STRETCH & REST CARE for the wellness warrior
Do you find it challenging to slow down to turn on your rest & relax mode?
If so, you might need to Make Space.
One way is to declutter. Do a quick check in.
Is there anything that you need to let go of or finish up that is draining you?
Is there something you’ve been thinking of doing or working on?
Yes? Go do it! It’ll free up some brain space or move some energy to help you relax and slow down today.
If you’re still struggling to slow down, here’s a podcast episode from my yoga nidra mentor, Karen Brody, that might help you overcome the resistance.
In her Daring To Rest podcast episode #71, Karen has a discussion with Caroline Dooner about her 2 year rest journey and new book “Tired as F*ck: Burnout at the Hands of Diet, Self-Help, and Hustle Culture.”
Gotta say I love that title 😊 but also the reminders of how many distractions there are that pull us away from connecting to our bodies and paying attention to those fatigue (warning) signals that when ignored lead to exhaustion and possibly burnout.
It’s only when we slow down that we can feel and hear them.
Also loved the reminder of how we get sucked into being “busy” to either numb out or fit in as it’s respected and rewarded in our society.
I truly believe hearing other people’s rest stories can help you move forward on your own rest adventure and help with letting go of the shame & guilt that can be associated with rest in a hustle culture.
You’re not lazy if you rest. And it doesn’t mean you have to sleep a million hours.
Remember it's about baby steps & resets. It all adds up.
Listen to the episode to do a rest checkup of your own life. It might help you identify some simple things you're doing that are draining the f*ck out of you (sorry- couldn't resist).
Slow down to tune into your body. It’ll tell you what it needs to feel more energy & ease.
Even though I’ve got my daily yoga nidra rest practice, I’m personally feeling the need to declutter before we take a long weekend to relax and celebrate our upcoming 18th wedding anniversary.
I’m making space to rest & relax. I’m also preparing my body to slow down because I’m coming off such a busy, emotional time dealing with my father’s passing this summer.
My body needs a variety of rest practices and more rest than I normally need right now.
What does yours need?
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 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
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.
Before you jump into your core workouts, try these moves to help turn on your core and maximize your results.
OPEN UP YOUR HIPS: tight hips can make it harder to contract the pelvic floor muscles (the base of your core). In fact, tight hips can pretty much turn off your pelvic floor. Stretch the front and back of your hips with a runner’s lunge and full squat to prep for a core workout.
WARM UP YOUR SPINE: The Baby Get Up is one of our favorites for warming up your spine and turning on your core before a workout.
CHECK YOUR FORM: Use this Head To Toe Posture Checklist to turn on your deep core stabilizer muscles and reset your posture during workouts. Be mindful of these spots for better form and check in frequently from head to toe that you’ve got yourself lined up during your core workouts.
Here is the Head To Toe Posture Checklist and posture cues to become familiar with and the video to walk you through the following spots.
HEAD TO TOE POSTURE CHECKLIST VIDEO
Becoming mindful of these key spots from head to toe during your core, Pilates or Yoga workouts will help you improve your posture overtime. Using good form during your workouts WILL carry over into your day.
You can take these posture cues out of the gym or off the mat to help reset your posture anytime during your day.
Better posture equals more confidence, better performance, and decreased risk for injury. You’ll walk, run, bike, row, and move better.
Prep, Reset, Reshape!
P.S. Download the Head To Toe Posture Checklist Video to reset your posture during your day.
Can you believe there's only 5 days left in this wild ride of a year? Man, what a ride its been. Hoping you’ve been able to renew & refresh some before we ring in 2021.
Even though 2020 has been challenging, it’s important to take a moment and reflect before you move into the new year.
Here are 3 simple ways to prep for 2021:
Need help narrowing it down? Here’s the Mindful Athlete Goal Setting Worksheet to help you pick out your first fitness or wellness goal for 2021.
We know 2021 is going to be a BIG year of healing for all of us.
We look forward to sharing more about the healing power of rest & bodywork practices to help your body do its magic... to heal itself and get stronger so you feel, move, and perform better.
Wishing you more health, happiness, & healing in the new year!
Mollie & Ender
P.S. Ho. Ho. Ho. It’s time to Roll. Our favorite foam roller is 30% off this month. 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*.
In our online program, HIP Camp™, we show you how to use the foam roller & more to help you reshape your body for better energy, mobility and posture. Learn more here.
*denotes affiliate link
If you’re feeling the anxiety creeping back up as the Rona wildfire spreads across the southern part of the U.S., here's a self-care practice that should help.
We had our dress rehearsal in April for this scenario. Cue the jazz hands, it’s SHOW TIME!
We know what to do to slow the spread: WASH (your hands), WATCH (your distance), WEAR (your mask).
We know outside (with social distancing) is safer than indoors.
It’s the perfect time to start a GROUNDING PRACTICE. And it’s super simple.
How To Start A Grounding Practice
Grounding 101: Lie on the ground outside for 5-10 minutes. You don’t have to do anything but let Mother Earth do her thing.
Spice it up: you can visualize growing roots from your body down into the earth as you breathe. Inhale all the healing energy of nature, then exhale anything you want to release from your mind or body through those roots down deep into the earth.
Benefits Of A Grounding Practice
A Grounding Practice can help you:
Other options when you can’t get safely on the ground and start to spiral with anxiety or fear:
Self Care Resources
Here are links to all the blogs for resources I’ve pulled together so far during the pandemic:
Self-care basics during COVID-19
Immune Boosting Breath Work
Pet Care: the latest CDC update is that humans can pass coronavirus to their pets (no evidence of them giving it to humans). Keep your pets away from anyone outside your household and anyone who has tested positive or is in quarantine.
If you don’t know Andy Slavitt, I recommend you follow him on twitter (@ASlavitt) or on his podcast (In The Bubble) for real time COVID-19 updates as hot spots develop around the country.
Stay Safe & Strong!
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
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.
If you’re worn out, burned out or in need of a time out, here’s my favorite tool to help you get re-energized.
I've used it daily for the past 2 years. It's been my #1 self-care practice as I continue to ride the emotional roller coaster of providing elder care for my dad.
I learned about it on a podcast that led me to a book that started me on a 40 day challenge with a simple rest tool called Yoga Nidra.
I was completely worn out from helping my dad through his 3rd cancer surgery in a year when the podcast caught my attention.
I'd heard the name many times from my Yoga Therapist colleagues, but didn’t really "hear" it until my body needed it the most.
My body was like “Yes, THAT is what you need to do when you get home.” Deep rest was exactly what my body was craving and I was the perfect candidate to test out the power of it.
I'll never forget my first yoga nidra nap and the way it refreshed and energized my worn-out body (and soul).
It’s the most relaxed I’ve gotten on my own without going to acupuncture or massage. I would even say it’s a deeper relaxation experience that energizes you versus having that post bodywork fog where you can barely drive home.
What is Yoga Nidra?
It’s basically meditation while you rest.
You lie down, listen to a guided meditation, and rest. It’s called “yogic sleep” and involves intense relaxation.
Doesn’t it sound fascinating and fun?
It’s my favorite rest tool for managing fatigue and stress.
If you’re a caregiver for little ones, old ones, even furry ones... it'll help you re-charge each day.
If you're in a healing profession... it's your burnout prevention tool.
If you’ve got a job that requires you to perform (athlete, speaker)… it’s your pre-game “find your flow” mindset tool.
A 15 minute yoga nidra nap will help you calm your nervous system so your body can repair and heal itself.
It has been such a powerful healing & recovery tool in my life. I know it can be in yours as well.
Getting Started With Yoga Nidra
P.S. Check out your brain on Yoga Nidra. The research on brain scans during Yoga Nidra is remarkable. Your brain is asleep and awake at the same time. After you wake up, you're primed and ready to act: Brain scans
Mollie Miller, PT