Kick Back & Relax: Your Health Depends On It

Hi!! How the heck is everyone? With how busy we all can get, I have been reminded the importance of taking even just 5 minutes a day to let myself relax and center myself. I will literally go crazy if I don’t 😉 CRAZY I tell you!! Trying to find a balance with everything we all have going on in our lives can be tough, but struggling through and not letting your mind and body rest at all is actually really bad for you. Let’s talk about kicking back and relaxing a little bit!

Working long hours, looking after a family, maintaining a social life, hobbies, exercise and other commitments can be a struggle. Many of us are balancing so many different things, life can easily become stressful and overwhelming. And with so much to do, kicking back and relaxing is probably the last thing on your mind. Like many of you are probably laughing at this post with me even suggesting you “kick back and relax” right?!? I get it, I’m the exact same with myself…. I have no time to RELAX, but I have learned pretty quickly that I need to make time or I suffer even more.  It’s so important to do so for the sake of your health. You make the effort to eat well and exercise so why not take the time to de-stress and unwind when your body needs it? Here are some of the ways you can go about it… EVEN if you’re a super busy person like many of you! 

Massage

The benefits of massage are pretty great and I was not fully aware of it until I went in for a couple of prenatal massages. As well as easing tense muscles and lowering blood pressure, massage actually causes the release of endorphins (which are our brain’s ‘happy chemicals’) leaving you with an improved sense of wellbeing. Different types of massage will use different techniques and are used in different ways. For example deep tissue massage is effective for injured muscles and can promote healing. Holy Hannah though, those deep tissue massages can be a killer. It is for sure that “hurts so good” kind of thing 😉 Hot stone massage can ease muscle stiffness and reduce tension. Aromatherapy massage can help to relax as well as promote healing in different ways. For example, eucalyptus and pine can provide a decongesting effect, and lavender can promote relaxation. There are essential oil reviews all over that you could check out online if you wanted to try self massage, or get a partner to help. hint hint…back massages tonight?! I think so 😉

Hot Baths/ Hot Tubs

Okay so honestly, hot tubs gross me out a little bit but they can feel so good.  Hot Bath’s became my best friend at the end of my pregnancy and I can’t express enough how much it helped with my sore back and helped me relax. Being submerged in warm water helps to lower heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Hopping in the bath after a long and stressful day is a cheap and accessible way anyone can relax, plus it’s a calm place away from everywhere else where you can just clear your mind. This is something I’m going to try to do again once a week. Allow myself some time to take a bath and just relax. We will see how that goes! 

Meditation

Meditation focuses on mindfulness– bringing the mind to the current moment. This is my favorite way to relax myself and something I highly encourage you to try! During meditation it is so nice to not stress about the past or worry about the future. You can concentrate on your breathing and allow your body to fully relax. It taps into a deep level of calm, and has been scientifically proven to be beneficial in many ways. I partner up a lot of my time to pray with a little meditation and there isn’t anything that centers me more than that! It helps improve memory, self awareness and perspective. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure and can lead to a deeper and better quality of sleep. It’s simple to do, and looks different for everyone. If you are new to meditation, there are many apps you can download to help you get started. I personally like to have some tea, grab my bible, and spend some time in silent prayer and deep breathing. It is crazy how much of a difference this makes in my day

Do you make time to relax, for the sake of your health? I’m suggesting even 5 minutes a day… just try it 🙂 

Taking Back You Life: What Mindfulness Can Do For You

Life in 2016 is pretty hectic and for some crazy reason, even when our calendars have an open space, we tend to fill it. Many of us have full-time jobs, houses to run, kids or pets to look after and some kind of social life to attempt to keep up with! It’s no wonder so many people barely have time to sit and relax, or have some time to themselves. This is something I have made more of a priority throughout my pregnancy, but let me tell you, it is HARD!! Honestly, how many times have you been able to sit down, breathe and let the day wash over you in the past month? Our society is such that we tend to view any kind of ‘downtime’ as laziness – like we should all be on the go, all of the time. I am 100% guilty of this.  If I have things to do, the thought of sitting down to relax just isn’t going to happen because even if I do get myself to relax, I’m just going to be thinking about everything I need to do.   If life has been getting on top of you recently, practicing mindfulness could be just the trick you need to help you get back in control of your life.

meditation

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is described as a mental state achieved by focusing entirely on the present moment and what is in it. This could be anything from bodily sensations to sounds, to your own thoughts. The ultimate aim of mindfulness is to feel completely in the present moment, away from any stresses, be they past, present or future. It is especially popular for those living with anxiety or depression, and is now used as a therapeutic technique. It has even been endorsed by a number of health professionals. However, even if you don’t suffer from depression or anxiety, mindfulness can still benefit you. In fact, it can benefit everyone. Throughout the last 7 months I have made a strong effort to BE PRESENT in every situation I am in.  When I’m sitting in class at 9:30 on a Monday night, instead of wishing the night away and wanting to be home with my family, I try to be present in that moment and appreciate it for what it is! When I leave work and I’m stressed I do my best to leave that at the office and get on with my evening, enjoying my friends and family in the moments with them instead of thinking of my ever growing to do list. Honestly, I have noticed SUCH a difference by being more present in my own life. 

be-present

Where did it come from?

Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist theories – ancient practices dating back thousands and thousands of years. It is said that the Buddha practiced mindfulness to enter a state of nirvana, where he became ‘awakened’. Many Buddhists these days still practice mindfulness as the Buddha taught, but it is no longer exclusively tied to the religion. Mindfulness exists in many forms across the globe and different people have different ways of practicing it.

How do I practice mindfulness?

The true beauty of mindfulness is just how easy it can fit into your everyday life. One of the most popular ways to practice it (and one of the most traditional too) is mindfulness meditation. During a mindfulness meditation, make sure you are sitting or lying somewhere comfortable. Also, ensure that you are unlikely to be disturbed (I know this can be hard with but it is possible). Start to take deep breaths and notice how the breath feels as it both enters and leaves your body. Become aware of how your body feels beneath the chair, bed or floor you are sitting. Many people find that counting their breaths from one to ten over and over again helps them relax during a meditation. If your thoughts start to wander, don’t get frustrated. Simply notice the thoughts without judgement. A good analogy for this is the passing of traffic. If you are looking at a busy road, the cars come and go as they please with no lasting effect. You can apply the same principle to your thoughts during a mindfulness meditation. If you need some extra help, many websites such as Open Forest offer online mindfulness courses. Many of us won’t have time every day for a full meditation, so also try practicing mindfulness during an otherwise dull task, like washing the dishes 🙂 I try to do a “mini session” of meditation before I do my daily devotions, it really helps center me and get my mind clear! 

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

Aside from relaxing you, there are many health benefits to mindfulness, both mental and physical. Paired with an otherwise healthy lifestyle and diet, it can quite literally transform your life.  Mindfulness has been linked to significantly reducing stress levels and maintaining a healthy heart. It is also said to reduce physical pain in chronic conditions, aid the general immune system and maintain emotional intelligence.For me, it helps keep me centered, and my mind on the things that really matter! Try is out 🙂 

Thanks for stopping by today!!

Weekly Goodness: Take 1

Thank the heavens above Friday is finally here! I knew this week would be crazy with it being the week following our Cabo vacation but MY WORD, comfy clothes and a glass of wine are just calling my name for this evening.

untitled11

You guys, I have so many fun things planned for My Goodness Blog and I am so thrilled! Many of you loyal readers have had so many great suggestions and I’m soaking up every word. Starting first, let me introduce “Weekly Goodness” Each Friday I will recap some of my favorite things from the week. This may consist of some recipes I tried, new workouts, cute Pinterest finds or what have you. In each Weekly Goodness post I will touch on one of my favorite “blog finds” of the week as well. Sorry this one is coming at you late in the day!! I had this typed up and I THOUGHT scheduled to post this morning but I was clearly wrong. Going forward, Weekly Goodness will be posted Friday mornings 🙂

Let’s jump right into this week! I hope you all enjoy some of these things as much as I have.

  • One of my very best friends had her first BABY! You may remember my post on Caitlin’s baby shower. Well her little man has arrived, here is little Hank and his beautiful parents <3 Could this picture be any more perfect?!

IMG_4363

  • Next is this fun graphic I found on Pinterest. I do not hesitate to throw fruit into our puppies dog dishes when I’m cutting it up. But some fruits can be very bad for them! Here is a good reference to help you remember what our furry friends can and cannot have

IMG_3867

  • Meditation! I was just talking with my girlfriend this morning about the importance of taking time for yourself and the busier I get, the more important that time becomes. I have been trying to take at least 15-20 minutes each morning to dive into my daily devotion, do some yoga, and start my day off fresh with a cup of tea or coffee. It’s amazing the difference I notice in my day when I take the time to do this.

e

  • My featured blogger this Friday is my friend Jessica over at Gluten Free Jess. She post such awesome recipes and I will be trying her Zucchini Chip Pancakes and can’t wait! image
  • Thursday I was hit hard with either extreme allergies or a head cold. Thanks to a friend who knows essential oils like the back of her hand… I acted quickly with my oils and went to bed early! I’m not sure if it was the oils or puppy cuddles, but I am feeling much better today.

d a r

  • Ending this Weekly Goodness is just some positive mindsets and lunch break workouts. Without these two things, my week would have been a rough one. These things keep me sane.

s

IMG_4371

Well there we have it! Take 1 is complete 🙂 Stop by next Friday for some more Weekly Goodness. I hope you all have such a great weekend. 31 Day Challenge lovers, I will be posting week 3’s workouts tomorrow!! Keep up the awesome work!

xoxo