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Health: Take care of mind and spirit, not just the body

Fitness is often said to be defined as that which works the body and wellness as that which soothes the body. We talk a lot about working the body each week and have not spent much time on ideas which soothe the body, yet wellness is very importa...

Fitness is often said to be defined as that which works the body and wellness as that which soothes the body. We talk a lot about working the body each week and have not spent much time on ideas which soothe the body, yet wellness is very important to one's overall health.

In our culture of do, do, do, faster, faster, faster we miss the importance of doing nothing. In all the major spiritual traditions stillness is sought for connection with higher power or one's creative source, but many of us rush right past. Have you ever thought about what restores you, what soothes you? How do you find comfort and restore your energy, soothe your mind, spirit and body. Here are some ideas.

This week spend time doing nothing. Block out white space in your daily planner and do nothing which requires you to focus or concentrate. Take a walk just to feel the breeze, see what's left in the gardens, or just to move a bit. Don't spend too much time focusing on how fast you are moving, where you are going, or how long you need to walk. Just enjoy it.

Maybe you've been meaning to sort recipe cards for enjoyment of sorting and organizing. Some of us find it soothing to sort and organize items, not to mention the satisfaction of opening the box to see them in order.

How about a massage, pedicure, manicure, or other self-care treatment. However, massage is not just for relaxation -- it can do wonders to rid us of those racing thoughts and help us slow down our brains. Are you the type who gets lost in the book store or craft shops? What about antiquing or garage sales? The trick is to keep the activity from becoming more stress. So plan plenty of time, reserve it just for you, don't overspend, and do not rush.

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After a workout spend time during your stretching to really listen to your body and focus all your attention on hearing what it has to say. Sit in a sauna, relax in a hot tub, or take a long bath. Enjoy the view from your front stoop or back porch. Watch the sun go down or come up. Thank it for its warmth.

Create a ritual around the activity you select. Light candles, brew your favorite tea, put on soothing music, and turn off the phone. Turn off the TV, DVD player and radio and go off the grid for a while. Many find it relaxing to watch TV but TV is still stimulation and does not allow you to tune in and listen to your body, mind, and soul. For some the simple act of brewing a cup of tea, sitting quietly outside, or watching the birds is in itself enough. Finding wellness doesn't mean spending lots of money or time, trying something new, or even leaving your house. It requires that you slow down and stop. It requires that you explore ways to restore your spirit.

For others it may be practicing an activity which helps the environment. When we take care of what we consider beauty it can lift our spirits. For others baking, cooking, knitting, or sewing may be soothing.

Do you like tinkering in your garage, with your car, or building things? What about the arts? Painting, working with wood, drawing, or even coloring with crayons can help you slow your pace. It doesn't have to look good, taste good, or even be edible if you find restoration in the process.

Basically, finding fitness is about finding something to work your body, setting goals to accomplish better health, and figuring out how to continue to challenge your body as you move toward better fitness. Finding wellness is about finding what restores your body and soul. It's about slowing down and listening to yourself. We need both because we need balance and its in life balance optimal health is found.

What will you find this week?

Lifestyle challenge

Pick a soothing activity and schedule time for yourself. Slow down and restore you.

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Stacy Reuille-Dupont, is formerly a fitness director and currently the owner of Superior Balance Fitness Center and SuperiorWorkout.com. Reuille-Dupont has a degree in kinesiology and is a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor. She has worked in the fitness industry for more than 13 years. She welcomes your comments and can be reached at www.superiorbalance.com or stacy@superiorworkout.com or 392-9860.

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