STRETCH & REST CARE for the wellness warrior
Ready for some more simple moves to help you boost your Happy Hormones?
These healthy moves can be a great sugar substitute if you love sweets & snacks like me.
And no, I'm not talking about Stevia. I love it in my coffee or tea, but it doesn't give you that Dopamine hit we are going for.
Dopamine manages your brain's reward center. You get a boost of it when you do something pleasurable. It gives you a feeling of well-being, satisfaction and motivation.
Think of the way you feel when you eat chips, donuts, or even binge on Netflix.
Oh so good, but not so healthy and what happens next? You usually have to keep going to stay satisfied and before you know it you've gotten to the bottom of the bag of chips or finished a whole season to keep that feeling going. Haven't you?
Outsmart your brain with these 10 dopamine boosters instead:
3. Daily Sun
4. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
5. Eat a protein-rich diet
6. EAT chocolate (sorry but it's true just keep it in moderation & the darkest you can enjoy; great for PMS time of the month)
7. Listen to upbeat music
8. Tackle the NUTS in your life
9. Break tasks down into small bites so you can complete one task
10. Celebrate your wins
Bonus Move: Use the 3 Bite Dessert Rule- studies show it's just as satisfying for your brain to eat 3 bites vs the whole dessert.
Test & Track to see which ones work best for you.
You've got this!
P.S. Ready to Spring forward? Here are 2 strategies to help you adjust. Both are on the dopamine booster list!
Did you know we just had World Wildlife Day? For every camp sale this month, we're donating to one of our fav's. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescues & rehabs orphaned elephants, rhino’s & wildlife in Kenya to return them healthy to the wild as well as securing habitats for future generations, providing fresh water relief, vet rescue units and my favorite- their canine project using dogs to sniff out wildlife crime.
February is a great month to check in on your self-care routines. It's not only Heart Month but mid way through is Valentine's Day. Great reminders to find more ways to love on yourself so you experience more joy & ease each day.
Whether you’re a caregiver of little ones, old ones, sick ones, or furry ones, it’s so easy to neglect your own self-care (especially when those you nurture are vulnerable or ill).
Just like when the flight attendant says to “put on your oxygen mask first”, putting your self-care first is security that you’ll have enough “oxygen” (i.e. good health and energy) left in your tank to help those who need you the most.
It’s common among nurturers to get off track. The more simple you can make your practices, the less you’ll have to monitor yourself.
When you realize you’ve gotten off track, start back up right away without beating yourself up.
Your self-care doesn’t have to be a fancy spa appointment either. Something as simple as speaking more kindly to yourself is an act of self-love.
Here’s a beautiful way to start. Try it right now. Say the Lovingkindness Meditation out loud to yourself:
May I be happy.
May I be safe.
May I be free of physical pain and suffering.
May I be able to recognize and touch harmony and joy in myself.
May I nourish wholesome seeds in myself.
May I be healthy, peaceful, and strong.
How does that feel in your body? I find it calming. It relaxes and makes my body feel more open and supported.
Deep Breath, Ahhhhh. Doesn’t it feel good to say these words to yourself?
Pull it out anytime you’re beating yourself up about something, need a pick me up, or have monkey mind (overwhelmed with daily stressors and to do’s).
You can also try it the following ways…
Breathe With It: Close your eyes. Put your hand on your heart. Take 3 deep belly breaths. Say the Lovingkindness Meditation silently to yourself. Close with 3 more deep belly breaths. Sit and breathe as long as feels good to you.
Spice It Up: Say the Lovingkindness Meditation to yourself in the mirror while you get ready each morning. This might feel uncomfortable or intense at first. Just keep doing it. It’ll get easier as your self-love and acceptance grows.
Spread the Love: You can say it for other people you care about as well but only after you’ve said it for yourself first. You can even expand it to strangers or a larger community. When you say it for others, change the word “I” to the name of the person (or group) you would like to say it for. Example: May (name of loved one or group) be happy. May (he/she/they) be safe.
OK, no excuses, it's time to be kind to yourself. Do one thing that brings you joy before you move on with your day.
You're worth it!
P.S. If you're worn out, burned out, or just in need of a time out, our free 3 Day Rest Adventure is for you. Say Yes To Rest
How's the new year going so far?
Did you pick your one thing to focus on?
Or did you do like most people and overwhelm yourself with too many goals and give up?
It's normal to get off track when trying to change your habits.
It's also normal to have a hard time narrowing it down.
Here's a tool that can help you clear your head, tune in to what's most important, and get back on track any time of the year.
It helps you prioritize your day and also tap into your creative, intuitive side when you follow the directions closely.
A lot of artists and writers use it to start their day and turn on their creativity muscles.
It’s called Morning Pages.
How to do Morning Pages:
Pro Tip: Keep your notebook by your bed. Avoid looking at your phone before you do this exercise.
What if your “stuck” during your Morning Pages time? Here are some questions to get you in flow:
If you’ve tried working through these questions and still can’t get started on morning pages, you may be dealing with… major monkey mind!
Here’s a remedy and different tool to start with instead: Eliminate the NUTS in your life. NUTS are those nagging unfinished tasks that go round and round in your mind. I breakdown how to crack your NUTS in this blog post.
If your mind starts to resist or rebel after you’ve been doing morning pages for a while, keep going.
It’s a good sign. You’re on the verge of a breakthrough. Woohoo!!!
Writing this email has inspired me to do a month of Morning Pages. I hope you’ll join me. Every time I’ve done it in the past, I found it transformational and so freeing.
To Calm & Strong Creativity Muscles!
P.S. Still stuck & feeling restless? Our free 3 Day Rest Adventure is for you. Say Yes To Rest
Before you wrap this year up, make sure you go all out & C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-E.
Have some fun & play time with friends & family, but also take time to celebrate your personal wins.
Remember when you connect celebrating yourself with new habits, it increases the chances you'll build new behaviors and and create lasting transformation.
It's also a great way to prep for ringing in the new year.
Here are 3 simple ways to prep for 2023:
Mollie & Ender
P.S. If having more energy, ease & flow are part of your 2023 wellness priorities, here are some workout & burnout rest tools to help you get started:
Ho. Ho. Ho. It’s time to Roll. Our favorite foam roller is on sale until 12/31/22. 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*.
Stock up on bands to build a strong core:
Grab your tools then let us show you our favorite massage & stretch moves with them in one of our online camps.
CAMPS WITH A CAUSE:
For every camp sale, we’ll make a 15% donation to the Senior Dog Rescue Program at Beagle Freedom Project to help with their medical care.
REST YOUR GUT:
Get started on your Clean Eating Adventure with The Nutrition Starter Set. It'll help give your gut a bit of a rest break for 30 days by decreasing the toxic load from inflammatory foods and allergens. You'll learn a simple, safe way to detox for better energy, less inflammation, and/or to release some weight.
3 DAY REST ADVENTURE:
If you're worn out, burned out, or just in need of a time out, our free 3 Day Rest Adventure is for you. Say Yes To Rest
*denotes affiliate link
FYI Beagle Freedom Project is a fav organization of ours that rescues and rehomes animals who have been used for lab testing in the United States and abroad. In addition, they also work tirelessly to champion laws and legislation to ban the cruel practice of animal testing nationwide.
Do you know how to get your brain and body in flow?
In sports we call it being in the zone. When a baseball pitcher is throwing a no hitter, he’s in the zone or flow.
It’s that state where you are fully present, focused and at ease. There is no effort involved. You loose track of time.
Writers and artists are in that state when their creative juices are flowing.
As you get to know your body, you can do activities to help trigger a flow state.
Here are some ways to help you get in flow.
Do any of those pop out at you as a clue to how you can get into flow each day or before tasks you need to be at your most focused or creative self?
For me, it’s movement especially for writing tasks. I typically have to move my body before I can write. Sometimes journaling will get my creative juices flowing but I get my best ideas when or right after I move my body. You know I love stretching and Pilates, but dance has always been a part of my life as well.
Is there something you do to get in flow that isn’t on this list? I’d love for you to share it with me.
And if you have no idea what helps you get in flow, pick one and experiment for a few days and track how your mind and body feel. Then compare to a different one.
Have fun with it. The more you practice, the more you can get in flow. It’ll boost your mood, energy, and add more ease to your day.
Find Your Flow!
P.S. Download this Daily Planner for more mini moves to help you get in flow each day.
If you're worn out, burned out, or just in need of a time out, our free 3 Day Rest Adventure is for you. Say Yes To Rest!
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!
How's your stretching going?
Did you practice calming your body with gentle stretching vs overstretching like we went over in the last Fit Blog?
Hope so because it's time to kick your stretch skills up a notch with the 3-IN-1 Hip Stretch!
It's an active recovery stretch for cyclists and spin lovers that takes less than 2 minutes.
TBH we’ve held back on sharing this one for a while. We really need you to listen to your body so you don’t injure your knee doing it. Ease into this one especially if you have tight hips, IT Band or knee issues.
Before you try these moves, please read through everything below so you get the most out of it and stay safe.
THE 3 STRETCH MOVES:
This 3-IN-1 Hip Stretch sequence is primarily a hip flexor stretch (unlocks the front of the hip) that moves into the fascia above (in your core muscles) and below (in your quad muscles) to work the front fascial line.
For each stretch move, breathe and pull your belly up and in. Pace yourself and pause the video if you need more time to focus on your form. Listen to the cues in the video but the overall sequence and flow is:
HOW TO INTENSIFY:
HOW TO MODIFY the Quad Stretch (video at 0:47 and 1:50):
Change the position entirely if needed for the quad stretch so it’s less intense and less fascia stretching at the same time:
OVER TO YOU:
The 3-IN-1 Hip Stretch helps open up the front of your hips for better posture and less tension on your back and knees.
Once you get these 3 moves down, you can do the flow in less than 2 minutes for active recovery after riding or workouts to release the front of your hips, core and quad’s.
You may notice one foot is harder to reach due to hip tightness and that one side is harder to balance due to hip weakness. That's normal but you can balance out and improve overtime with practice.
There are a lot of ways you can progress yourself with the 3-IN-1 Hip Stretch as you bring the spring back to your tissue especially if you sit a lot for work or exercise.
Team Core Power
P.S. Want more stretch moves & massage tools to release your tight & tender hip & core spots? Join us in HIP Camp™.
Do you feel pain when you stretch? If so, it’s a sign you’ve gone too far.
Remember healthy tissue isn’t stiff. It’s elastic. Bungee cord like versus rope like.
You can bring the spring back to your body with stretching no matter your age but there is an art to stretching.
Just like we've evolved from flip phones to smart phones, we've made advances in stretching that can help you have better results.
First you have to learn to stop over-stretching.
If you experience pain with stretching, your body will tighten up more.
Why? The body’s response to pain is to protect, tighten up, guard.
Gentle stretching is key to stop over-stretching.
Stop stretching as far as you can go.
Start stretching at about 90% of your pain-free range of motion.
The goal is to calm the body so the tissue will lengthen and let go.
Here are some basic stretch principles to practice that'll help improve your elasticity:
Don’t force the motion or your body will tighten up. Check in with your face and neck. Are you tensing up because the movement is uncomfortable? That’s a sign you’re stretching too far.
Always breathe while stretching to help hydrate the tissue and increase the circulation to the area. Slow, deep breaths are calming.
Be mindful while stretching and focus on what you are feeling in your body as you stretch. Imagine restoring the spring in the tissue vs. pushing to your limits to get taller or more flexible.
Stretching the fascia can feel like a burning sensation, but it should go away as soon as you stop stretching. Feel for the tissue to let go, releasing before you stretch farther into the movement.
CHANGE THE TEMPO
Stretching with proper breathing prepares your nervous system for your next activity. Fast, shallow breaths will turn on your nervous system. Slow, deep breaths will calm your nervous system.
Breathe and stretch faster before exercise. Breathe and stretch slower after exercise for recovery.
CHECK YOUR FORM
Stretch with good form and control. Hold positions for 2-3 breaths before your workouts and a little longer after workouts.
Take mini movement breaks throughout the day to help your fascia be healthy and elastic. It all adds up whether it’s 3 breaths, 3 reps, or 3 minutes of movement.
Become more mindful of these principles as you stretch each day to help you feel and move better.
Let pain be your guide at first as a sign that you need to back off. Go slow, breathe, and let the tissue let go before you stretch deeper.
If you want to make lasting changes in your flexibility and posture, you’ll want to learn how to use fascial stretching and trigger point massage tools. We show you how in our online HIP Camp™.
HIP Camp™ routines are designed to help you release your most glued down stuck spots (whether they’re from chronic injuries or intense workouts) so you can move & perform pain-free.
Let’s get you stretching with (lasting) benefits!
Team Core Power
P.S. Ready to reshape your body in less than 10 minutes a day? Join us for HIP Camp™: Stretch & Rest Posture Moves & Tools to help you have a strong, confident, pain-free body.
How’s your body responding to springing forward?
The online debates have begun about why we put our bodies through this twice a year. I’m in favor of this being the last time as I prefer more daylight at the end of the day.
Regardless, we know it can take a week or so for our bodies to adjust so it’s a great time to support your brain and body by slowing down, simplifying and giving your brain less choices as it adjusts to the time change.
Here are 2 specific brain supporting strategies you can use right now:
THE PROTEIN SHAKE SOLUTION:
Start your day with a Protein Shake. Tips to Build a Balanced Shake:
GREEN SHAKE RECIPES:
1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder (can also make without it)
Take 1 handful of kale (stems and all)
8 ounces of water
1 handful of frozen fruit or blueberries
1 banana (optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
2 green apples (cut into small pieces)
2 peeled limes
Blend or juice everything together.
You can add Vanilla Protein to this recipe as well.
Green Protein Smoothie
1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder
9 ounces Almond Milk
1 handful Baby Spinach
½ cup Honeydew Melon
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Green Apple Goodness
1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder
1-2 tsp of Almond Butter
½ cup of ice
8- 10 ounces of unsweetened almond or rice milk, add ice and water
½ green apple (cut into small pieces before blending) + 1 tsp of cinnamon or to taste.
Blend until Smooth.
Green On The Go:
Green juice is everywhere now. You can drink your veggies if you are low on time. You can also add green super food powders* to your smoothie or water. One scoop of powder will give you probiotics for your gut, chlorella, blue green algae, digestive enzymes, spirulina, wheat grass, flax seed and all kinds of veggies for decreasing inflammation and improving gut health. It’s great for when you are traveling. No excuses not to eat your veggies.
CHOCOLATE SHAKE RECIPES:
If you’re a chocolate lover, it can be tricky to make a good tasting shake. You can throw vanilla protein powder into pretty much anything and it will taste good. Give these chocolate recipes a try.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake
Chocolate protein powder
7 oz of water or almond milk
4-6 ice cubes
1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter
1 scoop of frozen yogurt or 1/3 frozen banana
Blend until Smooth.
Chocolate Almond Oat Smoothie
Chocolate protein powder
8-10 oz of water/almond milk/coconut milk
¼ cup of oats
1-2 tsp almond butter
Blend until Smooth.
Chocolate Mousse Shake
Chocolate protein powder
¼ cup of avocado
Add some ice
Blend until Smooth.
Hope you find this transition less painful by using these Sun & Shakes strategies to support your brain right now.
To Sun, Shakes, & Less Stress!
P.S. For more stress management tips, download this Daily Planner to help you add 1-3 minute rest & relaxation breaks into your day.
P.S.S. Check out our favorite vegan protein powder* here.
*indicates an affiliate link
Well I finally got a standing desk after wanting one for soooooo long. It’s a height adjustable standing desk platform that my computer monitor/laptop and keyboard/mouse sit on top of on part of my desk. Love it BUT...
I got a little too over excited about it and ended up not being able to type for a few days. I forgot to follow my own advice about not overdoing it.
It took me a bit to figure out why I was having headaches and pain in my hands and forearms.
I finally put it together that it all started after getting my new fun toy. I went from sitting doing work tasks to standing several hours. I needed to break it up and build up over time.
Standing and working on a computer is great for the hips, circulation, etc. but puts more stress on the neck, shoulders, and forearms because you’ve typically got less support when typing or writing.
Plus your postural muscles have to work harder in standing. It’s real easy to tighten up your upper traps if your postural muscles get tired or if you’re so focused on work that you aren’t mindful your arms, wrists and fingers being on fire! Duh Mollie. LOL
Remember your fascia (connective tissue) takes the shape of what you normally do each day. And it takes time to reshape it.
If you do like I did and go from sitting most of the day to standing while on the computer, you’re most likely going to have new flared- up spots talking to you.
It’s best to break up and build up your tolerance to new activities.
It’s true for anything new.
Anything you’re doing for long periods.
Long drive or commute.
Long documents to edit.
Long time on your phone.
BREAK IT UP
I highly recommend adding a standing option to your desk if you have a lot of writing or typing to do on a regular basis. There are some obvious health benefits that are well documented to standing more than sitting at work.
Despite my initial issues, the standing option when writing or typing helps me focus more and my back and legs feel less stiff at the end of the day. I like the variety too.
You can use the Mini Moves Daily Planner below to take breaks as you build up your tolerance over a few weeks.
Stand up more!
P.S. Need some tips on how to stretch and relax your body during your workday? Here you go:
Mollie Miller, PT