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The Four Seeds of Self-Care: Part Four #moveyourbody

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Dr. Wayne Dyer

My childhood days consisted of the following: pool, beach, camping, boating, bike riding, s’mores by the campfire, playing outside with friends, and on occasion dodging alligators! When I complained that I was bored my mom would say “go outside and blow the stink off!” That was her way of saying take your attitude out of here.

Summer was pretty unstructured, with lazy days spent skateboarding, staring at the clouds, playing games with friends, fighting with friends, and then running back home vowing to never play with that friend again! We fished, played kickball and when it got too hot we retreated to someone’s house to either swim or just hang out in the AC. There were no camps to keep us busy- that was our job to figure out!

Several weekends over the summer were spent camping. As a middle-class family of five we didn’t have a lot of money for vacations. Mostly we tent camped in either Sanibel or The Keys, towing our small boat to our destination. I have a lot of great memories of playing at the beach, boating, and swimming in the pool or ocean. There was one campground that we frequented that had a pool and they would do a penny dive on the weekends. We spent meals around the grill and campfire and when my brothers and I started bickering too much after a long day spent in the fresh air we were sent to bed!

These past two months are reminiscent of my childhood in many ways. We are getting back outside and rediscovering the great outdoors! We may have spent time outside before coronavirus, but not this much UNSTRUCTURED time. Before it was baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, and the list goes on. We added these activities to our already busy schedules and we dashed from one place to another, never really stopping to enjoy or take in the wonder of it all.

And while I miss those activities I am surrendering (as much as I can!) to a slower pace.

We are all looking for ways to stay active and healthy- both physically and mentally. For me personally, I spent so much time outside as a kid that it’s become my sanctuary. In fact, on Sunday I drove up to the North Georgia mountains by myself to have a “retreat day” since I was feeling out of sorts. By the time I finished my two-hour hike I felt exhausted but renewed. Forest bathing or shinrin-yoku as it is called in Japan engages all of our senses and connects us with nature. There are also studies that show that forest bathing boosts the immune system by increasing our natural killer cells which can help to fight viruses and disease!

This summer will be a summer like no other. There is no doubt that some things are going to change. BUT, there are plenty of things we can all do to stay healthy and active!

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, or about 30 minutes per day. Besides the “feel good” hormones that are stimulated as a result of exercise the effect that exercise has on stress and anxiety are being talked about and acknowledged more and more today. Exercise has been shown to protect our mental health, being as effective as many medical interventions for some people. Exercise pumps blood to the brain, bringing oxygen and nutrients needed for optimal brain health.

"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." Arthur Ashe

While you are trying to figure out how to adapt your exercise routine here are some questions you might ponder:

  1. What kind of movement do you enjoy? This may be the perfect opportunity to experiment with something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had time for in your normal workaday life! I personally love yoga. If your yoga studio has not moved their classes online there are websites such as Do Yoga With Me that offer free online classes. Other websites like Fitness Blender have a variety of workouts available. Here are some more great ideas to keep you moving! Whether it’s gardening, dancing, or playing kickball with the kids it all adds up.

  2. Why do you want to exercise? Is it because you want to relieve stress? If diabetes or heart disease run in your family maybe you are concerned that you are susceptible and want to protect your health. Or perhaps you’ve been telling yourself that you needed to start a strength training routine to remain strong, flexible, and healthy as you age. It’s important to remind yourself WHY you work out for those moments when you’ve lost your motivation.

  3. When do you like to exercise? If you’re not a morning person then running three miles at 6 am may not be a good goal for you. Maybe you need an energy boost and time to stretch after the second or third Zoom meeting!

  4. How can you create a habit of consistently exercising? I know why I want to exercise and what I enjoy, but the thing that has tripped me up for years has been recreating that habit. I have let my mindset of “work first” be the boss of me. Flipping my mindset to schedule exercise first has been (and still is) crucial to creating a consistent exercise routine. Other steps to creating a new habit are to set small goals that you are confident that you can achieve and to make them measurable. Think SMART.

  5. What is your short term goal for moving your body and how does that connect to a larger vision of wellness for yourself? Take some time to think about what you really wish were true. Consider hiring a health coach to help you break down your goals to manageable steps that you are confident that you can achieve, as well as holding you accountable and affirming your ability to get there!

ReConnectEd To Life offers events each month that are designed to help you build each of your practices of The Four Seeds of Self-Care. Our workshops, retreats, and online health forums help you uncover the thoughts and behaviors that are holding you back. We truly believe that when you make your own health and wellness a priority you will BE SELF-CENTERED!

With Love & Gratitude,

Kinda and Rachel

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