These days, there are plenty of ways to invest in your health and general well-being. You can work with a health coach, a personal trainer, an organizer, a nutritionist, an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, a personal chef...the list goes on and on.
But not all practices of wellness require outside help, nor do they have to cost anything.
Whether you're short on time or short on cash, these five practices can boost your attitude, energy and overall sense of happy contentment right in the here and now.
1. Breathe mindfully.
We’re going to start at the beginning, with the breath.
Sit up or stand tall, straighten your spine, relax your shoulders down and back, and take a deep belly breath. Your eyes can be open or closed. Depending on your desired outcome, there are different breathing techniques to experiment with; this article describes six.
Breathing is something that comes naturally to each of us, but the more attention you pay to your breath, the better it will serve you. The breath is a natural pathway to stress reduction, and it is always available to us.
When you pause to shift focus from the task at hand to the breath you are taking, you make a meaningful contribution to your level of overall wellness.
Mindful breathing provides one benefit after another, from physical health to mental health, and making it into a habit is encouraged.
No matter where you are reading this right now, go ahead and look up for a just moment. Take another of those deep, mindful breaths, and drop your left ear towards your left shoulder as you exhale, lengthening the muscles on the right side of your neck.
Let that feel good.
Then do other side, right ear to right shoulder. Roll your shoulders, your ankles, your wrists. Twist your spine. Touch your toes. Bend your knees.
Let all the muscles lengthen. Let it all feel good.
If you can, raise your arms above your head, gently clasp your hands, and deliberately lean from side to side, keeping your feet grounded and your hips square.
If you can, stand up and go for a short walk: around the room, around the house, around the block, around the neighborhood.
If you can, stretch with a foam roller, or two tennis balls tied up in a sock.
If you can, knock out a 15-minute yoga sequence - the internet is littered with them if you are looking for guidance. :)
Always, let it feel good.
3. Take a long drink of water.
There are numerous benefits to staying hydrated, including not dying and things of that nature.
I have an app called Water Minder to help me stay aware of my hydration, and I've also trained my brain to crave a drink of water any time I hear the word “water” (I did a similar thing with the word “breath,” as in every time I hear it, I take a nice, deep one.)
If you have water already by your side, extra gold star for you! Take a few big, refreshing drinks.
If you don’t already have a glass of water by your side, go get one. I'll wait.
And if you don't already own one, I challenge you to purchase a water bottle or drinking cup that fits your preferences (there are zillions out there these days), and make it a habit to keep it next to you. It’s something I encourage every one of my clients to do, because consistently drinking clean water is not only an amazing health practice, but also an amazing privilege we are granted.
Which leads me to number four…
4. Offer up an expression of gratitude.
Doesn’t matter if you call it a prayer, or a train of thought, or a conversation with the Universe, taking the time to recognize and acknowledge when things are terrific always leads to more terrific-ness. Go to your "happy place" in your mind.
Being grateful now leads to more reasons to be grateful later. It’s the Law of Attraction, and it’s pretty straightforward. What you think about, you bring about.
You can think it in your head, jot it down on a post-it, keep a journal full of them, or post all about it on social media (#attitudeofgratitude) but give some focused appreciation to the things that make you grateful.
5. Do something nice for someone.
It can be a grand gesture like paying for someone’s groceries, or a thoughtful gesture like letting someone go ahead of you in line , but as this article points out, offering an act of kindness is a win-win situation.
In this moment, can you think of someone in your life you can you reach out to right this minute with a text, social media message, email or (gasp!) phone call, just to tell them hi, thinking of you, love you, miss you, am impressed by you, am inspired by you, am worried about you, am so happy you’re happy, etc. and so on?
Or! Leave wildflowers one your friends’ cars’ windshields. Or send postcards from your hometown to friends far away. Or mow your elderly neighbor’s lawn. Or check out here, here or here for more random acts of kindness ideas.
I've been talking about launching a kindness revolution for years now, and you can help me do it! Drop a kindness bomb of love in any direction that inspires you.
Kindness is always a good idea.
So there are my top five suggestions for boosting your wellness in this very moment. These choices are available to you any day, any time, and they each provide a measure of self-care that accumulates over time into a full-blown self-lovefest.
Do you have a favorite, go-to self-care practice that lifts your spirits?
I'm interested in knowing if you're interested in sharing! xo
*originally published 8-23-16