“NO” is a complete sentence and it does not require justification or explanation.
How tense are you on a scale from 0-10?
Are you constantly switched on; on the move, doing things, fidgeting, and/or restlessly shaking your foot or leg?
You might not be aware if you do. If you are tense and find it challenging to take time out, why not ask a family member if they have noticed if you are fidgeting or seem restless! If you move body parts without a purpose, it is a clear sign that your body is under stress, which is harmful for your health long term.
You might see yourself as having plenty of energy as you go-go-go all the time without taking time to relax. But really, if you tuned inside, you would know that you are stressed and tired. If your body is in an overwhelmed state and you have a hard time to relax, you might have noticed that you are not feeling your optimal. You might experience pain, inflammation, muscle tension, hypertension, irritability, insomnia, poor sleep, lack of focus and productivity, high blood pressure, anxiety, overwhelm, fatigue, relationship and communication problems; these are all signs that you can be stressed and need rest.
When we relax we activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which works like balsam for body and soul and which counters ‘fight and flight response’ that switches on during stress.
There are various ways we can relax. The key is to find a method that works for us, and which we can integrate into our daily life.
I will share four different relaxation methods over the coming days.
- The relaxation response,
- Breathing and
One of the easiest to use is “the relaxation response” which can give immediate sense of rest to our muscles and body.
The relaxation response is an exercise sitting or lying down, where we tense various muscles to the max – one by one – then letting go and fully relax. By going through each body part beginning with the toes, the calves, the thighs, buttocks, back, stomach, chest, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers, and face, we help our muscles to deeply relax and we give our body an opportunity to rest. We can do this at work, in the car while waiting for a red light, in bed, or in a chair or sofa.
It is advisable to establish a routine in and engage in the exercise daily if it speaks to you.
The marathon today reminded me of how much cross-country skiing is part of my cultural heritage, and something I can feel the cells of my body have missed. It was thrilling to be back on skis and amongst so many others who love the sport.
I grew up in Norway where cross-country skiing is a national sport. During my childhood our family cross-country skied quite often, but only leisurely. I was not passionate about skiing as a child and racing was for sure not my thing. However, the older I got the more I came to enjoy the tranquility of the sport particularly because I was mostly skiing in the mountains above the tree line.
It was while cross-country skiing in the Norwegian mountains I came to learn about peace of mind. Skiing in this wide-open, untouched landscape, above the treetops, with no or few people in sight, with the diagonal movement of cross-country skiing, harmonized my brain and touched my soul.
It is thirty years ago since I left Norway. I have missed my old love of being out in the wild and cross-country skiing.
I am grateful that my husband and friends encouraged me to participate in this ski Marathon. It was a thrilling experience to be skiing amongst 25,000 participants (some doing the half marathon and others doing the full distance). It felt like I had come back to my element.
Somewhere along our life journey we may give up part of our cultural heritage and who we used to be. If we meet a partner who does not share the same heritage or if we move abroad, many of us let go of cultural heritage and values we love.
If we reclaim the old ‘parts’ of us, these can bring loads of joy and energy to our lives.