Workout Wednesday: The Non-Workout Workout

This past weekend I was reminded, once again, how important it is to take just as much time and sometimes even more, working on your input rather than your output.  After 4 agonizing days of lying in bed sick and drinking nothing but bone broth and smoothies, I am finally turning the corner.

The combination of staying up far too late, working too much, spending too much time in front of my computer, rushing to eat meals while working in a commercial gym exposing myself to a cocktail of germs, finally took it’s toll on me.  My energy output far exceeded my input, and after a month of constantly being in hyper-drive, my body said, “Uh uh, girl, you need to slow down”.

Needless to say, the last week has lacked in the workout department.  Keeping in mind that exercise is a stressor on the body, I will adjust my workouts while I am sick to allow my body to heal.  And for me, that usually means refraining from strength and cardio based exercises.  I do, however, keep up with my pilates workouts which I find help regenerate, rather than deplete me.

Often times, we are so focused on our physical body (what we look like on the outside, how much weight we’ve lost, what size we are, etc), we forget that we also have a mental, emotional, and spiritual body as well.  And just like as our physical body needs to workout, so do the others.

It’s a bit disappointing for me to admit to you and to myself, but I’ve found that it usually takes a cold or sheer exhausation for me to stop and care for the mental, spiritual and emotional bodies, mainly because my physical body just can’t do much.  So over the last few days, I was pretty much forced into slowing down which made a little room for me to take care of my other bodies.

That being said, here are a few exercises that we can do to keep our mental, emotional and spiritual bodies in shape.  The Non-Workout Workout, I call it.  Enjoy!

Mental Workout

This is the intellectual body,  the body that generates ideas, the body that is responsible for our capacity to learn.  Here are some exercises we can do to stimulate this body:

  1. Read a well balance of fiction vs. non-fiction material.  Different genres stimulate different areas of our brain.  Non-ficiton material helps us accumulate more knowledge, and can be very practical, this stimulates the left side of our brain.  The side that’s more analytical, logical and fact-based.  Fiction material on the other hand, taps into the right side of the brain, which is personally where I function 99% of the time.  This is our creative, feeling and intuitive side.  Reading a mixture of both non-ficion and fiction material keeps both sides of our brain in shape.  I mean, you wouldn’t do lunges on just your right side without the left, right?
  2. Play with crossword puzzles, Sudoku, Words with Friends, etc.  Research has shown that intellectually stimulating activity is known to have the potential to stave off Alzheimer’s and other brain disease.Learn more:Brain exercise works: crossword puzzles stave off Alzheimer’s
Emotional Workout

The emotional body is the accumulation of all of our, well, emotions!  This is where we feel, where we love, where we feel anger, hurt, pain, disappointment, joy, fear, excitement, etc.

Just like our physical body, it is also important that we exercise our emotional body.  I find that as a society, we  place a lot of negative stigma on expressing our emotions  and this can be quite challenging to deal with.  Men have to be “strong” and tend to withold fully expressing emotions in the fear that it may de-masculanize them.  As a woman, we are meant to be emotional, but if we’re too emotional, we’re crazy, or PMS’ing, or have hormonal issues.  If we’re not emotional enough, we’re just a straight up bitch.

I feel that our general suppression of emotions and even the supression of our sexuality, has created unneccesary stress and anxiety on us, which I believe has lead to a lot of our societal and inter-relationship issues.  Here are some ideas to help exercise your emotional body:

  1. Talking to friends and family or even going to therapy.  By addressing our thoughts, feelings, and conerns verbally and sharing it with another human, we can release unneccessary anxiety surrounding our emotions.  Sometimes just saying things out loud is enough to mitigate a situation.
  2. Journaling.  If you are not ready yet to express your emotions to someone else, keeping a journal that you confide in is an effective tool that can be used in your emotional workout program.  You’ll not only be able to get emotions off your chest in a constructive manner, but you’ll be able to keep a record of these emotions so that you can look back to find any patterns that may pop up in your life.
  3. Perform some chakra based exercises.  If there is an area of your life you are struggling with, relationships, money, love, sex, etc, performing various body weight exercises that bring energy back into the corresponding chakras can help.   The following are links to the varous chakra posts:
Spiritual Workout
  1. Meditation.  There are many ways we can define meditation, and there really is no right or wrong way.  Whatever you consider to be meditation works.  The point with meditation is to get you connected back to yourself, and in doing so, connects you back to the world around you.  Whether you go for a walk, garden, cook or sit in silence while listening to flute music and burning incense, it’s all good.
  2. Attending retreats or partaking in spiritual practices.  Spirituality means something different for everyone.  It could mean going to a storytelling group, a church, or if you’re like me, it means banging on a drum with a Peruvian shaman.  Regardless of your spiritual practices, being involved in a group of like-minded individuals provides a level of connection that we all seek and need on a very primal level.  Heck, I’d even consider sports teams and even Crossfit a little cultish “spiritual” since these groups bring people together to accomplish a shared goal.

I know this was a little off the track from the last several posts I’ve done on workouts, but I felt that it was necessary to talk about given the week that I had with resting my physical body.  I strongly feel that when we can begin to look at the body as one unifying entity that houses various different aspects of existence can we truly achieve lasting health and happiness.  And as I said earlier, even for me it usually takes a big blow to my physical body that makes me stop and pay attention to the emotional, spiritual and mental aspects that I tend to neglect.

I hope that this posts was helpful to you in some capacity, and I’d love to hear what your thoughts.  Leave me your comments below.  Thanks my friend!

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