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5 Ways to Celebrate Mind-Body Wellness Day

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Aptly timed at the beginning year, International Mind-Body Wellness Day offers the perfect opportunity to focus on health. So we’re starting things off right and thinking all things wellness, both physical and mental. But what does it look like to actually make wellness a priority in your life? Below are some helpful tips you can incorporate into your life, no matter how busy your schedule. Get ready to feel like the best version of yourself!

Sleep

Potentially the easiest thing on this list to do, it is surprisingly difficult for many people. In America, 70% of adults report that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11% experience insufficient sleep every night. Sleep deprivation can have harmful effects on the mind and body, leading to lethargy, brain fog, inability to concentrate, and physical exhaustion. It can also worsen symptoms of conditions such as depression and anxiety. So if you’re feeling anxious and perennially tired, your cure might be as simple as 7-9 hours of regular sleep every day.

Exercise

Physical activity isn’t just good for you physically. It contributes to good mental hygiene and can be a great release mentally and emotionally. But exercise isn’t just extreme cardio or 5K runs. Thirty minutes of exercise a day is enough to maintain good physical condition. And in those 30 minutes, you can do anything – yoga, jump rope, hike, or simply go on a walk – as long as you’re moving. Alternatively, we’re a fan of exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise, such as sports or dance. They’re fun ways to stay in shape while trying a new activity.

Meditate

Meditation might look intimidating, particularly the challenge of being still in one’s mind and body. But the benefits of meditation are clear; it can help increase self-awareness, manage stress, decrease negative thoughts and emotions, and facilitate creativity. If you’re looking to work it into your routine, start off with 5- to 10-minute meditation sessions and work your way up when you feel comfortable. It might be easier to meditate in the morning, before you look at your phone, or at night, right before bed. But you can meditate anywhere, anytime. Stuck in traffic in your car, do a quick 1-minute session to find your center. It seems counterintuitive, but you might find that it’s the perfect place to do your practice. Of course, this doesn’t look like full-blown “blank mind, closed eyes” meditation sessions while you’re driving. But breathing exercises and mindful thinking are easy to do when you’re at a red light. If you have a long commute, you can incorporate podcasts such as 10% Happier and Secular Buddhism, both of which offer mindfulness tips. Remember, the goal of meditation isn’t to be completely quiet with a clear mind, but to be present with your thoughts and feelings, even the negative ones.

Release

It’s important to find outlets for releasing stress. As mentioned above, exercising is a good way to release tension in your body and work through any stressful thoughts or emotions while tending to your physical health. You can also explore more cerebral ways of working through stress, including doing art, playing music, writing, and baking. These activities are less about being good at the activity and more about expressing yourself. But who knows? You might find out that you have a hidden talent!

Recharge

Resting is one of the most important things you can do for your body, both physically and mentally. You might think you’re not being productive, but that period of rest is when your body recovers from the labors of the day. Recharging looks different for everyone. If you’re more introverted, you might gravitate to homebound activities, like watching TV, playing video games, and reading, whereas more extroverted folks tend to get their energy up by being around people. However you choose to do it, it’s imperative that you give yourself dedicated time to restore your mind and body. That means avoiding work-related activities, like checking your email. It’s “you” time, and it’s time you deserve.

We know life as a student is hectic, and that’s not including your other obligations. But these tips are easy to incorporate and don’t require an overhaul of your routine. Just a little bit of intentionality. And it may not be easy to see now, but these simple tricks pay off over time, helping you to avoid bigger health problems that could be harder and more expensive to treat. What we’re saying is prevention today is better than a cure tomorrow.

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