STRETCH & REST CARE for the wellness warrior
I've got some sad news to share. Earlier this month, we had to say goodbye to Tyson, our 16 year old Beagle/Boston Terrier mix.
Ty was a special blend of fearless, friendly, and funny as hell with a beagle nose that kept me on my toes.
Ty was my workout, stretch, cuddle and writing buddy who loved the outdoors as much as mat and nap time. He was my accountability partner for taking walks and rest breaks each day.
Rain or shine he got me outside exploring. He did not like that he couldn’t figure out how to join in when I would ride the spin cycle or do Exo Pilates chair workouts.
Ty's passing has left a hole in my soul, but I’ll forever be honored and grateful I got to be his mama for so many years.
To honor Ty and help you prepare for the holidays, I want to share some of his favs & daily moves for having a blissful life.
BLISS MOVES & TOOLS FOR YOUR PUP
Here are Ty approved Bliss Moves & Tools to help you and your pup play, rest, & explore together!
TO PLAY MORE:
Bark Box* - a monthly box of $40 worth of toys & treats with different themes. Love how easy it is to customize the boxes. Excellent customer service. I waited way too long to order these for the pups. Get double the goodies on your first order.
TO REST MORE:
Best Dog Beds Ever! Best Friends by Sheri: Calming Donut Dog Beds. Their cozy blanket is awesome too.
TO EXPLORE MORE:
RUFFWEAR has quality dog performance gear for outdoor adventurers. They have great harnesses – we got Ty the flagline harness with a handle to help give him a boost as needed on walks and to get in the car this past year.
Side note: Ty was a puller in his teen years. The Freedom No Pull Harness from 2 Hounds Design fixed that issue on walks so we would't hurt his neck. You can find them on Amazon, Chewy, or direct from the company.
BLISS MOVES & TOOLS FOR YOU
Here are some Moves & Tools to help you be a calm, strong, happy pet parent!
FOR BETTER MOBILITY:
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*.
FOR BETTER STABILITY:
Stock up on bands to build a strong core.
CAMPS TO RESHAPE:
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. If you tell me which Senior you want me to donate to, I’ll make sure to do that in Tyson’s name.
COFFEE FOR A CAUSE:
GROUNDS & HOUNDS COFFEE CO.- we love their coffee, chocolate, cups, & gifts but mostly that 20% of every sale supports an animal rescue organization. Take advantage of one of their holiday deals or use WELCOME10 for 10% OFF!
Happy Holidays & Stay Curious My Friend!
*indicates affiliate link
Did you Make Space last month to slow down for rest?
If decluttering didn’t help turn on your rest & relax mode, you can try a different strategy: Move Your Body.
Movement can help prepare your brain & body for rest. It’s the cue that it’s safe to calm down.
Think about a yoga class.
Most start with movement poses and end with relaxation poses or meditation.
Moving your body first can help it calm & slow down.
What kind of movement?
Every BODY is different. You have to experiment and play with different moves to see which ones help you turn on your rest & relax mode.
Tune into your body. What kind of movement does it need to slow down?
It might need to shake, shout, sing, or stretch it out for just a few minutes before you rest.
Or it might need to complete a stress cycle with 20-60 minutes of physical activity.
Moving your body is the best way to complete a stress cycle and signal to the brain the threat (real or not) is over and it’s OK to calm down.
Find something your body loves moving and doing before resting- running, jogging, walking, dancing, cycling, swimming, rowing, Yoga, Pilates, paddling, rock climbing- anything that feels good & triggers your rest & relax mode.
Listen to your body. It’ll tell you what moves it needs to slow down. It’ll not only feel calmer but also help you tap into more of your intuitive, creative, and happiness vibes.
Move & Play before you Rest & see how your body responds.
P.S. Want 4 more moves to help trigger your rest & relax mode? Check out this FIT Blog.
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?
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!
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:
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.
Hope you're staying cool & enjoying some summer fun so far. Summer is a great time to check in on how we are doing with our green, healthy living habits to support nature and the planet.
Here are 5 tips to help you have a green, clean, healthy body & home while you help save the planet.
1. Look for businesses that are Certified B Corporations™: B Corps are for profit businesses that commit to balance both profit and purpose. These brands meet legal standards to consider not only the needs of their customer and employees in their decision making but also the environment and larger global community.
2. Look for the BUNNY LABEL to find brands that don’t do testing on animals. Download the cruelty cutter app to make it easier to shop cruelty free.
3. GROCERY SHOPPING:
4. HOUSEHOLD GOODS:
5. CAMPS WITH A CAUSE: our online bodywork camps will not only help you have a strong, calm, well-rested body but every camp sale supports an organization that improves the health & welfare of animals and wild life like the Beagle Freedom Project & Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Remember it all adds up. Mini moves & baby steps to have a healthier body and lifestyle. The brands you chose matter for not only you and your home but our planet.
Go More Green!
P.S. More scoop on 2 of my favorite Animal Rescue & Rehab organizations that we support with every online camp sale.
Beagle Freedom Project is a non-profit animal rescue and advocacy organization and the world’s leading organization for rescuing and rehoming animals used in experimental research. Since 2010 the charity has been freeing survivors from laboratory experiments, senior and special needs animals from shelters, and victims of horrific abuse from around the world. FYI Beagles are the most tested on dogs, particularly in the cosmetic and beauty industry, due to their gentle nature. Remember look for the bunny label or use the cruelty cutter app to shop.
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.
*denotes affiliate link
Mollie Miller, PT