Micro Steps to Wellness
In our wellness series launch, we encouraged you to skip the New Year’s Resolutions, to count your blessings, and to reflect on your values as the starting point in your wellness journey. In this post we want to offer some concrete suggestions for making micro-wellness moves. The following suggestions are designed to be simple and low effort but serve as foundational habits in your day.
Most of us are guilty of not getting enough water. Dehydrating drinks such as coffee and soda don’t help. It can be tempting to try and overhaul everything at once, to try and drink more water while cutting out excess caffeine and calories. With micro-wellness goals, however, it is important to start with things that are small and achievable. Just increasing the amount of water you consume not only improves hydration, but can help displace other, less healthy forms of consumption.
When implementing this change, look for ways to make it fun and enjoyable. Sarah has a pair of go-to favorites. Lemon water in a glass bottle feels sleek and elegant, while ice water in a color-changing cup brings an element of fun to the work desk. Gary, on the other hand, prefers the Chinese tradition of having hot or room temperature water. These strategies make staying hydrated something enjoyable rather than a chore. Everyone is different, so search for solutions that suit you and bring a level of excitement to getting your daily amount of water. You might also try water infused with seasonal fruits and herbs. These drinks not only taste good; they can be downright beautiful. If you’re looking for ideas, this article is a great place to start: https://www.culinaryhill.com/8-infused-water-recipes/.
The fun doesn’t have to come from the water itself. Games and contests can be another great way to get more water into your day. For example, you could set goals for how much water you’re hoping to drink and small rewards for when you reach your quotas. An afternoon coffee or brief social media break can be a lot more enjoyable when you know you’ve earned it.
With winter weather keeping us indoors and gyms closed in much of the country, many people find they aren’t getting enough daily movement. If this sounds familiar, consider adding micro-movements to your day. These are small opportunities for movement that you can work into the existing aspects of your day. The benefit is that these activities are much easier to incorporate into a busy schedule than a block of time dedicated solely to exercise. Ironically, once you get moving, you will find you have more energy, not less, which can make further exercise easier. Some suggestions for getting started with micro-movements include:
• Brushing your teeth – this can be as simple as swaying while you brush, or full on squats if you’re feeling awake and ready for more of a challenge.
• Cleaning – our household trick is to put on energetic music. Something about an upbeat song we can all sing along to helps get us into the groove, and when everyone is dancing and moving, the chores seem to fly by.
• Cooking – much like cleaning, this is can be a great time to put on music and groove, but it can also be perfect for more meditative types of movement. Practicing Tai Chi, for example, is a great activity you can fit into even the tiniest of kitchens.
• Playing with the kids – if you have young ones at home, you have plenty of opportunities to get on the ground and crawl and stretch. Taking a little extra time to play isn’t just good exercise, it’s great bonding time that will benefit your overall well-being.
Finding your smile
Most of us are facing tough challenges at home, work, and in our communities. It’s easy for this to become overwhelming. Find the small things that make you smile. Looking at your answers from our values exercise can be a great place to start. (If you missed this exercise, see last week’s blog post here.) You can also go to your five senses for a cue. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Smell: What smells do you enjoy? Consider lighting a candle with your favorite scent or putting on your special date-night perfume.
Touch: Hug a loved one on your safe list, pet your cat or dog, or wear a favorite scarf. Get a massage! You can check out our website on the precautions we are taking to keep our clients safe.
Taste: Make a treat, have a cup of tea, or try the fruit infused water described above.
Hearing: Put on some nice music or listen to the sounds of nature.
Sight: Take a moment to check out the nature around you. Maybe it’s the view from your window, the sky outside, or light streaming through pine needles or leaves on the trees. If you live with your family, take a moment to really look at your family or loved one. Wear a favorite item of clothing that feels great and has a color that makes you happy.
Integrative Arts – Your Move for Life Specialists
At Integrative Arts, we help you achieve your wellness goals and live the vibrant life you desire. We started this wellness series to support you on your journey and help you shift from merely surviving to whole-heartedly thriving. Continue following our wellness series for more tools, tricks, hacks, and strategies to help you build a more vibrant life.
In health and wellness,
Integrative Arts Co-Founders,
Gary & Sarah
A Healthy Dose of Realism:
Get real! Skip a 2021 Resolution!
Welcome 2021! It’s tempting to believe that life will get easier as we ring in the New Year. Equally tempting is the desire to make New Year’s resolutions about how this year, things will be different. We tell ourselves that this is the year we eat better, exercise more, give up our bad habits, or hit our professional goals. If we are honest with ourselves, we know deep in our hearts that this doesn’t work and yet, year after year, many of us go through the motions. The promise of overnight change just proves too alluring. Unfortunately, this year New Year’s resolutions are likely to prove less effective than ever. Individually and collectively, this past year we have been pushed to our limits and those pressures are not going away as we turn the calendar to January 2021. Making meaningful change is going to require a different, more sustainable strategy. We feel like the Grinch pointing this out, but from our perspective, if we are honest about the continued difficulties we will face in 2021, we can better prepare to weather the New Year. Here are a few ideas for embracing realistic models of change.
Values not resolutions
Take stock of your values rather than making resolutions. Values tend to me more enduring than goals, which makes them an excellent guide for assessing past choices and deciding on future directions. While it can be easy to set aside short-term resolutions amidst the challenges of day-to-day life, our values are usually stable, and we can return to them again and again to check our progress. This means that grounding ourselves in our values has a greater chance of enduring past the first few days of January. As you make these values assessments, we suggest that you be kind to yourself. This past year offered up unprecedented challenges. Use care not to judge yourself in relation to some superficial image from social media. Rather, review your actions based on the knowledge you had at the time and the resources that were available to you. If it feels right for you, consider making a list of values you want to foster in the new year, and set small, achievable goals that move your towards those values. Avoid absolutes that start to slip into resolution territory. For example, unless you are an elite athlete you may choose, “I move my body daily,” or “I get adequate exercise” over “run a marathon”, “train for a triathlon”, or similarly impractical goal.
Take time to list what you are thankful for. Even with the challenges that we have experienced in 2020, most of us can find a list of bright spots to be grateful for. We really want you to slow down and do this exercise. Gratitude as tool is so ubiquitous it almost becomes white noise. But there is a reason that every happy, healthy, successful mentor, leader, and guru recommend focusing on gratitude and that’s because it truly is the foundation of life. Reminding yourself of the good makes it easier to keep in touch with your values and thus to sustain positive momentum towards a life in better alignment with them.
Integrative Arts – Your Move for Life Specialists
At Integrative Arts, we help you achieve your wellness goals and live the vibrant life you desire. We added this wellness series to support you on your journey and help you move from surviving to thriving. In the weeks to come, look for a series of tools, tricks, hacks, and strategies to help you build your vibrant life.
In Health and Wellness,
Integrative Arts Co-founders,
Gary & Sarah
Individuals who ask a lot of their bodies need massage techniques that will keep them at the top of their game. We blend manual therapy, Thai massage, Russian massage, and Tui Na in a unique style that helps to balance and restore an athlete’s body. This approach boosts both the training and the recovering phases.
Our therapists have worked extensively with all types of athletes, from serious “hobbyists” who play as hard as they work, to semi-professional and professional athletes. We have experience with athletes from all fields including: running, tennis, soccer, climbing, baseball, softball, basketball, hockey, golf, swimming, gymnastics, and yoga. We also work with outdoor enthusiasts, martial artists, and personal trainers.
Chronic Pain can rob you of your life. We have many therapeutic tools that will alleviate your suffering and help you live your fullest possible life. We start with a strong foundation in intuition and bring extensive knowledge in multiple modalities that are scientifically proven to provide improved medical outcomes. These modalities include: Bowen, myofascial release, manual lymphatic drainage, cranial sacral therapy, Tui Na, and somato-emotional release. We then work closely with your other health and wellness practitioners to ensure a cohesive treatment plan.
Cupping is an ancient Chinese healing art. Its methodology is very simple. Glass or plastic cups are used in a state of vacuum to gently pull the skin and underlying connective tissue. Although the technique itself is simple, the therapeutic applications are complicated and nuanced. In massage therapy, it is used as a form of manual therapy. It acts to gently pull and separate stuck connective tissue. It is highly effective for individuals with old injuries or athletes who have over-trained and have stuck fascial adhesions. Many of our clients find relief with cupping that they have been unable to find with any other modalities.
Medical massage is the application of specific treatments targeted to the unique problems presented by the patient. The medical massage therapist administers massage after a thorough assessment and evaluation. This process ensures that the therapy can target specific outcomes tailored to the individual patient. Medical massage is often prescribed by your doctor and may be billed to your medical or auto insurance.
As its name suggests, Thai massage comes from Thailand and has a rich cultural and therapeutic history. Thai massage originated over 2,500 years ago, and it continues to be as important in modern day Thai culture as it was historically. Not only does it play an integral part in the modern tourism industry, but it is also at the heart of the Thai medical system, both as a preventative measure and rehabilitative treatment.
In general, one can describe Thai massage as passive manual therapy or passive yoga. The practitioner warms the muscles by pressing and kneading and then adds range of motion and stretching within the client’s limits. Thai Massage can be used on anyone, regardless of age or health. As a well trained and highly experienced Thai therapist, Gary can apply the movements selectively or modify them to suit each client’s needs and physical condition.
Thai massage really stands out as a massage modality for individuals with chronic pain or athletes who ask a lot of their bodies. For both types of people, Thai massage excels at bringing balance to the entire body, lengthening muscles and separating stuck muscle groups.
Traumatic life experiences can leave scars that are difficult to see but are nonetheless stored in the body. Massage therapy offered in a safe and nurturing environment is an integral part of recovering from these traumatic events.
Massage therapy is often prescribed by mental health counselors and primary care physicians as part of the wellness plan of those recovering from trauma, sexual abuse, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). At Integrative Arts we work with you and your referring provider to establish a holistic treatment plan.