A gentle reminder: It's June and we're halfway through what has arguably been the longest week/month/year in history. Together, we're demanding a better, more just society whilst in the throes of a global pandemic, and did someone say "murder hornets"?! There is no denying the very unsettling uncertainty looming about us today, even as we hope for a brighter tomorrow. For many of us that are still spending a lot of our time at home, we're offering to you some easy, creative ways to elevate your today. We'll start with a self-check in with the following question: how do you feel? I mean, how do you really feel?
So many of us have managed to get in touch with how this new virus (Covid 19) affects our lives, changing our status quo, disrupting our investments and finances, put into question the stability of our jobs or the safety of our children. This post is not going to dive any further into an already saturated pool of coronavirus discussion. Instead, how do you feel? Here's a fun little exercise for you.
Exercise: sit down for a moment a close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and hold it briefly, and while you exhale, channel your breath and your thoughts throughout your body. Pay attention to the sensation in your shoulders, your neck, your back. Breath in again, lifting your chest as high as you can and upon release, pay attention to the feeling in your belly, exhaling down to your thighs, shins and finally toes. Open your eyes, and just for the fun of it, smile (just because you're awesome).
What did you notice? Any discomfort or cramps, tightness or soreness? More than likely you felt something in you that feels out of alignment. If you feel perfect, then wonderful, close out now and smile again after completing a short mindful breathing exercise. For the rest of us, we will continue on! Isn't it amazing to realize how stress can influence our body - our very physiology...how crazy is that?
Well as amazing as it may be scientifically, we want to mitigate that stress and its toll on the body as best we can. Now of course we want you to do the usual - exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, and on and on (sound familiar?). Well here at SoulFit, we're all about having fun and doing things a little differently. So here are some tips for staying healthy, keeping it light, and just enjoying your damn day.
This Week's SoulFit Wellness Bits
1. Start your morning with a dance session. No, not a slow dance with your partner by the coffee pot (though that sounds nice and is always welcome in our household). No, I mean throw on that happy, feel-good song that just ignites your inner kid to dance like you would have at your first school function if your crush was at the punch bowl rather than judging your dance moves.
My Top 5 Choices (Dela by Johnny Clegg, Ooh La La by Faces, I Love You Always Forever Donna Lewis, Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root, and S.O.B. by Nathanial Rateliff & The Night Sweats)
2. Instead of the coffee this morning, try waking yourself up with a cold shower, not lukewarm, not slightly less steaming hot than usual. Cold. Ice cold.
Did you know you have something called Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) inside your body? Until graduate school, neither did I. Unlike the traditional subcutaneous and visceral (bad) fat, BAT has thermoregulatory and metabolic roles in your body that is turned on in response to a cold environment. And as it becomes activated, your metabolism gets a boost. So, you want to look and feel like BATman? Take a damn shower (a cold one).
3. Working from home like most of us? Ditch the kitchen table or the couch and get on your feet. Find a workspace that you can stand at...for a while. If you don't have one, get creative.
Sitting is the new smoking they say. We say it's much worse than that. Imagine rolling out of bed each morning and working from your couch until dinner time just to enjoy a quick meal before grabbing a few sitcoms on the couch and off to bed. How much movement are you really getting? Not interested in standing that long? Check out our next bit.
4. Shake. Not shakeweights. Shake. You know that guy that sits next to you on the bus during your commute with the leg that shakes and bounces in a fidgeting manner for the 25 minutes it takes you to get from your bus stop to the port authority? Science tells us he has a higher metabolism than you.
NEAT! Cool, yes, but what we mean is Non Exercise Adaptive Thermogenesis. That's science jargon for burning calories while you fidget. How crazy is that?! We can get a minor boost in our metabolism by doing absolutely nothing different than fidgeting. It may not be as much as say climbing Mount Everest for the day but it's better than nothing. So when your spouse, partner, brother or roommate starts yelling at you for shaking your leg, just let em know you're exercising!
5. A little gratitude goes a long way. Have you ever heard of the Three Good Things exercise? When you climb into bed at night, take a moment before flipping Netflix on and jot down 3 good things that happened to you today. They don't have to be as monumental as getting a promotion or seeing your child graduate college (those are fantastic by the way, good for you!). You could just say you smiled more than you typically do, or you held that door open just a second longer than that awkward lag time waiting for the individual 15 feet behind you (maybe you'll score a date with the guy or girl next door the next time you do that). It can be anything, big or small, that brought a smile to your face.
Science suggests that this exercise of counting your blessings and reminding yourself of some of the good that happened each day can lead to monumental and lasting happiness that feeds your vitality in life.
Well folks, that's all we have for you today. But if you find yourself dying for a good workout or interested in changing your health, happiness and life for the better, we encourage you awesome, bright-shining, happy animals of the world to sign up for our Happy Brain, Healthy Body™program, ya won't regret it! Stay safe, stay healthy and stay beautiful!