Dancing · fitness · habits · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · self care

Making Space: Day 26

We’re officially into that weird point of December where no one seems sure what day it is or what’s open or what they are supposed to be doing. And the range of Covid restrictions in various places is amplifying the confusion this year.

All of that adds up to even more reason to try and make some space for yourself – in whichever way works best for you today.

(That’s often the tricky part of making space for ourselves, I find. It’s hard to know what we are going to need from day to day and how much space we’ll require to give ourselves what we need.)

So, I’m just going to remind you that making space for yourself is a valid and important thing to do. You deserve gentle care. You deserve to have room in your own life. You deserve to feel good.

And if feeling good is out of reach right now, then I hope you can find a way to feel as good as possible in your current situation, even if the only space you can create is 10 extra seconds in the bathroom to squeeze your shoulders up by your ears and then let them slowly sink downward again.

Since we are in the in-between and everyone may need different things, I’ve picked out two choices for each video. Relaxing yoga/energizing cardio and meditation for hope/meditation for energy.

I hope you can find what you need today, in these videos or elsewhere.

I wish you ease.

Here’s your star for your efforts. ⭐️

Your hard work counts.

If you need to relax today, this yoga stretch video could be a good place to start.

A 5 Minute Yoga Everyday Stretch video from the Yoga with Bird YouTube channel. Still image shows a person in exercise clothes lying on a white yoga mat in a white room. She is in bridge pose.

If relaxing stretches aren’t your thing today, this fun dance video might be just the movement you need to create some space for yourself.

A wheelchair/chair dance video from the Sit Down AJ YouTube channel. the still image shows a group of people seated on chairs in a classroom/dance studio all in mid-dance.

If you are feeling a bit overdone emotionally today, this guided meditation could help you untie some mental knots.

A 5 minute guided meditation for hope and trust from the Yoga with Manon YouTube channel. Still image shows a person seated cross-legged (in lotus pose) on a purple mat with gold patterns on it), in the background bamboo plants and a small statuette can be seen.

If you are feeling a bit blah and need some mental energy, this next meditation might be the answer.

I was slightly reluctant to post this (quite lovely) meditation because it is labelled for ‘productivity’ and I hate that word. Not everything has to be ‘productive’ and our cultural push for ‘productivity’ is one big reason we need to consciously make space for ourselves instead of being able to let it happen more organically.

However, that being said, it is an enjoyable meditation and is NOT pushing productivity. I feel like that word is in the title to help the video be picked up in searches rather than being part of the channel’s philosophy per se.

So, to be clear, I am definitely not criticizing the channel for putting the word productivity in the title and I am not suggesting that YOU need to be productive. I found this meditation energizing and I hope you do, too.

I hope you find space today, with these videos or in your own way.

Remember: No one else gets to decide what space you need or how you make that space. 💚 you are the boss of you. 😉

fitness · habits · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · stretching

Making Space: Day 25

I hope that you have space and ease and rest in your day no matter how busy it is.

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it.

Happy Holidays to anyone celebrating something else.

And a restful Saturday to everyone else.

No matter what today means to you, it is just one day. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t require you to work yourself into a frazzle.

I wish you some relaxation and I wish you firm boundaries.

Our videos for today can help with both of those, I hope.

Here are some relaxing stretches for today;

Here are some relaxing stretches from the Fitness Blender YouTube channel. Still image is a person in a dark blue shirt standing with their back to the camera. Their shirt has white lettering that reads ‘workout complete’ and they have their left arm extended overhead and they are leaning to the right.

And a meditation for boundaries:

A meditation video from Ashley Krout’s YouTube channel. Still image is of a path extending into a wooded area with green grass visible on both sides of the path.

As always, I hope you can be kind to yourself about how your day unfolds, taking good care of yourself in whatever way is feasible.

And I celebrate your efforts to find space for yourself today and always; ⭐️

Dancing · fitness · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation

Making Space: Day 24

Every Christmas Eve, I am thankful for the space that The Wiggles created for me with their ‘Rockin’ Santa’ DVD.

The year my youngest son was born, my oldest was 3. Both of them were premies, and the baby had arrived 5 weeks earlier than expected so Christmas Eve found me with a 5 week old baby and a 3 year old and the kind of volume of tasks that only someone with a fluctuating concept of time would have thought they could accomplish in a single day.

I was trying to be a good Mom to both kids and to do at least some of the Christmas prep before my husband got home at 2pm so we could work together.

To say I was overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.

After a couple of hours of trying to entertain my big kid while I took care of the baby, I was getting increasingly frazzled and was feeling far more cranky than merry.

Then I suddenly remembered that I had bought a copy of the Wiggles ‘Santa’s Rockin’ and tucked it away for Christmas. By some miracle, I was able to find it even though I had put it ‘somewhere safe.’

I hyped it up to my oldest, popped it in the machine, and crossed my fingers.

HE LOVED IT.

He watched it over and over, dancing, singing and laughing the whole time, every time.

I wore the baby in sling and did a bunch of Christmas preparations and stopped to dance with my big kid every few songs.

Instead of my day being hectic and stressful, it was wonderful and fun.

In fact, if you like corny jokes (and I do!) you could say that on one specific Christmas, they gave me enough Wiggle-room to enjoy the last part of my preparations, stress-free.

So, given that it is Christmas Eve, I’m inviting you to make some space for yourself by dancing along with this song from The Wiggles.

I know that you may not celebrate Christmas but perhaps as you celebrate Friday, you could also celebrate that day years ago when this Mom put aside any idea of too-much-tv-guilt and made space for herself and her family to have a more relaxed day by letting her son (and herself) dance to The Wiggles over and over.

A video from the 2004 ‘Rockin’ Santa’ DVD from WigglesFan12347’s YouTube Channel. The still image shows The Wiggles, John Fogerty, and some backup dancers on a colourful Christmas-themed set. The official Wiggles channel is here but they have the DVD broken up into small sections and I liked the length of this video.

If dancing isn’t on your menu today, perhaps this meditation will help you find space instead.

A 5 minute meditation for inner peace from the Pura Rasa YouTube channel. Still image shows a person’s right leg and arm as they sit in meditation on a beach.

Whether you dance, meditate, or just sit with a cup of tea. I wish you peace, ease, and SPACE today and always.

And here’s a star for your efforts to find all of those things: ⭐️

fitness · habits · health · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · stretching

Making Space: Day 23

For those of us who celebrate Christmas, it’s going to be tricky to find a little space during these next three days.

And for those of us who don’t, you will still be facing similar challenges as you try to maintain space for yourself amidst the commitments, activities, and obligations of a full life.

The pressures might be different in each case but the results are the same – very little room to take good care of yourself.

I hope that you can figure out a way to make a little space today. Maybe with these videos, maybe with something else.

I know that I often feel like I don’t have five minutes to spare but later in the day I will realize how often I checked my phone or scrolled through social media posts.

Hanging out on social media isn’t a bad thing, as long as it feels like a real break and you feel like you are connecting with the people whose posts you see. But, I often find that when I feel ‘too busy’ to do a short exercise video or ‘too agitated’ to meditation, I’ll hop on social media to get a break and it won’t feel good. It will add to my feeling of busy-ness, it will amplify my agitation.

In those cases, social media feels like an easy way to take a moment for myself but it’s not really taking a break, it’s just kind of checking out. It would be better for me to take just a minute and breathe deeply or to do a few neck stretches and then make a decision about how to proceed through the rest of my list, rather than numbly scrolling through Facebook and losing track of time.

Now, I am speaking from my own experience, I am not criticizing you and I am not condemning social media. Social media is a great tool in many ways. And you know yourself best, you can tell if you are taking a break or just checking out. And I hope you can do things in the way that serves you best.

If you have decided that movement or meditation would be good for you right now, here are your videos for today.

Remember, you can do just part of them if that makes sense for you. Please be kind to yourself about this and about everything else. (Your gold star is below the videos.)

I really enjoyed this back stretch routine. It’s straightforward and clear and made my back feel quite relaxed.

Here’s a lower back stretch video from physiotherapist Michelle Kenway’s YouTube channel. The still image shows the instructor in exercise clothes lying on a purple yoga mat. The camera angle shows the top of her head and her raised knees and her left arm extended out to the side. The words ‘Back Stretch Routine’ are visible on the upper right.

And here’s our meditation. This one felt really short to me today, I hope that’s a good sign for my subconscious state of mind.

A 5 minute meditation from the Goodful YouTube channel. The still image is a cartoon drawing of a person with long hair, wearing a link shirt and black shorts sitting crossed legged in a classic meditation posture. In the background are drawings of leaves, branches and shapes in shades of blue and white. The background colour is light green.

Whether you try these videos, do your own making space thing, or just take a view deep breaths while you drive, you type, or you cook, I hope you have a little room for yourself today.

Here’s your gold star for your efforts: ⭐️

fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness

Making Space: Day 22

On Day 22, we have a 2 minute movement video and a 2 minute meditation.

Not only is the fun (for me at least – two 2 minute things on the 22nd!) but it’s a good reminder that we don’t always need a ton of time to help ourselves feel a little better.

Sure, obviously it would be ideal if we always had lots of time to create however much space we need at a given moment – and I hope that happens for us- but the reality is that most of us have a lot on the go all the time.

And it is much better for us to create two minutes of space and expand that however and whenever we can rather than abandoning the idea of creating space for ourselves because we don’t have hours and hours to spend creating it right now.

Whether you have two minutes or two hours or anything in between today, I wish you ease and rest.

And here is your gold star for your efforts today: ⭐️

First, here are our two minutes of movement:

A 2-minute energizing warm-up from thenAdidas Runtastic channel. Still image features a person in exercise clothing doing a side lunge in a gym with dark walls.

And here’s our meditation:

A 2 minute Re-Centering Mindfulness Meditation from the Mindful Breaks YouTube channel. The still image is of a stack of beach rocks on the shore, in the background there is a body of water full of gentle waves.

I hope you find space today, no matter how much time you have. Even 2 deep breaths is a good start!

fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · winter · yoga

Making Space: Day 21

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, today is the Winter Solstice so I thought I’d seek out some solstice-related yoga and meditation.

Well, that was an adventure. If you have lots of space in your day today, search YouTube for ‘Winter Solstice Yoga’ – you could spend all day being mindful, listening to music, doing asanas and yoga nidra, and still not run out of videos so I’m sure you can find something to match your time, space, and mood today.

Since I am working on the assumption that you probably have to work to squeeze in your movement and breathing space during December, I selected two short videos.

Please remember, though, that your space-making is for you and for your own purposes so please, please, please, choose what you have time for and what makes you happy.

Here’s your star for your hard work, no matter what that entails for you today: ⭐️

Side note: I just found these printable solstice colouring sheets for adults. If colouring is your kind of things, those could be a good meditative way to make space, too. The good thing about a winter scene is that you don’t even need colouring pencils or crayons, you could use a pencil and a black or blue pen and just fill everything in with patterns.

Here‘s a lovely short yin yoga practice that I found. I enjoyed how straightforward it was and I love doing ‘thread the needle.’

A short yoga practice from the Jiva Yoga Live YouTube channel. The still image shows a person sitting on a yoga mat with their legs far apart. They are wearing winter clothes on top and pink capri pants on bottom and their feet are bare. A winter scene with snow, trees and a snow covered cabin has been photoshopped behind them. Text over the image reads ‘Yin yoga sequence for winter’

And here’s a short meditation/ritual/practice for Winter Solstice that I found very restful.

If you are in the Southern Hemisphere and today is your summer solstice, maybe you would like these practices instead:

A Summer Solstice Yoga Flow from the Vitalized Body YouTube channel. Still image is of a person kneeling on a purple yoga mat in an indoor yoga studio.
A summer solstice meditation from Karen Dibs’ YouTube channel. Still image features an outdoor scene with the instructor sitting cross legged in a hammock. There is a green lawn dotted with trees and several dogs are shown in the foreground.

Enjoy!

fitness · health · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · stretching

Making Space: Day 20

I’m a bit under the weather today so I need to make as much space as I can for rest.

I’ve pared my to-do list down to the absolute necessities and I have selected these very short but still useful videos.

And I am keeping this post short, too.

Here is your star for your efforts today: ⭐️

May you have ease.

A morning stretch video from Megan Livingstone’s YouTube channel. Still image shows a person in a tank top and leggings stretching on a bed in a room lit with natural light.

A very quick meditation today, just a short wish for you to bless yourself with.

A less-than-2-minute LovingKindness Meditation from an interview with Sylvia Boorstein from the On Being YouTube channel. Still image shows the dark green outline of a triangle against a lighter green background. Text beneath the triangle reads ‘May I feel strong.‘
fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · self care · stretching

Making Space: Day 19

I’m patting myself on the back right now for taking my own advice.

I was looking at my schedule for the week and I realized just how much time I was planning to devote to things I didn’t want to do.

Obviously *some* of those things need to be done anyway (glerg, grocery shoppping) but some of them are things that need to be done at some point (sigh, reorganizing two shelves in the basement to make it easier to find things, for example) but definitely don’t need to be done this week. I was unconsciously pushing myself to get them done as if the holidays were some kind of deadline for household order.*

Even if I were having a crowd over for the holidays, those basement shelves and the other organizing tasks on my list would still not have to be done this week.

Soooo, I dropped those ‘do at some point’ things right off my schedule.

And now I have more space for fun things and interesting things and things that actually need to be done this week.

Weird how that works, hey? Getting rid of unnecessary things on my schedule made space for more enjoyable things. Who knew?

In the space I created by not having to take time to schedule those tasks, I tried this upper body warm up video.

I enjoyed it but I just held the neck stretches instead of alternating them so quickly.

A 5 Minute Warm Up Workout: Upper Body from the Modern Fit Girl YouTube channel. The still image shows the instructor in exercise clothes standing on an exercise mat on tile floor. Her arms are extended behind her and she is leaning forward. The video includes 8 exercises that are all done for 30 seconds each,

And here’s our meditation for today. I looked for a short one that promised mental space but apparently creating mental space requires 10-15 minutes. I’m not ready for a meditation of that length yet so I chose this one instead.


A guided meditation for calming the mind from the ABC Science YouTube channel. The still image is of desert sand, which has been blown into soft ridges, extending into the distance. White text reads ‘Guided Meditation (5 Minutes)

Whether you did these videos, dropped something from your to do list, or created space in another way, I wish you ease and rest today.

Here’s your star for your efforts: ⭐️

*This whole pre-holiday cleaning/organizing business is something I need to consciously work to get out of my system. Sure, it’s swell to do a re-set of my house every so often but it sure as hell doesn’t have to be in December.

fitness · habits · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · stretching

Making Space: Day 18

I’m starting with our meditation today.

Earlier, I thought I was feeling fairly relaxed. My day isn’t particularly busy and my writing is going well. I have been able to set my own schedule and things are good overall.

I went to YouTube found the meditation video for this post and pressed play.

As I breathed through it (this one has a visual to breathe with, I love that!) I found myself anxiously looking at the time bar at the bottom wondering why it was taking so long to do a 5-minute practice. I realized that my mind was hopping over to my writing. And I found that my shoulders were braced like I had to ‘push through’ the practice.

Hmmmm, interesting, hey?

I wasn’t hard on myself about it. I tried to just notice and keep coming back to my breath – I did ok with that.

I kept breathing. Time kept crawling.

And then I started to feel my shoulders and neck relax. I hadn’t even noticed that my neck was tight until it released.

And my breathing got even slower and I started to feel even more calm.

So, I guess I especially needed this video today.

If you are in this metaphorical boat with me, I hope the video helps you, too.

A 5 minute breathing exercise video from the Daring Authenticity YouTube channel. The still image is of a circular shape made of overlapping petals in a rainbow of colours. The shape expands and contracts during the video to guide the speed of the viewer’s breath. The image background is a speckled white.

Breathing is a fundamental way to make space for ourselves, especially in our own brains, but it is not the only way.

A little movement helps, too, and this ‘office break’ video was exactly what I needed today. I particularly liked the shoulder move where you are reaching forward and then pressing back.

If you aren’t feeling up to doing this whole video, you could try watching it until you see a movement that feels doable and just do that one. Consider the video a menu instead of a to-do list.

A 5 minute office break workout from the BodyFit by Amy YouTube channel. Still image shows the instructor standing next to a wall sign that says ‘5 Minute Office Break”

I hope you find whatever space you can in your day today, whether it is through these videos or by pushing the clean laundry aside on the couch so you have room to sit with a crossword puzzle and some tea.

Here’s your star for your efforts: ⭐️

And if you have been reading these posts and thinking ‘That star isn’t for me, I haven’t done anything at all!’ Here’s an extra one for you: ⭐️ Our lives are complex and parts of them are really hard, let’s be kind to ourselves and accept those gold stars. Your efforts matter.

Even if the results are not what you hoped, your hard work counts.

Wishing you ease and space today and always.

fitness · habits · health · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · self care · yoga

Making Space: Day 17

When I committed to writing this posts for December, I thought I understood the value of making space for yourself during a busy time. And I would have sworn that I knew the rewards of small exercise and meditation practices.

But obviously there are levels of understanding when it comes to this stuff because I am thrilled with how different I feel from doing (and writing about) these things daily.

I hope that you are getting at least some of the same effect.

It can be really easy to dismiss a short practice in anything, whether it is meditation, Taekwondo, piano, or deep breathing. The truth is that those short practices are not only surprisingly good in themselves but their cumulative effect is delightful.

For a little more delight today, here’s Joelle with some lower back reset yoga in a beautiful setting.

(It’s really cold here today so seeing this summery scene was extra lovely.)

A short yoga practice for the lower back from Yoga with Joelle. In the still image, Joelle is outdoors ona dock with lush greenery and water in the background. She lying on her back on a yoga mat with her knees curled up toward her chest and her arms wrapped around them.

And for some restful breathing today, here’s a short meditation to try:

A 5 minute guided meditation for mindfulness from the Declutter the Mind YouTube channel. Image description:?The still image is of a waterfall surround by rocks and trees. The name of the video ‘Short 5 Min Guided Meditation for Mindfulness’ is in the foreground in white text.

As always, I wish you ease and space in your day.

And here’s a star for your efforts: ⭐️