Friday, August 27

Today is Friday, August 27, 2021.  While taking a walk, watching the variety of ways the animals commune and recharge.

This August, the focus has been on building and strengthening connections to lower stress and contribute to longevity.

For this last week of August, the focus has been on connecting to Nature.  Being in nature can awaken happiness and peace.  Being in nature can lower cortisol levels and reduce stress.

Today, and this weekend, let’s explore ways to exercise in nature.

    • Recharge your walking route.
    • Practice yoga.
    • Stretching routine.
    • Dance solo or with others.
    • Bike a pretty trail.
    • Gardening, weeding, picking fruit.
    • Running outdoors.
    • Hiking
    • Playing outdoor sports.

Photo by: Gene Devine

Recharge yourself and share positive energy when you repeat: 

“I am [*Name*].  I am open to the positive energy around me. I appreciate myself and others as I connect with love and kindness. As I think about those I love and care for, I send loving kindness and compassion to all people including me. Together, we can do great things.”

A quote from Albert Einstein, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

Use this Mindfulness Activity to Re-energize your Body and Mind:  

  • Straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down, smile to yourself, & relax your jaw.
  • Take slow deep belly breaths, allowing your stomach to rise with each breath in and relax with each breath out. You may find that each breath gets better and better. Allow your shoulders to relax on each exhale.
  • Exhale out the past as you hum “om”.
  • Inhale in the future and feel your body refresh.
  • Repeat 3 times and smile.

With gratitude and appreciation for all beings,

Naomi Parrella, MD & Fran Lee, FNP 

Monday, June 21

Today is Monday, June 21, 2021. The summer solstice is the longest day and officially the first day of summer in the north.

Try something new in June. Adding spontaneous activity into your day will benefit your whole body and mind. 

    • Rather than an email, connect by phone and take a walk, do lunges or squats.
    • Spend at least some of the day that would otherwise be seated, stand or pace.
    • Invite a friend for a walk and talk in the park.
    • In place of driving, walk or bike to the store.
    • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
    • Break up the day with 6 high knees and 6 wall push ups intermittently throughout the day.
    • Put on the music and take care of that laundry with extra energy (children may be particularly good at helping with this).

Photo, “Orange clouds” by Dan Deziel

Recharge yourself and share positive energy when you repeat: 

“I am [*Name*].  I am open to the positive energy around me. I appreciate myself and others as I connect with love and kindness. As I think about those I love and care for, I send loving kindness and compassion to all people including me. Together, we can do great things.”

A quote by Ricky Martin, “Every day begins like a blank chalkboard, on which each one of us can write the poem of our present and our dreams for the future.”

Use this Mindfulness Activity to Re-energize your Body and Mind:  

    • Straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down, smile to yourself, & relax your jaw.
    • Take slow deep belly breaths, allowing your stomach to rise with each breath in and relax with each breath out. You may find that each breath gets better and better. Allow your shoulders to relax on each exhale.
    • Now, after a deep belly breath, breathe out with a gentle mouth generating a deep vibration saying, “aah.”
    • Take another deep belly breath and breathe out humming “mmm” with a deep vibration.
    • Repeat deep breaths with “aah” and “mmm” for 5 more cycles, noticing far you feel each of the vibrations in your body.
    • Shimmy your shoulders and shake out your arms releasing all tension. Smile.

With gratitude and appreciation for all beings,

Naomi Parrella, MD & Fran Lee, FNP 

Wednesday, October 28

Today is Wednesday, October 28, 2020. Appreciating the trees and thinking. In addition to producing oxygen, trees remove pollutants and carbon dioxide from the air, provide food, shelter, and medicine and freely offer shade, windbreaks and flood control. They increase wildlife biodiversity, reduce stress and improve the appeal and value of the area for all inhabitants and visitors.

For the month of October, we share Workout Wednesday. Let’s pick it up.

Strength training is important for longevity and for maintaining independence. In addition to walking, incorporate these 5 exercises to work your whole body. If you are just beginning or new to these exercises, find someone who can show you how to perform these safely for maximum benefit. Work towards doing 10 reps of each of these at least twice a week. Fitness trainers, workout buddies, apps and online resources may be useful here.

  1. Squats (Knees stay over your ankles. Hold onto something if you need support. Squat back slowly, like you are going to sit down and then slowly stand back up driving your ankles into the ground)
  2. Lunges (Toes pointed forward; knees should stay over your ankles. Hold onto something if you need support.)
  3. Push away from your chest (Push in front: push-ups on the wall or floor, chest press with resistance bands or weights. Push up overhead in front of you: push up as if you are putting something on a high shelf)
  4. Pull towards your chest (Pull ups, resistance bands or 1-arm pull back with weights are best. Lat pull-downs work too.)
  5. Crunches (Laying on your back with knees bent, curl your abdominal muscles the best you can and while they are crunched up, curl a bit more by squeezing your ab muscle even more. See how many curls you can do before you have to release and lay back down. Change it up by lifting one leg. Repeat with the other.)

An inspirational Quote from Vidal Sassoon, “The only place where success comes before work is the dictionary.”

Photo by: Zach Reiner

Recharge yourself when you repeat:    

“I am [*Name*]. I am resilient and learning every day. I am part of the global community. I love myself because I have kindness and love in my heart and soul. As I think about those I love and care for, I send loving kindness out to all people. We are all connected. We can be resilient together.”

The Mindfulness Activity to practice this week to create Calm Moments:  

  • Straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down, smile to yourself, & relax your jaw.
  • Take slow deep belly breaths, allowing your stomach to rise with each breath in and relax with each breath out. You may find that each breath gets better and better. Allow your shoulders to relax on each exhale.
  • Thinking of your physical body as your home, where you reside, think of deep breathing as like opening the windows on a bright sunny day with a nice breeze.
  • Become aware of how every breath that fills your body is like having wide open windows, filling your home with fresh, clean air and every breath out clears out and releases so that your home is a refreshed space for you to be in.
  • Experience the happy moment of being in your clean, refreshed home.
  • Smile, knowing that you can take moments to open and be present in this space, anywhere you are. Your body is your home.

With gratitude and appreciation for all beings,

Naomi Parrella, MD & Fran Lee, FNP 

Wednesday, October 21

Today is Wednesday, October 21, 2020.   Let’s start with an inspirational Quote from Mary Anne Radmacher “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

For the month of October, we set weekly reminders for Workout Wednesday.

The 1st two weeks covered planning ahead for how to maintain walking daily for 15 (or more) minutes -despite changing seasons and routines, and then, establishing a list and routines for interrupting sedentary time with physical activity to boost your health.  This week, we will focus on connecting your mind, your body and your sensory experiences using physical activity.

Find ways to combine pleasurable sensory experiences with physical movement for an extra brain and mood boost. Allow yourself to immerse yourself in these moments of joy. Examples:

    • Dance to great music. Bonus points if you move your arms and your hips and sing along freely.
    • Walk outside and feel the breeze, see the plants, the color of the sky and smell the outdoors. Bonus points if you take a picture to capture a moment on your walk.
    • Take a cool shower or submerge yourself into a pool after working up a sweat. Bonus points if you really notice the temperature and can gently move and let the water glide around you.
    • Bike and feel the sweat evaporating off your skin. Bonus points if you take time to stretch out your legs and back after your bike ride.
    • Listen to classical or jazz music while standing to cook. Bonus points if you slice, chop, mix, blend and stir everything by hand or exercise while you wait for food to cook.

Photo by: Amar Yashlaha

Recharge yourself when you repeat:    

“I am [*Name*]. I am resilient and learning every day. I am part of the global community. I love myself because I have kindness and love in my heart and soul. As I think about those I love and care for, I send loving kindness out to all people. We are all connected. We can be resilient together.”

The Mindfulness Activity to practice this week to create Calm Moments:  

  • Straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down, smile to yourself, & relax your jaw.
  • Take slow deep belly breaths, allowing your stomach to rise with each breath in and relax with each breath out. You may find that each breath gets better and better. Allow your shoulders to relax on each exhale.
  • Allow yourself to breathe slowly and calmly, pausing after each breath in, and then pausing again after each breath out.

With gratitude and appreciation for all beings,

Naomi Parrella, MD & Fran Lee, FNP 

Wednesday, October 14

Today is Wednesday, October 14, 2020. The human body has approximately 640 muscles and 206 bones in an adult. Humans are designed to move.

For the month of October, we share Workout Wednesday.

If you find yourself sitting for much of the day, now is a good time to start creating your list of physical activities you can do that interrupt your seated time to boost your health. Keep the list on your desk, or on the wall so you can see it regularly as a reminder. Pick at least 1 or 2 to include every day. Here are 10 examples to get you started. Keep adding to your list.

    1. Stand up every hour and at every commercial or break. Every time you stand up and sit down, you are squatting.
    2. Every time you pick up your mobile phone, get up. If you talk on the phone, then walk or pace.
    3. In the middle of a long stretch of work, when your mind is losing focus, reset with wall push-ups or push-ups on the floor.
    4. When you grab a tightly sealed water bottle, before opening it, use it to work your arms by holding the bottle and bending your elbows or shoulders in ways that cause you to lift or push the bottle. Do the same number of repetitions on each side.
    5. If you have been at your computer for a prolonged period, get up and walk to a window, roll your shoulders back, palms out, raise your chin and gaze outside.
    6. Use a smaller cup so you have to stand up and walk over multiple times to grab a refill.
    7. Walk to the farthest bathroom or use the one up the stairs.
    8. Before you sit down, bend forward and reach for your toes, stretching out the back of your legs and lower back. Slowly curl back up.
    9. If you have been staring at a screen for a prolonged time, rotate your head side to side slowly and then bring your chin up and down gently.
    10. Stretch out your back by curling your neck and back forward and then open your chest by rolling your shoulders back, and elongate your neck and back.

An inspirational Quote from Jerry Rice, “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

Photo by: Mary Deziel, Winterberry in Fall

Recharge yourself when you repeat:    

“I am [*Name*]. I am resilient and learning every day. I am part of the global community. I love myself because I have kindness and love in my heart and soul. As I think about those I love and care for, I send loving kindness out to all people. We are all connected. We can be resilient together.”

The Mindfulness Activity to practice this week to create Calm Moments:  

  • Straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down, smile to yourself, & relax your jaw.
  • Take slow deep belly breaths, allowing your stomach to rise with each breath in and relax with each breath out. You may find that each breath gets better and better. Allow your shoulders to relax on each exhale.
  • Allow yourself to be curious, what sensations do you notice: is the air warm, are the shoulders relaxed? If your mind wanders away from your focus on breathing it is OK, simply note that and then return to your breaths.

With gratitude and appreciation for all beings,

Naomi Parrella, MD & Fran Lee, FNP 

Wednesday, October 7

Today is Wednesday, October 7, 2020. Exercise improves sleep, brain performance and memory, and limits signs of aging. The list of benefits is long.

For the month of October, we invite you to our first Workout Wednesday.

If you are already walking at least 15 minutes daily, keep that going and consider increasing the intensity of the walk by increasing time spent walking or by swinging your arms more or by taking longer striders or even adding hills or stairs to your walk.

*If you are not yet walking 15 minutes daily, you can choose to work towards it. You may also choose a different equivalent activity like swimming, dancing, biking, marching in place, etc.

Now, consider the changing seasons ahead. Write out, as many options as possible, about how you will include at least one 15 minute walk (or equivalent*) -every day- despite the weather changes, unexpected events, celebrations, holidays and schedule changes.

Put that list somewhere you can review it easily to remind you in those times you need it most. ***Make it easy to include 15 minutes of movement daily, within your life and with what may be happening around you.***

An inspirational Quote from Thich Nhat Hanh, “When it comes to health and well-being, regular exercise is about as close to a magic potion as you can get.”

Photo by: Tunchanoke Moontrisri

Recharge yourself when you repeat:    

“I am [*Name*]. I am resilient and learning every day. I am part of the global community. I love myself because I have kindness and love in my heart and soul. As I think about those I love and care for, I send loving kindness out to all people. We are all connected. We can be resilient together.”

The Mindfulness Activity to practice this week to create Calm Moments:  

    • Straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down, smile to yourself, & relax your jaw.
    • Take slow deep belly breaths, allowing your stomach to rise with each breath in and relax with each breath out. You may find that each breath gets better and better. Allow your shoulders to relax on each exhale.
    • Focus on progressive relaxation by tightening and then loosening your muscles starting from your toes, working your way to the top of your head.
    • Take additional deep breaths and release your muscles further.
    • This can take as much or as little time as you choose.
    • Smile a huge smile to release your jaw and mouth muscles and continue on with your day or night, refreshed.

With gratitude and appreciation for all beings,

Naomi Parrella, MD & Fran Lee, FNP 

Monday, September 7

Today is Monday, September 7, 2020. Today, we honor parents, teachers and students who are adjusting to new learning environments.

As the beginning of a school year for many, here is an inspirational quote by George Washington Carver, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”

Photo by: Aaron Burden

It is Self-Care September! This month, we offer prompts to energize your self-care routine. We invite you to experiment with any or all the suggested activities to invigorate, your mind, body and spirit.

Self-Care Activity:  Reset with movement. At any time, in any space, moving your body can signal to your body to adapt, heal and thrive. It can also improve mood and the ability to focus and learn. (Tip: This is helpful for children too- especially with eLearning.)

If you are seated for prolonged periods of time, allow your body the freedom to move. Find a way to make more movement a part of your life by linking it with regular activities. Here are 10 suggestions. Pick one or two and establish those new self-care habits that will help you.

    1. Get up every time you answer the phone.
    2. Walk or pace when you listen to a lecture, audio book, podcast or music.
    3. Take the stairs to use the restroom on a different floor.
    4. Open up your chest and stretch out your arms, roll your shoulders back each time you send an email, tweet or post content online.
    5. Use a stand-up desk during all or part of your school or workday.
    6. Add abdominal crunches or push ups or squats during commercials or breaks.
    7. When you are shifting activities, lessons, tasks, choose a burst of activity to reset and clear your mind. For example: march or run in place, perform a set of jumping jacks, practice boxing moves in the air, hula hoop moves or high knees.
    8. Whenever your mind has difficulties focusing, walk to get ice or top off your water or tea.
    9. Go through a series of yoga moves- like sun salutations- in less than 90 seconds before washing your hands at mealtime.
    10. Every time you look at the clock, roll your shoulders and shake out your arms.

Recharge yourself when you repeat:    

“I am [*Name*]. I am resilient and learning every day. I am part of the global community. I love myself because I have kindness and love in my heart and soul. As I think about those I love and care for, I send loving kindness out to all people. We are all connected. We can be resilient together.”

The Mindfulness Activity to practice this week to create Calm Moments:  

    • Straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down, smile to yourself, & relax your jaw.
    • Take slow deep belly breaths, allowing your stomach to rise with each breath in and relax with each breath out. You may find that each breath gets better and better. Allow your shoulders to relax on each exhale.
    • Practice the Mountain Meditation to connect with your inner strength and stability.
      1. Envision a mountain, see the intricate details of the mountain.
      2. Bring the majesty of the mountain inside of you, and be one with the mountain.
      3. Feel the strength and stability of the mountain.

With gratitude and appreciation for all beings,

Naomi Parrella, MD & Fran Lee, FNP 

Wednesday, August 19

Today is Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Over millions of years, wind and water have provided us with the most spectacular sites.

The Daily Gifts of Vitality are being released 3 times per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, to allow additional days to consider the prompts before advancing.

Inspiration: A Quote from Lao Tzu

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Photo by Tom Gainor

We invite you to experience the Joy of Reflective Journaling. You may repeat this prompt until the next one is released.

Reflective Journaling Prompt: Spend some time physically moving your body through an activity more slowly, being mindful. Notice your experience: Did you notice any changes in your mood? How did your body feel? Does your mind calm when you deliberately slow down an activity?

The Mindfulness Activity to practice this week to create Calm Moments:  

  • Straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down, smile to yourself, & relax your jaw.
  • Take slow deep belly breaths, allowing your stomach to rise with each breath in and relax with each breath out. You may find that each breath gets better and better. Allow your shoulders to relax on each exhale.
  • Connect with the Ground:
    1. Focus on your feet.
    2. Imagine drawing a chalk outline around each foot on the floor.
    3. See the image. Smile.

Recharge yourself when you repeat:    

“I am [*Name*]. I am resilient and learning every day. I am a part of the global community. I love myself because I have kindness and love in my heart and soul. As I think about those I love and care for, I send loving kindness out to all people.”

With gratitude and appreciation for all beings,

Naomi Parrella, MD & Fran Lee, FNP   

 

 

Friday, July 31

Today is Friday, July 31, 2020. A beautiful day, watching the colors changing in the sky.  

Inspiration: A Quote from Henry David Thoreau

“What you get by achieving your goal is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

Optional 31 Days to Experiencing the Joy of Movement – Established.

Goal: Walking for a minimum of 15 minutes (or more) daily which may extend life expectancy by 3 years. The objective was not to do the most difficult activity, but to move consistently and modify these activities as needed for your safety and your abilities*.

Achieved 31 Days to Experience the Joy of Movement. Month-end Reflection.

Congratulations to those who participated. At the end of your walk today, pause and smile to yourself to acknowledge your self-care. Look back at your journal and summarize your progress and what you have been measuring (time, distance, step counter, fitness tracker, etc.). Review your commitment to yourself for the next month.

Please feel free to share your experiences with us. Submit a picture from your walk to the Daily Gift of Vitality blog and/or connect with your walking partner. We’d love to hear from you.

Recharge yourself when you repeat:    

“I am [*Name*]. I am resilient and growing every day during new challenges. I believe in the strength in me and the global community. I love myself because I have kindness and love in my heart and soul. As I think about those I love and care for, I send loving kindness out to all people.”

The Mindfulness Activity to practice this week to create Calm Moments:  

  • Straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down, smile to yourself, & relax your jaw.
  • Take slow deep belly breaths, allowing your stomach to rise with each breath in and relax with each breath out. You may find that each breath gets better and better. Allow your shoulders to relax on each exhale.
  • Visualize your healing breath.
    1. As you breathe in and feel your lungs inflate, visualize that flow of oxygen reach all parts of your body & revitalize all of your cells.
    2. As you breathe out, feel your body settle.
    3. With each breath, feel how you are recharging your body.
    4. Remember, you were designed to heal.

With gratitude and appreciation for all beings, 

Naomi Parrella, MD & Fran Lee, FNP   

*Please confirm with your doctor which activities are appropriate for you.

 

 

Thursday, July 30

Today is Thursday, July 30, 2020.  Every time you take one step you use about 200 different muscles—Now that’s the Joy of Movement!

Inspiration: A Quote from Jack Kerouac

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere”

Optional 31 Days to Experiencing the Joy of Movement.

Goal: Walking for a minimum of 15 minutes daily which may extend life expectancy by 3 years. If you have achieved this goal already, you may consider increasing the duration or intensity as you progress.

The objective is not to do the most difficult activity, it is to move consistently. Modify these activities as needed for your safety and your abilities*.

After your walk today, look back on your walking journal and reflect. What’s changed? What’s the same? What will be your commitment to yourself for the next month? Write it down. “I am going to… [Include who, what, when, where, why].

Continue to record your progress in your journal. Submit a picture from your walk to the Daily Gift of Vitality blog and/or connect with your walking partner.

Recharge yourself when you repeat:    

“I am [*Name*]. I am resilient and growing every day during new challenges. I believe in the strength in me and the global community. I love myself because I have kindness and love in my heart and soul. As I think about those I love and care for, I send loving kindness out to all people.”

The Mindfulness Activity to practice this week to create Calm Moments:  

  • Straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and down, smile to yourself, & relax your jaw.
  • Take slow deep belly breaths, allowing your stomach to rise with each breath in and relax with each breath out. You may find that each breath gets better and better. Allow your shoulders to relax on each exhale.
  • Visualize your healing breath.
    1. As you breathe in and feel your lungs inflate, visualize that flow of oxygen reach all parts of your body & revitalize all of your cells.
    2. As you breathe out, feel your body settle.
    3. With each breath, feel how you are recharging your body.
    4. Remember, you were designed to heal.

With gratitude and appreciation for all beings,    

Naomi Parrella, MD & Fran Lee, FNP   

*Please confirm with your doctor which activities are appropriate for you.