Things look a lot different this fall and back-to-school year, and we’re all doing our best to adapt to each of the changes. Between digital schooling, unprecedented storms, social unrest and anticipating the flu season while Covid-19 is still weighing on our society, it’s safe to say we’re probably all carrying some sort of emotional burden. All things considered, it’s more important than ever to lean on the simple tools that make human beings strong and centered. For us, three of those things are intentional rest, sustainable movement and simple breathwork to reduce tension and stress, and boost moods and immunity!
Carve out time for intentional rest and let go of friction in your mind
There is a reason why we run faster and work harder, but feel like we’re constantly behind. When our lives are too full and we’re not giving our minds and bodies adequate rest, we’re not living sustainably. We need rest to recalibrate and rebalance, and to show up with more energy, which is why we love the idea of intentional rest. Intentional rest does not mean lying on your bed while scrolling on your phone; it means carving out time to let both your mind and body rest throughout the day. When you do that, you allow your mind and body to release tension and feel more ease.
Quick intentional rest exercise:
Think about something difficult in your life right now. Notice the tension in your body as you bring this subject into your mental foreground. Where do you feel it in your body? Now become aware of how it’s probably existed in your mind’s background for a while, creating that same tension you might not have noticed until now.
Give yourself the mental and physical suggestion to simply rest. Next, say to yourself “I am resting this stress that causes mental drainage. I am resting for my own wellbeing. I am resting to give my body a break. I am resting to give those around me who deal with my stress a break.”
Sense the energy shift and notice if your tension starts to release. Write down if anything came to mind as you went through this exercise!
Integrate a few sustainable stretches into your day to release tension in your body
We’re spending a lot of time inside hunched over devices and staying stagnant, so it’s important to find a few minutes each day to stretch your body. Why? It increases blood flow and circulation, sending oxygen to your brain and putting you in a better mood!
3 stretches to open up the areas that carry the most tension and tightness:
- Runner’s lunge with a twist to open the IT band and hip flexor
- Standing figure 4 to release the outer part of the hip (keep your foot flexed to protect your knee)
- Chest opener to counteract poor posture and texting
Practice simple breathwork to boost your immunity and mood
The more you move, the more circulation you create in your body. When your immunity is compromised, it’s especially critical to circulate your white blood cells (because they make up your immune system!) for extra protection. You can do that easily through belly breathing. Actively breathing from your belly engages the diaphragm and digestive system, where 80% of your immune system is located. Breathing this way massages the internal organs and moves the immune system’s white blood cells around to help ward off illness.
Easy breathwork exercise that will boost your immunity:
Find a comfortable position, place your hands on your belly and close your eyes. Begin lengthening your breath to calm down your mind and body. Then focus on belly breathing. Push your belly into your hands with every inhale, and then pull your belly away from your hands with every exhale. Slowly repeat this sequence for about five minutes and notice how you feel after you’re done.
These days, it’s good to cut yourself some slack and be gentle on your mind and body! There’s no need to push it when there’s so much strain on the world right now. What would be better is to slow down and reset so that you can deal with adversity with more strength and mindfulness. You got this! And don’t forget you can always count on the strength of your Urban Market Bags to help you get through years of wear and tear.