With spring around the corner, now is the perfect time to focus on love (self-love that is!) and connection. Perhaps the connection to ourselves is the most forgotten in our day-to-day lives. As moms, dads, employees, students, volunteers who are busy constantly thinking about and doing for others, our connection to ourselves is simply lost.
What do I mean about “connection to ourselves?” Well, defining what that means to you is often key to focusing inward and addressing what may or may not be lacking in this area for you specifically. This lack of connection with ourselves can take its toll and manifest in many ways—from not being able to calm your mind enough to have a peaceful night’s sleep to feeling stuck on how to accomplish a goal you’ve been working towards. Having a strong connection to yourself frees you of self-doubt and paves the way to an abundant life filled with clear direction and, yes, even good health!
To get more connected to YOU, I recommend adopting the following practices into your daily routine. You can start by adding one a month to sustain these new behaviors. Even adopting just one of these suggestions, you will see positive shifts in your mental and physical health.
Move Your Body
Yoga is a great practice that can easily get you connected to your body and mind through breath and movement. When you quiet the mind and simply breathe while aligning your breath to movement, you create a deeper connection to yourself. This deeper connection will allow you to clear your mind and truly focus on the messages your body is trying to tell you. Even folks who run can tell you they get in a “zone.” They find a rhythm of breath and movement to get into a steady pace. Many runners have said they’ve been able to reach greater physical endurance while in this state. This is because the mind clears the negative false thoughts that are driven by fear. These are fear-based thoughts we are all too familiar with like, “This is too difficult.” Or “I can’t keep going.” are eliminated. I suggest trying a few different exercises and classes available to you to find the one that feels just right for you. This may take a little bit of time, but once you find “the one,” you are more likely to stick with it and reap the wonderful benefits.
Mediation is the practice of focusing on your breath to clear your mind. Much like exercise does for the body, mediation does for the brain. Through the practice of meditation, the brain is essentially trained to go back to a state of calm. This not only provides the same mental benefits as exercise, but it helps you to combat stress and helps you to return your monkey mind back to clear and focused, which allows you to assess situations and perceived problems with clarity. Being able to get your thoughts on track enhances your understanding of yourself and guides you towards better decisions, instead of reacting from a cloud of emotions and heightened stress. There are several resources available for meditation newbies, from apps to editorials, and you can find them just by searching the Internet. Meditation apps such as Headspace help guide you to through the process, and are great for when you are traveling or need something at hand when you get those precious 10 minutes back from a meeting that ended early.
Incorporate a Self-care Routine
Self-care is one of the most overlooked practices because of all the excuses we come up with not to address ourselves. We often feel that we don’t have the time or money to spend on things like a monthly massage, or simply taking a hot bath. We feel guilty for taking the time or spending the extra money. The truth is, if you fail to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, you may find yourself facing a setback you are not prepared for. Energy, enthusiasm and motivation are not bottomless resources like we often think they are. Schedule an afternoon nap on your calendar, or take the extra time to take your dog out on a longer walk than you normally do. There are even massage therapy businesses that offer monthly memberships so you don’t skip out on your “me time,” and they provide a discounted rate.
Getting yourself into the groove of picking up and sustaining positive change can seem difficult, or maybe you have more health goals you are looking to achieve, and you are not sure where to start. If you feel overwhelmed, you can assemble a support group of like-minded people who are looking to achieve the same goals at work or the gym. Seeking a certified Health Coach who can be your wellness “copilot” is another great option to help you achieve your short- and long-term health goals.
Good luck on your journey to a healthier, happier YOU this year!
Stephanie Wontorski is a certified Health Coach with Health Coach Connect and a graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Her education has equipped her with extensive, cutting-edge knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching and prevention. She began her journey to health and wellness when she was struck with her own health issues, which evolved into hypothyroidism during her first pregnancy. Through research and lots of determination, she found the best nutrition and lifestyle changes that worked for her without surgery or medication. With this journey, Stephanie developed a passion for helping other woman with similar health problems achieve their optimum health. Her approach to achieving wellness is to identify the root cause of health issues and teach others how all areas of their lives are connected. Stephanie is an avid gardener and loves hiking and finding new ways to stay active outdoors. She also has a love for hockey (her son plays) and, when not working, volunteers for a local youth hockey club. Visit Health Coach Connect online at healthcoachconnect.com.