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Wise Advice
Wise Fitness
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Traffic. Job. Ailing Parents. Wailing Children.
For women, sources of stress are everywhere. Sources of
serenity are harder to come by. When you need a quick
fix of calm collectedness, breathe deeply, suggests
Donna Marie, professional life coach and confidante of
www.dealwithstresstoday.com
. “That is the number one
stress reducer you can use anywhere, anytime. When we’re
stressed, our breathing becomes shallow. Breathe deep, into
the base of your belly. Breathe it out. Do that several times.
You can even do this while you’re driving. It oxygenates the
brain and body and calms you down.”
Tight deadline? “Practice mindfulness, being in the
present moment,” says Donna. “Don’t think about what
happened yesterday or what you need to do tomorrow.
Clear your mind, and focus on the feeling of your hands
on the keyboard, or the pen in your hand. Experience
the sensations as they’re flowing in, and it will keep
your focus there.”
“Turn on some uplifting music, say a prayer, meditate,
practice gratitude,” adds Donna.
More Quick Stress Busters:
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Buy flowers once a month.
Display them in a
prominent place.
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Get perspective.
On a scale of 1 to 10, assign
a number to the source of your stress, with 1
being a minor hassle and 10 being a catastrophe.
l
Keep set times to respond to e-mails,
rather
than constantly monitoring them.
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Talk to people instead of e-mailing them.
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Save time for yourself each day.
Start with
five minutes, and increase it gradually to 30,
then 60 minutes.
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Treat yourself to a massage once in a while.
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Move the TV out of your bedroom.
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Take time regularly for best friends.
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Spend planned time outdoors, rain or shine.
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Bring humor to work.
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Build fun activities into your schedule.
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Get a good night’s sleep.
Surefire Stress
Busters
Take the challenge and then
share your experience with us
at
hapwisewoman@hap.org
.
Meditation Beats Medication
Combat stress with a nature walk meditation. Select a quiet, natural place. A park, garden, lake or forest is ideal, but
even your own block will do. Dress for the weather, and allow yourself 10 to 30 uninterrupted minutes.
1. Go to your chosen spot. Stand straight and take three deep, slow breaths.
2. Continue your deep, slow breathing, and pay attention to how your body moves and feels.
3. Now walk, on or off a path, as slowly as you like. Notice your feet hitting the ground.
4. Notice details around you – trees in the breeze, plants, nature, cars.
5. As new sights and sounds appear, let go of the old scenes and embrace the new ones.
6. If you reach a place you love, stop, stand or sit and enjoy it.
7. Slowly return to your starting point, and end with three deep breaths.
Log in at
hap.org
and click
iStrive
under
Quick Links
. Choose the
HealthMedia®
RELAX™ program. It helps
identify your sources of tension and provides you with a customized action plan to help you stay calm.
Attention wise women. We’re calling you out. Out of doors.
Maybe even out of your comfort zone. This spring, we invite you
to challenge yourself: Try three new outdoor activities. It could be
hiking … running … biking … basketball … tennis, anyone?
It’s Good to Be an Outsider
Americans spend 90 percent of their lives indoors – even more
as we age. Not only does time spent indoors usually mean we’re
sedentary, it also means we’re depriving ourselves of important
benefits:
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Vitamin D and Oxygen.
“Outdoor activities provide
sunshine’s vitamin D as well as fresh air and oxygen,” says
Sherry McLaughlin, M.S.P.T. and HAP-affiliated physical
therapist. “The more oxygen you bring into your lungs,
the better. Oxygen has healing properties and helps your
body’s systems work better.”
l
Social Support.
Outdoor recreation often involves friends,
which enables socializing and boosts motivation. A
study by the Outdoor Industry Foundation (OIF) shows
Americans who participate in outdoor activities regularly
have reduced stress levels and improved connections with
family and friends.
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Savings.
Save money on that gym membership and
elaborate exercise equipment. The outdoors is free,
uncrowded and always open.
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Faster Calorie-Burning.
Trying a new physical activity
can increase your body’s fitness and burn more calories.
“Try different activities that will uphold and improve your
fitness level, but change the movement pattern so you
don’t get burned out, mentally or physically,” suggests
Sherry. “Triathletes are great examples. They spend
two days a week running, two days biking, two days
swimming.”
Put Yourself
Out There
What to Try?
“Pick a day to do something outdoors that you
think is fun,” suggests Sherry. “One group I
know plays pickleball, which looks like a cross
between tennis and table tennis on a smaller
version of a tennis court.” Others are setting
the goal of doing their first sprint triathlon,
which consists of a quarter-mile swim, a
14-mile bike ride and a 5K run. “There’s
something empowering about that,” observes
Sherry. “We peak in endurance sports later
in life. The top endurance athletes tend to
be early 40s and up, not the 20-year-olds. If
you’re not comfortable with a triathlon, sign
up for a 5K run or walk. It’s good to have a
tangible goal to work toward. When you arrive
at the event, you’re surrounded by thousands
of people doing the same thing, and it’s very
motivating.”