Just last week we teamed up with Jillian Mariani, the founder and general manager of Niyama Yoga Wellness for our Active Living Giveaway. In this post, Jillian shares her take on self-care, something that we take seriously here at Apothekari. We hope that you find it as informative and inspiring as we do.
Getting Back to Active Living for 2021
by Jillian Mariani
Whew – how glad are you that 2020 is in the rear-view? I don’t think there was ever a year I was so happy to see the end of! It felt almost euphoric to ring in 2021, with hope and positivity and some awesome intentions for making 2021 a truly fulfilling year.
But a few days in, like me, you might be feeling a little less euphoric – we are still living in a pandemic world of course, and depending where you live there are months of winter ahead. Most of us are still working from home, and again depending where you live, fitness and yoga studios may be closed making some of those new year’s intentions harder to implement. And the early enjoyment of the convenience of online exercise classes may have totally worn off and you might be feeling challenged to get some movement in each day.
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5 Tips For Making Movement Part of Your Self-Care
Here are my top 5 tips for Making Movement Part of Your Self-care this winter:
- Commit and Schedule It.
This is key: make it a daily habit that you commit to, and show up for yourself. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity and schedule the time in your calendar at least 5 days out of the week and stick to it. It should be like brushing your teeth or eating meals – you do it because your wellness depends on it. If you really don’t feel up to it that day (hey, I believe in self-compassion too!) do something gentle, like taking a 15-minute brisk walk outside in nature, or taking some restorative poses and meditating. We can all fit that in our day, and if you think you don’t have time, try a day without TV or Netflix or Social Media scrolling.
- Make it Something You Enjoy.
Doing something you hate just because you feel it’s good for you won’t last, unless you have superhuman levels of determination. Finding a movement practice you enjoy, whether it is a live online yoga or fitness class, a streamed recorded class, a run, a hike or time spent on an elliptical or stationary bike, will make it so much easier to stick to – you may even wake up looking forward to it. This doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing every day, mix it up if you like, variety is the spice after all, and when most days feel like groundhog day, I personally need to inject some variety into my movement. I personally like to alternate vinyasa-style yoga with barre workouts, and I’m incorporating snowshoeing this winter since the ski hills are closed in Ontario, where I live.
- Support Your Body with the Right Nutrients, Before and After Exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee. Like really love it. I do have to limit to one per day though, and I just can’t do it before I practice yoga or barre or any type of mindful movement. I am very type A and it just makes my brain run all over the map, so I can’t focus on being present and syncing my breath with movement.But I do need a bit of a motivator before a workout. Which is why I created Green Energy, a clean, plant-based, caffeine-free pre-workout that is actually good for you. Packed with superfood ingredients like spinach, beetroot, maca, acai as well as vegan-sourced amino acids to provide energy and stamina without the jitters. Plus it is vegan, paleo, keto and fasting-friendly with zero sugars or calories, and no artificials. And it’s so delicious that the thought of it actually does motivate me to get into my tights and on my mat.
And for after, or as an intra-workout if it’s especially sweaty, I use Niyama’s After Practice Replenish & Repair to help replace electrolytes and support muscle and immune recovery, reducing next day soreness. In a delicious light pineapple coconut flavour, it is seriously refreshing and the l-glutamine and vitamin C help with immune function.
I’m also a huge fan of plant protein smoothies, and 90% off the time that is my breakfast. I load up my blender with a scoop of Organic Plant Protein, some frozen berries, and a healthy fat source like a tablespoon of MCT oil or nut butter or ground flax seeds, or a bit of avocado, add a cup of water and blend away.
- Make it Social
If you are finding it hard to motivate yourself alone, enlist a friend or family member. Whether it is joining an online class together but apart, or exercising outdoors in a socially distanced way, making it something you do with someone else can make your workout more fulfilling, and harder to skip. Plus it brings some much needed connection into your day.
- Take Rest. Take a rest day each week – if you function better doing exercise every single day and a day off really throws you, then make one day a week really light – just a walk or some low-impact stretches and let your body rest. And ensure you are getting enough sleep – most adults need 7-9 hours of good quality sleep on a regular basis to function optimally
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Jillian Mariani is the founder and general manager of Niyama Yoga Wellness. Jillian spent her 20+ year corporate career in the Canadian Natural Health Supplements category, in sales, marketing and product development with some of Canada’s favourite brands of vitamins and supplements. Jillian holds a BA from UofT, a diploma in Nutritional Management from GBC, an MBA from Schulich School of Business, and a YTT-200H from Downward Dog Yoga Centre. She lives in Toronto with her husband and children, and teaches Vinyasa yoga part-time. In addition to yoga, she enjoys cooking, travel, good books, netflix and turmeric lattes, dark chocolate, and beach walks.
Inspired by the practice of yoga, and clean, active, plant-based living, all Niyama products are vegan, non-GMO and made in Canada. Free from gluten, soy and sugar with no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives.