During the holiday season it’s easy to lose sight of what the holidays should really mean between all the shopping and parties and presents. Below find five ways to give back this holiday season, and in return, get back to what the holiday’s are really all about: family, love, kindness, and charity.
1. Play Santa: For most children, the holidays mean a visit from their favorite toy-toting big man, Santa Claus. But for some, Christmas morning ends up a disappointment. One organization that I support, especially this time of year, is the NYC Mission Society, which focuses on helping underserved children, youth, and families. Another great program that benefits children is Toys for Tots, which raises money to provide underprivileged children with toys, books, and other gifts.
2. Be Personal: Instead of tirelessly playing with a photo perfect layout of you and your family for your holiday card, make it more personal. While writing your cards, think about who means the most to you--not the distant second-cousin you haven’t seen in five years. Send each holiday card with a short message telling the receiver why they mean so much to you. They’ll get an update on your family, as well as a meaningful note of thanks. Nothing says the holidays quite like gratitude.
3. Ask for Charity: No, I don’t mean ask for charity for yourself. I mean, instead of asking for presents, ask for people to donate to a charity in your name this holiday. Find some causes you are passionate about, and feel good that this year, you know they are getting the help they deserve. This is an especially great idea for those who are planning big trips around the holidays, since you are already spending so much money on a vacation, it makes to sense to give back in other ways.
4. Donate Your Old Coats: Imagine bearing a full winter without a proper coat. It would be, well, almost unbearable. Unfortunately, that’s what many people go through every winter. Each year, my company, TRUE Model Management, throws a Winter Warm Up party and asks everyone attending to bring a coat to donate. Last year, we were able to bring in more than 100 coats for those in need. Around the holidays most churches and schools will also be hosting coat drives where you can donate your old coats. If you’re in New York, like me, you can donate at any of the places New York Cares is running a coat drive.
5. Exercise your Holiday Spirit: And work off those delicious cookies, too. Around the holidays, Santa Run’s, Holiday 5k and Half-Marathons are held to raise money for good causes. Running USA has a list of all the December races being hosted in various locations around the country, so you can find a race near you.
Healthy Holiday Cookie Recipes
This Sunday, December 4th, is National Cookie Day! And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by sharing some of my favorite cookie recipes--all with a healthy twist!
Like many people, I love baking sweet treats to share with family and friends during the holiday season but I also want to be healthy. It’s challenging to maintain healthy eating habits, especially during the month of December. Below, find five cookie recipes that you can feel guiltless about. But first, a few basic tips that make every holiday cookie healthier--even ones not on this list!
1. Almond Meal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Coconut from Minimalist Baker
These gluten-free goodies don’t skimp on the chocolate, but still remain relatively healthy because they use dark chocolate instead of milk. For an even healthier spin, try using cacao nibs instead.
2. Ginger Crinkle Cookies from Eating Well
These ginger cookies can be made with less sugar than the recipe calls for, since the cookies get a sprinkling of raw sugar at the end. Also, I like to add some fresh ginger to freshen up the cookie. This recipe is so simple and can be tweaked in so many ways, it’s truly a winner!
3. Espresso Chip Meringues from Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network
Since meringues only use egg whites, not yolks, they contain less fat and fewer calories. Also, for people going through cancer treatment, meringues are light and delicate enough to not hurt their tender mouths as they undergo treatment.
4. Iced Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies from Cooking Light
These cookies are fun to decorate with your children, a holiday activity the whole family can participate in! The icing only uses a half cup of powdered sugar thickened with a dollop of greek yogurt--regular icing uses an entire pound of powdered sugar!
5. Vegan Snickerdoodles from Sweet Cannela
These spicy and sweet snickerdoodles use ground flax seed instead of eggs to keep these cookies vegan. As well, almond milk replaces regular milk. They taste so great, no one will know that they’re vegan!
Wellness & Wisdom Expo w/Chef Ben & Emily from Below Deck
Have YOU Been Keeping Up with the Good Life Gals?
If you haven’t been keeping up with the Good Life Gals (GLG), Amy Biederwolf, Cindy Metzler, Dawn Gallagher, Nancy Donahue, and Brittany Harris, be sure to head over to the GLG site to stay up to date on our latest happenings! You’ll also find some exclusive advice and articles from yours truly!
Last week, celebrity couple Chef Ben and Emily from Below Deck partnered with The Good Life Gals & Good AC Guys to host a Wellness & Wisdom Expo and Viewing Party. It was a fun-filled and informative night that benefited a great cause - raising money for Cystic Fibrosis Palm Beach. There were panels of esteemed health, nutrition, and beauty who all gave great advice and industry tips!
Chef Ben presented an enlightening nutritional demonstration highlighting the clean, Green protein, LENTEIN, while Emily blended and distributed smoothie samples made with fruits and Lentein, which were enjoyed by all. The event featured many amazing vendors and products, including: Dawn Gallagher - Moringa Oils, Nancy - BelleCore Body Buffer, Amy Biederwolf - Biocell, Brittany Harris - Voyage Swimwear, Brad Dubrowsky - T.H.U.M.B by Inside Pocket Co. (an advocate against distracted driving and living), and Smart Bowl.
Thank You Cindy Metzler (president of Good AC Guys) for coordinating such a wonderful event and to PGA National & Spa in Palm Beach, FL for hosting it!
Keep the classics, but up their nutritional punch!
It’s that time of year again. The time when we throw our diets and all of our healthy, clean eating intentions out the window. I’m not here to scold - I’ve been known to do it too! The holidays are a rough time for our diets, with all the cream, butter, and desserts that seem to be present at every meal. But, there are ways around the guilt that comes from holiday eating without having to ditch all your seasonal favorites. Try a method of subtle substitution this Thanksgiving. Think cauliflower puree instead of mashed potatoes or pomegranate seeds mixed into the cranberry sauce. Each ingredient you substitute adds nutritional punch, without taking away from classic flavors. No one but you may be the wiser that this Thanksgiving will be healthier than all the rest. Add - because it’s a cause near to my heart, each dish is cancer-friendly, and even cancer-preventing. Enjoy!
Instead of making typical green bean casserole, try substituting a brussel sprout gratin, like this one from Cooking Light.
Cruciferous vegetables like brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and kale contain cancer-fighting chemicals like indoles and isothiocyanates, which have been observed as inhibiting the development of cancer in lab mice. In another study, it was found that women who consumed more cruciferous vegetables had a lower risk of breast cancer.
Work in more cruciferous goodness by replacing mashed potatoes with this delicious cauliflower puree from Ted Allen’s cookbook The Food You Want To Eat.
TIP: If you’re worried about the consistency you can add in a potato or two to thicken the puree.
This Lemon-Garlic Kale Salad from The New York Times is anything but boring, guaranteeing that all your guests get some fresh vegetables this Thanksgiving.
The garlic in the salad adds even more nutritional value, the small herb is believed to have therapeutic and medicinal qualities.
This Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish from Martha Stewart uses both the pomegranate’s juice and seeds, and takes only 30 minutes to prepare. That’s a Thanksgiving miracle!
Even better, pomegranates contain anti-inflammatory properties which is certainly what our digestive tracts need after a large feast. In fact, pomegranates have are loaded with nutritional value.
Finally, a classic Thanksgiving should include pie. And with this Vegan Apple Pie from POPSUGAR, you’ll be able to finish the feast with a clean conscience.
As well, apples include important phytonutrients and antioxidants which can help to reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, and heart disease.
There’s more to Thanksgiving than just food and football. Below, find some new ways to celebrate gratitude this holiday season.
Year after year, we gather around tables heaped with food and we say what we’re thankful for. We talk about our gratitude in posts on social media. We travel to see dear friends and family. But this Thanksgiving, consider giving thanks in a more proactive way. Show gratitude and humbleness to those who need it most, and add in a dash of self-thanks as well. Below find five ways to celebrate Thanksgiving away from the dinner table.
1. Volunteer at Your Local Soup Kitchen:
During the holiday season there are many who have nowhere to celebrate. Local soup kitchens, churches and charities often host Thanksgiving dinners for those under these unfortunate circumstances. Volunteering your time this Thanksgiving to serve the homeless not only helps the charities and people in need, it reinforces the spirit of the holidays, a time when we should give to those around us.
2. Attend a Donation Based Yoga Class:
Besides invigorating your body before the hefty meal, a yoga class on a day celebrating gratitude is invigorating for your soul. In yoga, we meditate on love for others and for ourselves, a practice uniquely suited for Thanksgiving. Also, many yoga studios offer donation based classes where the proceeds go directly to a cause. Some, like hosh yoga in Brooklyn, have their own charity programs that benefit school children or various other causes.
3. Put Together a Thanksgiving Basket: Charities like the Salvation Army put together food baskets for families who cannot afford a Thanksgiving feast, or shut-ins who can’t get out to buy the ingredients. You can help out by donating food or money to the organization, or by volunteering to deliver the meal to the family. Seeing the look of surprise and appreciation on the faces of the families you help will warm your soul. But most importantly, it will change their day for the better.
4. Write a Thank You Note:
Instead of shoving tupperware containers full of pie and mashed potatoes into your guest’s hands as they walk out the door, give them a note of gratitude. Tell them why you’re thankful to have them in your life, a sentiment that will stick with them far longer than their post-meal food coma.
5. Donate Your Leftovers:
Many charities take donations of leftovers after Thanksgiving. To find such charities, call your local food bank, who should have a list of the places you can donate. If you’d rather cut out the middle-man, there’s nothing wrong with taking to the streets with a cart of food and handing it out to the hungry. Do you really want to eat turkey sandwiches for a week anyways?
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day celebrates the contributions women make to the workforce and brainstorms ideas for how we can continue to do more. Read below for my recap of the WED celebration at the United Nations!
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, founded by author and philanthropist Wendy Diamond, is a day that serves to celebrate women entrepreneurs around the world. In 2014, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio pronounced it an official day on November 19th.
This year, WED was celebrated at the United Nations with many esteemed business leaders and philanthropists in attendance; I was so honored to be among their ranks. At TRUE Model Management we believe that empowering women is an important cause to support and practice to keep. The more women who are empowered, the more positive female role models we have to inspire young girls to pursue their dreams and to make positive differences in our world.
This idea was repeated during the day’s panels, and for a good reason. In a study of 800 companies, it was found that those with a gender diverse workforce performed financially better than those that were dominated by one gender. Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, in particular championed gender equality during her panel. She remarked that diversifying HSN when she came on as CEO led to higher profits for the company.
The panels were full of influential women and men, many who inspired attendees with reflections on their journeys through the ranks of business. Iris Apfel, the legendary fashion icon, recalled her start, saying, “When I went into business, I never thought I was doing something special because I was a woman. I was just a person. It wasn’t until later that I realized there were all these barriers I was breaking.” Ms. Apfel was applauded many times throughout her speech, and was honored by WED founder Wendy Diamond with a Pioneer Award.
Tao Porchon-Lynch, the world’s oldest yoga master had encouraging words for the women in attendance. As a World War II French Resistance fighter, model, actress, film producer, wine connoisseur, competitive ballroom dancer, and yoga master--not a businesswoman--she takes a different approach to breaking barriers, something she knows much about from her time marching with Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King Jr, as a young woman. “Say, ‘today is going to be the best day of my life and I am going to do everything I can do, today,” she implored.
Katia Beauchamp, CEO and Co-Founder of the beloved beauty subscription service, Birchbox, represented everything Women’s Entrepreneurship Day stands for by celebrating, empowering, and supporting women. Her company has been wildly successful by bringing a refreshing feminine touch and practical business model that was seriously lacking in the male-dominated beauty market. Birchbox is one of many companies that WED is promoting with their new campaign, #ChooseWomen that seeks to advocate for women owned businesses.
Another notable speaker was Kunal Sood, the Chairman of WED Fellows Accelerator and Executive Producer and Curator of TEDxUNPlaza. Kunal is the Chairman and a Board Member of Women's Entrepreneurship Day (WED) at the United Nations since 2014.
But, it was perhaps Antonio Lucio, Global CMO of HP Inc, that summed up ideas that may help women advance in the workforce, the best. He announced that women can do a better job with self advocacy by promoting their strengths and assuming the power of the chair.
At TRUE Model, we could not agree more completely. Be kind, empower others, and embrace your moment!
In Celebration ofSmall Business Saturday, Sponsored by American Express, Women's Entrepreneurship Day Founder was joined by yogi Donna D'Cruz and myself, Dale Noelle, at the NASDAQ's closing bell on Wednesday 11/23.
A little bit of inspiration can manifest into great things.
According to the “2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report,” the number of women-owned businesses grew by 74% between 1997 and 2015 – a rate that’s 1.5 times the national average. Women now own 30% of all businesses in the U.S., and have added an estimated 340,000 jobs to the economy since 2007. While many women aspire to become entrepreneurs and own their own companies, taboo views of females in business cause them to push these dreams to the side and focus on more “easily attainable realities.” However, interviews with female entrepreneurs along with organizations meant to inspire and empower women prove that becoming a leading female in business is not as far-fetched of a dream as many people think. If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own successful business, or if you already own one that isn’t living up to your expectations, here are 10 Tips on Being a Successful Female Entrepreneur.
1. Continuously Network and Always Follow Up Promptly
Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to create and sustain success for yourself and your business. Any successful entrepreneur knows the importance of someone hearing your name and immediately knowing about your business and the company you grew, and for this to happen you need to network. Networking is about making connections and building relationships with others in order to ensure your business continues to thrive. There are a number of different ways you can network, from attending business events to always having a stack of your business cards on hand to give out to people you meet. Forming these connections and relationships with others and making sure you follow up with them from time to time can lead to contracts, opportunities, sales, investors, and clients for your business.
2. Align Yourself with Other Successful Entrepreneurs Who Share Similar Values to Yours
An important way to ensure your business never stops thriving is to associate yourself with other entrepreneurs who share similar values to yours and have found success. It’s common to find yourself stuck in a rut or to experience a mental block every once in a while, but if you’re constantly surrounded by people who are in the same position as you are it presents you with the opportunity to feed off of each other for new ideas. In addition, working with others helps open your mind to seeing things from different perspectives, which is valuable when it comes to owning a successful business.
3. Establish Excellent Systems for Overall Organization, Filtering Contacts, and Saving Detailed Notes
Successful entrepreneurs not only set goals, but they also build systems in order to support these goals. If your business and your work ethic have no organization to them, you’ll most likely find yourself crumbling before you even make it to the top. Instead of deciding what you want to accomplish and immediately getting to work on it, take the time to set aside a scheduled system of how you’re going to get that task done, and a timeframe for doing so. Take detailed notes of your progress so you know which tactics work, and which don’t, and always know who you can call for help along the way.
4. Join a Female Organization and/or Attend Seminars for Women
Joining organizations and attending seminars that are geared towards women are vital to your success, as they will help you understand the process of becoming an entrepreneur, as a female. They’ll help you feel empowered and they’ll give you the determination you need in order to become successful, as well as introduce you to other women who are in the same position as you are. Organizations such as Ellevate, NAFE, NOW, Women's Leadership Live, and Women's Entrepreneurship Day can match you with events in your area, provide you with networking opportunities, and give you tips on how to advance in the workplace and as a woman in general.
5. Support, Empower, and Promote Other Women
By empowering others around you instead of always feeling the need to receive credit, you’ll find it easier to attract the best of the best towards you - whether that includes the best employees, the best mentors, or even the best clients. That's one of the reasons I went on a women's business retreat and joined Good Life Gals, a group of women entrepreneurs who support each another and our businesses. I also speak at various women's events, including an upcoming Women's Wellness Expo on November 29, and I contribute articles to valuable blogs like Good Life Blog on Good AC Guy, curated by a fellow women entrepreneur. And, when it comes to empowering other women, it doesn’t always have to be business related. Your friends and relatives can use encouragement too, and more often than not you’ll find that what goes around, comes around. By listening, being empathetic, and encouraging and empowering other women around you, you’ll find that not only will your business thrive, but you’ll thrive as a person as well.
6. Know Where to Focus Your Energy and Time
When it comes to building a successful business, it’s vital to know how to separate your work life from your personal life. Letting distractions get in your way will eat up your time and prevent you from getting things done correctly and efficiently. It’s important to prioritize your tasks and focus on what’s directly in front of you, rather than trying to get several things done at once. Although it seems like working on more than one thing at the same time will help you get things done at a faster pace, in reality all it does is slow you down and create more room for error.
7. Always Stay Committed
Staying committed allows you, as a female entrepreneur, to stay focused and determined to reach your end goal. Giving something your all and being completely committed to and invested in it helps you to continuously grow and prosper as an entrepreneur. In addition, if you’re 100% committed to something, you’ll find that you don’t feel the need to seek approval or validation from others, as your commitment to success is the only validation you’ll need.
8. Never Stop Learning
Learning is something that no female entrepreneur should ever cease to do, and it’s important to realize that you don’t have to start out as an expert to become one. Weak links in your business will bring you down, so it’s vital that you have the knowledge to realize what needs to be fixed, as well as the best way to fix it. Continuing to master an already obtained skill, along with continuing to learn new ones, opens up the possibility for improvement, new ideas and thoughts, and, most of all, opportunity. The best part is that there’s a vast number of ways to learn, such as reading books, attending seminars, or even finding a mentor. You can never know too much, and you’ll never run out of resources to continue expanding your knowledge.
9. Hold Yourself Accountable and Take Responsibility for Yourself
Every aspect of personal accountability and the ability to take responsibility for your decisions and your actions will empower you to become a more successful entrepreneur. The best way to take responsibility for yourself is to ensure that you leave yourself with the lowest possible chance of making a mistake. Set goals for yourself that you constantly monitor. Make sure you’re always managing your expectations. Know when you need to sit down and re-evaluate a decision. Additionally, it’s important to have mentors, advisors, and peer entrepreneurs who you are accountable to, as they can help to keep you grounded and ensure you’re on the right track.
10. Ask for Help When You Need It
Asking for help doesn’t mean that you’re weak and don’t have the knowledge to do something correctly. In fact, asking for help can showcase your strengths, rather than your weaknesses. By asking for help, you’re realizing the importance of getting things done correctly and efficiently the first time around, rather than wasting your time doing something just to find out in the end it’s wrong. The best entrepreneurs surround themselves with those smarter than themselves, and they understand the importance of asking for help when it’s needed.
Looking for Some Inspiration?
Today is National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day. If you’ve never heard of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” it is a series of books that consists of short, inspirational, and true stories that will leave you with a serious case of “the feels.” With that being said, National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day is a day to celebrate who you are, where you are going, and who you will be thankful to when you get there. If you are looking for a great new read - be sure to check out my friend, and plus-size supermodel, Emme's new book Chicken Soup For The Soul: Curvy and Confident: 101 Stories of loving yourself and your body! Due out Jan 2017! Listen to co-authors Amy Newmark and Emme discuss their upcoming book - PRE ORDER HERE!
Most of us wouldn’t be who we are today without certain people, and events, who have influenced, informed, and shaped our lives. However, to continue successfully along our paths of life - it is imperative to find ways to remain inspired, motivated, and positive. This is not always an easy mindset to keep, the everyday hustle and bustle of work and life can take its toll and wear you down. But, there is one simple thing you can start doing today that will help you to combat negativity and promote self-growth – which is not only good for your soul – it is great for your overall health! And - that is to create positive, inspiring, and calming spaces!
Creating a calm, but inspiring space will keep you motivated and productive – at the office or at home. Gallery walls, which have become increasingly popular as of late, are a great way to quickly change up any space! To create your own gallery wall – frame some of your favorite photographs and quotes, like the ones below, and arrange them on a wall of your choosing. Surrounding yourself with positive memories and words will impact your mindset – whether you are aware of it or not!
Below are 10 of my favorite quotes – feel free to share them and/or to use them for your own gallery wall!
Happiness is not random - it’s under our control.
Just as we work on improving our physical health, we should work on improving our mental health. Luckily, the following ten tips are all things you can do right now without drastically changing your way of life, and they’re guaranteed to make you feel better. The happier we are the more fulfilled we will feel and the more we will be available and able to positively impact the lives of others! Try out these 10 tips below to start feeling happier today!
1. Compliment Somebody:
You ever notice how good it feels to say something nice to someone? That’s because by validating someone else, we are also validating ourselves. Plus, compliments strengthen our bonds with others and encourage them to want to be around us. It’s a virtuous cycle!
2. Make Lists and Cross Them Off:
Nothing feels better than crossing an item off your “To Do” list. But even better--and more satisfying--is setting yourself up well to tackle every task. That’s why it’s important to organize and plan. Often our anxiety is most prevalent when we feel overwhelmed by everything we have to do. But planning out a strategy to get things done, instead of focusing on how much we have to do, can help in maintaining a level head when dealing with a pile of tasks.
3. Drink More Water:
Hydration is necessary for life, but it’s also necessary for your happiness too. In a study done by the University of Connecticut's Human Performance Laboratory, they found that even mild dehydration led to trouble concentrating, fatigue, and headaches in women. Before you leave the house, grab a bottle of water to take with you, your mood may depend on it.
4. Create a Routine:
Next time, before you go to bed or get ready for the day, think about what you need to accomplish and the best method for doing so. By having a morning and/or bedtime routine, you’ll likely find that you’re able to get out of the house or go to sleep faster. Being on time for work makes your boss happy, and going to sleep faster will make you happy.
5. Get Your Daily Dose of Magnesium:
The mineral magnesium helps your body store energy, and comes naturally in legumes, peas and peanuts. One cup of white beans has 134 milligrams and a cup of frozen peas has 35 milligrams. If you workout a lot, restoring your magnesium supply is especially important, as sweating reduces your magnesium levels by a lot.
6. Dance When No One Is Watching (Or Even If They Are):
Dancing releases endorphins, which in turn make you happy. But besides that, dancing is a great way to express yourself, whatever mood you’re in. Sometimes, the best way to deal with a bad day is to dance it out. And - dancing is a great workout, too!
7. Step Outside the Box:
Trying something new can bring new challenges, but also new excitement, to your life. People who travel or try new hobbies are often more fulfilled than those who stick to their normal routines. Our brains are stimulated by surprise, and giving yours a healthy dose of it can lead to feeling happier.
8. Forgive Others, and Yourself:
Life is too short to hold grudges and to stay upset! Holding onto a grudge against someone, or even against yourself, does nothing but reinforce negative feelings. Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons, happiness researchers who edited The Psychology of Happiness, say that forgiveness helps to lessen bitterness and resentment, two emotions that prevent happiness.
9. See the Light of Day:
Low Vitamin D levels have been linked to higher rates of depression, so it’s important to replenish the body’s supply of Vitamin D, especially in the winter months. Spending just ten minutes in the sun each day can raise Vitamin D levels, but keep in mind that wearing SPF limits the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin D. To work around this, try taking a Vitamin D supplement, which can be found at most grocery or health stores.
10. Give Back:
Volunteer at your local animal shelter or soup kitchen and odds are that when you’re done you’ll feel better. Giving back to those in need enables us to appreciate all that we have and gives us perspective on our problems. Plus, volunteer work is always needed--you’ll be aiding society in a truly meaningful way.
On this National Stress Awareness Day let’s pledge to do be proactive with our health!
Instead of getting bogged down by stress - try these 5 simple stretches to soothe anxiety and tension.
We’ve all experienced stress. It may seem like just a part of life. But, did you know that chronic stress can lead to having a higher chance of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes?! It's time to take our stress seriously and learn to manage it effectively!
National Stress Awareness Day is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the effects of stress, and how to best fight it. Stretching can be one solution for relieving stress - helping not just your mind, but your body too. By taking the time to stretch you allow your thoughts to wind down as you focus on your breathing and elongating your muscles and joints. Stretching is a great stress management tool for anyone on a budget or on the go - it is free, doesn’t require any special equipment, and can be done anywhere, from your bedroom to the office!
Below, Dale Noelle demonstrates 5 of her favorite stretches that can be done anywhere and anytime to help manage and reduce stress!
1. Constructive Rest:
Lay down on your back with your feet planted flat on the floor, hip width apart, about one foot from your seat. Your arms should be resting gently by your sides.This position is called Constructive Rest and it is from Alexander Technique, a body-awareness technique used by dancers. You can prop a flat pillow under your head or lower back for comfort, as long as your spine still remains relatively flat on the ground.The point of Constructive Rest is to elongate your spine with gravity and to meditate. To progress the Constructive Rest position, place the base of your spine up against a wall, and extend your feet upwards so that your legs are straight, then cross your elbows over your chest, hugging yourself gently. This allows blood to circulate, refreshing swollen feet and calming tired muscles.
2. Ragdoll Pose:
While standing with your legs straight, bend at the waist until your hands are touching the ground, or as close as they can be to touching the ground. Then interlock your hands behind your neck while letting your elbows drop forward. This position uses gravity and the weight of your arms to elongate your neck and release tension from your jaw and lower back. Hold this pose no longer than 30 seconds, finishing by slowly rolling up through your spine to a standing position. The Ragdoll Pose and/or the Hanging Neck Stretch has been credited with a number of health benefits including: calming the brain, relieving stress, improving digestions, reducing fatigue and anxiety, and more!
3. Pigeon Pose:
This yoga pose opens up the hips and promotes deep breathing. To get into the pose, bend one leg into a 90 degree angle and stretch your other leg behind you. Slowly relax over your bent leg, supporting yourself with your arms on the floor or using yoga blocks to prop yourself up. Hold this pose for one minute on each side while focusing on your breath. The point of pigeon pose is not to stretch your hips so much that you feel pain, but to counter the tightness of the hips. If you are having difficulty getting your leg into the 90-degree position, it's fine to bend your knee more to make the stretch easier. You can also use yoga blocks to prop help prop yourself up.
4. Tension Relieving Neck Stretch:
The Tension Relieving Neck Stretch (or the Sternocleidomastoid Stretch) releases tension in your sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle, which runs from below your ear to just below your shoulder blade. It also stretches along the front of your arms. This is a great stretch to do while sitting at your desk. Start by sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Place your right arm under your upper thigh with your palm flat on the seat of the chair. Take a deep breath and turn your head to the left; you should feel a stretch along your neck and arm. Hold stretch for 20 seconds before repeating on the other side.
5. Standing Hip Flexor Stretch:
The stair stretch is great to do on-the-go. You can you use a staircase or even a large curb to practice this stretch! Start by standing on a stair (make sure you are not on a main level so that you will be able to press your foot down so that it extends over the edge of the stair). Next, plant one foot firmly on a stair about 2 stairs higher than where you are standing - your knee should be bent at 90 degrees. Be sure to hold onto a railing to steady yourself and adjust your back foot so that your heel is extended beyond the stair (like in the picture above). Keep your body aligned and balanced. You should feel the stretch through your calves and feet, which feels especially nice after walking around the city all day! Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds on each side.