Create a Balanced Life With Fitness and Overall Self-Care

 


Ms. Susan Treadway, an addict in recovery, authored the following guest post. She uses a holistic approach to sobriety to stay on a successful path and believes adopting even a few holistic methods can help anyone struggling with addiction.

Susan wants everyone to know that you don’t have to be a hippie to embrace holistic wellness – this concept is simply about focusing on your entire sense of well-being rather than just one part. She hopes her website, rehabholistics.com, will inspire anyone who has struggled with addiction to incorporate holistic practices into their own self-care routine.



Everyone has their own unique fitness goals. Whatever your personal goals are, if you work hard in the gym but don’t make time for other self-care practices, you won’t achieve overall wellness. Finding balance in our busy lives is a challenge, but incorporating regular self-care just may be the solution.

Self-Care Is a Process

Fitness does much more than help us achieve our personal goals. Being active keeps your body healthy, while also warding off stress and anxiety. These are the main components of any self-care practice — giving your body and mind some TLC. Fitness is only one way to achieve self-care, though. You also need rest, relaxation, and good nutrition. Doing these things should be an ongoing process that you practice every day. Adding self-care to your to-do list may feel like an impossible task, but these ideas will help make it easier.

Make Good Nutrition Simple 

Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things we can do for our bodies. One way to make nutrition more convenient is to find a meal delivery or grocery service in your area. These services eliminate the time spent planning and shopping, and many also offer low-calorie meals, so they make eating a balanced diet much easier to fit into your busy life.

Another self-care must when it comes to nutrition is to always eat breakfast. Whether you grab a protein shake to take on the go or you put together a healthy breakfast at night to have ready the next day, eating breakfast sets you up to feel your best all day long. And when it comes to fixing dinner, electric pressure cookers can easily and quietly help you create simple, delicious meals such as mac and cheese, BBQ pulled pork, and tomato soup, just to name a few.

Proper nutrition can also be easily obtained by eating the right amount of food daily. However, this might be difficult for those who are trying to manage their hunger. While eating foods high in protein and fiber are solid solutions, appetite suppressants also exist to help with hunger control. If you are planning to go with the latter option, it’s important to proceed with caution and do your research first to find the one that’s best for you. Keep in mind too that some appetite suppressants can interact with certain medications, and some contain caffeine, which can lead to feeling jittery and uncomfortable.

Create Daily Rituals

We all have our daily routines, from waking up in the morning and getting ready for our day to how we relax and unwind before bed. To make self-care stick as a way of life, look at how you can incorporate it into those routines with simple rituals. Remember that these rituals aren’t about the end result. Instead, it’s about the process of doing things that are good for you. Consider trying these ideas:

  • Meditate – Can you add a quick meditation session to part of your day? Perhaps first thing in the morning or right after a workout.
  • Practice yoga – Practicing yoga is an excellent way to stretch out sore muscles while caring for your mental health so you feel less stressed and more relaxed. Group yoga sessions are fun, but you can also do a quick yoga practice at home. If you don’t have a spare room, consider adapting a room for your yoga practice that you don’t use that often. A rarely used dining room can be perfect for this purpose.
  • Get outside – Getting some fresh air and connecting with nature makes you feel more grounded and helps achieve balance. If you live in the city, simply taking a walk around the block or heading to a park will do the trick, and this is an easy ritual to combine with fitness.

Take Back Your Time

When you feel like there is simply no time to take care of yourself, the best thing you can do is stop spending time on things that aren’t good for you. Mind Body Green calls these “low-value habits,” and they can be anything from time spent watching TV or engaging in social media to checking emails and making small talk. Reducing these distractions is in itself an act of self-care, and it frees up your time for what truly matters.

Be Mindful of Your Schedule

Just like everything else in life, your schedule is all about balance. If you struggle to make self-care practices stick, try writing them down in a planner just as you would for appointments. At the same time, Bustle reminds us that we should also leave room for spontaneity. Balancing out your schedule helps make self-care a priority, but it also means allowing for fun and trying new things.

Self-care is truly the key to leading a more balanced life. It helps us live more fully, and it’s necessary to see fitness results. Most importantly, self-care doesn’t have to be a chore. When you make these rituals part of your new routine, it no longer feels like something you have to do and becomes a part of your daily life.

Susan Treadway



Best to you!

Eric



 

Monday Motivation 04.29.19: When All Hope is Lost

 


If you are human, you will feel it, the hurt, the pain, the desire to give in.  

If you are human, you will feel it, fear, doubt, defeat, the desire to surrender.

If you are human, you will experience it, the darkness, the despair, the discouragement, the desire to give up.  

But if you are human, you are resilient, you are strong enough to get through it.  

Don’t run from it, face it.  

Feel what you feel.

But don’t give in.  

Hold fast.  

Breathe.  

Dig deep.

Learn.

And yes, fight back.  

Fighting back is a victory in itself.

Fight back, because this is what we humans do.

Hope abides. 

Eric


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Energize Your Morning with These Routines, Part 1

 


This blog contains affiliate links.  For information, see full disclosure here.


What does your morning workout entail?  Ever thought of adding a simple routine that has the potential of building inner and outer strength, flexibility, and suppleness?  What if such a routine also strengthened the mind and helped you manage your stress?  Would you try it?  
In this series, I’m going to share three fairly simple yet very effective routines that I benefit from and use several days a week.  You may have heard of them, but if not, take a look, give them a try, and maybe you’ll find a new way to energize the start of your day!

Energizing Routine 1: Yi Jin Jing

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Yi Jin Jing (YJJ) is a Chinese qigong exercise also known as the “muscle-tendon changing classic”. Qigong, very simply defined, is a series of Chinese physical movement exercises that emphasize  breath control, vital energy, movement, and improved health*

This routine is said to strengthen muscles and tendons, changing them and thereby changing and strengthening the body.  One might experience increased strength and range of motion, flexibility, balance, and coordination.  Along with this, various internal organs and systems may also be strengthened. These benefits are not instant, to be sure, but are cultivated slowly through correct and consistent practice.

How to Begin

As with any new exercise program, consult your healthcare provider prior to beginning the program.  While it is best to learn from an experience instructor, in the absence of such a teacher, it is possible to learn YJJ from books and videos.  Once the external movements are learned, it is important to continue research and exploration in order to get the utmost from the routine.

My Experiences

About three years ago, one of my former karate instructors mentioned YJJ during a reunion conversation.  He didn’t go too deep into the practice but what he said sparked my imagination, and after picking his brain via email over the weeks that followed, I purchased the following book (instructional DVD included):

Once I received the book, I wanted a until Christmas vacation before diving into it.  At first glance, the routine appeared rather challenging, but it wasn’t as difficult as I’d thought.  I divided it into three sections, learning the first well enough to do it on my own before moving on to the second and then the third.  The DVD was very helpful and within three days of starting, I had the external movements memorized (mostly) and I was ready to begin exploring this amazing exercise on a consistent basis.  

It took about a year-and-a-half before I started to notice the first hints of YJJ’s deeper benefits.  I have to say that I didn’t follow a pure scientific / experimental method or approach with this routine; I didn’t measure my tendon’s thicknesses or my muscle strength, or my various ranges of motion prior to adopting YJJ, so my results could be, and probably are, totally subjective.  Even so, I know how I feel, and I clearly do experience greater suppleness and an expanded range of motion, and I am noticing a different type of strength.  Without a doubt, this is one of the most important exercises that I do.

The Next Step

Click the link above, take a look at the book, or find a good teacher and give it a go.  You and your body will be glad you did!

You can also find other YJJ books and resources on our Yi Jin Jing page.  


Wishing you the good, better, best of what’s possible!

Eric



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April 15: Audit Your Grocery Cart Day!

 



You’ve been working hard to improve yourself, your mind, your body, your life.  You’re exercising on a consistent basis, you’re getting the right amount of sleep, and you’re drinking enough water.  But, you don’t seem to be gaining muscle, or losing weight, or feeling any better.  One of the things that might be hindering your progress is often overlooked or even neglected altogether.  What are you throwing into your grocery cart when nobody is looking?  You know what I’m talking about.  

The bags of savory chips:

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Those decadent cakes…

sliced cake on plate

 

The ice cream?  Yes, the rocky road…

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Indulging every now and then can be a good thing, healthy even, but I think we’d all agree that there shouldn’t be more snacks than real foods in your normal weekly grocery shopping cart.  I think we’d all also agree that eating nutrient-rich foods is foundational to living a rich, full, fit and healthy life. If that’s the case, then a regular grocery cart audit is probably necessary.

The Audit

It doesn’t matter if you eat Primal, Paleo or Ketogenic, Vegan or Carnivore, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, High Fat, Low Fat, or Low Carb, etc.  What does matter is that you stick to your chosen dietary plan at least 80% to 90% of the time.  This requires a moderate to high level of consciousness around what we’re actually purchasing when we shop.  Just as tax season makes us more aware of our income and spending habits, an audit of the grocery cart should open our eyes to our buying and eating habits.

Performing the audit is easy; here are some suggested steps for your next shopping trip:

  1. Shop as you normally do.  Don’t try to change a thing, just shop.
  2. Just before going to the checkout counter, take a few photos of your cart.
  3. Next, take photos of the food on the checkout counter.  It’s best to take the photos from the perspective of a person standing in the line behind you, if possible.
  4. Set a reminder to view the photos a few days later, preferably about a day before you create your next grocery list.
  5. When you’re ready to view the photos, get real with yourself and notice and name what should and what shouldn’t be in your cart.  Be as objective as you possibly can, knowing your fitness and your health could depend on it.
  6. Now make your new list.  You might need to research alternate, healthier food ideas to replace any that you’ve deemed unhelpful or that shouldn’t be eaten on a regular basis.

The assistance of an objective friend or family member might prove quite useful, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when performing your audit.

Support Your Base

bowl of vegetable salad and fruits

Good nutrition is a vital part of your base; auditing your grocery cart from time to time will go a long way in helping you keep your base strong.  Remember, support your base and your base will support you. 


Here’s to eating right and thriving daily!

Eric


Subscribe below.  Seeking gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, low-chemical alternatives to snacks and foods, skin care products, etc?  Find what you need on our Healthier Choices and High Quality Grass-fed Beef, Poultry, Seafood pages.



 

Staying Body-Positive While Losing Weight

 


Ms. Susan Treadway, an addict in recovery, authored the following guest post. She uses a holistic approach to sobriety to stay on a successful path and believes adopting even a few holistic methods can help anyone struggling with addiction.

Susan wants everyone to know that you don’t have to be a hippie to embrace holistic wellness – this concept is simply about focusing on your entire sense of well-being rather than just one part. She hopes her website, rehabholistics.com, will inspire anyone who has struggled with addiction to incorporate holistic practices into their own self-care routine.



You feel happy and confident in your own skin, but you still want to lose weight. Is that hypocritical or can you still be body positive while trying to change your body? I think you can, and I’ll explain why.

Carrying extra weight is hard on your body. According to Stanford Health Care, obesity contributes to joint, respiratory, and cardiovascular problems, increases your risk for serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and even puts you at risk of developing certain cancers. It can also affect your day-to-day life if it’s hard to get around or you have low energy, which leaves your social and emotional life suffering.

There’s no point in being body-negative when you’re overweight, because it doesn’t get you anywhere. Self-loathing is a poor motivator for self-change. Rather, people change their habits and get healthier when they love their body. Wanting to prevent the serious health problems that obesity can cause isn’t body-negative — in fact, working toward a healthier body is one of the most body-positive things you can do.

So, what does body positivity during weight loss actually look like?

  • Focus on Body-Positive Motivations: It’s easy to get discouraged by numbers on the scale. This is especially true if you’re losing weight and gaining strength at the same time; even though you’re getting leaner, your weight might not change much. Instead of focusing on how many pounds you have to lose, set body-positive goals like running 10 percent further each week or having the energy to go out dancing with friends.
  • Exercise Where You’re Comfortable: If the thought of going to a gym terrifies you, you don’t need to do it. You can achieve a full-body workout at home by building a simple home gym instead. That way, you get comfortable moving your body and using equipment without worrying about who’s watching or rushing to the gym before it closes. And although fitness equipment can be expensive, you can still save money over a gym membership (especially one you don’t use). When you start with basic equipment like a weight bench, dumbbells, gym ball, and stationary bike, you can easily fit your home gym into a guest bedroom, garage, or just the corner of your living room.
  • Don’t Sacrifice Good Sleep: There’s no substitute for a good night’s rest. According to sleep.org, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you’re waking up early to exercise but you’re not going to bed earlier, it won’t be long before you crash. Sustaining change means giving yourself the energy to make good choices day after day.
  • Fuel Your Body: A poor diet won’t only sabotage your weight-loss goals, it will also leave you lacking the energy for an effective workout. Proper nutrition is essential for a healthy body and mind, so start making the switch to a diet based on whole, unprocessed foods. If you can’t sustain a complete diet change, that’s ok. If you change your habits gradually, eventually it all adds up to a significant shift in your eating patterns.
  • Address Your Mental Health: If you have negative feelings about your body and self-worth, a fitness regimen won’t change that. The best way to unpack negative self-think is with the guidance of a mental health professional. If you’re holding onto stigma about therapy, this is the time to let go of your misconceptions and see if a therapist can help.

From more energy to face the day with, to reduced risk of serious illnesses, there are a lot of positive reasons to lose weight. However, how you treat yourself during the weight loss journey is just as important as your motivations for it. When you’re kind to yourself in body and mind, you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of.



Best to you!

Eric