Got stress build-up? Here’s a simple solution.

This week I went grocery shopping, spoke with a friend on the phone, and filled up my car with gas. Normally these activities would not be stressful, but these days they are because the concerns about the coronavirus hang over everything. 

Each stressor is like putting a bit of air in the balloon until you are carrying so much tension, you are ready to explode. This is Alarm mode. In Alarm mode, your body is putting its energy into getting ready to move so you can take care of a threat to your safety and well-being. It does this so that you can get back to Recharge mode, the state where your body heals, repairs, and defends against illnesses.  

Daily life is keeping us in Alarm mode almost constantly, but we need to spend more time in Recharge mode so we can stay safe and well right now. One of the most effective ways to get back to Recharge mode is to move, but many of our common solutions to stress don’t require us to move our bodies. Plus, moving is often not convenient or comfortable. What’s needed is a solution that involves both mind and body and that you can use right away when an alarm is triggered. This solution is a Recharge Pause. 

A Recharge Pause is when you move in a specific way to restore calm in your mind and body. It is based on a blend of the sciences of mindfulness, mindset, and movement. There are three simple steps;

  • First, because Alarm mode is most often triggered by thoughts about the past or future, bring your attention to what is happening in this moment, without judging, just noticing.
  • Second, move smart, in the way your body is designed, so moving does not add to stress, but leaves you feeling better. The foundation of this is in the center of your body. Watch my smart core videos to learn how.  
  • Last, set your mind to noticing how your body feels as you move, so your body informs your mind that you are okay, helping to calm the alarm and get you back to recharge mode.

Throughout the pandemic, I will be sharing simple Recharge Pauses with you. Our first Recharge Pause is called Calm and Confident. 

Sprinkling your day with Recharge Pauses gives you a there-when-you-need-it way to let air out of the ballon before stress builds up in your mind and body.

Bottom Line: A Recharge Pause is when you move your body in a specific way to get you back to the state where health and well-being happen. This week, spend more time in Recharge by practicing being Calm and Confident in your mind and body. Next week , we’ll continue to explore how mindfulness, movement, and mindset work together to keep you healthy and well.

To learn more about the science behind Recharge Pauses, go to the ExercisingWELL.com Free Resources page.

Stay WELL,

Janet

P.S. Exercising WELL members learn how to turn different types of exercise into Recharge Pauses, so exercise reduces stress and leaves them feeling more confident about their health and less worried about their ability to stay motivated. Now is a great time to start Exercising WELL. Click here to take advantage of the reduced membership rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unleashing Your Natural Motivation for Exercising

With all great reasons to exercise, why are we not more motivated?  Because reasons like heart health and weight loss don’t connect exercise strongly enough to our natural motivation to do what we love, with those we love.  Check out how this natural motivation was unleashed for one client recently,  and learn how you can unleash your natural motivation for exercising too in the Exercising WELL tip of the week.

 

Exercising for whole-person self-care

Self-care series summary: As we enter the season of giving and a time of year when many people struggle not only with getting enough exercise, but also with keeping up with self-care, we have been taking a deeper dive into how to make exercise a form of self-care. We have looked at self-care from all aspects of your ‘self’—mental, emotional, spiritual to make exercise more than just a physical activity.  Today we summarize how to design exercise as a way to recharge your whole person, so you can be well now. 

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This time of year can be filled with unique events and opportunities to gather, celebrate, and reflect. At this point in the season, we might start to simplify the to do list. We compare what needs to be done with the resources we have available right now, like time, money and energy, to get it done. It’s a simple way we stay well.  

The taproot of all those resources is your inner state of well-being—your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical state. They are the ones that feed the outer resources of your environment, finances, relationships, and vocation. When you have physical energy, mental focus, emotional strength and spiritual clarity, those outer resources flourish. This is how well-being happens, from the inside out. When we try to be well from the outside in, it is stressful because we don’t have as much control over the state of the outer resources. 

With all that’s going on at this time of year, how can you practice self-care? Remember, self-care is any moment you take time to check in and tend to those inner resources and exercise is one way to do that.

However, exercise in our culture is focused on athletic and aesthetic forms of exercise. When life is busy and stressful, you might feel like there’s no point to exercise if you can’t do ‘enough’ to make it ‘worth it’ to see results.  Don’t let this sideline you so you miss out on the many ways you can use exercise as a resource for self-care!

When you redefine exercise as a moment of your day to pause, check in on the state of your inner resources, move in a way that clears emotions held in your body, and remind yourself what is most important, it becomes whole-person self-care. 

Use the information in this blog series and your Inner Trainer as a guide to exercise for self-care:

Spiritually: When exercise is designed to strengthen your connection to what is most important in your life right now, it becomes a moment in your day to restore your spiritual well-being.  

Mentally: When exercise is designed to satisfy your brain’s need to keep you safe, contented, and connected, it is a moment in your day to restore your mental well-being. 

Emotionally: When exercise is done with presence, allowing you to listen to the messages your body is giving you and move in ways that clear the thoughts held in your body, it is a moment in your day to restore emotional well-being.

When exercise is redefined as a way to restore your whole-person, it becomes a moment in your day that restores well-being, thus supporting physical and mental health. 

So, as you check in on this mid-December day, move in some way, big or small, with presence, to bring your inner well-being resources back into balance. Trust your Inner Trainer to guide you as you move to be well now. 

Bottom Line: When you redefine exercise as a moment of your day to pause, check in on the state of your inner resources, move in a way that clears emotions held in your body, and come back to what is most important, it becomes whole-person self-care. 

Be Well Now,

Janet

P.S. In two weeks, I will share with you more details about how to design exercise to be a moment in your day to be well now. In the mean time, connect with me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for daily reminders to move and be well now.  

 

 

 

Self care series: Exercising for emotional well-being

Self-care series: As we enter the season of giving and a time of year when many people struggle not only with getting enough exercise, but also with keeping up with self-care, let’s take a deeper dive into how to make exercise a form of self-care.  To do that, we need to look at self-care from all aspects of your ‘self’—mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual and how to design exercise as a way to recharge your whole person, so you can be well now. 

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If someone sent you a message that said, “I need to tell you something important”, what would you do? Well, if it was from a business trying to get you to buy something, chances are you would ignore it. If it were a trusted friend, you would contact them right away.  

Emotional well-being is not about feeling great all the time, it’s about listening to your emotions because you know they are important messages about your well-being.  

If you think about eating a lemon, your mouth will probably start to water. If you think of being in your happy place, your body will probably relax. This is because thoughts are immediately felt in our body. Sometimes it is subtle, sometimes it is overwhelming, but what you think is always felt in your body.  

This happens through is a vast network of superhighways that run from your brain to every corner of your body through nerve cells. They are continually sharing information back and forth about the state of your well-being. Brain to body, body back to the brain, faster than you can blink. They communicate the degree to which you are are safe, contented, and connected. 

These three qualities of well-being we discussed in the last part of this series are a simple way to think about mental well-being. When your brain perceives that there is a threat to your safety, contentment, or connection to others, it signals to your body that there is a problem. Instantly the thought creates changes in your body to let you know there is a problem. At the same time, it prepares your body to take care of the problem. This is how your brain and body work together to keep you well.  

But if the ‘problem’ is a critical email from your boss, or your clothes feeling tight from a week of holiday parties, those changes in your body to take action won’t help you solve the problem, they may even make things worse. A negative stress response can limit creativity and self-control and send a surge of cortisol into your body, telling it to store fat in case this ‘problem’ leads to a lack of food in the future.  

We cannot change the way we are hardwired to handle stress. Your nervous system is hardwired to prepare for movement when there is a threat to your sense of safety, contentment, and connection. We can, however, listen closely to our emotions, knowing they are important messages about our well-being. As licensed psychologist and author Guy Winch, PhD shares in this powerful TED talk, when we see emotional hygiene as essential as washing our hands when around someone who is ill, we can truly be well.   We can choose to respond to emotions like we would to a trusted friend who sends us an urgent message—immediately with kindness and care.  

Yet, we often forget that those emotions prepare our bodies for movement. Moving with kindness is like washing your hands to clear away germs. When you perceive exercise as something you should do, hanging over your head like another task on your to do list, you miss the chance for it to restore emotional well-being. When you think of exercise as a moment in your day to check in and clear the effects of thoughts stored in your body, you are using exercise as a valuable form of self-care for your whole person.  

Bottom Line: Exercise, when done as an act of self-care, leads to emotional well-being. It gives you a chance to check in, listen to the messages, and respond by giving your body the movement it needs to clear the thoughts held in your body as emotions.  

Be Well Now,

Janet

Exercising WELL gives you a whole toolbox of user-friendly ways to exercise to restore well-being in your own personalized way.  Start by clarifying your Why for exercise in a FREE coaching call with me. No strings. No commitment. Just a conversation that lets you unleash your natural motivation to be well now.  Click here to schedule your call.