As we enter spring and see signs of the earth blooming, we should think about ways we wish to grow and bloom in our own lives. Spring is a great time to bring to life our vision and to set goals for our health and well-being. Taking time to pause allows us to consider the ways.
Just as good soil is important for plant growth, a healthy body and mind are important for us to grow. We can improve the health of our body and mind by learning to pause and relax. Not only does pausing promote relaxation, but it can refresh and reenergize you.
What do you do to help yourself relax? For example, you may take a walk, listen to music, garden, read a book, take a nap or sit outside in nature. These activities can be great relaxation strategies. You can also learn skills to quiet the mind, relax the body and lessen symptoms of stress and anxiety.
There are many ways we can take a pause and relax. Some techniques promote muscle relaxation and others aim to reduce anxiety, emotional stress, or even divert your attention when needed. The term relaxation means something different to everyone.
Take a few moments to pause and join Katherine Hillgren, Whole Health coach and yoga instructor at the VA St. Louis Healthcare System, as she leads a guided relaxation exercise.
Take note of how your body and mind feel before and after this exercise. You might notice your body become less tense as your relaxation response is promoted.
These practices only take a small amount of our time. How can you incorporate them into your day? How we live each day and the decisions we make affect us and the quality of our health and life. Taking time to pause and relax can allow our body and mind to function at their best. And when we are functioning at our best, we can get to work on achieving those goals that we have set!
Speaking of goals, is one of your goals to be more physically active? You don’t have to run a marathon or spend hours at the gym to achieve that. Choose activities that you enjoy and start at a comfortable level. Once the activity begins to seem easy, add a little more activity each time. You can also try doing it more often. Check out ways that you can bring physical activity into your life here: https://www.prevention.va.gov/Healthy_Living/Be_Physically_Active.asp.
MOVE! Coach is a phone app that offers a new way to participate in MOVE! – VA’s successful weight management program. It’s an easy-to-use, self-guided program that provides everything you need to set, track and achieve your diet, physical activity and weight goals. Learn more about this app here: https://www.move.va.gov/MOVE/MoveCoach.asp.
Sara Grimsgaard, MHMS, NBC-HWC is a health systems specialist for the Integrative Health Coordinating Center and Whole Health Education Program in the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.