Are you enjoying connecting with friends and family again? Even if your introvert-self loved the lockdown, connection is how we are hardwired to not only survive, but thrive. Yet connections can also drain our strength, energy, and peace when we are on overload with life activities. Emerging stronger means knowing how to renew our resources when we start getting drained by life.
We become physically drained from the mental and emotional demands of life because our bodies hold tension while our brains are working. Like a rubber band, the more we are stretched, the more ‘tension energy’ is stored in our bodies.
Only exercise, when it is movement for self-care, can release this tension and renew your whole person. Many other forms of de-stressing don’t release that held tension in the body. Many other forms of movement keep your brain in future thinking mode, so they build rather than release tension.
When exercise is self-care, you go below the surface purposes of exercise like burning calories, toning, or improving performance. Just as a water well is deep, being well requires we go deeper than the ‘Instagram’ benefits of exercise.
It has been a sad time for my family, friend group, and community. Exercise has been my way to renew the strength, energy, and peace I need inside so I can share it with those I want to support. Here’s how moving to renew works:
- Strength: Strength exercises, done in the way your body is designed to move, make you feel stronger. This reconnection with your physical strength instantly renews your whole-person strength so you are ready to meet life’s challenges with more confidence.
- Energy: Past/future thinking drains energy because it creates tension your body cannot do anything about in the present moment. When the repetitive nature of cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, swimming, or biking, brings your brain back to the present moment, this type of exercise renews your energy.
- Peace: Although the name does not reflect it, stretching causes muscles to contract, releasing stored tension energy. When you know how to stretch well, it feels good instantly and it can be done anywhere, so it becomes a go-to resource for renewing peace in yourself and those around you.
Bottom line: There are many strategies for reducing mental stress, but every thought is embodied. If you are to renew your strength, energy, and peace, your body needs to feel these qualities in order for your brain to use them. With ‘exercise as self-care’, you have a go-to way to renew your strength, energy, and peace so you can stay well in yourself while you stay connected with others.
P.S. Life is filled with many things to worry about. Exercise does not need to be one of them! Next month, we will clear all you don’t need to worry about when it comes to exercise and uncover how simple it can be to use exercise as self-care.