Finding Ways to Love Yourself

hearmindValentine’s Day is a time of year when we show our love and gratitude to the special people in our lives. We shower our loved ones with shows of affection, not only on this holiday, but also in our daily lives year round. We all want to make others feel loved and admired, but what about ourselves? In order to serve those around us in the most meaningful way, self-love is essential.

Many people that consciously embark on a self-love journey are inspired to do so by someone else in their life. Love for yourself lives not only in our minds, but also in every cell of our bodies. Nurturing yourself, mind and body, has been undeniably linked with a longer, healthier, and happier life.

One of the primary ways to cultivate self-love is through exercise. Of course exercise makes you feel good for the superficial reasons – when you look good, you feel good – but there’s so much more to it than that. We’ve all heard it; exercise releases endorphins. These are beautiful little chemicals that your brain pumps out to make you feel good. Improved self-esteem is a well-know benefit of regular physical activity. Exercising, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body. So, even on those low energy days, just show up. If you can just show up to that class or the gym, the second you start moving, your brain will start to reward you. And that in turn will make you want to replicate the feeling. And when you are truly happy, high on life, your amazing mood will positively affect others.

Meditation is another way to really check in with yourself and nurture your mental and emotional health. Many extremely successful people have shared that meditation has absolutely been a key part of their success. Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Sting – these people have testified to the value of daily meditation and even admit that some of their best ideas came to them during this time of introspection. It’s like a daily cleaning for your mind.

In the age of social media, we are constantly being bombarded by everyone else’s thoughts and opinions. Meditation allows us to hear ourselves, and only ourselves, and the insight and wisdom that can come from just paying attention in the moment will surprise you. Even if you feel like you have no idea how to start, you can find a plethora of free, guided, meditation videos online. Just pick one and see what happens. Meditation is like any other type of exercise – just focused on your brain. It does require practice and patience. You don’t expect the rest of your body to change overnight, so don’t expect your brain to learn to meditate perfectly either. But if you stick with it, the rewards can be very satisfying.

So just remember, when you’re sending out love and gratitude to the people in your life, add yourself to that list. Sometimes being the best version of ourselves is the best gift we can give to others.

-by Savannah Swafford, METFitness Coordinator



Smarter through exercise?

There have been many studies over the years about the benefits of exercise on the body. However, lately there has also been numerous studies about exercise and the brain. This is a relatively new area of research and some studies have reported that people who dance, or walk or run, or even garden, have a lower risk of developing mental health problems like dementia.

Additionally, exercise combined with meditations appears to have the greatest benefit according to a recent New York Times article called, “Yoga may be good for the brain.”

Basically the study examined those who practiced yoga as compared to people who used only traditional exercise programs. After 12 weeks, all the participants performed better on thinking tests but the Yoga group also showed improvement in their moods as well. The Yoga group also improved more in areas like balance, focus, and the ability to multitask.

Any regular exercise program that keeps us moving will benefit our health. But Yoga may have an added bonus in helping us to feel, as well as function better, as we grow older.

Mini Vacations

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Mini Vacations

Sometimes in the fitness industry, we may be overwhelmed by the amount of energy needed every day to maintain positive and effective customer skills. We are all working with people and need to personalize our daily programs based on our clients and their needs. We have to stay in the moment, and put our clients in the front of the picture.

Because of the nature of our work, we do not as a rule, take long extended vacations like our guests. But, we still need a change of pace to charge up our batteries and reenergize in our desire to stay fresh and motivated. One of the ways we can do this is by taking a mini vacation.

Wherever we live, there are places that we have not visited and are open to new experiences. In Orlando area where we are based, there are many places that are only a couple of hours drive away. One of these places is St. Augustine, a city that is celebrating 450 years of history this year. It is about a 2-hour drive from the Orlando area with plenty of places to explore.

St Augustine is home to the St Augustine Lighthouse where you can climb to the top of the lighthouse for a spectacular view. Within a few miles there is also the St Augustine Distillery. This business offers free tours and tastings daily and is worth the trip. The distillery is housed in a restored Ice Plant building and this also the name of the bar/café located next door with wonderful food.

Traveling on a weekday over a weekend has its advantages because hotel rooms are less pricy on a Monday-Wednesday time frame. Additionally there are fewer people on tours and in restaurants on these days.

Pick a location. Start by looking at a map of your state and then looking up things to do in cities that interest you. Try to take a mini vacation a few times a year and come back refreshed and recharged!

I need a vacation!

Vacation is something we all need but for many of us that work in the resort industry, vacation is an elusive item to find. Our work is focused on welcoming many people to a wonderful vacation where they can forget their worries and let go of some of the stress in their lives. Whatever their situation, they come to our sunny state looking for a chance to unwind and relax. People are looking for a change of pace and a way to recharge their batteries.

Their change of scenery is our workday world. And, in our world, we all know what stress feels like. We feel it every time we are faced with potential problems or situations. We, who cater to the resort industry, spend our days ensuring that our guests realize their dream of a great vacation. We double check staffing schedules, continuously plan for special events, and work hard so that others can relax.

Vacations are the lifeblood of our industry and just as we encourage people to come to our resort, we need to take some time off for ourselves. Unlike our European counterparts, Americans tend to take limited vacations, usually only 2 weeks a year. Because of the nature of our work, we feel that we cannot afford to take off more than a few days at a time. And, when we take time off, we still keep connected via email and/or cell phone.

We should watch and learn from our guests’ example. Just as people come to stay with us for a change of scenery and to relax, we need to do the same. Look at your calendar and decide what the best time is for you to have a break from work. Find a place to vacation where you can take a turn being the pampered guest. Make it a place where you are off the grid of our everyday world, out of touch electronically. Do something fun that you really want to do for yourself. Take a deep breath and relax.