First things first: yes, healthy balance does exist and yes, you can tap into self-compassion, even in your hardest moments. While different seasons bring new challenges, there’s always a way you can center, focus, and reconnect with self-compassion if only for a few moments each day.
Our approach to Pilates at Lindywell reminds us of this. If we simply show up to our mat, we can move our bodies in a way that invites balance and self-compassion. The same is true in life, but the first step is making it possible to show up for ourselves no matter the season.
Let’s take the mindset that we incorporate into our Pilates workouts off the mat and into life to create a healthy balance and tap into your self-compassion.
1. Create Healthful Healing Spaces
One of the most beautiful things about coming to your mat is that the time you spend there allows for connection with yourself, your mind, and your body. It also presents an opportunity to leave judgment at the door and let your body (not your mind) do the talking. Finally, being on the mat is a chance to move your body in a way that strengthens, stretches, nourishes, and connects.
You can create spaces that invite these same experiences off the mat in your home. This doesn’t mean you need to re-design your living room as a peaceful, yogic, Ashram or get rid of all things technology.
Instead, use the following ideas to create spaces in your home that allow you to access balance, connection, and self-love more consistently:
- Repaint your bedroom. Turn your bedroom into a space that encourages calm and relaxation by painting your walls with colors that promote ease and help you feel cozy. Benjamin Moore recommends Palest Pistachio, Simply White, Porcelain, Yarmouth Blue, Natural Cream, Black Pepper, or Silver Fox. Check out some low-VOC paint products to promote an even healthier space.
- Leave your phone charger in the kitchen. Don’t take your phone into the bedroom with you at night. If you can, leave it charging in the kitchen so you’re not tempted to pick it up first thing in the morning, which activates your stress hormones. Instead, use those first moments of the morning to focus on what you’re grateful for or take a few deep, centering breaths.
- Ditch the mirrors. While mirrors can help make a space feel bigger, they’re also a temptation to self-objectify every time you walk by one. Consider removing unnecessary mirrors throughout your home so you can focus on being in and loving your body, rather than trying to make sure it looks “good enough.”
2. Simplify More to Stress Less
Pilates is a simple movement practice. While we can use balls, a Reformer, a trapeze table and so much more, we don’t have to. In fact, many of our workouts in the Lindywell app don’t require any equipment at all, which makes it more accessible and easier to commit to consistently.
For example, if you have a hectic week because you have an important deadline coming up (focus) you can use one-sheet meals or crockpots (modify) so you can still take care of your mind and body but save the large, more extensive grocery shop for next week (create compassion).
Use this simple framework to find balance and self-compassion no matter what’s happening in your life.
3. Get Intimately Familiar With What Your Body Needs
Here’s the thing about balance: it’s different for everyone. What feels good and balanced to you may not feel great for someone else. The same goes for Pilates, which is why we always offer modifications and options for a wide variety of needs, abilities, and fitness levels.
You can take this practice into your own life by becoming an expert on what your body needs and then giving it the modification or option it needs to feel nourished and taken care of.
In our modern world, however, it’s easy to disconnect from our body (and stay that way) as we rush through life, focus on the next thing, and then sleep and do it all over again. To get familiar with what your body needs, and use that to create more balance and self-compassion, bring these practices into your routine:
- Breathwork: Your breath is an immediate gateway to connection with the body because it takes you out of your head to the physical sensation of breathing. We have a variety of breathwork sessions in the Lindywell app. Use this resource to get familiar with intentional breathing, find practices that fit your schedule and desires, and connect deeper with yourself and your body.
- Mindful movement: I love how Mindful.org explains mindful movement: “Mindful movement allows us to check in with our bodies and get moving in a way that can help us lower stress, release stagnant energy, and strengthen our mind-body connection.” With this in mind, don’t just take a walk or do a Pilates class—be mindful as your foot hits the sidewalk or your weight shifts between your hands on the mat. The goal is to feel the sensations of your body to connect, listen and get familiar with how it communicates with you. Your body has its own unique language, you just have to learn it.
- 3 minutes of centering: Take three minutes to simply be with yourself and center at least once each day. During this time: Sense into your muscles; do you feel any tension or pain? Notice your breathing; is it shallow and fast or slow and deep? Tune into your emotions; are you feeling sad or overwhelmed? Happy or fulfilled?
Bring these practices into your daily routine and remember that developing this connection with your body takes time. As you tune in, however, and hone the skill, you can start to know exactly what you need, when you need it. This allows you to create more balance and practice more self-compassion at any moment.
You Can Cultivate Healthy Balance and Self-Compassion
Life is always ebbing and flowing, and each season brings with it its own unique challenges. This is both the beauty and struggle of life, but it doesn’t mean we can’t create balance and love ourselves through it all. Use these ideas, tips, and strategies to cultivate a greater healthy balance and tap into your store of self-compassion so you can feel good no matter what’s going on.