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Movement as Self-Care

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“Change happens through movement and movement heals.”  — Joseph Pilates

Let me ask you something:

Do you think self-care is about getting a massage or treating yourself to special food or a material item?  Do you prioritize others care over your own and have difficulty making time for your own care? 

And do you want a change?

I can relate.  I am a woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, dog mom, chicken mom, teacher, owner of two businesses, gardener, hobbyist painter, and so much more.  So many of these parts of me are caretaker roles, which I love.  However, as much as I care for others, it is more important for me to take care of myself.  I can be a better [insert title] when I choose self-care.  But isn’t self-care being selfish? NO! NO! NO!

Do you believe mindful movement and meditation practices can be a form of self-care?  Is your movement or meditation practice the first thing to get bumped when something more important comes up?

I do believe that movement and meditation practices are a form of self-care (massages aren’t so bad either, but that’s another article). And yet, I know the feeling of guilt when I choose work over working out.  I know the inner dialogue that says I am going to start this new program on Monday.  I have told myself that there isn’t enough time for exercise.  I have decided to skip my strength training because I worried it might cause me pain.

I am a teacher of movement and it is still difficult for me to commit to a consistent movement practice and seek the benefits it affords me.  I have struggled with this before and know it is difficult to break the cycle without having the tools, including the right mindset, to make a change.

A glimpse into how I use mindful movement as a strategy for self-care and self-healing. 

This was my day on Wednesday. 

I wake up at 6:00 am, and as the alarm went off, I find myself thinking of all I must get done today.  I think about what the priority is because clearly everything on my to-do list isn’t going to get finished.

As I make coffee for myself and Les, I continued to get worked up about tasks and responsibilities.  I sit with Les and sip my coffee, discussing the plans for the day, anxiety is building.  Eventually after checking my email, social media, calendar and to-do list, something must be done, or I will continue to become more anxious and overwhelmed.  I put my phone away and move on to feeding our chickens.  This calms me down because I get outside in the sunshine and fresh air and can think clearly.

It’s now 7:00 am and I go into my home gym to workout.  A little breathing, foam rolling, gentle Pilates, and then on to the treadmill for a walk/run.  After that, it’s sauna and meditation time.

It’s 8:30 am now and I feel much better than pre-workout. Now I can start my workday.

After a little food and a shower, I sit down in front of the computer and get to work.  I have 90 minutes before my first Hypnotherapy session, and I want to make the most of it.  After about an hour of working on the computer, my lower back and neck are aching, and I have a hint of a headache.  Ugh, computer posture does it to me every time!

I hop onto the floor and lay on the foam roller, spread my arms out to the sides and do some deep breathing.  After about 3-4 minutes of this, I move on to my belly propped up on my elbows and continue breathing mindfully.  After 5 minutes of this moving meditation, I am refreshed and some of my aches and pains have subsided.  The next 20 minutes of work are incredibly productive!

Now it’s 11:00 am, time for my first appointment.  My hypnotherapy sessions typically last between 1 ½-2 ½ hours and sometimes it is difficult to stand up after sitting for so long.

Session ends at 1:00 pm. Between sessions, I go through the same 5 minute moving meditation and breathing practice I described above, and it makes a big difference.  Since these sessions have me in my chair for so long, I don’t normally have more than two appointments in one day. Time for lunch.

From 2:00 -4:00 pm I have the second session of the day.  After two sessions, I know I still have a bit more work to do before dinner will be ready.  (I am incredibly lucky and grateful to have Les cook most of our dinners.  And they are delicious.)  It’s sunny outside and I decide I would benefit from a quick walk in the fresh air and sunshine.  Fifteen minutes outside and I am ready for the last bit of work for the day.

For me, each day of the week is different because I do a lot of different things for work.  Some days, I know I am teaching a follow-along class or shooting a video, so I am getting in some moving.  Since these are “working,” I tend to need some short movement practices sprinkled throughout my day to calm my nervous system which, in-turn, relieves the aches and pains that develop from working.  I am not saying there isn’t a place for more vigorous exercise.  I am simply suggesting that less stressful forms of movement, in fact, those methods that replenish, can be considered self-care and have a healing effect.

Takeaways:

  • Make your self-care a priority.
  • Shift to a mindset of confidence, knowing that there is movement out there that is nourishing.
  • Spending time moving and getting outdoors in various forms can be very healing.
  • Some movement is better than none.
  • Take baby steps. Start slowly and gradually increase your efforts as you gain strength, flexibility, and confidence.  Start with a small commitment of time for movement, maybe 5-20 minutes, and stick with it.  If it feels good, perhaps increase the length of time.
  • Listen to what your body needs.
  • Choose movement that feels good to you. In fact, I would go as far as to say, choose a method that has you feeling better after you are finished than before you started.

If you are looking for a place to start, I have created this playlist with videos that are gentle and nurturing Do what you can and skip what you cannot.  Celebrate your successes rather than worrying about what you weren’t able to do.

I would love to know how I can help you add mindful movement practices into your life as part of your self-care.  I am creating a program for people just like you to develop positive mindset and healthy habits around self-care practices.  Would you be willing to take 5 minutes or less to complete this survey?  It would mean the world to me!  Thank you.

Additional Resources:

Two videos I created for our sister Channel:

Additionally, to really get to the root of an issue you want to change and begin transforming the beliefs that drive your behaviors, schedule a hypnotherapy session with me.  Here is more information about the method I practice called Rapid Transformational Therapy.

If you are looking to dive into the world of meditation in 2020, a great starting point is our 4-Day Meditation Journey. This free program is a great resource for beginners and those looking to step back into the practice of meditation.

The Mindful Movement’s 5-week online course, Living Fulfilled is another great opportunity.  During the course, you will explore how to find your purpose, love yourself, and connect with your authentic self.

Let us know how we can help.  Please feel to leave a comment with any other suggestions, comments, or questions for the community!

With love and gratitude,

Sara and Les

The Mindful Movement

About the author, Sara

Sara is the founder of The Mindful Movement and the owner of Coreworks Fitness, a Pilates and Yoga studio in MD. Sara is also a Pilates and CoreAligh Master instructor with Balanced Body.

Sara is passionate about helping others grow and live mindful, fulfilled lives. She helps others move better, feel better, live with a deep awareness, gratitude and their whole heart. She strives to inspire others to live authentically and passionately in love and abundance.

3 Comments

  1. Hellen Waithera on 09/20/2020 at 7:15 PM

    Am really inspired by this beautiful teaching.I got anxiety last year and since then my life changed,it was a wake up call for me to change from the person I let myself be.I started taking care of myself,minding what am thinking letting go of what is beyond my control and forgiving.I like your guided
    Meditation on YouTube.

  2. Anne Hart on 09/23/2020 at 4:36 AM

    Thanks for your inspirational support over these last months in lockdown. Regular meditation and doing an 8 week mindfulness course has really helped me to feel mentally stronger and able to cope with homeworking and juggling family life. I need to carry on my self care regime for a happier and healthier outlook and hope that others are inspired to do the same as it really can change how we feel .

  3. Liz on 09/23/2020 at 7:48 PM

    I enjoy your meditations. ..thank you..they make me wonder about your hypnosis training and if any degress…!? Have a great day 😃
    Thank you ,
    Liz

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Sara and Les Raymond founded The Mindful Movement in August of 2016. They are passionate about helping others grow and live mindful, fulfilled lives. They have both experienced profound growth and fulfillment in living a mindful lifestyle. Together they help others live a more mindful life, deepening their awareness and sense of gratitude. They strive to inspire others to live authentically with love and abundance.

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