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Archive for Monday, November 2, 2009

Go!

Simple steps can be natural energy boosters

November 2, 2009

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A weekend spa retreat sounds heavenly, but between work, the kids and the bank account, who can possible pull it off? The good news is that you don’t really need one to relax and rejuvenate. With practice, you can boost your well-being practically anywhere, anytime. Here are some easy, no-cost ways to relax and refresh without ever leaving home, from Woman’s Day magazine:

• Give yourself a rub down

Two tennis balls in a tube sock is all you need for a DIY deep-tissue massage. Lie down on the floor or in bed and place it under your lower back with the balls positioned on each side of your spine. Using a slow, continuous movement, roll your body back and forth (toward your head and then toward your feet), letting the tennis balls knead your muscles.

• Pump up your iPod

Since music affects your mood (and heart rate and brain waves and dance moves), create a playlist of songs that demand you have a good time, like Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and pretty much anything by The Go Gos.

• Meditate on the fly

Try mindful meditation, the simple practice of moment-to-moment awareness to quiet the mind and calm the body. Say you’re cutting up veggies for dinner. With each chop, really notice the crunch and vibrant color of carrots and peppers. Or if you’re heading out for a walk, let the rhythm of your footfalls put you in a meditative state. In order to help our bodies to relax we have to train our brains.

• Pay it backward

Got extra coupons? Offer them to the people in the checkout line behind you. It feels good to do good, and acts of kindness (even mini ones) count toward your lifetime karma points.

• Redefine downtime

Rid yourself of that stuck-in-a-rut feeling by throwing a wrench into your daily routine. Look for opportunities to make those precious moments happen. Spend just five minutes on the phone with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, take the dog for a late-afternoon walk around the block, take a scenic route on your drive home from work once in a while. Even the slightest change in a routine can bring big benefits.

• Take a power nap

You know you could use it, but you insist on powering through your day anyway, which is not a good idea. Your brain needs a breather in much the same way your muscles do when you are working out. There’s definitely a point where overdoing it leads to diminishing returns. A nap clears the fog and re-energizes you to tackle your daily tasks much more effectively. But no longer than 20-30 minutes for a mid-afternoon snooze. Any longer and “sleep drunkenness” will make it difficult to rouse from your nap and hard to fall asleep at bedtime.

• Wake up with a hug — literally!

Toss your covers aside, bend your knees to your chest and hug them close to your body with your arms. Hold the pose for 20-50 seconds. This stretch hits all the muscles in your body — and it feels great. What better way to start your day?

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