By Felicia Toh, Corporate Wellness Program Manager and Prenatal Yoga & Meditation Teacher at Jiahui Health
Let’s face it: 2020 has been a stressful year, with a global pandemic, civil unrest, and a climate in peril, so many of us are leaning on self-care to help cope with daily stress. Through proper self-care, we can navigate and transition into a more Restorative New Year for 2021.
“Give yourself permission to respect your unique boundaries and do what feels right for you” suggests Felicia Toh, Corporate Wellness Program Manager at Jiahui Health.
To help you enter 2021 in a more positive and productive state of mind, we have outlined 3 holistic wellness strategies below. Our hope is that you will be able to utilize these strategies in order to make an impact in your local community and your own home.
Support your body and mind
On days you feel like you’re in overdrive and your body is screaming for some type of relief, soothe your nervous system and body with 15 minutes of Meditation practice, or if you feel that Meditation is not for you, consider Yoga. Research shows that meditating on a daily basis, increases emotional resilience and positive emotions, and can produce lasting effects in terms of improved mood, greater spiritual awareness, and reduced expression of chemicals in blood associated with inflammation, cholesterol regulation, and cardiovascular disease.
There is an increasing body of evidence demonstrating the scientifically-backed positive outcomes associated with mindfulness practices.
If you have never done Yoga, now is the perfect time to try it and experience the benefits for yourself. All yoga poses can help you build one (or more) of several key functional movement attributes:
In case you didn’t realize, Yoga helps to provide a boost to your circulation. “As you bend, twist, fold, and extend your body, you flex and contract muscles, flushing a fresh supply of blood through that tissue. Strenuous poses can also increase your heart rate, pumping additional blood to different parts of the body. Inverted poses in particular, use gravity to encourage deoxygenated blood flow back to the heart, improving circulation”, says Felicia.
Enhanced circulation doesn’t only apply to blood, however. Your lymphatic system is a key component in your immune function, helping to move white blood cells throughout your body through a network of ducts and glands. Unlike the heart though, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump, so its circulation depends on the motions of muscles for it to move. Yoga practice is a powerful way to help keep your lymphatic system circulating and healthy.
Reprioritize your agenda
Give yourself some breathing space with a daily dose of quiet time to reflect and consider what feels most important to you. This can mean spending time with the people you love, making a special family recipe, disengaging from news and social media, or cutting back on-screen time on your digital devices, Felicia suggests. It can be difficult at this time of year not to say yes to your usual projects and routines. Reframe ‘no,’ as not a rejection of another or a task, but as the choice to make space to say ‘yes’ to the things that matter most.
Lean on your (virtual) community
There is a huge emphasis on self-care during the holidays, and while this is important, our communities are what carry us—they are what helps us heal and connect and grow. Make sure to spend time connecting to them (digitally if that feels safest), and be honest with them about what it’s like to be you right now and what you need.
If coming together to meet each other’s needs during this stressful time feels like embracing vulnerability and uncertainty in a way you’re not used to, that just might be the point. Stress might keep us going, however, we must realize that stress also disconnects us from our innermost feelings and intuitions. Spending time tuning in allows us to get the messages our bodies are sending and begin to live more in alignment with ourselves.
Lastly don’t forget to acknowledge and give your heartfelt gratitude and thanks to those who have helped move you forward in 2020. Reach out to them in a way that is meaningful and authentic and don’t forget to say a big thanks to all those who have made a difference and impact in your life!