has consistently demonstrated countless benefits for mental health, including stress reduction, improved mood, overall improvement in anxiety, and ability to focus. In addition, physical benefits include reduction in blood pressure, improved balance, strength, flexibility, physical endurance, and reduction in chronic pain conditions. This list can go on and on, but I challenge you to experience it for yourself.
It's no secret that professional athletes incorporate yoga into their training. Did you know that yoga is growing like crazy within the military and also with first responders?! Yes! Yoga provides a restoration and a resilience necessary for those exposed to high levels of stress.
For a local yoga studio, I suggest checking out Real Human Performance. If you're a new client, you can even try them out for free! They have a variety of different types of yoga classes as well as other services.
For online yoga, I love Yoga With Adriene. She has tons of videos uploaded that are easy to follow that cater to new and experienced yogis alike!
Enjoy! Take care-
Today I want you to try to be nice to yourself. Yes, really. We tend to hold ourselves to higher standards than we do everyone else. We also tend to be less forgiving of our own shortcomings, mistakes, and flaws. Have you ever lost sleep over something that already happened? Ruminating on what you could have said and done differently, where you screwed up, and then continuing to beat yourself up creates a lot of anxiety. Not only does this make us more anxious, but it changes how we think about ourselves. If the dialogue inside your mind is critical and negative, this can greatly impact your self-esteem, willingness to take risks, relationships, and overall quality of life.
Our thoughts impact how we feel and behave. Our minds are powerful and can be used to encourage or destroy our confidence and growth. But you know what? Thoughts are just that- thoughts. We create them and we have the power to change them, creating new habits of thinking that are self-enhancing instead of self-defeating.
For today, here are a couple of exercises to consider doing to encourage positive self-talk!
- Write down your top ten accomplishments. These can be big or small, it does not matter. Don't judge them, just write them.
- Review that list. What did it take from you to accomplish these things? Spend some time answering honestly and taking ownership of this.
- What are your favorite physical attributes? Write them down, taking time to appreciate yourself.
- What are your favorite personality traits about yourself? Why?
- Do something nice for yourself daily, without having to earn it.
- The next time you make a mistake, practice love and acceptance as you would if a loved one had made the same mistake. Many of my patients find it helpful to write out this narrative to be able to see it in black and white.
- Start your day out with a genuine compliment to yourself.
- Practice gratitude, see this post for more on that topic.
- When someone compliments you, respond by making eye contact and saying "thank you,” instead of dismissing it.
- Answer the question, "If I loved myself more, I would ____". And take one small step toward that today.
Remember above where I said that we can create new, positive habits? A habit is something we do over and over again, eventually not even having to think about it. Positive self-talk can feel weird at first, especially if you are used to tearing yourself down. It can also take effort and work to practice. However, like anything else, the more you practice the easier it gets and these new habits will be created.
I've learned that sometimes some of the best self-care is to protect ourselves by protecting our time, our energy, our schedule, our health, our sanity, is to recognize your own limits and to get ok with saying no. You may just find out you get to say "yes!" to things that are most meaningful to you in your life.
Hello and happy Sunday! I hope that this blog post finds you doing well.
Today I challenge you to get up and get OUT! Literally! Try going for a walk on your street, taking a walk in the woods, or just finding a spot outside to sit and watch what's going on around you. Being outdoors is good for us mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It is shown to help with focus and concentration, decrease depression and anxiety, lower blood pressure and tension in the body, improve physical pain, and all-around make us feel better.
So what are you waiting for? Get outside! And to practice what I preach, my family and I are heading out for a long hike as part of our Self-Care Sunday. Enjoy!
Hello and happy Sunday!
I challenge you to go out and do a good deed today! It can be something for yourself, for another person, for the environment, for your pet, or society as a whole. It can be something big or little. Not only will you create positive change around you, but you'll feel great about yourself. Doing something for yourself or someone else is sure to boost your mood and create a positive ripple effect. Need some ideas? Here's a few:
take a walk
watch a favorite movie
treat yourself to your favorite coffee
for another person:
hold a door
let someone merge in front of you in traffic
pay for someone’s food behind you in line
write a thank-you card (and mail it)
sincerely compliment someone
make a meal for a neighbor
for the environment:
plant a tree
pick up litter
change light bulbs to more efficient ones
bike or take public transportation, even if it's just every once in a while
for your pet:
walk your dog
buy them a special treat at the pet store
spend extra time petting your dog or cat
adopt from a local animal rescue
for society as a whole:
donate to a local food pantry or homeless shelter
volunteer your time
donate school supplies
Whatever it is that you choose to do, my hope is that you notice the immediate benefits as you create positive change in your world. I'd love to hear examples of good deeds you've done!
If you have been feeling down, sad, or anxious, music can be very powerful in invoking new, positive emotions and can help you to feel better. This can be particularly helpful if dealing with PTSD symptoms and helping you to practice self-care.
For Self-Care Sunday, today we focus on Gratitude. Gratitude is a game changer. This little practice alone is shown to improve mood, decrease depression, and have lasting positive effects. This is helpful if you have PTSD or not.