HOLISTIC LIVING: MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT
Life’s uncertainties can sometimes feel overwhelming — whether you’re managing pain and other health issues, money concerns, work deadlines or major life changes — but they don’t have to rule your days. Adopting a holistic living philosophy may help. Some practitioners believe imbalances (physical, emotional, spiritual) in one’s life can negatively affect overall health. Here are a few ways, big and small, to bring better balance to your life.
Deep breathing exercises can help lower blood pressure and initiate a deep state of relaxation. Here’s how it’s done:
- Find a quiet space.
- Sit or lie down.
- Take a normal breath, then try a deep breath: Inhale slowly through the nose, let your chest and lower belly rise as your lungs fill and your abdomen expands fully, then exhale through the mouth (or nose, if it feels better).
Once you've mastered these 1-3 steps, repeat with your eyes closed. Do this for a few minutes or whatever time you have. Even a minute can help.
Meditation can help the mind and body focus and relax, making it easier to see from a fresh perspective. Some tips:
- Look into meditation apps. They can guide you, which can be helpful if you’ve never meditated before. Some of them have timers, too, so you can relax without worrying about meditating too long and missing something.
- Be sure to choose a quiet location; get in a comfortable position and try to wear comfortable clothing.
- Consider meditation music and aromatherapy. They’re not necessary, but they can enhance your experience.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths — follow the deep breathing exercises you learned above — to start releasing tension.
- Clear your mind. When thoughts try to enter, it’s OK to acknowledge them, but then let them go and get back to focusing on just being.
- Ideally, try for a couple 20-minute meditation sessions per week, or one five-minute session daily.
Growing research supports that exercise can do wonders for both mind and body. Regular exercise is best, but even a quick brisk walk can have an immediate effect that lasts for hours.
Yoga is another great form of low-impact exercise involving stretches, poses and controlled breathing. There are different styles of yoga to meet everyone’s needs. You can probably find a number of yoga studios in your area, but yoga is something you can easily do at home, too. Just try to recreate the relaxing ambience of a studio as much as you can.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Simplifying your day can give you a sense of accomplishment. Follow these tips:
- Each night, make a to-do list for the next day and get lunches and outfits ready for yourself and/or your family. This will help your morning go smoothly, set the tone for a more positive day and ensure you don’t miss any important tasks.
- Visualize your perfect day and then live it. This might sound oversimplified, but visualization can be very powerful. It’s hard to achieve something if you don’t have a target.
- Say no. You already have your list of important tasks for the day, so if you want to keep things simple, don’t say yes to new commitments if you can help it.
- Leave some space in between your tasks. A short break can help you be more energized and motivated as you head into your next task.
- If possible, get your work and domestic responsibilities done earlier in the day. That way, you can look forward to a simple, relaxing evening by yourself or with loved ones.
- Ideally, try for a couple 20-minute meditation sessions per week and five-minute sessions daily.
LIVE IN THE MOMENT
Oftentimes, we feel unbalanced because we’re constantly obsessing about the past or worrying about what might happen in the future. These tips can help you focus on what’s important right now:
- Do one thing at a time. Multitasking is overrated, and it doesn’t allow you to give your full attention to any one thing. If you’re talking on the phone to a friend, don’t try to type an email at the same time.
- Slow down a little. Take time to enjoy a five-minute uninterrupted conversation with a loved one. These moments tend to slip by all too often if you’re overwhelmed.
- Cherish the small stuff, like a good cup of coffee or snuggle time, instead of worrying about work or the sink full of dirty dishes.
- Take a couple minutes to do nothing — literally. Sit in a quiet place, take a deep breath, absorb the world around you. You’ll be amazed at what this can do for your stress levels and mood.
- Schedule a massage. This is one of the quickest, most beneficial ways to rid yourself of the worries of the day and send your body into instant relaxation mode.
Need more inspiration to help you get through tough days? Find it here.