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Exercise everyday with these easy hacks

I previously wrote about the most important new year’s resolution that we most often take for granted, our health. My attention was brought to this realization one day by a sickness which sabotaged all my activities laid for the several days that ensued. Then and there, I made the commitment to prioritise my health.

What seemed like an easy goal though is – in reality – an overwhelming task. I found it challenging to identify time to exercise. Whenever I’m immersed in a certain work, it was all too easy to make excuses not to exercise. In addition, I haven’t been fully well since the day I vowed to make health a priority. I have been nursing a cough which never went away, probably because I was reluctant to take medicines. I took vitamin C, ensured I am well hydrated, took ginger and lemon tea, and ate more fruits and vegetables so I’m gradually feeling better but still not fully recovered. My illness made my body feel heavier; so I got lazier.

Inclined to overcome my repugnance with exercise, I ascertained what made it feel overwhelming. I realised it was because I had this notion of an ‘ideal workout’. I think about long yoga sessions, kilometers stretch of jogging route, a treadmill and the likes. This tendency to set an unnecessary high standard holds true with other plans. Setting a high standard is not wrong, in fact we should aspire to achieve this in everything we do because the world deserves our best. What makes it wrong is when it hampers our growth; when it becomes a cause of our paralysis.

Some things take time to develop. Excellence is not achieved in one attempt but rather after a long process of trial and error. It’s the same with exercise or of being healthy in general; small everyday efforts can lead to notable results. Instead of aiming to do my ‘ideal workout’, I began to think about small ways that I can exercise. These ways aren’t like those exercise hacks suggested online which still involve ambitious, abrupt change of attitude that can get overwhelming and paralysing. Mindfulness helped me identify these pockets of opportunity which include the following:

* Walking instead of driving or taking a cab
* Doing some yoga poses while watching television
* Doing some lying yoga poses during days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed
* Doing some dance moves or belly dancing while cooking!
* Doing some stretching anytime, anywhere during the day
* When stuck in traffic, doing some breathing exercises or stretching poses such as eagle arm, ear to shoulder/neck rolls and shoulder rolls

These are just some ideas but when we continue to go on our day mindfully, I’m sure we will find more ways to move our bodies. Doing these simple steps will eventually lead to a positive change to our health. When we feel healthier and more energised, doing the ‘ideal workout’ will no longer feel overwhelming but a source of joy.


Most important New Year’s resolution we often miss

It’s that time of the year again when most of us are revved up to start the year fresh, make New Year’s resolutions and plans for the whole year round. There’s just something about new year which screams renewal, hope, chances and new beginnings; it fills our spirits with optimism and drive.

The first three days of my year was spent on visiting relatives and traveling. I was out and about with no regard at being productive because I was on full holiday mood and my days were meant to be spent on making memories and quality family time. Yesterday was supposed to be the day I was to begin executing my plans. I sat at my study table in the morning and jotted down my day’s to-do list. I was committed to making that day productive.

Executing my plans doesn’t mean I have a whole plan laid out for the year. In fact, I don’t have any plans at all, except the plan of making this year different. I still don’t know how to do that or what I wish to achieve this year but I believe that it’s a process. And going through the process involves being disciplined on how I spend my day. I want to ensure that my day is spent doing the things I am passionate about, things that make me happy and fulfilled. I hope that through this process, I will gain a clearer perspective on where I want to go, what I want to be and how I will make my existence meaningful.

It’s been a cliché how the internet particularly social media has created these delusions of what an ideal life must be. I want to live an authentic life and I can only do this by being mindful my life’s unique purpose – as each of us has our own purpose of being, different from the others, solely our own destiny. So how do I remain true to my personal calling? I don’t know but living mindfully each day is the beginning of the process.

What’s the use of a thousand plans when you have an unhealthy body?

Yesterday, my attention was brought to a very important realisation. Committed to making the day productive, I immediately began to read one of my textbooks after I was done with my to-do list. Fifteen pages down, I began to feel nauseous followed by a throbbing headache. I don’t know what its cause was. So there I was, in bed capable of doing nothing except nurse my headache; and there it hit me that above all else, our health is our most important wealth. Without a good health, what use is there of all our plans when we don’t have the capacity to execute them?

Today I woke up all better, thanks to hubby’s good massage last night. I’m now ready to continue with my ‘be mindful and productive each day’ goal. But, on top of that, I will make my health a priority. It doesn’t even have to be through an arduous workout routine. It just simply means I will be careful with what I eat, drink enough water, get enough sleep and do some daily exercise/stretching and meditation.

Oh, and being productive doesn’t also mean doing so much hard work because being still and just spending the time doing nothing is a productive activity in itself. I wrote about it in another blog post here.

Happy New Year! May your 2018 be filled with good health, peace of mind, and lots of love and happiness.

21 days self-love challenge

Tomorrow is the day when love is celebrated across the globe, Valentine’s Day. Regardless of its historical accounts, Valentine’s Day as we practice it in modern time is a day for couples or for people with someone to love; so much so that it has become the day when roses and chocolates get so expensive. Those who are single often joke that they’d join the firing squad because they don’t have someone to spend it with. For me, I want to celebrate Valentine’s day this year differently.

Few days ago, I collapsed after jogging for less than 15 minutes and a week after I was down with fever and body aches. I realized I’ve been living an extremely unhealthy lifestyle and needed to look after myself better. According to one of my favorite books, it takes 21 days to create neuro-pathways that develop a habit. So I shall call this exercise the 21 days self-love challenge where each day I would devote 2 hours for self-nourishment, which is 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening. If you’re up for the same challenge, join me! It will be fun sharing our experiences.

Once upon a time in #Biliran #Sambawan

A photo posted by Mary Antonette H. Abello (@mhabello) on

Here’s how I will schedule my day but of course you can start at a time of your choosing.

6:00AM – wake up time, drink ¼ cup pure calamansi juice (strictly no water or it becomes acidic)
6:15 AM – sit for 15-minutes meditation
6:30 AM – yoga for 30 minutes
7:00 AM – my normal day can begin (shower, coffee, breakfast, etc)

Throughout the day, I will also make sure to drink a lot of water, pause for a quick 5-minute meditation whenever I feel the need for a break and increase my vegetables and fruit intake.

My evening self-love routine will start at 9PM because I want to sleep by 10PM; that will give me 8 hours of sleep.

9:00PM – gadgets away, read a book with warm milk or chamomile tea
9:45PM – sit for 15-minutes meditation
10:00 – lights out, zzzzzzzz

It’s a pretty simple morning and evening routine, really, but it will surely take much discipline to follow. I know I will regret not doing it and my alter ego is not very kind. So fingers-crossed, tomorrow is a new beginning and if there will come a day that I’d fail, I’ll just start back again. Join me! Join me!