By Lindsey Porter, Smart Works Edinburgh volunteer and owner of www.yoganuu.com
Continuing my belief that just as ‘5 a day’ of helpings of fruit and veg helps us to sustain a balanced healthy lifestyle, 5 a day of other activities can also support our greater wellbeing. This article offers 5 ways to help keep flexible. Being able to adapt to whatever comes our way has to be worth thinking about doesn’t it?
As always if you find you do some or all of these things already, then acknowledge the good work you’re doing and spread the word.
- The short cut and the long way. Allow some room during your life for taking the ‘other path’. Giving yourself permission to view different options on how to get from A to B can help overcome unforeseen obstacles, frustrations and give us a better chance to life with a positive happy mind set.
- Glass half empty or full? Being able to look at a bad situation and pull out some positives can help keep your mental health in good shape. It can also help avoid the downward spiral of negativity that can appear when we least need it. If you feel stuck in your reaction to things, try asking yourself who’s voice is that talking? By questioning where that comes from, it can free you from experiences of the past that sometimes subconsciously drive our responses. By making the process more conscious this can allow you to release past events, change your reaction and to move on.
- Flex the body. Yoga is great for encouraging flexibility through your body, muscles, joints and especially suppleness through the spine. We know the ageing process sees joints become stiffer, bones compress and our movement often suffers. Help counteract this process by introducing some regular yoga into your life. A few postures at home or at a class, even keeping it low intensity will help. Benefits can be felt from doing chair yoga. Whatever fits with your lifestyle, make time.
- Hack through routines. Constrained by time and find it easier to follow the same old routines? Open yourself up to ‘life hacks’ a term used to cover a multitude of suggestions on how to get stuff done in quicker easier way or recycling/using stuff you already have in a cool new way. For example, use an old bottle of suntan lotion to hide your money and keys in when at the beach by cutting across the top then placing the lid back over it. Another example; freeze any past-its-best wine into an ice tray and use for cooking. Add a cube or two into a hotpot or stew! Google ‘life hacks’ and you’ll soon be brimming with new ideas of how to be more flexible with stuff!
- See flexibility as exploration. I encourage you to make stuff up! There are enough rules, regulations and unwritten rules in life. When you can, embrace your inner rebel and try things in a different way. For example, if you always follow a recipe to the T, allow yourself a cooking experiment where you guess at volumes, add in a few random ingredients from your cupboards and see what happens. You could find some new creations and open your mind up to new possibilities. Last autumn I discovered homemade spicy apple chutney made with Garam Masala spice works a treat!
“Do Yoga so that you can stay flexible enough to kick your own arse if necessary!”