This post is dedicated to the busy parents out there, those who work long weeks and sleep short nights. This post is dedicated to those who do what it takes to take care of everyone around them with hopes that at the end of the day, there might be some time and energy left over for themselves.
The quest to fitness and wellness is a constant trek with many aspects. Working out and eating right are on the top of the fitness list of things to do, and they are very important indeed, but there is another important aspect that if ignored, can seriously hinder your progress. The mind-body connection…..letting go of the stress, taking the time to take care of yourself, and RELAX. Take a second to think about this. When was the last time you relaxed? For most of us, relaxation is something that we do not allow for ourselves. Life is stressful, we push through, get it done, go to bed, and do it all over again. You know that this is not good for you, but do you know what is actually happening inside your body?
When we feel stress, there is a series of events that take place in our bodies. Our bodies release stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol), and fats and glucose are released into our bloodstream. This response to stress gives us the energy we need to deal with the stressful situation that we are presented with…..only this response does no good helping us deal with the tax bill that just came in, the presentation you need to prepare last minute, or the Crayola portrait on the wall that you have to remove before your husband gets home. No- the physiological response to stress does not help us cope, but it DOES contribute to a slew of chronic health problems including cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, diabetes, and OBESITY. When stress is present, the body releases hormones that make it difficult to metabolize certain fats.
While exercise is a valuable tool in stress reduction, we need to take more steps to taking better care of ourselves. Meditation, and Mind-Body focused exercise has been proven to provide multiple health benefits, ranging from improved sleep quality, improved focus, greater stress resilience, and WEIGHT LOSS.
If you are anything like me, you may find it difficult to put time aside to seemingly do “nothing” (and by this I mean relaxing, meditating, and consciously letting go of stress). Try a Yoga or Pilates class with mindful exercise, and guided meditation at the end. Integrate five minutes of quiet time at the beginning of your day. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and search your body for any signs of stress or tension. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth, consciously release any tension that you notice. Find a positive affirmation that you connect with, repeat it to yourself, and then go about your day. This simple time spent will make a difference in your day, your outlook, and your life!