Try out these tasty, cauliflower mini pizzas for dinner tonight.
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I’m a high energy individual. My days are often spent packing as much as humanly possible into every hour. I have many passions, interests, commitments, and ideas that keep me in a perpetual state of striving, accomplishing, doing—and for most of my life, I have dealt with stress by doing more.
Many years ago when I suffered a sports-induced injury, I lost my primary coping mechanism of exercise. Suddenly, I could not do the physical activity that my system had learned to rely on to be well. That’s when I turned to meditation, a coping skill that requires no action, no activity, and no doing. As I began to sit in silence regularly, I realized I was learning to just be. Over time, I have continued to learn that practicing the art of “being” allows me to maintain the high energy and multi-passionate parts of myself without feeling frantic or overwhelmed.
As a Holistic Psychologist, here are my two guiding mantras for embracing the “power of the pause.”
After years of meditation practice, I still have to intentionally remind myself to do less and simply just be. For example, I recently had a meeting canceled last-minute, which opened up a full hour in my day. My mind immediately went to all the emails I’d be able to respond to.
When I took a breath to listen to my body, I realized I felt frazzled by running from one thing to the next. I put my devices away and sat in a park for a full hour—thinking, reflecting, breathing, people watching, and just being. I noticed a sense of calm flow through my body, a sense of thankfulness fill my heart, and a feeling of contentment wash over me. Listening to my own internal need to do less is what propels me to carry on with my day in my usual upbeat and high-energy manner.
When we create space to be, our nervous system calms. When our nervous system is relaxed, our body and brain function better. Therefore, somewhat ironically, the best thing we can do for our productivity and our drive is to take a break—hit pause, slow down, breathe. I teach clients how to pause, since both mental and physical health depends on restful moments.
Science shows that continually being in a state of activity causes stress at a cellular level. Our systems need to decompress and rejuvenate to prevent disease, illness and to thrive. So the question is: to be or to do. My answer is both. I will always love being active and doing, and over time I’ve come to know the deep value in learning the skill of just being.
With doing as my default, practicing the importance of being is an ongoing journey for me. It’s also a skill I feel passionate about sharing with others, as we can all benefit from being given the permission to just be. So, the next time you feel like you “should do something,” remind yourself that taking the time to be is positively fueling your entire system—mind and body.
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.