Our Rittenhouse fitness and health center, like many, focuses on evidence-based therapies. This is how we approach personal training, physical therapy and dietician counseling.

But we also see spirituality and mindfulness having positive effects in many of our lives. So, a conversation in the NY Times between Tara Parker Pope and Buddhist Monk and author Haemin Sunim feels relevant to us.

They were talking about using “self-care” at the holidays to help reduce stress. We think that you can use the simple suggestions year-rouns.

Our Rittenhouse fitness and health center team believes in this quote: “Be good to yourself first – then to others.”

When you’re in a good place, you take better care of yourself. You experience less stress. And you have the bandwidth to help others. It’s a win-win.

Sunim focused on the spiritual aspects of 5 stress reduction tools. But our fitness and health center team brainstormed to put our more evidence-based spin on them. Here they are:

  • Breathe. From trainers Chris and Liz to massage therapist Lisa, this is our team’s most used suggestion. It’s easy to get overwhelmed – or just distracted. And taking just one deep breath brings you back to the now. Simple breathing exercises (Contact Us for suggestions) relax you. This helps de-stress you. And it gives you back the focus to react appropriately.
  • Accept. It’s easy to concentrate on our imperfections. And on those of the people around us. (We think that’s even more true at holidays) When we’re hard on ourselves, it’s easier to be more judgmental. Sunim suggests just accepting where we are now. Taking another breath. And then thinking about how we can be better.
  • Write. Like many, our Rittenhouse fitness and health center team can be reluctant to write. We may worry that we’re just not good writers. Accept that – see above! Sunim suggests writing down what’s bothering you. Then leaving that on the paper. And putting the paper and the feelings aside until you’ve slept on it. Take a look and solve the easiest problem in the morning.
  • Talk. We don’t mean staying engaged with whoever or whatever’s bothering you.
    That just keeps you stressed.

Take a breath. Turn away. And find a “neutral party” you can talk constructively with. Or even ask them for permission to vent. You will feel calmer.

And it’s more likely you’ll accept the annoying situation and move on.

  • Walk. After breathing, this is Hector’s go to. It not only gets you out of the house or the office, it gets you out of your head. To navigate you have to engage with your brain (or you’ll fall down) and with the world. Look up from the phone, and you’ll always see something beautiful or interesting. And, focus on that for a few. That’s a great de-stresser.

There’s no time better than now to start taking better care yourself. s always, we’re here to help. Just Contact Us.