The transition seasons can be challenging. The excitement of the holidays are over, and summer is teasing you with it’s promise of sunshine and tan lines. Setting goals to up your wellness game now means you will establish habits that will keep you feeling good all summer long, through whatever adventures await you!
Get Some Sleep
If you’ve ever gotten less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep (we know, who hasn’t) you know it can throw off your entire day. In the immediate it impacts your patience, happiness, creativity, drive and safety – it’s estimated that one in five auto accidents are a result of driving drowsy! The long-term effects on the other hand, carry more weight. Lack of sleep has been linked to serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity; it can also lower your threshold for pain and immunity.
Flipping the switch, let’s talk about all the good things getting enough sleep can do for you. Think of it like a cure all, sleep gives our body and mind time to process and recover from the day. Increased sex drive (no more ‘I’m too tired’), better memory, clearer thinking, and weight control are just a few of the benefits. According to the University of Chicago’s Dr. Rapoport; "sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain, when you are sleepy, certain hormones go up in your blood, and those same hormones drive appetite."
Moral of the story, you don’t want to be caught with 50 shades of dark circles under your eyes.
Set some sleep rituals you look forward to. Ideas include: commit to a digital detox one hour before bed; meditate, write down your favorite moments from the day or read, take a bubble bath or bath with Epsom salts, use essential oils or candles, clear your space of any unnecessary clutter and invest in really, really comfy bedding and pillows.
Do Low Intensity, Mindful Exercises
Adding lower intensity workouts to your routine can have a noticeable effect on your body. Instinct tells us that high energy, sweat-filled workouts are going to have the biggest impact on our strength and form however consider what slowing down can do for your body – and mind. Yoga for example, causes you to increase your focus; small shifts in a posture can open up even the tightest space however to make these shifts, you need to concentrate and increase your awareness.
Getting in tune with how your body feels moment to moment and bringing oxygen into the tightness to provide release both take energy and acute focus which gives your mind a break from all of the swirling thoughts that find their way in. It’s like a time out for your brain – and the low intensity movement gives your body a break. Taking the pressure off of your joints while lengthening your muscles (who doesn’t want lean legs) and finding release. Slowing down your workout can also feel like a moving meditation, you’ll increase the connection you have with your body making you more aware of what feels good and what doesn’t, inside the gym and out.
Take Bee Pollen
Bee pollen contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins that human bodies need making it a great natural energizer. It’s made up of approximately 40% protein and is, in fact, richer in protein than any other animal source.
In addition it can aid in prostate and infertility issues, treat addiction (it has the ability to crash cravings), support a working immune and digestive system and has topical and internal anti-inflammatory qualities. Consider taking it first thing in the morning when your body is hungry to absorb whatever you put in it. *Bee pollen is not good for everyone, nor should pregnant women consume it. Always do you research before taking any vitamins or supplements.
You don’t need a day at the spa to rid yourself of anxiety and stress. Find a quiet space, block out 10 minutes and let your lungs do the work. Learning to control your breathing before you head into a stressful situation will keep your mind and body functioning at it’s best and will make it easier to implement when anxiety hits. The more oxygen that enters your body and is absorbed properly the better.
A simple method to get started is to practice breathing in and out of your nose only. Nose breathing allows more oxygen to enter your body which can seem counterintuitive when your body is hungry for oxygen (during a strenuous workout for example, you will often find yourself gasping for breath through your mouth). As a result, it takes practice to train your body to rely on your nose more often. To start, practice lengthening your inhales and exhales. Inhale, through your nose, for a count of 4 then exhale, through your nose, for a count of 4. As you master the 4 count, increase to 6 and 8 count breaths. Practice this breath work before a stressful situation hits so when the pressure is on, your body will find it easier to use this technique to calm your body and mind so you can focus and move forward.
In the words of Katy Perry, "if you're presenting yourself with confidence, you can pull off pretty much anything." Sure you might have to fake it at first. Heading into an unfamiliar situation can mess with your self-esteem. Self-doubt is the nasty little devil that jabs you with his pitchfork when you need it least. So how do you fight back? With confidence. Real or false (until it becomes real of course), the perception of confidence can have a big impact on any situation. Who are you more inclined to listen to, someone who makes eye contact and speaks boldly and definitively about a topic or someone with slumped shoulders, shifty eyes, and twitchy hands who uses the word ‘um’ repeatedly in a sentence?
Even if you feel like knowledge or skill-set wise that you are the ‘um’ user in a situation, execute like a bold girl boss. We are our biggest critics; you are likely smarter/stronger/more knowledgeable than you give yourself credit for in times where you feel a twinge of doubt. Believing in yourself first is a solid step in getting others to believe in you too. Have you ever heard the quotes “thoughts become things”, and “actions speak louder than words”? There is some truth to them. Check out these 9 exercises you can practice daily to increase your confidence and this great article on how celebrating your efforts can have a direct impact on your self-confidence and goal achievement.
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