Next week, Live Better embarks on its next wellness retreat to Las Flores, where we’ll spend six days and five nights bringing a community of people together to engage on a wide range of wellness activities and topics ranging from workouts to yoga, meditation, breathing workshops, and surfing to plenty of time spent in self-reflection.
One of the primary reasons we run these trips (to the benefit of the participant) is to self-review our “state of mind,” including the merger of physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual health. How do we contextualize our “wellness” amidst all the things we want to achieve in life?
Are we doing life the way we want, in a way that’s sustainable and purposeful?
We all feel the trappings of overwhelm at times. We drive the body and brain hard, toward success, sometimes at the expense of our well-being. We sacrifice time for money, get caught in repeating (negative) patterns, and often forget to take a step back to review — is this the pace I want to be living in the direction I want to be traveling?
At home, distractions are bountiful. We spend (maybe too much) time in our own head, on the hamster wheel, working in the business (rather than on the “business”).
There is a reason we run these trips on a remote beach, in the jungle, with an ocean view; it gets us out of our head and into our body. It’s free from traffic, concrete (jungles), and the ping of Slack.
One of the main questions we get from participants is, “I feel amazing while I’m on the trip; how do I bring this back home with me?” Find below five ways to “change your state”, whether you can join us on a trip or are practicing this from your living room.
Ah, the sweet dopamine release of a good sweat. Having a tough day? Opt for a 30 minute moderate-intensity cardio activity (like walking, hiking, or biking), outside preferably. Having a good day but need to blow off some steam? Hit the HIIT; try intervals for 15-20 minutes and move some weight in the gym.
#2) Get Into Nature (Sunshine)
The fastest mood boost in the world (especially to start your day) is to get outside and into the sun. Not only is vitamin D good for the body and brain, but it’s much easier to feel grateful when you’re in the sun than when you’re trapped inside. If you’re in a cold environment (like us in Chicago) where it’s gray 24/7, even a dose of fresh air can boost your well-being.
#3) Cold Exposure
Speaking of the cold, we promise your immediate concerns will dissipate with cold water. In a best case scenario, you start your day with a few cycles in an ice bath or find a cold lake/stream. Next best scenario, you cycle through some cold-water exposures in the shower. Mental benefits have been suggested to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and physical benefits include better thermoregulation, increased immune response, and reduced fatigue / muscle soreness.
#4) Light Up Your Senses
A “somatic trigger” is anything that first hits the body, such as a candle or various scents, music, ambient lighting, etc. Find a candle or song that puts you in a different state of mind when you need a change and you’ll start to notice your brain lock that pattern into a “mood,” which you can revisit whenever you need.
A good meditation can switch your nervous system from sympathetic to parasympathetic, thus reducing your fight or flight response helping you to relax. This is helpful when you need to sleep but are stressed out, for instance. You can use different meditations for different purposes (see our prior WUW emails on “breathe better”), like taking a break midday, preparing for a “big moment”, or simply trying to switch tasks on a stressful day.
The body and brain are influenced by each other, but lots of us allow our brain to trap our body. These five ways to flip that script are simply guidelines; we suggest you find those “somatic triggers” that work best for you, write them down, and practice them as rituals. They certainly work great at the beach, but they also work well at home, too.
Ultimately, we encourage all our clients and community to create space to think (better). We must take a break from the “race” to think about the direction we are racing, and to what end. The five ways to change your state above are transitions to help you do just that, and can move you towards creating your “best day ever.”