by hope | Oct 28, 2021 | Mental Health
Mental health refers to your overall wellbeing. It also includes the way that you perceive yourself, your relationships and even how you deal with difficulties. At the end of the day, anyone can experience mental health or even emotional problems, and most people will, but if you feel as though you could do with a real pick-me-up, then this is the guide for you.
Make A Social Connection
Phone calls and social media have their place in our lives, but not many things can beat the mood-boosting power that comes with having face-to-face time with other people.
Staying active is incredibly good for the brain and it is also good for the body as well. Regular exercise can have a huge impact on your mental health as well as your emotional health too. As if that wasn’t enough, it can also help you to improve your memory and your sleeping routine. If you find it hard to stay active because you have no interest in working out, then it is more than possible for you to try and get into sports instead. Sporting activities are great if you want to get moving and they are fun too. If you don’t really like sports then try and watch the occasional match on television, and look up rugby scores. This can help you to bond with a particular team, and it is a great conversation starter with friends.
Talk it Out
Talk to a friendly face if you can. Social interactions are really one of the best ways for you to calm down your nervous system and they can also help you to relieve stress too. If you talk it out with someone then you get things off your chest and you may even find that it helps you to deal with situations better in the future.
Appeal to your Senses
Does listening to a great song help you to feel calm? Maybe squeezing a stress ball helps you to feel somewhat centered. Either way, you need to do whatever helps you to take things down a notch. Everyone responds to sensory input differently, so you need to try and find out what works for you if you can. If you can do this, then you will soon find that things work in your favor.
Make Leisure your Priority
Leisure time is necessary for your mental health as well as your emotional health. It’s so important that you take the time to relax and then contemplate all of the positive things that are going on in your day. Make the effort to notice the small things if you can, because you can then reflect on them later if you feel as though your mood is in need of a boost.
Eat a Good Diet
Another thing that you need to do is try and eat a good diet. You have to make sure that you are doing what you can to support your immune system and also eat brain foods too. If you can do this, then you will soon find that you can rocket your mental health.
by hope | Sep 3, 2021 | Lifestyle
The last few years have been a rollercoaster for the world. Looking more specifically at the work landscape – so much changed almost overnight.
Those who were used to being plugged into their laptops 24/7 at a desk become required to work from home. Companies closed and had to let staff go. Food services had to pivot, and that was just the start.
Work for millions of people is something they have to do, not something they love – or want to do.
That sparkled people to discover what they are passionate about and how they can make it happen. More people are switching to freelance or small business owners than ever.
But that comes with its different stressors.
Photo by Boitumelo Phetla on Unsplash
So how can you, whether you are in the office or at home, find your zen?
If your mornings are high-speed, messy, and rushed, then your day typically follows that path. It isn’t easy to switch to a different morning routine, but it will give you a huge benefit.
Over the space of a few weeks, start to set your alarm a little bit earlier. Of course, you need to go to bed a little earlier too.
Getting up earlier will give you more time to eat breakfast leisurely, drink tea or coffee, pack bags, or even check emails.
The more relaxed you start the day, the less likely you will be on the back-foot all day.
It might seem impossible to be grateful for a job you dislike, but it is an essential part of feeling that zen.
While the job itself might not bring you joy, the money you get paid probably covers some essential bills.
In a time of uncertainty, having a job that appears secure and comfortable is a blessing.
Think about the time that you have outside of work – what you can do with your time.
Being grateful for what you have is a big deal and will give you a feeling of joy.
Do fun stuff
Outside of work, make time to do some fun stuff. Putting love and energy into the time you spend outside of work will give you more calm and joy to add to your job too.
Look for classes in the area that cover topics that you have always wanted to learn. Go bike riding in the local park—Master the art of illustration.
The world is at your disposal, so begin to recognize and understand you can let loose when you aren’t at work.
Much of being unhappy in work stems from anxiety and fear. Tackling those fears head-on can give you more control over how you approach your work life.
If it is a manual job, you feel it isn’t safe enough or that the management doesn’t focus on your well-being.
Just remember that you have the power to call a personal injury attorney, to join a union, or search for alternative work – you have options.
It can be beneficial to talk more about any anxiety you have with work with a therapist, a life, or a work coach.
Reframe the faces
If you resent your bosses, co-workers, and subordinates, that will reflect in your work, your demeanor and will likely lead to animosity.
The faces of the people at work aren’t there to upset you or to attack you – they are all there to do a job too.
Working collaboratively, setting the business or daily goals as your own, and work with people not against them will make the workday flow with ease.
Reframe your current feelings for those you work with to people you share some things in common.
Side projects can be so much fun! Take some time to think about what you want to achieve in life – general goals. It might be that you wish to publish a book, or perhaps you want to own a food truck eventually.
Don’t hold yourself back – dream big.
Then consider what you might need to do to reach those goals. Start small so that it doesn’t cut too much into having time to relax or impact your work.
Doing a side project that makes you happy and gives you joy will make the jobs you don’t want to do so much easier.
And finally, before and after work, even on the busiest of days, take time to take some slow breaths and shake the day off.
The best way to get that calm moment? A Daily Dose of Hope, of course!
by hope | Nov 5, 2020 | Inspirational, Lifestyle
How to step into something new…
I can’t believe it’s November already.
>>This past year has been one of a kind.
>>This past year has been one for the books.
>>This past year has been a good one…for me.
Last year I decided that no matter what I did, what I stepped into, what came my way, I was going to approach it with a good attitude and a never give up mentality.
It’s November and I don’t think we say it enough…
I’m proud of myself.
*Proud of myself for doing new things.
*Proud of myself for stepping into unknown territories.
*Proud of myself for doing things even when I didn’t want to do them.
Here’s what I’ve learned…
Thinking about doing something new is only step one… Well, it’s more like a Pre-Step, like Pre-Kindergarten.
And then it’s deciding to pull the trigger. But I’ve discovered that there cannot be ANY doubt in your mind that what you are about to do is wrong, not going to work, a bad idea.
I’ve been working really hard this past year on catching myself immediately when I see ANY doubt creep And when it does I noticed one thing…
If your decision you are about to pull the trigger on is DIFFERENT IN ANY WAY get ready for doubts, a struggle, or an internal debate that it’s not going to work.
This realization was KEY in my pressing on.
And I want to share that with all of you today.
If you want things to change, get better, be different (call it what you want) you NEED it to be uncomfortable or at least have that feeling for a moment that’s your signal that you are stepping into uncharted territory.
AND THAT IS A GOOD THING.
I was nervous the night before I got married. I knew I wanted to marry my husband and had known I was going to marry him since the 8th grade.
That night looking at myself in my bathroom mirror, I had a wave of doubt run through me if this was the right decision.
But I knew that the doubt I was feeling was nerves from something new, the unknown.
And because I pressed on, we’ve been married for 14 years, have 3 amazing kids, and built a life we love.
>>>>>When you get to the edge of what is familiar you have a choice.
Go back into your typical patterns and stay exactly where you are…. Or press on.
*Press on even when it’s hard.
*Press on even when you don’t want to.
*Press on even when your decisions don’t fit into the status quo.
You guys I created my own pain relief cream. Not a cream I’m filling in my garage.
Like my own REAL product. (Find out about STIFF Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream)
How did this happen?
I made a decision I wanted to do this and every step after that decision was made I did not like my old thinking or learned feelings and responses derail me from the goal.
To step into something new:
I took risk.
A lot of risk.
I invested my own money.
And now have to pick up the phone and call people.
Ask others for support and help and put me out there every single day with the chance others may not like me.
But I know and choose to never let doubt and negativity loom in my mind for longer than it takes to think that thought even for a second.
It’s exhausting to be on yourself like a bloodhound hunting in the woods. Constantly calling yourself out on thoughts, beliefs, and actions most don’t even see happening.
But now almost a year later of this diligent practice. I’m bearing fruit (I had a lot of internal negative self-talk to work through).
I see those periods of discomfort as markers I’m moving in the right direction and mentally stop and breathe, think, and feel the positive outcome. Where before things not working out always loomed in my mind.
THAT WAS MY ISSUE.
I was doing all the right things but when I got to the edges of my familiarity I was canceling out all my efforts with my internal dialogue, thoughts, and intentions.
I created a pain-relief cream!
I created the BEST online program I have ever built!
I coach business clients who want to hear what I have to say!
I get to work with people I never thought possible!
I share this not to brag, but to hopefully inspire you. I did this.
To step into something new:
*I allowed myself the right to think bigger than what I was.
*I allowed myself to dream bigger than I thought I was allowed to.
*I allowed myself to be bold despite the negativity would come up against.
You can do this.
You can step out.
You can get there.
Stop saying 2020 is horrible.
It’s different and that’s that.
Figure out a way.
Stop using 2020 as a reason to stay where you are.
I know this might not be what you want to hear. But it’s the truth.
I saw 2020 as the best time to step up my game and reach for more. Even when most of the signs around me said it was a bad idea.
What can you do today?
I’d love to hear about it.
by Hope Zvara | Aug 26, 2020 | Core Functional Fitness
Practice makes perfect. And I’m talking posture!
Imagine being in a room full of people and someone walks in and instantly commands the room without a word spoken.
How do they do that? Fancy clothes? Fireworks? Paid groupies?
No. Amazing posture.
Because how you carry yourself says a lot about who you are, your self-esteem, your relationship with the world, and how you feel about yourself.
Ever observe someone depressed. They posture says “don’t come near me, don’t touch me”, a fetal like position of protection.
But when you see that person whose posture screams confidence, openness, and ease, you can’t help but want some of that secret sauce they have been drinking.
Only they haven’t been drinking, they have been moving. Moving in the right way.
So to help you on your posture perfect path not only for your body’s health and alignment but your own mental, emotional and social health here are my TOP 5 POSTURE PERFECT YOGA POSES.
Top 5 Yoga Poses for Better Posture
1. Heart Opening Mountain Pose
- Standing at attention with your weight even on your feet.
- Turn your feet to face forward and draw your pelvic into neutral (pubis bone and front hip bones all parallel with the front wall).
- Interlace your fingers behind your back (or grab a strap or towel if your hands can’t clasp or you can clasp but have no range of motion).
- INHALE, drawing the shoulder blades together and down as the arms externally rotate.
- Lift your chest gently and keeping space in the back of the neck gently lookup.
Play with rotating your arms and wrists to find the most appropriate release in the shoulders. Breathe deeply into the lungs to open the chest further. Enjoy for five to ten breaths.
2. Shoulder Blade Runner
- Standing at attention in Mountain Pose, draw your arms up in front of you at shoulder height.
- Turn your palms to face each other and the folds of your elbows to gently face up (no hyperextension), keeping a solid pelvis (see #1) and a stable rib cage (no thrusting). Only move your shoulders.
- Inhale, pinching your shoulder blades together like they are going to come together over your spine.
- Exhale: reach your arms away without rounding your shoulders forward like you are reaching for an object just out of reach.
Repeat this movement focusing on range of motion ten to twenty times.
3. Turkey Neck Stretch
- Seated tall, relax your shoulders down and back.
- Drop your head forward and using your fingers pull down on the skin at your clavicles.
- Keep that connection and open your mouth as wide as you can.
- Keeping it open, tip the head back, as you do so pull down on the skin creating a facial stretch.
- Now close your mouth and imagine you have an underbite and push the bottom jaw upward.
- Try sliding the bottom jaw side to side to find the most viable stretch. Hold for up to ten breaths.
- Gently bring the head back to center.
4. Melting Wheel
Dust off your large Swiss ball (the one you bought thinking you’d sit on at your desk, make sure it’s well inflated). Take a seat on the edge of it and slowly start to lean back over the ball. If your lower back feels tight, tip the tail bone up between the legs to lengthen the lower back. Now play with where your arms lay to open the front line of the body and pretend that you are making a snow angel and when you find a point of release, hold your arms there until you feel release (your arms may not be symmetrical).
Play with your body and using your legs, experiment with squatting, and then moving your head towards the ground to choose where you want to focus-lower back and hip flexors or chest, arms and shoulders. Enjoy as long as you feel comfortable. To come up, begin to squat and roll yourself up back on top of the ball. And counterbalance by hinging forward.
5. Rolling Forward Fold
Staring in Mountain Pose, bend the knees and imagine you are like a flag blowing in the wind. Exhale and loosely roll yourself down into Forward Bend. Like you were jumping on a trampoline, bend your knees and think about being sprung up (rolling) into a standing extension.
In standing extension keep your knees bent and float your pelvis forward as you arch back. You should feel your core turn on and your front line of the body stretch. Exhale, bend the knees, and fall/roll back down (think less control and more flow). Repeat this movement fine to ten times.
Posture does make perfect. Because how you present yourself to the world is how you receive it back.
I want to know: Which move do you like most?
by Hope Zvara | Aug 19, 2020 | Core Functional Fitness, Working With Hope
Beginners Core: How to do Pelvic Tilts.
What if reducing back pain, increasing core awareness, and strength. Reducing hip pain and aiding the natural curves in your spine “were” easy to do?
It has been brought to my attention on more than one occasion that we as a society often overlook the power of simplicity. Is it that we are lead to believe that if something isn’t complicated? Or expensive or taught at a fancy center that it cannot truly be helpful?
I occasionally have students mention that they are off to PT for this or that. Only to find that what they are being told to do are the very things they are learning in my classes. And the therapists are amazed at their sense of awareness and ability. Now, this is not to toot my own horn. But rather push my point that sometimes we don’t realize the power of something until we step away from it.
And the same goes for simple movements.
Have back pain? Who doesn’t?
Struggling with your, ahem, pelvic floor? You’re not alone.
What if there was something you could be doing right now to help those areas improve?
Would you be O.K. with the notion that the approach was simple, elementary, small and lacks a fancy name and does not end in a complicated arm balance? Would that be O.K.?
Sometimes to truly take a step forward, we do in-fact have to take a step back, and that is where pelvic tilts come in.
Not in the sense that we are losing ground or less than, but rather that we are in deep need to create a deeper sense of awareness and understanding of our body and how it moves.
Pelvic tilts truly are one of my most favorite moves, and I often think of it as a secret weapon! This small movement packs a powerful punch! That it simultaneously free your lower back release your hip flexors. In addition, pelvic tilts improve core function and awareness and ungulates your entire spine.
I know what you are thinking now, “where can you sign me up” for learning how to do pelvic tilts??
Except as a yoga and movement teacher for over fifteen years now I have learned that one: I was practicing pelvic tilting all wrong. And two: I see many following in my similar footsteps.
Let’s fix that!
There are tons of benefits to pelvic tilting and it SHOULD be an exercise that everyone does regularly. Because you can do it in just about any plane of motion and position.
If you need a list of reasons WHY pelvic tilts are not just good for you, but necessary!
What are the benefits of Pelvic Tilts?
- * Pelvic tilts create a sense of awareness of the pelvic floor muscles
- *Pelvic tilts release sacral (SI joint) pain
- *Pelvic tilts release the femur, tailbone, sacrum connection for more mobility and motility
- *Pelvic tilts help one access and tone the lower abdomen muscles
- *Pelvic tilts release lower back
- *Pelvic tilts liberate the entire spine
- *Pelvic tilts loosen tightness hanging on the shoulders
- *Pelvic tilts release tightness of the inner hips and inner pelvic attachments
- *Pelvic tilts tone the pelvic floor and core muscles
- *Pelvic tilts activate the glutes/buttocks
- *Pelvic tilts increase awareness of the hip-spine relationship
- *Pelvic tilts assist in a deeper breathing and better lung use
- *Pelvic tilts enhance your body’s natural alignment and curvature
- *Pelvic tilts assist your lumbo-pelvic relationship to sit in neutral with less pain and restriction
- *Pelvic tilts improve posture
- *Pelvic tilts help you look taller and leaner
- *Pelvic tilts teach you how to wear your core on the inside of the body rather than the outside
- *Pelvic tilts release the lateral side body
- *Pelvic tilts stretch the abdominal walls from sitting all-day
- *Pelvic tilts release the fascial netting of the lower body and spine.
By now you are wondering how do you effectively and properly practice pelvic tilts?
How To Do Pelvic Tilts:
- Pick your position. You can practice pelvic tilting lying down, standing in a slight chair pose, sitting, or even prone. I think supine is the simplest way to practice and the floor gives you good feedback as to what you are doing for starters.
- Lying down with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, make sure your heels are not too close to your sit bones, when they are too close it inhibits the range of motion for pelvic tilting.
- Find your breath, a deep breath in through your nose and out through your nose to settle into your body.
- Keep your body relaxed for now, INHALE and work to arch your lower back away from the floor, like there was a pin poking you. Do not lift your hips off the ground. Go as far as you can comfortably and keep stretching until your inhale is complete.
- Pause for a moment.
- Now EXHALE and glide your lower back into the floor, WITHOUT squeezing your buttocks together or lifting your hips up off the floor while pelvic tilting.
- Now repeat again drawing a deeper sense of awareness to the movement, between what moves and what doesn’t.
- After a few rounds, on the exhales work to draw awareness and attention to your anal sphincter, with the exhale on the posterior tilt (when you tip back into the floor) work to contract that part of the pelvic floor. Notice what else wants to contract, more than likely trying to do the job for this part of your pelvic floor, especially if you have never used it before.
- Inhale release the anal sphincter. You will notice if you contracted when you proceed to release. Do this several rounds.
- Now mentally move forward on your pelvic floor and work to contract the vaginal passageway or for men the soft tissue behind the scrotum. For many, this will be more difficult, especially if there was trauma (like giving birth) the nerves and tissues may not be connecting back with the brain properly.
- Repeat the process of EXHALE contract and tip back, and INHALE release and tip forward. This will feel more internal. Think about contracting while in cold water, or for men like flexing an erection, women engaging during intercourse. (I see potential practice opportunities to engage your pelvic floor here).
- Now finally move even more forward on the pelvic floor and think about where your pubic bone is and work to contract the lower front belly and pelvic floor on the exhales. This will feel more like pulling inward on the belly, but this time it’s triggered by the pelvic floor not the navel. Think of the action of cutting off the flow of urine or holding when you have to go to the bathroom. Good news, those two actions ask you to use your pelvic floor muscles.
- Repeat tilting trying to engage each of these three areas, all individually, and all together. Notice what is easier and what takes more work.
A few other tips about pelvic tilts:
As you become more comfortable with the movement, especially while lying down. Consider adding in the arms to the movement. INHALE and arch the back, release the pelvic floor, AND reach your arms overhead! STRETCH. Exhale and return back to the floor and contract the pelvic floor.
By incorporating the arms in you get more of a full spinal interaction. Plus, the hip flexors and lower back get even more limelight. Notice when reaching if one arm hits the floor and the other does not. This can easily become a tool for not only teaching pelvic floor activation and releasing the lower back. Which can also assist spinal and fascial assessment as well.
Here’s to happy pelvic tilts!
P.S. Not sure where the heck your pelvic floor is??? >>> CLICK HERE. <<<
And learn about it NOW!
PPS Here is a great video I shot of an entire series of pelvic tilting, core integration, and full spinal release! Because everyone needs a visual!
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>CLICK HERE <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<