Be Properly Selfish: It’s time to do YOUMaddy Slade | 7 May 2021
Looking Out For Number One
Here at Apex, we’ve noticed a bit of a problem. As a society, we’ve been conditioned to believe that we ought to think of everyone else before ourselves. Don’t get us wrong, caring for others is absolutely wonderful and incredibly important - but you can’t give from an empty tank. Self-care has been put on the back burner - but how can you expect to care for someone else if you don’t care for yourself. Think about when you’re on a plane, and you’re instructed to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others - it’s only when we look after ourselves that we can begin to help those around us.
With that in mind, at Apex, we want to give you the tools to look after yourself. We’re giving you permission to do YOU. We know that looking after yourself comes in many different forms; self-care is different for everyone. So, as well as our indoor spinning bikes and our fabulous spinning classes, we wanted to provide you with some of our favourite tricks to destress and look after yourself.
Sounds pretty basic, but often in our daily lives, we aren’t actually breathing properly. For many of us, breathing might be a sensation that only goes down to the chest; this can often signal trapped feelings or anxiety. Instead, try taking a big juicy belly breath all the way down to your stomach, feel it energising your body, providing oxygen to each of your organs - this is the way our bodies are meant to feel the majority of the time. Nice isn’t it…
When you feel stressed, you might start to notice your chest feels a little tighter and your breathing becomes more shallow. This is because our sympathetic nervous system has been activated - the part of us that is responsible for that well-known fight or flight response. In the past, this was useful as it helped us flee from dangerous situations, but in today’s day and age, it’s pretty unlikely we are going to have to face off with a hungry tiger. Paying attention to, and slowing down our breath, reminds our bodies that we are not in any immediate danger. Then we can reactivate the parasympathetic nervous system, making us feel safe to be in the present moment.
Breathwork doesn’t have to be saved for occasions when you notice your body reacting to stress. Why not try and use this tool before you feel yourself getting to that point? By breathing mindfully on a regular basis, we can train our bodies to be more present, as opposed to in that constant state of fight or flight. Have fun with it, we particularly love the Wim Hof Method, but there’s numerous videos on Youtube for you to explore. Today we challenge you to put aside just 5 minutes for mindful breathing, it’ll be worth it.
Time in Nature
Sometimes when you feel like we’re stuck in your own head it can be really beneficial to switch up your scenery and get outside. Nature really is the best medicine - it brings a sense of presence. When we get outside we can begin to take on more perspective about our problems and realise that there’s a world outside our thoughts, and our thoughts are just that - thoughts. They’re not always real!
We know this hasn’t exactly been an easy one to do over the past year, but with lockdown coming to an end we can finally see the people we care about again, over more than just a screen. Take advantage of this and try to re-establish some face-to-face human contact. As humans we’re wired for connection; that’s why the past year has been so difficult. Now we have the chance to see our loved ones again - maybe reach out to someone, spend time with your family if you can - when you connect with people the neurohormone oxytocin is released - this hormone has been proven to create calming effects that can reduce cortisol levels and anxiety. Pretty cool right?
Time away from Tech
Having your phone pinging at you 24/7 hardly leaves room for your own mental space. How about today, you commit to spending some time away from your tech? Whether that’s by getting outside and leaving your phone at home, or maybe just turning off your screens an hour earlier before bed, disconnecting from the outside world will help you recentre and find peace in the present moment.
Ok, we know we said we were giving you tips other than our awesome spinning classes, but we couldn’t not mention exercise considering all the incredible stress-busting benefits that come with it. When we exercise we produce endorphins - those ‘feel-good’ hormones we all crave. Exercise is one of the best ways to get out of your head into your body. It’s a time when you can let go of your problems and carve out time for yourself - channel your frustrations into those pedals and get moving!
2020 was one hell of a year. Life’s been pretty stressful, and, although we’re coming out of lockdown and we’re damn happy about it - the thought of what comes next might feel a bit overwhelming. Our social calendars are suddenly filling up, some of us might be returning to the office - juggling it all can be stressful. Take it slow. You don’t have to say yes to everything just because it feels like you need to make the most of things opening up. Go at your own pace and do YOU.
For more info around how to make stress your friend watch this eye opening Ted Talk from Psychologist Kelly McGonigal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGyVTAoXEU&vl=en