It’s my favorite season: spring! It’s an excellent time of year to think about taking on a project: spring cleaning, home improvement, landscaping or gardening, you name it. I find this time of year to be much easier for me personally to practice better habits. I gave up sugar in my coffee five years ago in March (no easy feat, by the way). I’m often inspired to eat more fresh produce because it tastes so good in season. More sunshine = more energy to tackle the things I don’t get to in January during the “traditional” get in shape now time. And it’s the newness of spring that energizes me in general: the world is waking up after the cold, dreary winter, ready for renewal.
If you’re ready for a reset, taking a few minutes a day to look after your mental health is a great place to start. Meditative practice is more important than working out hard or losing weight. I say this as a long time trainer, a believer in physical fitness and someone who enjoys working out! But you cannot separate the “physical” from the “mental” body. They are one and the same. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a few of my favorite five-minute meditations.
So what would you like to work toward? What is it that you need to take hold of your happiest, most fulfilled, most peaceful state of being?
[Photo: Spring in the Valley, CA]
With Thanksgiving just a week away, let’s consider what we can do to stay sane, energized and fit as we roll toward the new year.
What do you want from 2017? It’s never too early to be mindful and set the intention for your future self. The clients I support often benefit from setting intentional, attainable process goals during this time to stay focused on their fitness, wellness, and self care. What will you commit to intently now to keep yourself feeling good and resilient over the next few weeks? Here are a few tried-and-true exercise ideas to get you started:
- Move mindfully three times a week. Choose an amount of time that’s realistic for you. Typically, you can dedicate ten to thirty minutes to an activity that gets your blood flowing and relieves, rather than escalates, your stress levels. It may be a walk, a yoga practice, or an at home workout.
- Move on Mondays. Set the tone of the week.
- Move in the morning. You take advantage of fresh energy and getting it done right away, setting a positive tone for the rest of your day and protecting your self care time from being imposed upon by something else.
I want to help support your journey! From Black Friday through New Year’s, I’ll be sharing some of my best holiday mindfulness, food and travel tips with you via Primarily FIt’s Facebook home here.
I hope you feel amazing and inspired to take care of yourself. Healthy change is always within reach. Remember you are priceless.
Wishing you a blessed holiday season!
[Photo: California autumn]
Why do over 90% of people fail when they attempt to get in shape for the first time?
- They don’t know what they need to do to get results.
- They think they’ll lose thirty pounds in January.
- They promise to work out every day.
- They drastically change what they eat.
- The list always goes on.
It’s incredibly easy (and normal, by the way!) to align with this way of thinking. These mindsets are a parade of unrealistic expectations, which we’ve discussed before at length and they are ingrained in our culture.
But what HUGE additional factor is easy to overlook?
- New routines are stressful.
- Stress is cumulative.
It’s a very American response to stress to go harder when we experience it, and to push further when we’re exhausted. Ever hear the maxim, “no pain, no gain”? I see this work-until-you-drop, no-off-switch, Silicon Valley MO in the corporate environment literally every day. Personally, I am moving out of one of these non-stop work cycles right now. They are so common that one of my newer clients told me earlier this week: “Nicholle, I can’t remember a day when I was NOT tired.” This is not the first, or twentieth, time I have heard this during a client interview.
This leads me to believe that many people are already operating on less than a full tank when they begin a fitness program. Chances are, if you’re already tired, you’ll de-motivate quickly — even when you know that changing your health habits is the best choice for you. There’s a better way!
Here are some ideas that can help you maintain balance between motion and rest — BEFORE jumping full tilt into a new routine:
- Stop working. Make a commitment to yourself to take at least one day of the week for complete physical and mental rest. Two may be ideal based on your schedule and ideal workout program (the latter of which I highly recommend determining alongside a qualified fitness professional).
- Stand and move more. In addition to day(s) of rest/light activity, take regular breaks throughout the day from sitting, which can be extremely stressful for the body (and in turn, the mind). Your body was not meant to sit, and it literally needs to recover from sitting! Try to move at LEAST five minutes for every hour, and moving every 20-30 minutes is even better.
- Sleep! Adequate sleep is ridiculously underrated in our culture. It’s a badge of honor to survive (and supposedly thrive) on four hours or less. According to my physician, most of us need 7-9 hours to function optimally. Dedicate a few extra minutes each night to turning in earlier to begin building it as your “new normal”. It will take some time and be worth every minute in improved energy, health and performance.
Apply these consistently, and you’ll have a much higher chance of success in achieving your goal and maintaining your best health for life.
[Photo: The Narrows @ Zion National Park; Springdale, UT]