When things are hectic, especially with the stresses of today’s corporate work environments, you might find yourself tempted to clock in extra hours and ignore your personal needs. Often what falls to the wayside first in these kinds of scenarios are two essential components of a healthy lifestyle: movement and exercise. What we fail to acknowledge in these moments when we forego our needs is just how important movement and breathing are for our mental states – and, in turn, our skin and overall health.
By incorporating mindful movement into our daily routines, we make it easier to always have time carved out, even if it’s just for half an hour, to take care of ourselves and live fully in our bodies. Fostering this mind-body connection creates an opportunity for an improved relationship with the self, better coping mechanisms for the stressors of everyday life, and on top of it all, beauty that generates from the inside out.
WHAT IS MINDFUL MOVEMENT?
Throughout the day, you may find yourself getting physically and mentally agitated. Your limbs may tingle, or your brain may begin to space out. These sensations may be due to an ignorance of our mind-body connection, which needs to be nurtured and planned out just like the meals we consume throughout the day.
Mindful movement can incorporate anything that allows us to foster a greater sense of physical and mental well-being. This means doing activities that respond to your physical and emotional needs. For instance, those who are dealing with anxiety and stress may want to explore a meditational practice like yoga, tai chi, or qigong. These activities incorporate breath work and movement, which alleviate tension in the body and in turn the mind.
Others may find greater mindfulness benefits from higher intensity activities, such as cardio. Running, swimming, and even fast-paced walking all have beneficial effects for our cardiovascular system.
Everyone’s skin reacts differently to emotional and environmental stressors. You may find that after starting to follow your own mindful movement routine, you experience fewer breakouts, puffiness, and inflammation of the skin. Stress can be a cause of eczema flare-ups, contact dermatitis, and other types of rashes as well. When we make time to move and release physical and mental tension, we are caring for our whole bodies.
TURNING MOVEMENT INTO RITUAL.
New habits take time to build, but soon after starting one starts to realize the value of setting aside time for mindful movement. Start small whenever starting a new routine. Take a walk at lunch, get up and stretch, make tea once an hour. Get yourself moving! You’ll soon find that incorporating more movement throughout your day becomes second nature.
Try this simple schedule of daily mindful movement:
When your alarm goes off in the morning, take 5 minutes and so some simple stretching.
Get out of bed and do 3 sun salutations - here is a simple sequence!
Go about your morning routine as usual.
After lunch, make it a point to go outside for a 10-20 minute walk. Listen to relaxing music, a podcast, or listen to the sounds around you.
Listen to your body throughout the day – if you feel the need to move or stretch, get up, and do so! We recommend once every hour for 10 minutes or so.
In the evening, take a fitness class, go for a run, or do the activity of your choice to open your heart, breathe deeply, and unwind. Pay attention to how you feel throughout the day and take a class that will help you connect meaningfully!