3 Quick Ways to Take Care of Yourself

HEALTHY LIVING  | 3.23.16  |  by Terra Wellington

Photo Courtesy: Muse

Most moms with young children (or even older children!) feel like they have no time for themselves.  It’s hard to get in exercise and relax the mind to take care of yourself when seemingly every minute is full with either needy little ones or exhaustion.  All the more reason to give you some quick ways to regroup.  There are three apps we absolutely love that we think will help you … all within just a few minutes a few times a week.  You’ll feel better.  And it won’t be at the expense of your sanity.

Read on for our three favorite ways to take care of yourself  

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Less Stress With 3-Minute Meditation

Is your toddler pushing you to the edge?  Are you doing too much kid taxi driving?  Do you feel super frazzled between work and taking care of your family?

Meditation can help.  It can reduce your blood pressure and stress, among many other health benefits.  It also can teach your mind to know how to focus and relax when you find yourself in stressful situations.

WebMD says —

Meditation has gained millions of converts, helping them ease chronic pain, anxiety, stress, improve heart health, boost mood and immunity, and resolve pregnancy problems.  Any condition that’s caused or worsened by stress can be alleviated through meditation, says cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD.

For most, however, meditation seems hard to do.  How do you do it?  At SMG, we’ve come upon an ingenious meditation device that was sent to us for our review.  It’s called Muse.  And we’re sold on how easy meditation was for us with its help.

Muse is a personal meditation assistant that includes a headband that you wear while you work with the Muse app.   Here’s how it works — you put on the headband and power up the app.  Then, the app quickly checks to see if the headband is properly reading your brainwaves.  And you’re ready to meditate!

The app guides you through a very short meditation — just 3 minutes long.  This is super easy for newbies.  Each time you meditate with the app, such as a day or two later, you do a 3-5 minute meditation that helps you practice different ways of focusing on calming the mind.  The headband records how calming your brain actually was.  And you can look at the graph after the meditation to see how you did.

We like that the headband and app really help you understand meditation fast.  We also appreciate the reminders on our phone to meditate — who remembers to do that when junior is screaming for dinner!  Although the device, being newer technology, is a bit pricey, we like that there are not only personal benefits for you but also for your family.  A stressed-out mommy is no good.  Says Muse —

A study showed that 20 minutes of meditation for 3 days in a row reduced anxiety, improved mood, and reduced heart rate. Research on longer sessions has documented other benefits, like increased grey matter density, reduced thinning of the prefrontal cortex, decreasing amygdala activity (associated with stress response), and increased resilience – basically, an overall beneficial change of the brain’s structure and function.

Basically, a happier brain.  And, you don’t have to take a class or leave your house to do this.  You’re meditating for just minutes, which fits into anyone’s schedule.  Triple yay!

Awesome Workout In 7 Minutes

Skip the need for motivation.  We’re hard pressed to find time to exercise or even the energy.  Busy moms everywhere have this dilemma.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 4.38.13 PMBut there’s a wonderful app that we’ve found which uses the proven HICT method (high intensity circuit training) to get the maximum amount of benefit for your body in the least amount of time and space.

The app we like is called the “7 Minute Workout Challenge App.”  We like how even if you’re tired, you can usually pull out 7 minutes of halfway decent energy in your living room and get a workout with this app.  Go for it!

Stay Limber and Relaxed for Cheap

At SMG, we’re big fans of yoga.  But yoga classes can eat up money and time fast.  It’s great to know how to do yoga properly by attending a class every once and a while, and especially when you’re new to yoga.  However, later, we fully endorse having your own home practice.

It’s so much easier to wind down with a bit of yoga at night, or start your day with 5-10 minutes of stretch … than have to find 2 hours for a yoga class.  It’s just way hard to find big blocks of time like that.

Photo Courtesy: Yoga Studio

Photo Courtesy: Yoga Studio

We’ve found a great help in the Yoga Studio app by Gaiam.  As long as you have the basic yoga mat at home (we like non-toxic, eco friendly yoga mats), you’re ready to do a 10-20 minute yoga session with the app on the fly.

The best thing about this app are the videos.  It’s like having your personal yoga teacher right in front of you.  And, you can also choose what you want to do, like 10 minutes of beginner stretching, 30 minutes of intermediate flexibility work, and more.  All sorts of combos of minutes you have matched with what you want to do.  Perfect!

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