gratitude

Integrating Relaxation Into Your Life

Life is all about balance. Even on busy days, it’s so important to make rest a priority.

After all, rest can help you recharge your batteries, give you more energy and let your mind relax. 

When you hear the word rest, you may associate it with sleeping. 

But rest is so much more than that.

Here are three ways you can incorporate rest into your ongoing routine. 

Take A Personal Day

If you feel like you need a day to yourself, it’s okay to take one. Spending a weekend or even a weekday to step back and focus on yourself may be exactly what you need to get yourself back on track.

Blocking off some time for you can help you connect with your inner thoughts and truly unwind. 

Reflect Through Writing

Writing or doodling is a healthy practice you can utilize anytime or anywhere. 

Getting your thoughts, feelings, and experiences out on paper can help you stay in tune with yourself.  When it comes to writing, there are no rules. You can write about anything that comes to mind. 

If you’re stuck, there are several online tools that deliver fill-in-the-blank prompts.

A few examples include…

  • Today I am grateful for _______.
  • My friend ______ made me smile.
  • Tomorrow I am excited to______.

Limit Any “Noise”

Whether we realize it or not, our phones can be very distracting. Concentrating on your book or enjoying your meal isn’t always easy to do with a phone buzzing in the background. 

Putting your phone on silent or placing it in a different room during your rest time can help you establish a truly restful environment. 

Read Morechevron_right

International Day of Non-Violence

By: Betsy Pownall, LPC

On October 2nd, we can recognize the International Day of Non-Violence. This day was established in 2007 by the General Assembly to spread the message of non-violence and promote a culture of peace, tolerance, and understanding. 

The basis of non-violence is to achieve social and political change without causing physical harm or violence. Throughout the years, our society has adopted this way of protesting to fight for social justice worldwide.

Violence can affect millions of lives and impact communities all over the world. According to the CDC, there are over 1.4 million people treated for assault in emergency rooms, and nearly 25,000 lives are lost to homicide. It’s important to note that violence is the leading cause of death, especially for people ages 15 to 34. 

Yet there are social causes of violence that are also a factor, including systemic racism, bias, and discrimination, that can be a driving force or violence – making violence a greater risk for people of color.

When we take the time to educate ourselves about the violence in our communities, we can develop plans to reduce violence. Many organizations strive to put an end to violence and transform social norms. 

Together we can work to advocate for a safer community for our family, friends, and peers. For more resources, check out the links below.

International Day of Non-Violence

Futures Without Violence

National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence 

National Family Justice Center Alliance

Read Morechevron_right

Shape Up From The Inside Out

By: Jen Champion

Many of us feel a sense of body dysphoria at some point in our lives.

We judge our human vessel by what it looks like outside and often disregard the brilliant abundance of our human nature inside. We can get stuck under a blanket of doubt, sadness, and stagnation. 

We have negative words we tell ourselves, and some negativity is given to us by others, contributing to our despair. Most media resources show only bodies that are not accurately depicting the majority of people. 

The average American woman weighs between 148-204 pounds. The average adult American male is 195.7 pounds.

There is no time for living in a shadow of self-doubt. The time has come to rise and shine and contribute to your best self and humanity. Let’s radiate our loving light, live our best life regardless of shape and size, and embrace our whole, wonder-filled selves.

Engaging in inspirational offerings fuel our motivation and get us moving and gaining self-care and self-love.

One way to fuel our self-esteem is with music. Most of us will bop and groove, leading to a full-on private performance and exercise! It can help us move and free ourselves from inertia and self-loathing.

Lizzo, a rap artist, enamours audiences with her fuller body and music. Her messages include we should love our bodies for what they have done and can do for us. “Your body is perfectly yours, even if it ain’t perfect to anybody else,” her voiceover began over clips of herself showing off her curves. “If you only knew the complexities your body possesses, you would be so proud of it. 

I’m so proud of you. Making it this far in a society that gives us a head start into self-loathing, hands us a dysmorphic mirror and leaves us desperate to catch up with who we think we should be.”

Yoga is another exercise and healing arts practice that lifts the spirit. Yoga practice combines warm-ups, postures, mindful breathing, and meditation. 

Yoga is inspiring and, when practiced safely, can help us move with joy regardless of shape and size. A yoga practice can help us gain confidence and balance our weight from the inside out. 

Physical participation strengthens and relaxes our bodies. The philosophical and spiritual practices feature moral disciplines called Yamas.  

One that applies here is Ahimsa, non-harming or non-violence in thought, word, and deed. 

Ahimsa is not only our external judgments but also our internal personal harms that hinder our true selves.  

Our media sources depict yoga as something that is not always accurate and can challenge our experiences with Ahimsa. We may physically harm ourselves by pushing our bodies to do more than they can. We may judge others who appear more at ease in their bodies, clothing, features, and shapes compared to others in our group. 

When we can drop into our deeper selves, the judgments cease, and we experience feelings of contentment and connection, and these ways of thinking and being can be carried with us throughout our day.

The benefits of yoga come from the union of many nourishing ingredients, including physical practice and reading yoga’s philosophical and historical wisdom. We can gain mobility, independence, and confidence. When our bodies, minds, and hearts are comfortable and stable, we gain mobility, independence, and trust. We expand and move closer to our innate wholeness and unity with all beings, all shapes, and all sizes.

You will soon find practices for fuller figures on the Vista Wellness Center YouTube channel..

May your practice foster inclusive and positive feelings. 

Vista Wellness Center Yoga Instructors offer small group and private sessions. Classes are in person and online.

 Here are some inspirational resources for your further enjoyment.

 INSPIRATIONAL RESOURCES: 

Vista Wellness Center Videos

Curvy Yoga

 LIZZO

Amber Karnes

Buddha Body

Read Morechevron_right

How to Foster Happy and Healthy Friendships

The friendships we create have the power to impact our mental health and well-being in so many powerful ways. 

When we have good friends in our corner, we know that there are people who support and encourage us to be our authentic selves. 

That’s why it’s so important to develop healthy and long-lasting friendships. And the key to finding and being a good friend is to look out for the qualities.

Focus On Trust

The best friendships are built on a foundation of trust and confidence. When we open ourselves up to people around us, it can inspire others to do the same. 

It feels good to know that we can count on our friends in times of need and vice versa. 

Trust can show up in many forms and go a long way. Whether it’s having someone who can offer a listening ear or judgment-free advice.

Seek Authenticity

A friend is someone who you can be comfortable being yourself around. And not just for the best moments. 

They are there for you through the ups, the downs, and everything in between. 

So seeking people, we can be authentic with is a good sign for a healthy friendship. It means that you are comfortable telling them your boundaries and communicating when things are on your mind. 

Authentic friends are there to grow with you!

Find Cheerleaders

In times when we feel low, it’s important to have friends who can give compassion and support.

So it’s good to find friends who can be cheerleaders too. Meaning they can celebrate your wins with you or grieve for your losses. 

Good friends will be there to help you no matter what and want to see you succeed. 

“Good friends help you find important things when you have lost them…your smile, your hope, and your courage.” – Doe Zantamata

Read Morechevron_right

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

A promotion or graduation are milestones that should be celebrated!

But sometimes, it can feel like we don’t deserve recognition, or we haven’t earned our success.

When those emotions take over, it can feel like our success is due to luck, not skill or talent. 

If you ever feel that way, you may be experiencing imposter syndrome, which is more common than you think.

Even though you may not always believe it, you have so much to be proud of.

Every milestone you’ve achieved in life is due to your talent and hard work. Celebrating your success shouldn’t be something we avoid. It should be something we embrace. 

Create A Brag Box

Have a college acceptance letter hidden in your junk drawer or a thank you note folded up in your purse?

Go collect those items and place them in a special box!

Looking at the physical content of past achievements can help remind you just how special you are.

The next time you catch yourself doubting your abilities, you can look back on your collection and celebrate yourself. 

Stop Comparing Yourself

“Don’t be busy chasing what other people have.” – Marshall Goldsmith

All people are different, and all have their own journey. 

It may feel like your peers are ahead of you in certain avenues – but what you see is not always factual. 

Most of us tend to discuss and spotlight the high points of our success. 

We can never know for sure the full story of how our peers got from point A to point B.

Open Up 

Surrounding ourselves and opening up to loved ones can help us in many avenues of life. 

The longer we keep negative emotions bottled up inside us, the more intense they tend to feel. Sharing our fears and doubts with loved ones can help us look at them in new ways.

Who knows – your friend may be feeling the exact same way you are.

Read Morechevron_right

Don’t Just Stand There. Get Moving

By: Jen Champion

We have the power to heal and transform from the challenges we encounter. However, when our physical and mental patterns and habits do not support whole quality health, we can feel out of balance and ill. Our bodies develop grooves of anxiety, pain, and beliefs that keep us stuck in our dramas and traumas. If we do not take the time and steps to heal, prolonged stress creates chronic activation of the fight/flight response.

There are many places where we can feel tension. Often the head, neck, shoulders, and back alert us. The muscles, connective tissue, and nerves are intertwined, and at times, it’s hard to tell precisely where the pain originates. One section in the body, often unnoticed and holding tension, is called the psoas (so as) muscles. The psoas has many intricate details. I will speak briefly about them and list a few excellent resources for you to investigate.

The psoas are a group of deep muscles that often contract during times of stress, and they are like to stay contracted for some time once energized. They originate in the middle of the back and run down each side of the low back, pelvis, inner thighs, and hips. 

 

The psoas are continuously in use. The muscles participate in our daily actions, including standing, walking, running, and sitting. When they tighten and shorten, it leads to discomfort in various body parts. Pain can be present in the hips, groin, abdomen, and low back if the lumbar spine curve is too big or small.

Don’t just stand there, get moving. Gentle movements and releasing tensions in the psoas help eliminate the stress and pain. One way to lengthen the psoas is to walk with a short conscious gait. A constructive rest pose is a restorative approach. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor hip-width apart and parallel. Place your heels at a comfortable distance from your buttocks. Breathe and Rest. Lifting the sternum, relaxing the shoulders, and taking deep breaths can also affect the relaxation response in the psoas.

A yoga practice will assist people in gaining presence and patience to move tension out of the body and open to a more fulfilling life.

Yoga improves the core stability in the torso and pelvis and helps the psoas function optimally. Balance in the psoas and abdominal core muscles helps maintain the natural curve of the lumbar spine, neutral pelvic alignment, and good posture. When we are in a stable comfortable position, our breathing capacity improves. With optimal breathing (deep, smooth, even, continuous and quiet), we gain a more profound recognition of how to move with comfort and ease on and off the yoga mat. We feel better physically and enhance our self-esteem. Good physical and mental health make life more enjoyable.

When we move and shape our bodies with patience and awareness, we can change our breath, thoughts, and patterns and live a more fulfilling life.

Read Morechevron_right

Acting As If You Feel Motivated

Let us know if any of these thoughts sound familiar?

“I would have been able to finish that task if I had more motivation.”

“How come some days I feel motivated, but some days I don’t?”

“I wish I knew the secret to becoming motivated!”

Now, motivation is an interesting thing as it can come and go in waves. Plus, some of our actions can slightly impact it, such as our sleeping patterns, eating habits and overall thoughts.

The following hacks may not be able completely transform your overall motivation, but they can certainly help! 

Practice Compassion

Whether you are having a good or bad day, it’s key to be kind to yourself. Pushing yourself too hard and not respecting your limits can bring on added pressure.

That feeling of pressure can actually make us more likely to procrastinate due to the fear of not being good enough.

On the flip side, when we treat ourselves with compassion, our motivation and willingness to succeed can increase.

Set Healthy Rewards 

Setting small rewards for yourself throughout the day can be very motivating. These rewards don’t have to be significant by any means. Plus, it’s always nice having something to look forward to.

You can set up a little reward system for yourself based on milestones.

Let’s say you have to complete a 5-page PowerPoint for work. Every time you finish one slide, you can treat yourself to a snack or watch a show for 20 minutes. 

Incorporate Fun Tasks When You Can 

We are much more likely to put off tasks we find boring or scary. Pairing something we don’t love with something we do – can help make the task at hand much more fun. 

You can listen to music or a podcast while running errands, call your best friend while cleaning the house, or watch your favorite show while cooking dinner.

Read Morechevron_right

Embracing The Present Moment

Do you ever catch yourself thinking about something you wish you had done differently years ago?

Or what may or may not happen at work 3 weeks from now?

Reflecting on events that have happened in the past or that may happen in the future isn’t uncommon. 

Those types of thoughts can often pull us away from the present moment.

Embracing living in the moment can help us focus on what matters most and make the most out of every experience. 

Notice The World Around You

How often do you take in your surroundings and appreciate the little things?

Taking the opportunity to look at the world around us can show us the beauty of life. 

Who knows – you may end up seeing something beautiful you never noticed before in your own backyard.  

Do One Thing at a Time

When we have so much on our plate, it’s easy to want to knock everything off the list as fast as possible.

However, doing too many things at once can be very distracting and take us away from the enjoyment of each task.

Here’s an example. Have you ever attempted to study for a test or catch up with a friend on the phone while making dinner?

Doing two or more tasks at once that require a good amount of concentration is not easy.

Every activity or task we do matters and should be enjoyed.

Accept Things As They Are

Learning to let go of what has happened and accepting who we are today can get you one step closer to embracing the present moment. 

We may not be able to know where life will take us – but we can learn to accept things as they are today and enjoy life.

Read Morechevron_right

Mastering The Art Of Conversation

Do you ever feel intimidated in social situations?

Have you ever wanted to walk up to someone new but didn’t know what to say?

Do you ever have a tough time holding a conversation? 

Mastering the art of conversation is possible. 

The following steps can help you feel more confident and comfortable during your next social interaction.

Get Ready

Not all of us can jump right into a conversation, and that’s okay! 

Sometimes all we need is a little mental preparation.

Before diving in, you can practice deep breathing or repeat positive affirmations. 

Instead of worrying about what the other person may say, you can think about what you may learn or gain from the conversation. 

Keep It Light

When meeting someone new, keeping topics light can be a lot less intimidating. 

Starting simple is the way to go. 

You can ask the other person where they are from, compliment their outfit or ask how they know the event organizer. As time goes on, you can dive into deeper topics when/if you feel comfortable. 

Listen And Learn

We can get to know others through active listening and taking an interest in their opinions. 

We may not agree with everything other people say, but we can listen and learn from their perspectives.

Don’t be afraid to dive in and ask them how they feel about certain topics. Their answers may surprise you. 

Read Morechevron_right

Understanding and Embracing The Highly Sensitive Person

Have you heard of the term “Highly Sensitive Person” or HSP? 

Those who are HSPs are thought to have an increased central nervous system and have a sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli. These people are attuned to their inner state of mind and usually to the feeling or behaviors of those around them, 

HSPs can often feel overwhelmed by noises, colors, or temperatures. 

Here are some ways we can understand this term further and embrace ourselves or someone we may know who is an HSP.

The Thought Process

Have you ever felt rushed or that you had a short period of time?

Do you feel sensitive to bright lights?

Can you tell what someone is feeling from the tone of their voice?

These are just some scenarios that highlight what HSPs commonly experience. 

By acknowledging these traits and knowing what to look out for, we can get a sense of the thought process of an HSP and approach everyone with more empathy!

Acknowledging Strengths 

It’s important to also highlight the strengths of HSPs.

Highly sensitive people are able to be deeply moved by beauty and can feel strongly connected to themselves and others. 

Embracing these strengths, especially in our society, shows that there we can accept ourselves fully for who we are.

Read Morechevron_right
Menu