By JiJi Russell
Contributor, Sports+Fitness Network
Below are descriptions and links to several practices intended to assist you in cultivating energy; promote mental clarity; and slough off the effects of stress so that you can more skillfully address the demands of your day.
Deep diaphragmatic breathing – about 5 mins, Multiple studies show that deep breathing helps to bring greater balance to those who practice regularly, positively impacting the physical, mental, and emotional levels of being. The practice requires nothing but willingness and a brief moment of your day. You can practice deep breathing at your desk, or in any quiet environment.
“Body scan” chair meditation – about 12 mins, Try the seated body scan as a way to overcome anxiety or exhaustion. If you feel fragmented or distracted, this is the practice for you, an offering that can help you come back to a more calm and connected center. The practice requires a quiet place to sit and focus, without external distractions.
Tension tamer for slouchy shoulders and neck strain: Taking a moment to move key areas of your body will help to reduce tension and physical discomfort, allowing you to better direct your focus where you need it most.
Neck movements: Standing tall, or sitting with an erect spine, move your head slowly in a nodding “yes” movement. Switch to a “no” movement. Then, looking straight ahead, drop your head toward one shoulder, then the other. Moving the neck in a small lateral stretch. Combine these movements, one at a time, with the deep breath, introduced above.
Now, focus on your shoulders. Stand or sit tall. Draw your shoulders up to your ears as you breathe in; roll them back and down as you breathe out. Scrunch the shoulders toward each other, toward the center of your chest; then pull the shoulders and elbows back, broadening the chest. Add the deep, rhythmic breathing to this movement.
Apply some intention to your choice of breakfast for the next few days. According to studies, eating a breakfast that includes a significant serving of protein can help to balance blood sugar and energy level; provide a more stable, longer-lasting feeling of satiation; help with focus and concentration; and stave off cravings.
- Eggs – hard-boiled ones are easy to make ahead and take on the go
- Nut butters (peanut; almond; cashew; etc.) – easy to mix into a bowl of oatmeal or add to a smoothie
- Protein powder (whey is a good option) – mixed into oatmeal, added to a smoothie, stirred into applesauce
- Beans like chick peas for hummus or black beans w/scrambled eggs
- Nuts and seeds added to quinoa, a high-protein “grain” that’s actually a seed. You could also add nuts and/or seeds to oatmeal and/or unsweetened yogurt with some fruit
- High-quality (organic) meats in reasonable quantities (eg., organic sausage) – eat smaller portions of meat, alongside fresh fruit and/or oatmeal or another low-sugar/low-carb grain of your choice