I wrote this post over 10 years ago, and while the stresses may be different, the sentiment is as applicable as ever: Turn off the screens and make space for self care. Spend time on you and in the company of others, be it friends and family, or new people and connections.
From the Archives of The MindBody Moderate, March 2009
Yes, the economy blows. For real. But it is now even more important you do something for yourself, to keep your body physically fit and your mind less heavy with stressful thoughts.
It is said that some illness can be linked to overall stress on the body. Keeping physically active can be the best preventative medicine out there. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. Here are a few ideas for keeping mentally and physically fit in these fabulously slumpy times.
#1. Do something you love! This is the most important factor. Running on the treadmill is not gonna cut it, if it’s something you hate to do. We both know it won’t last, and you are not gonna get the mental challenge you need. I, for instance, take trapeze lessons twice a week. I always look forward to each lesson, enjoy the challenge, and laugh and cry with my classmates. That’s what your exercise should be…something you enjoy in your own way. To each his own! What’s yours?
#2. Create a community. Bring the class to you. Say you want to do pilates or yoga or dance or whatever, but privates lessons are too expensive. Create a class of your own. Get a group of friends with similar interests together, find a time that works for you, and go find a teacher. The cost would be minimized. The class would be fun. It’s also an excuse to get together with friends, or make new ones.
#3. Turn off CNN or Shut down your computer. We can all create more stress and the downward spiral of becoming news or internet junkies – needing to know how the Dow ended, and what John Stewart has to say about it. Cut out the headlines for a week or so, maybe 1 hour less a day, and give that time to yourself to take a walk outside in the fresh air, call a friend, write in a journal. Something just for you.
#4. 20/20/20 This is my at home mind and body workout. I tend to be ADD. So much I want to do at once, I often end up doing nothing. This formula seems to work for me most of the time. And if I don’t do all, I do at least one or two. I spent 20 minutes exercising or stretching (jumping rope, pilates mat, just stretching, etc), then 20 minutes journaling – which is almost like mental spewing to get certain stresses or ideas out of my head and onto paper, and then finally 20 minutes meditating or breathing – this is the hardest, but very beneficial.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that money rolls, but you only get this lifetime once…a little self care goes a long way.