“STOP ‘N FLOW”: 3 Reasons Why Mindfulness Matters
By: Rachel Werner
Is your #fitlife mantra in need of a reboot? There’s more than one way to put a body in motion and these stats, courtesy of The Good Body, prove getting going may not need to be as strenuous you think.
- There are over 8,000 health and fitness apps available on the market, and it’s believed that just over half of mobile phone users in the US have downloaded at least one.
- Walking is the most popular way that people choose to stay active in the US. (Bowling is the 4th)
Thus ‘how’ you’re exercising—and the level of intensity—may be less important than understanding the motivations fueling the movement. Is your current wellness routine rooted in a desire for weight loss, stress relief, recreation, competition…or something else entirely?
Mental clarity can inform not only our purpose, but also the sort of activities we chose to engage in, plus how often. This level of awareness can also help to prevent overuse injuries, overeating and a plethora of other negative health outcomes. According to a recent study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “yoga is thought to improve not only your general well-being, but also mental health and stress management; meditation can help you deal with medical problems such as the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome; and such alternative therapies are more often used by non-Hispanic white adults than Hispanic adults and non-Hispanic Black adults.”
Similar patterns of use can be attributed to homeopathic treatments and supplements. Urban Serenite’s Organic Muscle Salve is specifically formulated to not irritate skin sensitivities common in the Black community. It also provides effective pain relief topically from sprains, inflammation and bruising—a more budget- and eco-friendly remedy than ingesting chemically-based pharmaceuticals as an ineffective palliative for a prolonged period of time.
For wellness guru, sustainability advocate and fashion blogger Leah Thomas, being a woman of color and green living go hand-in-hand. Adequate self-care is a crucial element to establishing any mindfulness routine so she advises beginning with three practical steps:
Set up a routine
If you have anxiety, or want to avoid a funk, it’s nice to get into a routine. I try to schedule out a few things during the week that’ll bring me joy like pilates or guitar lessons and try to be on the lookout for classes to join. Have a few things every week to look forward to.
Allow yourself to feel (without shame)
We can be our own biggest critics and at times we even criticize the way that we feel. Allow yourself time to feel your emotions fully, accept that they are temporary, and observe them honestly. Then give yourself a self-hug for being human and move along.
Cultivate positive self-talk
Be your own biggest fan and don’t fixate too much on negative thoughts. Try to change your inner monologue by gassing yourself up and being proud of yourself. Our thoughts matter. Add positive affirmations to your daily routine.
Create time in your weekly routine to make yourself a priority, even if that means seeking assistance from family and friends to infuse a bit more flow in your schedule. Health educator and The Green Laundress owner Erica Ahmed recommends being as conscientious about the spaces you dwell in as the body itself. “While women still do approximately 70% of all cleaning, there’s no reason why 100% of able-bodied family members can’t chip in. Make it a family affair,” she says. “Give assignments and work together to come up with super easy cleaning and time saving options.” Then once everyone’s on board in regard to working smarter not harder, Ahmed thinks it’s worthwhile to pause to do a holistic assessment of the other internal and external factors limiting your ability to find shades of solace.
Give yourself permission to raise the benchmark on everyday essentials like skincare products, household supplies and clothing—paying particular attention to those which need to be replenished often. Quality over quantity is a valid assessment no matter whether you’re purchasing a donut, disinfectant or deodorant. Also stick to buying from businesses you trust and believe have crafted their brands to help you fully harness your potential—whether at home or on the go.
Spend well, live well and be well this summer to hit the ground running full force toward the successes on your horizon in 2019. And when in doubt, tackle today’s workout or wrap up this month’s ‘to do list’ with as much wellness wisdom as you channeled into next week’s grocery list. And when in doubt remember Ahmed’s suggestion for nixing just about any minor flare-up affecting one’s mind, body or spirit: “Keep it simple and green!”