Increase Your Productivity with Exercise & Meditation

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If you’re stuck—professionally or personally—the solution is to MOVE. Each time you do, it will be a step towards where you want to go.

When I’m feeling stuck trying to work through a challenge, stressed out from a busy schedule or overwhelmed, this is what I do to fix it quickly. For decades, I resisted exercise, thinking I was not athletic or limited by bad ankles and knees or other excuses. I just had to learn what worked for me.

This gives me mental clarity and the ability to be more productive. Yes, STOPPING WORK to take a break and exercise means I get more done in less time.

Increase Your Productivity with Exercise & Meditation

Having a routine of doing classes has also been a very important part of dealing with grief (numerous family & friends have died) and other stress. It’s truly one of the best things I have ever done. I feel calm and centered emotionally, and also stronger and more flexible physically. If you also want that, give yourself the gift of creating a routine to achieve that!!


Exercise & mediation is what has kept me moving through 2020.

At the beginning of 2020, I already had a habit in place to move. However, I did that through yoga and dance classes in-person, and swimming + aqua aerobics in the summer. The pandemic was a big shift and I had to figure out additional ways to keep going. Luckily many classes were online (with an iPad I could do them outside at my home) or in-person outside in a large space.

Since I have always worked from home, I knew that getting out of my workspace was essential to my mental clarity. I’ve updated this post with my new routine and ideas that you can also do.

Full disclosure since you only see my head and not my body…I am not an athlete. I have joint & back pain, and I’m carrying around more weight than my doctor wants. At the end of 2020, I’m 30lbs less. Developing habits & routines does not come naturally to me. I needed a system.

I say this because I’m average in my abilities, but maybe just extraordinary in how I approached this. However, I do believe anyone can take this approach and adjust it to their own situation.

There have been times in the past where due to injury I could barely do anything. I still figured out SOMETHING…chair yoga or aqua movement.

Accept where you are, just like where you are in your life & business right now. Get help. Make goals that work FOR YOU, not an unrealistic standard.


Make it part of your routine. If I can do it, you can do it.

Look, I’m not naturally organized and it’s hard for me to develop habits because of my ADHD brain. But I made a decision that this was important, and then took steps to make sure I followed through. I use a Google calendar to list out options for classes. I also put exercise as a TO-DO on my Trello list. This makes it a daily priority to fit them into my changing schedule.


These are the movements, classes & teachers that fit into my schedule.

I also recommend checking out other classes these teachers offer. Ask them for recommendations based on your needs & interests.


Walking

I also created walking goals. This has opened up a whole new way to tap into the idea that I outline here. Now my breaks are not just a single class, I take breaks throughout the day. I put time on my calendar and track my walking goals for extra motivation.

I have weather challenges where I live in Baltimore, Maryland. I have been able to adapt to 100+ degree weather and slightly below freezing. This alone is amazing to me, as I normally don’t like to sweat or be cold. I looked at this year as a challenge to overcome this, and practice mentally just pushing on. I bought gear to help—a neck cooler, white brimmed hat, and moisture-wicking clothes for the summer; extra layers in the winter. I adapted to the challenges.

This is the same approach that you need to adapt to your marketing. Look at the challenges, and overcome them. Don’t let it stop you.

While I had overall goals, I also adapted to each day. I THOUGHTFULLY made decisions to do less certain days but made the commitment to make up for it on other days. I tracked all of this with a spreadsheet, Runkeeper, my Apple Watch and accountability partners.

I had an original goal that seemed like a big stretch at the beginning of the shutdown in March. 100 miles. For someone who had plantar fasciitis, knee, and back pain, that seemed like a mountain. I looked at how I could actually do this by breaking it into very small goals. I put the time on my calendar. I wound up reaching that goal MUCH FASTER than I ever dreamed I could!

This is the same way I approach business goals. Set a 90-day goal, but give yourself 120-days. Best case scenario, you reach that goal faster…and then you can reset for another goal.

My new goal was 500-miles, like the song. On hard days, I used the song to keep me going. Oh yes, some days it was very hard. I reached that goal in August!! Whoo hoo!

Then I decided to hit another 500-miles by the end of the year. I was on a roll! Then a series of stressful situations occurred. I realized that I would not be able to reach this goal. I mentally struggled with this. I first thought I was a “failure” for not reaching this goal. BUT WAIT…I was already walking waaaay more then 2019 (256 miles). I had to reset my mindset and goals to 850 miles.

I also looked at how I was tracking. I was looking at my total using Runkeeper, which only tracks if I am going on an “official” walk. However, every single step I took counts. Another app tracked all of that, and my total was way more. A good reminder to check how you’re tracking your goals. You may be “cheating yourself” and not giving yourself enough credit. This shift was very helpful to me. It motivated me to move around my home more, because that counted!

Well, I am happy to report that I did it!! With bonus miles! I ended 2020 with 855.3 OUTDOOR MILES, and 1090.37 TOTAL MILES.

Look at how you’re tracking your business goals, and give yourself credit for all of your success!

While I was walking, I had time to listen to podcasts about business & marketing. I was learning while I walked!! Other days I allowed for a full reset of my brain. During that time, that’s when I had many AH-HA moments to solve problems for my clients and my own business. I sometimes stopped to take notes with my phone, or I came back to the office and solved challenges that I was previously struggling with!

Walking gives you more time & space to overcome challenges & grow your business!

Get moving…one step at a time!


Julia B. Morrow

NIA, Yoga, Barre & special workshops + Custom Personal Training – In-person, Outside & Online!
www.juliabmorrow.com/classes
The Moving Co. (Studio 5) 9974 A. York Rd. Cockeysville, MD 21030

Julia is adapting to the new circumstances, offering a combo of in-person classes (limited numbers, pre-registration), online or outside.

NIA is absolutely AMAZING. I have learned to let go and just feel the music and move my emotions through my body. This can be joy, anger, grief, etc… life is a rollercoaster (as one of the songs says) and we will always have to learn how to navigate the ups and downs. NIA is one of the greatest ways to get in touch with how I am feeling and then let it go to move on.

I know what it’s like to have emotion stuck in my body — many people I love had died in the last few years. In the past, that grief consumed me, and it turned into emotional stress and physical pain. I could not think clearly or concentrate. NIA quickly gives me a way to recognize how I feel and then move on.

It’s also wonderful to celebrate happy times by dancing around, jumping for joy!!

If this is your first time attending one of Julia’s classes, please email Julia  (juliabmorrow@gmail.com) 12 hours ahead of time to let her know which class you’ll be coming to. This way she can keep an eye out for you when you arrive, and if anything changes schedule-wise, she’ll be able to keep you in the loop!


Lisa Warren Yoga

Yoga teacher for all ages, all levels, all bodies! ONLINE!

https://me.onpodio.com/lisawarrenyoga

Lisa Warren is funny (yes, we LAUGH during class) and an inspiration to me that she has adjusted to teaching and doing her own yoga to injuries. This reminds me that I can come and do what I am ABLE to do. She’s great at giving options. She also teaches several kids or teen classes. Lisa believes in making yoga accessible and that yoga and social justice go hand in hand.


Yoga on York

Mix of Vinyasa, Hatha, Gentle, Aerial – NOW ONLINE!
www.yogaonyork.net
I’ve been going to Yoga on York for over 3.5 years at least 2x a week while the studio was open (sadly, it closed during 2020). It was very important part of my routine. I have taken many classes, included aerial yoga, and with Sylvia and Jayne. The space was cozy and peaceful, without mirrors. Sometimes noise from the bowling alley under it, but it has taught me how to ignore external sounds, which is what mindfulness is all about—if you’re doing classes at home, you may also experience this! I am able to block sounds out at home, when traveling or in other loud spaces now. All the teachers are great, so take a look at the calendar for classes that may work for you!


Grace Marshall

Gentle Yoga
Follow Grace on Facebook to find out her schedule of classes
Grace is a healing artist located in Baltimore, specializing in movement empowerment, and plant-based nourishment. Passionate about breathe awareness and toning the energetic body. Her style is very accessible (meaning if you’re new to yoga, you can do it). I always feel like I’m floating in a peaceful sea after her classes.


Zumba Gold & Yoga with Betsy

Lower Impact Zumba & Yoga
betsy101.zumba.com

Online – contact Betsy for the schedule, she sends update by email. Betsy gives visual cues, and it’s pretty easy to pick up as she is a very good teacher. You can jump in and flow with the music. When the weather is warmer, she meets outside in Towson.


Renee McLaughlin

Gentle Online Classes + Custom Personal Training
www.mystretchstudio.com

Gentle Somatic Stretch
Gentle Somatic Stretch Class is a very gentle, yet powerful way to release the tension you are holding in your body, reducing aches and pains and increasing flexibility. This class is done on the floor. Gather lots of pillows to support yourself and get your relax on!

Sculpt (Fusion of T-Tapp, Pilates, Barre)
Let’s strengthen those weak muscles and cinch in and up. The only weight we use in these classes is our own body weight to create tight, toned, strong, and flexible bodies. Coordination is not required. These classes are non-impact and joint-friendly. Did I also mention…fun!

The Original Barre
Discover the best-kept barre secret and get the shape you’ve always wanted with the workout that started the barre movement. The Original Barre will tone and strengthen your whole body leaving you feeling fabulous!


Margaret Barry – Mind-Body Fitness

Online Recorded Classes & Videos
She helps women achieve resilient, capable, and energetic bodies through personalized nutrition, lymphatic, and muscle activation techniques. She is a Master T-Tapp Trainer, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Personal Trainer.

Other Movement

  • Go for a walk around the block.
  • Go to the store and take extra time to walk around.
  • Go up and down the stairs.
  • Pick up some light weights.
  • Stretch.

Aqua

If you have pool, use it! Swim laps – it does not need to be intense. I do sidestroke and breaststroke or use a kickboard. Get in the water and MOVE using your own resistance or equipment such as aqua gloves, aqua weights, aerobic belts, noodles. My favorite is these Aqua Cuffs – just put them on and move around while you talk to your friends or do leg and arm exercises with the extra resistance. So easy and it adds a bit extra to your pool time. These have also helped me rehab a knee after a bad injury.

I also have a waterproof iPod that makes it more fun to move to music and/or tune out other people at the pool. My time in the water has given me time to think about my business and get clarity on new ideas. I always bring paper and a pen to jot down notes after I get out of the water.

Small movements multiple times a day will add up!


Online


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