Guide to Support your Mood and Energy with Restorative, Self-Care Movement
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Movement can be healing, or it can be stressful. When you have more than enough stress in your life without adding vigorous exercise, invite your movement practice to support your energy and restore your state of peace. Use these strategies to develop a self-healing, restorative movement practice to support you for the rest of your life.
Does this sound familiar? Or some variation of this scenario?
Your to-do list is 3 pages long, your computer continues to ding every 10 seconds with new emails coming in, and your partner just called to see if you were making dinner tonight. Your stress level is high, you have a lot of tension in your neck, and you think you forgot to eat lunch. Just then, you remember, you “should” be leaving to go to the gym for your scheduled workout now, even though you didn’t get everything done you wanted to.
What would you do here?
- Leave now and go to the gym for your vigorous workout, because that is what you have planned.
- Stay and work longer to complete a small fraction of the things on your to-do list (and feel guilty about not sticking with your commitment to go to the gym).
- Leave now, go to the grocery store to pick up a frozen meal for dinner, also making a stop for chips and ice cream.
- Pause for a moment, close your eyes, take a few breaths to calm your nervous system, and check in to see how your body is feeling and what would best serve you right now.
Looking at these options, I know I have had my fair share of choosing a, b, or c. Yet, I know I am best served by choosing option d. When I choose to pause and check in, I can recognize that it isn’t a good idea to go to the gym and do the vigorous spin or weightlifting class now. In that moment of recognition, I can make a better choice for myself. I can recognize that adding more stress to my day won’t serve me.
Choosing a, b, or c every once in a while, isn’t the end of the world. However, if you continuously choose one of these options, they will add up and you may find yourself with an issue due to chronic stress.
Movement can be something other than exercise
Let’s review the facts for choice d: You have made the commitment to workout and it’s time to go to the gym. You pause and check in to notice what would serve you right now. And you recognize you are stressed and experiencing some physical tension. You come to the conclusion that a vigorous workout is not the best choice for you right now.
So, what are some options when you realize your vigorous workout plans are not going to serve you?
After you pause, recognize where you are, accept your current state, it is time to give yourself what you need—NUTURING! Below is a list of nurturing options with links to relevant resources if you find yourself in need.
- Relaxing breath practices
- Gentle, restorative yoga
- Foundational movements
- Energy balancing meditation
- Self-massage practices using your hands or myofascial tools
BONUS TIP: Imagine your best friend came to you, explained the above scenario, and asked for your advice. What would you tell them? Sometimes you can help yourself most effectively if you treated yourself as you would a dear friend or loved one.
My, hands down, favorite, most nourishing practice combines a few of the above strategies. I call it the 3M approach. Schedule yourself a one-hour gift to include Movement, Meditation, and Mindset practice.
The 3M approach explained
- Start with some gentle movement to get your blood flowing and loosen up any stiffness. This is also a great way to bring awareness to your physical state and get you out of your head which is where you tend to be when stressed or anxious. It prepares your physical body for the next step, meditation, which is mostly practiced in stillness.
- Second, a meditation practice that balances energy. Sometimes you might need restoration if you are drained. In this case, seated meditation or yoga nidra are great. Other times, you may need to release excess energy. Perhaps a walking meditation suits you. Now if your time to check in with what you need most.
- Now that you have prepared your body and calmed your mind, it is time to build a positive mindset. This can be using affirmations of your choice, a hypnosis practice or journaling.
Because I believe these three components together are extremely powerful and healing, I have created several playlists that incorporate all three.
- Relieve Anxiety and Stress Naturally
- A Healing Combination: Gentle Yoga and Meditation for Healing
- Pain Relief Practices: Mindful Movement and Meditation
- A Morning Routine for Beginners: Gentle Yoga and Morning Meditation
- Self-Care Practice: Energy Balancing Yoga and Meditation
- The Practice of Letting Go of Negativity
- Seeing the Gift
- Evening Ritual: Yoga and Meditation to Prepare for Sleep
Invest in Yourself with the 3M Approach
Your health is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to your happiness, energy, success, and vitality, wouldn’t you say? So why not invest time in maintaining your health with the gift of this self-care. Below are some additional strategies to make your 3M time even more enjoyable and beneficial.
- Set an appointment with yourself. Make a calendar event for your 3M time when you feel it would serve you the most. Perhaps allow your workout time to be modified to a 3M practice when you need it.
- Set an intention. Connect with why you are doing this and the benefits of the practice. Allow your intention to be fluid because you may need different intentions on different days.
- Set the stage or create a special environment for your practice. If it is energy re-refilling you need, you may choose low lights and candles. Perhaps diffuse lavender or another relaxing essential oil. Play your favorite relaxing music. Put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door.
- Set yourself up for success. Have a plan in mind before your scheduled 3M time. Create a playlist on YouTube with your favorite practices. Develop a playlist of your favorite music. When you are stressed, you probably won’t want to think about what to do. And you definitely don’t want any obstacles to stand in your way.
- Enjoy this time as a gift to yourself.
REMINDER: Clients and students of mine often have difficulty prioritizing their own care and sometimes feel it is selfish. I am here to remind you that self-care is the opposite of selfish. If you take care of yourself, you are available to be a better [insert title] for everyone around you. Whether your title is mom, sister, teacher, therapist, friend, etc., you will be able to better help those you care about when you help yourself first.
If you still aren’t convinced, there may be some unconscious beliefs you hold about yourself that are standing in your way. Although my approach may not be exactly your style of self-care, the relationship you have with yourself is arguably the most important because it is the only one that lasts a lifetime. In my opinion, you are worth investing in!
Start today with our newest practice: Healing Self-Care Movement to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
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.
Members Oasis for: Unlimited access to all Mindful Movement Meditations and Hypnosis Practices; Exclusive Members Only Content added EVERY month; Practice anytime, anywhere.
Purchase your favorite Meditation and Hypnosis practices from the Mindful Movement. You can download an MP3 file to listen to anytime, anywhere with no internet access necessary.
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
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About your host
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.