Your morning energizer and evening unwind

Thinking

Do you have trouble getting started in the morning or unwinding at night? I know I do. I wake up some days like I can’t even say my name. And I decided at 2:30 am yesterday to start writing a post, and then forced myself to stop. So clearly I have to conquer this! One day I will figure out the right permanent fix and stop writing about it, but I’m trying to do some different things to help.

Here’s one of them.

Next time you feel that you can’t get going in the morning, don’t reach for a coffee (reminder to myself!), or if you can’t shut down at night, try this technique.

If you take just 10 minutes in the morning, this sequence of exercises can help you rev up in the morning. The same sequence can also help you decompress in the evening.

Deep breathe

Start with meditation for no more than two minutes.

Sit with your eyes closed and repeat a phrase that is meaningful to you. You can repeat it out loud or in your head. For example, you can say “I’m awesome, just the way I am.” Or choose a quote from someone, a favorite book, song or movie.

Take a few deep breaths.

Standing with legs slightly apart, place your hands on your stomach with your elbows out. Inhale slowly for a count of five and hold each breath for a count of three, and then exhale for a count of five.  With each breath, imagine a calm place. Repeat three times.

Next, while standing, clasp your hands behind your back and raise your hands while you keep your arms straight and your elbows relaxed.

Stretch

Keep raising your hands until you feel a comfortable stretch in your shoulders and upper arms. Hold for 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat this stretch three times.

Then, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and your hands against a wall a few feet away.

Make sure you keep your back flat and bend at your hips until you feel a comfortable stretch on the back of your thighs. Hold this position for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat this stretch three times.

Next, while you are standing in the same spot, lean toward the wall.

stretching

Bend your arms until you feel a stretch in the calves.  Hold this position for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat this stretch three times.

Then, lie flat on your back with one leg bent, grab the other leg behind the knee and bring it to your chest.

Hold the back of your thigh and gently pull your leg toward your head until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Repeat this stretch three times with the same leg and then switch to your other leg and repeat three times.

Stay flat on your back and grab one leg behind the knee.

Straighten the leg you are holding until you feel a stretch on the back of your thigh. Repeat this stretch three times with the same leg and then switch to your other leg and repeat three times.

Continuing on your back, put both feet flat on the floor and bend both legs.

Cross your arms across your chest, or put them behind your head and slowly curl your upper body upward, bringing your shoulders off of the floor, like doing a sit up. Don’t allow your lower back to arch up.  Sit up, and exhale slowly for a count of five on the way up and five more on the way back to the floor.

Sit up

These exercises also work to help you unwind after a stressful day. If you try it, let me know how it works for you. I’m finding it beneficial so far. I sleep an hour longer each day. That’s a huge step for me!

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