I hope that you are all having great summers and that you had happy and safe holiday celebrations over the weekend. The weekend also included my 23rd wedding anniversary (though hubby had to work – I told him that’s what Dave Ramsey would say) on the actual day and I had to work today. So we are off tomorrow to do a little adventuring in upstate South Carolina. I’m hoping we get some – even a teensy bit – of relief from the heat and humidity. I doubt it…but I’m still hoping. We have no specific plans (well, he doesn’t) but I fully intend to see some waterfalls and do some hiking. I have my camera at the ready and told him that he has to stop any time I say, “Hey. I need a picture of that.” Even if he deems it not picture-worthy.
I actually have two challenges for you this week: one for your personal/mental health and one for your physical health. I’m not sure which is most important…it probably depends on what day it is. And maybe what time of day.
So first, I want you to take five minutes (more if you can swing it) to just BE STILL and BREATHE. That’s right. Five minutes. Breathing intentionally. Now, you may have to hide in the bathroom (I used to do that when my kids were little) or you may be blessed enough to have a sweet spot to sit in and relax. I’m taking my yoga mat on the road with this in mind. So just sit still in whatever spot you choose and just be by yourself. Take some deep breaths. Relax your mind. Relax your muscles. I talk myself through it, telling myself to let go of the tension from my toes to my head…toes, feet, ankles, legs, torso, back, shoulders, neck and top of head. I mentally picture myself releasing and relaxing the muscles in my body. Soothing music helps but isn’t necessary. If you can get outside, nature’s symphony is delightful. But I mean for you to do this EVERY DAY if it is at all possible. If you have a desk job, just close your eyes and try and tune out the noise and release the tension…especially from you shoulders. No one will every know what you’re doing. 🙂 I do this first thing in the morning before anyone else is up if I can. I take my coffee and my yoga mat and sit on the back deck for just a few minutes…listening to the birds and breathing. If you’re have a fever pitch of a busy day and can stop right in the middle of the chaos and breathe for a few minutes, you’ll feel better about continuing on. (Note: People in traffic behind you do not care for you to breathe for five full minutes at a stop light. Just saying.)
The second thing I want you to do is physical. While some of you are very physically active, some are not. And most of us are somewhere in between, I’d imagine. My challenge to you here is to move your body. That’s right…move it, sister. (By this I do not mean join the gym and take a kick boxing class if your most recent exercise routine involved walking to the mailbox five steps from your front door. Do NOT do that. Please.) What I mean is this: any movement is good movement (for the most part – you know your health restrictions). But if you can walk for 10 or 15 minutes and you’ve not been walking at all, do that. If you been walking 30 minutes three times a week, make it four. Or add 10 more minutes on your three days. That’s it. Just some movement or exercise of some sort. Nothing drastic. Nothing harmful. (As always, please consult your physician before beginning an exercise program. That’s my disclaimer since a health expert I am not.)
This week you might also try one – or more – of the following if you aren’t doing them already:
1. Take time in the morning before your day gets going to visit with God. He’ll appreciate it and so will you.
2. Drink more water. God intended for us to drink water…He created it after all.
3. Cut out sodas and sweetened drinks, or at least reduce your consumption. In Heaven, I hope sweet tea is not bad for you.
4. Replace an unhealthy snack with a healthy one…a piece of fruit or some yogurt instead of a candy bar.
5. Eat your fruits and veggies. It’s summer. They’re fresh. What’s better than ice cold watermelon on a hot summer day? Not much, I tell you!
6. Go meatless for one day. Try it. Experiment with some new recipes.
7. Get an exercise buddy…yes, even if you’re only walking for 15 minutes. You need an accountability partner.
8. Turn off the television and read a good book.
9. Unplug for a while every day. (Truth: I have become attached to my iPhone and really need to work on this one.)
10. Do something unexpectedly nice for your spouse if you’re married, or for a friend or parent. Even a teenage child! (Won’t that blow their minds? They’ll wonder what you want. It’s fun!)
Y’all have a great Monday. Take pictures and/or keep a journal of your week. I’m continuing to take at least one picture a day of something that puts a smile on my face. Here’s a picture of the flowers my sweet volunteer and friend Gail brought to me at church this morning “just because.” Made my day. 🙂
I’m off to pack for my adventure.
Flowers from a sweet friend 🙂