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Healthy Self-Care On and Off the Mat
y Jenn A. Nocera


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It's a fast-paced, go-getter society. We are forever on the run, taking calls everywhere, and eating dashboard meals. As Brian Tracy (2001) points out in “Eat that Frog!” we need to first learn to accept that we will never be all caught up - there will always be a never-ending list of things to do. The key is to learn to prioritize.

Yoga is everywhere, and most of us accept that it is good for us. Unfortunately, many Americans do not make yoga or other physical health practices a priority until some sort of health threat is imminent. By then, they are in a reactive state rather than in a preventive mode. Ideally, we practice most days of the week in order to maintain and enhance good health as well as reduce stress. Yoga may be just the thing that the doctor ordered, but what else is necessary? In order to practice a healthy lifestyle on and off the mat, it is important to assess your current "rules" for eating and living. Do you eat mindlessly? Are you a fast-food junkie? Do you incorporate physical activity into your daily routine? What do you do to relieve stress?

Here are some suggestions to bring the mindfulness of yoga to your everyday life, making it more healthy and enjoyable. 

Invest in a cooler to take with you. Prepare your meals and snacks for the day. Healthy, whole foods are often hard to find when you are on the go. Being prepared helps you avoid the stress of frantically looking for something "good" to eat.

Maintain a sleep routine. Go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day. Designate the bedroom for sleep and sex only. Leave television and computers in other rooms. Do something soothing the hour before bed. Avoid being stimulated by TV and computers during this time.

Use positive self-talk. Learn to stop beating up on yourself. Catch your negative thoughts and replace them with positive, life-affirming statements. 

Eat clean. Avoid the "Dirty Dozen" (see “Organic Foods Alert” in the Summer 2011 issue) and processed foods. Drink water and eliminate, or at least limit, sodas and alcoholic drinks.

Smile. Research shows that the very act of smiling changes chemicals in your brain. Plus, everyone loves a smile!

Make fitness a habit. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Schedule yoga practice, gym workouts, or outdoor activities as if you were scheduling appointments for work. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away from the mall. You get the idea. Make it fun!

Set healthy boundaries. Learn to say "No" to people and events that will drain your energy. Have block-out times when you will not be accessible via cell phone or email. For instance, leave the phone in the locker while you train at the gym or take a walk. Turn the phone off at night.

Schedule down time. You need and deserve rest and breaks from work. Plan relaxation time as well as time with family and friends.

Stay organized and set goals. Decide what your personal and professional goals are and then make progress toward them each day. Keep a planner, and write out your goals.

Eliminate clutter. Clearing unnecessary papers and items from your environment helps to reduce stress and enhance self-esteem.

Talk about it. Bottling your feelings up is simply not healthy. Journal your thoughts and feelings in a personal notebook that no one else will have access, too. Talk to a trusted friend or professional.



Have a comment or question? Visit our Yoga Forum to start or join a conversation.



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About the Author

As a Life & Wellness Coach, Psychotherapist, and Personal Fitness Trainer, Coach Jenn A. Nocera, MA, MFT,CLSC, CPFT works with clients to redesign their lifestyle habits.  She provides structure and accountability so clients learn to master their circumstances rather than fall victim to life’s challenges. To learn more about her services visit formulaforexcellence.com.







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