come as you are
start small: simple body movements, ideas and ways to help you feel better on the regular
Take Care of Your Feet
For the past 6 or so years, I've chosen jobs where most of my day is spent on my feet and moving around. I wouldn't want it any other way. Being on my feet all day I feel it. At the end of a long day my feet and hips are not happy.
Feet are often the forgotten souls (pun intended) of our body. The ones who do the most work, with the least amount of credit. Until...they're screaming at you.
You don't need plantar fasciitis or a broken toe as the only opportunity to start taking time to support your feet. Whether you're on your feet all day for work, or walking in heals, or long-distance running, providing self-care to your feet is just as important as any other part of you...if not more.
When do the same thing over and over again (this goes for anything), our body gets used to it. With this muscle memory, imbalances start to form from the feet all the way up the body (knees, hips, lower back, etc. - you get it.) In addition, your feet start to stiffen up after being in the same position for long periods, offering very little flexibility and becoming achy (or painful).
Do you have any feet exercises, stretching, strengthening or self massage moves you'd like to share? Post in the comments - I'd love to learn more!
Savoring the Weekend
I moved from Boston to Rochester only four months ago. One of the best things about Rochester is how much less people use their smartphones compared to Bostonians. I have my thoughts as to why I think Boston is staring at their phones a lot more, but my conjecture is not the point of this blog post.
This past Labor Day weekend I went to the woods of Denmark, Maine near the White Mountains. Needless to say there wasn't much cell service. I opted to put my cellphone on airplane mode (as did most folks). I only checked it once to see if there were any "emergencies" (there rarely are, let's be honest), and to send a few "I'm alive" texts. The majority of my time was spent outside in the woods hiking, swimming, canoeing, doing yoga, eating really really good food with strangers and old friends - cellphone-free. I was being mindful and present this weekend without even trying to be.
The New York Times wrote an article about the overused buzzword last year entitled, "The Muddled Meaning of 'Mindfulness,'" In it, the article quotes Jon Kabat-Zinn, a Zen Buddhist who summarizes modern day mindfulness as “'The awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.'” This weekend was the first time since I moved back to Rochester that I forgot about the busy/distracting act of missing Boston. Instead, I was being with everything around me. It was because I was in nature sans phone.
My biggest challenge here in Rochester is my lack of connection to this lovely Flower (Flour) City. I want to get to know people, places, sites, the culture, etc. But I have been trapped in a cycle of desperately trying to stay attached to Boston via social media & texting. Using my smartphone as a security blanket, I am missing relationship opportunities and experiences here in Rochester.
So, how do we savor the nature-filled/mindfulness (fill in the blank) weekend and stay detached from the phone so we can relate to one another more (in person & in real life)? Below are a few (FREE!) things I try to do when I'm feeling distracted and want to refocus on the now:
Maine. The way life should be.
[Photo from this weekend]
Simple Self-CareTechniques to Help Alleviate Upper Back Pain And Open Up the Chest
Desk sitting, driving & phone use often rounds the shoulders forward. This can cause pain in the upper back. When this happens, we often think we need to stretch between the shoulder blades. In actuality, those upper back muscles are OVER stretched and our chest muscles (the pecs) are crunched and shortened.
Below is a simple body position I do 1-2 times a day to help open up the chest, and alleviate some discomfort in the upper back, shoulders and in between the shoulder blades. Not only do I start most of my yoga classes in this position, but I also often do this myself in the morning and at the end of the day when I feel all crunched and caved inward. I like to think of this pose as one of my favorite casual hangs where I can relax into it, close my eyes and breath for 1-10 minutes.
The first three pictures are all pretty much the same move but with variations and different props - depending on what you have available. Go for the bodywork position that is most comfortable and pain-free. In the first three positions listed below stay for 1-7 minutes. Take slow deep breaths in & out through your nose. For the last doorway pec stretch, stay for at least 30 seconds to 2 minutes. You can also get wild, and go for this version of supported fish pose if those below don't suit you.
This is the same position as the one above, except my
cousin Joy is using a foam roller. With this version:
Joy is modeling the same supportive fish pose using cork yoga blocks. The main point here is her arm placement which can be used in any of the above. Try this method:
La Liz Blogs Again! Hint: This Time It’s Not About Lobster Rolls but Simple Movements to Help You Feel Good on the Regular
I’m blogging! Again. The last time I had a blog it was about my two favorite things to eat. The blog was entitled “La Liz Eats Lobster Rolls and Mac n Cheese.” It had a nice ring to it, amiright? It was filled with posts about different lobster rolls in Boston, as well as mac and cheese bake-off’s I hosted at my place back in the day. Much to the dismay of my “fans,” I deleted the sad debunked site a few years ago. Though I’m still often asked by my Boston friends to recommend “the best lobster roll” in and around New Englad. I’ll take it!
While this new blog won’t be focused on mac n cheese,(that lactose gets me every time!) it will focus on another passion of mine: movement and working inward to feel better. This is my style of self care. Everyone's is different. For me, it includes a variety of things: biking outside, doing yoga, taking walks without a specific spot to land, performing on stage, and meditation. For this blog, I’m breaking it down more specifically. I’ll offer simple & supportive body movements to help alleviate pain, destress and focus internally to perhaps help you feel more comfortable. This isn’t about fancy yoga poses, or expensive yoga clothing. I aim to provide short & sweet tactics and a variety of options to do on the regular, using pictures and guidelines. This is meant for every body and every ability.
So why is it called “Come As You Are”? Not only is it one of my favorite Nirvana songs, but it is a saying my close friend Molly and I often say to each other when we’re not in the mood to do something or go somewhere. Long story, short, it means even if you’re not feeling “on” or 100% your best, just come (wherever that may be) and be yourself, as you are in that very moment. Whether that’s showing up to work, at a yoga class, dinner with a friend, or lazying around with your significant other, every day and moment feels different in your body, as do your emotions and mentality. So just come as you are…and work with that moment to show up fully.
Ok, that about sums it up for now. This will be the longest blog post of the bunch. The rest will be simple and less wordy (brevity is a challenge I’m working on). Take ‘em or leave ‘em. But hopefully in the midst of a few of my posts, you’ll find something that works for you in your body and soul. If it doesn’t, feel free to ask me a question and we can work together to figure out what might work.