So you’ve got your fitness routine covered, but what about the rest of your wellness? What are you purposefully doing for your mental, emotional and energetic well-being?
Don’t stress, 24Life’s got you covered with this seven-day plan equipped with wellness strategies to help round out your weekly health and fitness routine.
Monday: Shift your energy
Got a bad case of the Mondays? Try this movement sequence to shift your energy from Lauren Walker, creator of Energy Medicine Yoga and the author of “The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription” (Sounds True, 2017).
Energy runs your reality, and the beauty of energy work is that it translates into every facet of your life—from what, how and when you eat to how you think and how you feel about your body, mind and life. Walker combines yoga poses, breathwork and unique moves to influence specific flows of energy in your body in relation to the energy of the surrounding environment. What better way to kick off your Monday and set the tone for the rest of your week?
Tuesday: Meet up to meditate
There truly is something inexplicably magical about collective meditation. The collective energy (a culmination of concerted group concentration) is palpable and powerful, drawing you deeper below the surface of the mind’s constant chatter. While you might be inclined to think a group environment would be more distracting, meditating with others has the opposite effect—it’s actually easier! From the accountability aspect to the profound effects of collective group energy, there are many benefits associated with group meditation.
Need convincing? Get on board with these four reasons to meet up to meditate and work it into your weekly wellness strategy.
While walking suffers from the stigma that it’s only for those who can’t do “harder” workouts, health experts agree that the first and most important step you can take for your health is to start walking at any pace, for any amount of time, and chances are you’ll begin to feel better. Walking is actually the No. 1 recommended movement for every body—no matter your age or ability. As it turns out, walking regularly strengthens our bones, boosts our immunity, improves our posture and lifts our mood. It can even help sharpen memory and tame a sweet tooth.
Thursday: Restorative yoga
Restorative yoga is a great form of self-care. It gives us a chance to slow down, both mentally and physically, focus on our breath and quiet the mind. It is now a well-known fact in the health community that by taking a few quiet minutes a day, we can help lower our blood pressure, slow down our heart rate, reduce our anxiety and ground ourselves so that we can feel revitalized. Restorative yoga has long-term positive effects on our general state of mental and physical well-being.
In this gentle practice, explore yoga that enhances your body’s ability to generate and build strong, healthy energy and enhance its circulation. If this sounds like something you need right now, consider this an invitation to create space to melt into these nine poses.
Restore and more with this gentle yoga flow by yoga instructor Cheryl Green.
Friday: Re-balance your nervous system
A balanced nervous system is central to our overall health and well-being. However, the majority of us have an overactive sympathetic nervous system—living in a near continual state of flight, fight or freeze (aka stress).
Unfortunately, our sympathetic nervous system is constantly being stimulated by our surroundings, activities and mental processes, creating a recurring stress response that begins to wear us down not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Thankfully, we can begin to interrupt the cycle and combat the ill effects of stress on the body by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system (the second branch of the autonomic nervous system), which down-regulates everything, lowering heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol and blood sugar levels, and releases muscular tension (known as the relaxation response) in preparation for rest and digestion.
Once a week, try one or two of these re-balancing techniques to calm your nervous system and bring your entire mind-body network into a state of balance.
Don’t forget to play on Saturdays! Research is showing that play is what you need to stay connected to the best parts of you. Play helps you tap into your growth mindset and will help you excel both at life and at work. Psychiatrist Stuart Brown, M.D., compares play to oxygen. He writes, “It’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated, until it is missing.”
Playing boosts our mood, fosters empathy, enhances connections, renews optimism and cultivates openness. It even helps us stay focused and motivated. While you might not be in a playful mood, forcing yourself to play (perhaps outdoors) will likely give you the boost you need.
We need to plan our playtime as if it was one of the most important meetings of our week. Play asks you to put down your technology and pick up your connection. It is the doorway to a life of vitality and joy. 24Life expert Petra Kolber invites you to make this the summer of fun, where the only game you care about winning is the game of your life.
You can even make your workout a “playout.” Here’s how.
Spend some time with yourself on Sunday and de-stress before the week ahead with journaling. Elena Brower, meditation expert and author of “Art of Attention” (Sounds True, 2016), explains that you uncover habitual emotions, thought tendencies and chosen habits with journaling in her latest book “Practice You: A Journal” (Sounds True, 2017).
You refine your own voice and vision, recognize what makes your heart happy, and learn to invite the circumstances, insights and energetic connections that will help you to be of service to yourself and the world around you. Even research suggests that journaling is good for your mind, body and spirit. A new study from Michigan State University says that writing down your worries helps rewire your brain and increase efficiency.
Not entirely sold? Here are five more reasons why you might want to consider journaling once a week or more often.
Photo credit: filmstudio, Getty Images