I admit, my go-to form of therapy is eating as well as I can and moving my body. But relaxation can be found outside of nutrition and fitness, too. Here are a few other things I do to support my sense of well being and overall health.
Connect With Friends and Family
The older I get, the more my ability to form meaningful connections with others becomes paramount. I crave the company of those I hold dear. It’s not just an internal feeling of importance, either; it’s research backed. Studies have shown that strong social connections can improve health, wellbeing, and longevity—by as much as 50 percent. Quality time is key. This doesn’t mean spending hours on end socializing, it just means taking time to invest in and be present with loved ones. Looking to form connections with like-minded fitness friends? Find support by connecting with users on Fitbit’s online forums or get out and active while meeting new friends at Fitbit Local events.
Relax and Meditate
I know, who has time to sit around in lotus pose or go through a daily meditation session? Turns out, meditation doesn’t have to be that stringent. As I learned from my friend and meditation teacher, Light Watkins, it’s not about sitting there, legs folded, forcing yourself to think about nothing for an hour while your knees throb. Make meditation fit your life, not the other way around. To relax and meditate, get up just a little earlier, sneak away to an empty room, and set the timer on your Fitbit tracker for 10 minutes. I like to sit comfortably—with my legs straight or resting over a chair and my eyes closed. I also like to use the Relax, guided-breathing feature on my Fitbit Blaze to make the most of every breath. If my thoughts start to drift, I gently coral them to the present state. While I’m a meditation newbie, I will say that after a few weeks I started to recognize the positive impact on my day- to-day life. I have become more mindful, aware, and less bogged down by daily stressors.
Sip On Tea
There’s something soothing about sipping tea before bed. My husband started making Chaga tea for us a few years back, and we both enjoy a cup at night. Chaga is the king of mushrooms and is safe to consume everyday. I started noticing that it helped me sleep more restfully. Herbal, caffeine-free tea such as chamomile and peppermint are also great choices.
Laugh More Often
Have you heard the staying, “Laughter is the best medicine”? Well, it’s true. In addition to boosting your mood, a good chuckle can benefit your health. Laughter reduces stress hormone levels, relaxes the body, and triggers endorphins. Plus, it just feels good. While I find it’s best to do with others, you can experience the benefits of laughter alone, too. On evenings when I’m alone, I watch comedy on my computer at the end of the day. Stand up for the win!
Play Hooky Now and Then
Sometimes it’s OK to bail on plans. With such busy schedules, it’s easy for what’s important in life to get lost in the shuffle. My advice: Every once in awhile, on a day you can afford it, just make a random left turn and cancel your plans. Grab a friend or one of your kids, and do something fun and different that’s not on the schedule; something you’re doing just because. Sneak away to a daytime movie, or take a walk barefoot in a park or on a beach. Time is precious, and I’m all for embracing spontaneity.
There’s nothing more empowering than being a lifelong learner. Continuing to take in new information allows me to break free from the day-to-day and explore areas that might be new to me—whether that means learning a new skill or reading a new book. Remember, an active mind is essential to a fit lifestyle.
My husband always talks about “retaining your youthful enthusiasm”; to me, this means being curious. Willing to try new things is key. Break free from your familiar safe space—even if it’s just to try a new workout class or cook a new recipe. Don’t worry about looking silly. Being a beginner creates an environment in which you can continue to improve and learn new things. Think of it as a fun adventure.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.