Updated: Oct 8, 2020
By Indira Das-Gupta
Ever put off starting a new healthy regime due to a lack of time or money? You’re not alone. Who hasn’t at some point done exactly that? The reality is that things are tough for a lot of people right now, really tough. Many people have already been made redundant and we are on the brink of a global recession. When we have to watch our finances what is often the first thing we stop? Our regular exercise class or Yoga studio or gym membership because it’s seen as a luxury. But is it really? When we are worried about our finances, or anything for that matter, it can lead to stress and as we all know, stress is bad for our health, both mental and physical. If you experience high levels of stress for protracted periods of time, you get run down and ultimately sick. Then, if you are in paid employment, you have to take time off work, or if you are not, you can’t fulfil your obligations to your loved ones. Exercising and meditating regularly can help reduce stress and therefore reduce your chances of getting sick. So isn’t it worth the investment? And of course it’s not just about stress, we all know that we need to exercise regularly, especially as we get older, to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes and to keep mobile, reducing the risk of injuries. Sometimes it’s simply about priorities. You might class your evening glass of wine as “essential” but is it? Could you drink less wine and put the money you save towards something that would benefit your health? Or maybe you like to have your nails done regularly because it makes you feel good. Could you get your nails done less frequently and do something that would actually improve your physical and mental health instead? Of course it’s not always a case of reviewing your priorities. Obviously when you have to count every penny, nobody would suggest that you should get yourself into debt to pay for a membership to some exclusive gym. But there are all kinds of online classes available now (at NLYS we have online classes every day) and also lots of free resources such as YouTube videos (check out my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx-mXbJ_2sxrzvQ_KCtMyyQ?view_as=subscriber). You could go to the park or try walking to the shops instead of getting the bus, which would also save you money. As for meditation, it needn’t cost you a penny, you just need to make a bit of time. Ah yes time, that’s the other obstacle that many of us struggle to overcome. Many of us had more time during lockdown and demand for online classes shot up. But now that many of us are back to working away from home and dropping the kids off at school and their extra-curricular activities, suddenly it seems like we have less time again. While there’s certainly an element of truth to that, the fact is that we all have 24 hours in a day, but it’s up to us what we do with them. If you are juggling the demands of working full time with a family, time is limited for sure but do you still find the time to scroll through social media for at least 10 minutes a day? If so could you put those 10 minutes towards something else? Even meditating for just 5 minutes a day will give you greater peace of mind and enable you to deal with challenges better. Or you could get off the bus or tube a stop early and walk the rest of the way to work. There is a Buddhist saying: “You should meditate for 20 minutes every day, unless you are really busy, then you should meditate for 2 hours.” When things feel overwhelming, finding just a little bit of time to ourselves can make all the difference. After 5 minutes of simple stretching, mindful breathing or a quick walk round the block, you will feel better able to manage your workload and responsibilities. If it really does feel like you are up to your eyeballs with commitments, this blog might irritate you. Ask yourself, is that because the truth hurts, do you know deep down that you need to make time for yourself but just don’t know where to start? Start small. Promise yourself that you will give yourself 5 minutes a day, even if that means getting up 5 minutes earlier or going to bed 5 minutes later, to do something that really does benefit your health. Over time you may find that you actually want to increase that to 10 minutes or maybe even more. But if not, just stick with the 5 minutes. The sad truth is that some people lavish more attention on their car or house than their own health. But you only have this one body and mind you were given at birth. Invest in it wisely and it will serve you well.
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