STRETCH & REST CARE for the wellness warrior
I’ve known what I wanted to share with you this month, but it’s been delayed because you know life…
I’ve had to focus on family and taking care of my energy to celebrate my dad’s life as he passed away peacefully with my brother’s and I by his side at the end of July.
The more I look at pictures and have memories pop up, it’s becoming clear that dad was a big influence on my love of nature & water which ties into what I wanted to share with you.
I grew up on South Florida beaches and lakes just like dad. My dad was a Bass fisherman his whole life. He later became a hunter after we lived in Louisiana, and he spent time with our Cajun relatives.
Thinking of when I was younger, it feels like the longest periods of time I spent with dad was fishing on his Bass boat. He even taught us to water ski behind it. So embarrassing!
Dad also loved to sit outside in the morning with his coffee and just watch nature. OK, so he was also known to get his BB gun out to scare away squirrels and raccoons from the pecans or bird feeders.
But this Vietnam Army vet, who called yoga therapy “yogurt” while at one of his inpatient rehab stays, had his own way of meditating by calming and grounding himself through nature or on the water. He just didn’t know that’s what he was doing.
Here are 3 ways you can easily tap into the healing power of water and nature yourself:
1. CALM YOUR BRAIN: visualize or sit in nature or near water and do some Cooling Breathwork.
2. CALM YOUR BODY: try this Qi Gong "Fountain" exercise. It’s a moving meditation to help you get in the flow and “just be water.” It can be done in sitting or standing. Kids love it. It’s a fun one to do when you need a quick break to clear your mind, calm your body, or recharge. Just 7 reps can make a difference and help you find your flow. Watch this short video to learn how simple it is to do.
3. CHALLENGE YOUR BODY & BRAIN: go Stand Up Paddle Boarding to get the benefits of the calming meditative powers of nature AND the core challenge to your balance & coordination from stabilizing on the water.
Hopefully this will inspire you to spend more time in nature or near the water. If you’re not able to get outside, you can do the first two inside. And if you’ve never SUP, well what are you waiting for? It’s so much fun and a great thing to try over Labor Day weekend.
Go try some "yogurt" :)
P.S. Summer Savings Alert. It’s time to Roll. Our favorite foam roller is on sale until 9/30/22. It’s like having a PT, Chiro, Massage Therapist in one and the closest we can get to sending our hands home with you. You can find it here*.
Then let us show you our favorite massage & stretch moves with the Rollga in one of our online camps.
*denotes affiliate link
It’s time… to give yourself the gift of rest. I know how foreign rest is to so many of us especially women, caregivers, and health professionals.
We've got a 3 Day Rest Adventure to share with you - it's free so no excuses!
It’s only been 3 years since I started my own rest adventure using the rest tool of Yoga Nidra.
I found it when I was completely worn out from helping my dad through his 3rd cancer surgery in a year while he lived 6 hours away from me.
A podcast during my last commute before I moved him back to my area caught my attention and that led me on a 40 day Yoga Nidra challenge.
One nidra nap and I was hooked.
I'll never forget the way it refreshed and energized my worn-out body (and soul).
I've stuck with it almost daily since then and when I find something that is this powerful for my mind and body I always want to share it with everyone which leads me to taking another certification (i.e. Pilates, Fascial Stretching, Trigger Point Therapy).
Ironically, I found myself doing my Yoga Nidra Daring To Rest™ facilitator training during the first few months of the pandemic.
I was rapidly approaching burnout due to having to coordinate care of my complex neuro patients (and my dad) in an upside down medical system while we all were dealing with the stressors of living through a global pandemic.
Having Yoga Nidra in my rest toolbox kept me from crashing into my typical burnout cycle. I saw the signs and added as much nidra rest when I needed it as best I could to get me through it.
What I love about Yoga Nidra is that it addresses 3 layers of exhaustion- physical, mental/emotional, and soul exhaustion. Most rest tools address physical or only one area but the deep rest of Yoga Nidra using the Daring To Rest™ method addresses all three.
The best part is you don’t have to do anything except lie down and listen to a recorded meditation. You’ll get the rest medicine you need at the time.
For me, the pandemic brought on intense mental/emotional exhaustion I had only felt on that level a few times in my life- after a divorce and the death of my mom. Lots of brain fog. I couldn’t even focus on reading books which I love to do. I definitely didn’t have any creative juices flowing until about the middle of 2021.
As much as I’ve wanted to share what I’d learned in my training with our community, I had to listen to my body. The message until recently was "not yet Mollie, just rest."
Honestly before I knew about this rest tool, I wouldn’t have listened. I would have pushed through to get it out there as I know how much it helps and is needed.
Even though the message I’m getting now is “let’s go” and the brain fog has lifted, the plan is to ease our way into sharing this new rest tool with you.
I’m inviting you on a 3 Day Yoga Nidra Rest Adventure. It’s free and only takes 15 minutes each day.
All you have to do is lie down and listen to a recorded Yoga Nidra meditation at a time that works best for you.
You’ll want to commit to the 3 days in a row to get the most benefit.
JOIN US ON A 3 DAY REST ADVENTURE
PREP WORK: MAKE SPACE FOR REST
Your homework is to tune into your body and figure out what time of day you want to block off to rest for 15 minutes for your 3 day adventure. This will help you actually do it.
It can be in the morning, midday when you have low energy, at the end of your workday before you transition to your evening home activities, or just before bed to help with sleep.
The time doesn’t really matter. What matters is you commit to 15 minutes of rest for the 3 days by picking a time and blocking it off on your calendar as soon as possible. You can then schedule other activities around it.
Trust that your mind and body will get what it needs no matter the time you pick.
It’s OK if you aren’t normally a napper. This is deep rest and relaxation for your nervous system. You might just have the most nourishing nap you've ever had. Be open to testing it out. You have to feel it in your body to truly understand the benefits.
It’s also OK if you're resisting because you’re telling yourself that you’re too busy. It’s normal for there to be resistance when trying something new and rest is not something that is encouraged by our society. Let the resistance pop up, notice it, but do it anyway. You deserve to rest no matter what your brain is telling you.
SIGN UP NOW FOR 3 DAYS OF REST
Say Yes To Rest!
P.S. If you’re worn out, burned out or just in need of a time out, the free 3 Day Rest Adventure is for you. All you have to do is lie down and listen for 15 minutes. And we’ll give you 2 simple prep steps to help you actually slow down enough to do it. We’ve got you so…
COME REST WITH US!
It’s time to move it. Move your body. Let’s face it, there’s still a ton of chaos going on in our lives. One way to release all that energy you can’t help but absorb is to move your body.
Sometimes we need to move our body to get an energy boost, but the prescription we need right now is to move our body in ways that release energy.
Here are 4 MOVES to release all the anxious energy you’ve got trapped in your body. They will all help you feel more calm, centered, and confident.
Summary: Pick one move or try them all. You may have days when you need to throw everything at it to get back in your body (i.e. more centered and calm) so you can carry on.
All is Well!
What's on the agenda for you over the long, holiday weekend? Hopefully something to refresh your mind, body and soul. I don't know anyone that isn't needing more rest in their life right now. All forms of exhaustion- mental, physical, emotional- are at an all time high.
So here is your Rest Prescription for the weekend. It's a great one to help you fall asleep but you can also do it floating in the pool and before taking a nap in a hammock. It's super simple.
If you get off track, start over at 32 or just pick any number and count backwards as you do a full inhale and exhale.
You can pick any number. It doesn't matter where you start.
If you fall asleep, woohoo. Just rest. When you wake up, you wake up. Whatever length of time it is, your mind, body and soul needed it.
Get outside if you can over the weekend and do a few minutes of this breath work to take a nap. Use the exercise to help with sleep on a regular basis.
Deep breaths and baby steps!
P.S. Want better sleep? Download this 5 minute rest meditation to take a quick time out, prep for a nap or to relax your body before sleep.
2020 has been INTENSE for all of us. We've all got a battle or two (or more) going on right now in our lives.
Even dentists are reporting increased numbers of cracked teeth and dental emergencies since the Spring. Apparently, it's from all the jaw clenching and teeth grinding from stress.
Good news, I've got a go to breathing exercise for anxiety and stress...
THE COOLING BREATH
It’ll not only help you process strong emotions like The Ha Breath does, but help you calm and relax your nervous system.
It’s the perfect time to add it to your breath work toolbox.
OK let's test it out.
Check in to see if you are feeling any anxiety or stress. Rate it on a scale of 1 (none) to 10 (I’m freaking out).
Next do 5 reps of The Cooling Breath.
HOW TO DO THE COOLING BREATH
After 5 reps of The Cooling Breath, check back in and rate your anxiety or stress on a scale of 1 to 10. Did it go down? Do you want to do a few more reps? Listen to your body. What does it need?
You can use The Cooling Breath during the day, in the car, before bed. Anytime you feel anxiety rising. Make sure to teach it to your kiddos. They'll love it. You can describe it like blowing bubbles if that helps them catch on to it.
We are sending tons of love to anyone fighting or recovering from the virus, the fires, or the hurricanes. Please take care of yourself during these challenging times.
P.S. Craving better sleep? Download this 5 minute rest meditation to take a quick time out, prep for a nap or to relax your body before sleep (it includes The Cooling Breath).
Download this daily planner to help you add more 1-3 minute rest & relaxation breaks into your day.
It’s getting W-E-I-R-D in here.
How are you doing now that we’re at the mask stage of the Rona Ride?
I’m used to them in the medical world, but it still feels strange to wear them in public.
This whole experience is pretty disorienting. Isn’t it?
As we add covering up with the mask to social distancing, keep in mind you can still connect with others using your eyes and body language.
Some of my stroke patients that I learned the most and felt closest too didn’t speak a word the entire time I worked with them because of their aphasia. We used body language and eye contact to connect and understand each other.
When you’re wearing a mask in public, you can still crack jokes and use eye contact to connect with people especially those with essential service jobs. The stress and fatigue are on the rise in the front lines.
Smile with your eyes. They’re still the window to your soul. Send them some love.
TO MASK OR NOT TO MASK
I know there’s confusion and mixed messages out there on masks, even when some communities require them.
Part of the journey of this pandemic is we have to adapt as we learn more information. Current research shows masks help decrease risk for all by at least 50% (3 ply surgical masks are better than home made).
Wearing a mask is another tool to protect ourselves and the most vulnerable in our community from the virus.
Mask Care 101: Make sure you cover both your mouth and nose with it. And once it’s on don’t touch it with your hands. If you do touch it, wash your hands. Take it off by the ear loops and throw it away.
Yes the Rona Ride is getting repetitive but it’s simple: Wash (your hands), Watch (your distance), and Wear (your mask).
BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Before you mask up, do the dog breath (in your house or car). It’s another exercise to add to your breath work toolbox that’ll help boost your immune system.
Peace & Love,
P.S. Helpful Resources:
Download this daily planner to help you add 1-3 minute rest & relaxation breaks into your day.
Additional Rest Resources
Self-care basics during COVID-19
Surgical Masks: Austin Emergency Supply Foundation provides free masks to small business and those in need. You can buy masks for just yourself or for you + help others get them too.
Best Mask For Glasses (anti-fog)
I don’t know about you but I’m ready for a REST stop on the Rona Ride.
It’s starting to feel like a country song come to life…
Dad’s on lock down (at his assisted living).
Youngest brother’s on the front lines (ER doc in Virginia that loves infectious disease).
I’m on a see saw balancing between two new worlds (the wellness “rest” world from my yoga nidra training and the upside down medical world on the verge of burn out).
Ironically, my yoga nidra training started when the pandemic hit our area.
I'll be honest my Rona Ride stalled out at the end of April when my body screamed "time out" due to poor sleep from stress and the crazy pace of all the almost daily changes happening in the medical world.
I was exhausted mentally and physically.
So what did I do?
I busted open my rest-care tool box which helped me bounce back energy wise.
THE BEST MEDICINE IS REST
There has never been a better time to listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Right now besides your basic hygiene, social distancing and using the latest CDC safety precautions, I recommend using as much rest, laughter, and nature as medicine as possible.
I saw a post where someone mentioned they were making turns onto aisles at the grocery store like they were in a haunted house. I couldn’t help from LOL thinking of that even though it’s also sad. Hopefully we won’t feel like that forever.
Find the humor whenever you can right now. It's OK to laugh while you're anxious or sad. It's a #1 coping strategy in the healthcare world. Don’t feel guilty.
Focus on what you can control in your immediate environment. Your self-care comes first then everyone else. The wellness rules are the same as before, but we need to ramp up the calming strategies.
Remember to take advantage of the health benefits of movement and meditation each day. You don't have to go hard core. A little bit helps a lot.
Did you know doing something synchronized like singing with another person is right up there health wise? Our bodies intuitively know this. Think of all the TikTok videos or the clapping each day in NYC and Italy for health care workers.
Go ahead and bust out the karaoke or your favorite dance moves a few minutes a day. Sing and shake your body to keep the energy and emotions flowing.
I know you’ve got cabin fever. Go for a drive. Go outside and soak up some sun. Get near water or trees. Move your body. But then I still want you to REST, REST, REST.
This is a marathon not a sprint. Our bodies heal and get stronger at rest.
REST & RELAXATION SELF-CARE TOOLS
Here are some free rest and relaxation tools to help calm your body & brain:
Download this free 5 minute rest meditation for better sleep. Use it to take a quick break, prep for a nap or to relax your body before sleep.
Free Meditation Apps: Calm, Head Space
Tapping (EFT) is a combination of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology that sends calming signals to the brain. Here are some free resources:
The Tapping Solution free coronavirus stress and anxiety meditations: go here
The Tapping Solution has 6 months free membership for health care workers and first responders: learn more here
Tapping with Brad Yates on YouTube: Coronavirus
Rest is medicine!
P.S. Working from home for the first time? Don’t forget to take mini movement breaks for better focus & less stiff muscles. Download the Mini Moves Planner to help your body feel more energy, ease, and flow each day.
Need some immune boosting tips? Here’s the Healthy Traveler Packing List from an oldie but goldie blog post on nutrition and exercise resources to add to your self-care practices. They're good year-round not just for travel.
Find COVID-19 self-care basics & resources here.
One of the things I love about Pilates, Yoga, and Qi Gong is the emphasis on the breath work.
They all teach you how the breath is where it all starts. It controls everything. How you heal. How you feel. How you move.
And there are so many breathing exercises out there that can give you different results.
You can change the way you breathe so that it calms your nervous system, to turn on your nervous system before or during activity, to boost your energy, to loosen muscle tension, and/or to decrease anxiety and overwhelm.
It’s fascinating how something so simple can make such a difference in your body and mind.
Put your hand over your heart and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeat a few more deep breaths.
Did that release some tension in your neck? Do you feel a less overwhelmed? How about more grounded or centered?
You can use this breathing exercise anytime you feel like life is spiraling out of control. It reminds you that you DO have control.
One breath can change everything. Your mood. Your energy level.
And as they say you've gotta feel it to heal it. Breath work will help you do that.
Having a variety of breathing exercises in your self-care tool box will help you manage stress, fatigue, and pain to perform and feel your best each day.
Here is another breathing exercise for you to try that will help you release STRONG emotions: The Ha Breath*.
Some of us were taught that it's not OK to express strong or negative emotions (i.e. anger, sadness) and they get trapped in our body. This technique will help you release them.
Not to get too woo woo on you, but it'll also help you center yourself by combining both your masculine and feminine energy so you’re in a more peaceful place.
THE HA BREATH
Remember…baby steps, my friend. All is well.
P.S. Want to feel more energy, ease, & flow each day? Download this free daily planner that'll help you pick out a few self-care mini moves so you can find your groove.
*FROM THE BOOK: Daring To Rest by Karen Brody who learned The Ha Breath technique in a Sierra Bender workshop.
Mollie Miller, PT