Carving Out Time For You

Jennifer Leavy is a Certified Yoga Therapist and Yoga Teacher and the Owner of Pose by Pose Yoga, (813) 501-4987 www.posebyposeyoga.com

In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it is so easy to get behind- laundry, shopping, cleaning, and unfortunately our health. As a mother, spouse, co-worker, business owner many of these terms would be the first thing we would list as “who” we are. The truth of the matter is that well before those terms defined us, we existed a bit more simply. As we age, so many responsibilities begin to add on to our daily schedule that it can get a bit overwhelming to even consider “what have I done for myself lately.”

With the kids going back in school, now is a great time to begin to integrate more of a routine for yourself as well. Now is the best time to start healthy habits of waking up just a bit earlier than normal to enjoy a few minutes of quiet before the dog or cat or children get up. You may find his habit allows me a bit more energy and a great way to start my day without the rush. You may also find that a quiet five minutes seems like an awfully long time. So if you have five minutes alone here are some great ways to spend them:

  • Stretch– start by simply rolling the shoulders forward and back a few times. Yawn to release the muscles of the face. Open the mouth up wide and stick the tongue out to relax the jaw. Roll the wrist and the ankles a few times. Wiggle the toes and the fingers a few times. Figure out which of those movements made you feel the best and repeat!
  • Breathe– begin my breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Notice the sound of the breath and the parts of the body that move when you breathe. See if you can breathe half as slow as your third breath. Do you notice that when you exhale your shoulders drop just a bit? Can you alter the pattern by allowing your exhale to be twice as long as your inhale?
  • Read– have a positive and uplifting book by your bedside, maybe it is just a book of quotes that motivate you, maybe a book about a sports legend that inspires you, or even a health magazine that shows new ways to workout.
  • Journal-Do not journal a to-do list! Instead, journal about goals and wishes and hopes. Think of people who you look up to and list the traits they have that you aspire to. Maybe you even choose to write down your accomplishments to be your own inspiration.
  • Meditate-the best way to get started with meditation is to stretch first in the ways listed above so that the body is comfortable sitting, from there do the breathing technique (also listed) and before you know it, meditation comes. It may just be a brief moment where you were so in tune with your breath that your other thoughts disappeared, the more you practice the easier meditation comes.

No matter what the activity you choose to start your day, or even end your day for that matter, make sure that it is one that allows you to focus on you. Finding quiet in today’s world is not an easy task, but you may find that doing so allows you to be a better “you.” In turn, that better “you” will allow you to be better for all the titles you define yourself with.

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