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This year’s unique circumstances have had an impact on our daily routines. Many of us are spending more time at home because we work remotely, which has allowed us to spend more time with our loved ones in the comfort of our own house. Spending so much time in the same space and sometimes with the same people might not be too exciting. Do you have days in which you feel like adding something new to your routine? Gotcha!
You might have noticed that one of the consequences of spending too much time indoors is the fact you’re probably having more mood swings than normal. Are we the only ones who sometimes get grumpy over a dirty spoon in the sink and two seconds later are overly excited about the latest Netflix release?
If you need some inspiration to make your days a little bit brighter, the Maison Ito team is sharing five effective ideas and activities you can put into practice to feel better and turn your mood around in no time. Let’s dive into them!
#1 Find a new way to clear your mind in Tai Chi
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Making sure you pay attention to both your physical and mental well-being when your day hasn’t been great is a win-win.
If you’ve already given other activities a chance but haven’t found the one that’s best for you, you might want to learn more about tai chi. A gentle form of exercise that gets the body and mind working together, this marvelous discipline was developed in China in the 13th century, and it combines aspects of ancient Chinese medicine, philosophy, and martial arts.
Today, tai chi is practiced all over the world as a health-promoting exercise. This low-impact, slow-motion exercise consists of a series of moves you make without any pause. As you move, you breathe deeply and focus on your body sensations.
What differentiates tai chi from other mind-body practices is the way you execute a movement. The movements of tai chi are circular and not forced, and your muscles are relaxed throughout the practice, not tense. It’s not an activity that will leave you breathless, but tai chi involves some elements of fitness: strength, flexibility, and balance.
Then how can tai chi help you improve your day and mood?
When learnt correctly and practiced on a regular basis, tai chi can be a really positive approach to improved mental wellbeing. When you finish your day with your mood twisted, it can be a great ally to fight any negative energy. Tai chi demands full concentration in your body movements and hand motions, meaning your mind needs to be completely clear and focused.
According to Dr. Peter Wayne, director of research at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School: “with tai chi you get all the cognitive pieces you might get from meditation: mental clarity, focus, positive thoughts, and lower stress”.
Total concentration is where tai chi differentiates from other disciplines, and this is why its meditative benefits can help you bring some positive energy into your day.
If you would like to learn more about its many benefits, you can read Dr. Wayne’s ‘An Introduction to Tai Chi’.
#2 Pick a book you’ve been wanting to read for a long time
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When was the last time you deeply immersed yourself in a novel? Most of our readers and people who visit our salon share with us their passion for literature and books and regret the little time they can invest in reading.
Finding the balance between a fulfilling work life and quality family time is quite challenging, and sometimes we struggle to find some time for ourselves and our hobbies. Good news? Spending more time at home gives you that extra time you need for them!
Reading is not only a moment of enjoyment and pleasure. Even if children are around, you can take this opportunity to get into the habit of reading as a family. The benefits of reading for our physical and mental well-being are eye-opening. According to a study on the effects of a novel of connectivity in the brain conducted by researchers at Emory University, reading strengthens our brain. The study found that the complex network of circuits and signals we use when we read gets stronger and more sophisticated when we read.
On top of that, doctors at the Mayo Clinic claim reading prepares us for a good night’s rest. More interestingly yet, a long-term health and retirement study revealed that reading can help us live longer. According to this research, people who read more than 3 hours a day were 23% more likely to live longer than those who don’t read at all.
Bill Gates, one of the sharpest minds in the world, is an avid reader. He has shared his thoughts on reading on various occasions, and he also publishes various articles per year with book recommendations on his blog Gates Notes.
When asked about why reading is such an important part of his life, Gates answered: “I love how good fiction can take me out of my own thoughts and into someone else’s. Every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently”.
If you love reading but haven’t touched a novel in a long time, what are you waiting for?
#3 Have a room or a space in the house with no devices or technology
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In an increasingly tech-saturated world, it’s becoming more and more important to have a gadget-free space at home. If you’re working from home and are planning to keep doing so, you probably spend long periods of time looking at a screen. Unplugging from technology should be imperative, especially when we talk about your mental well-being.
If your children have rules and limitations in the use of technology in their bedrooms and at the table, wouldn’t it be sensible for adults to do the same?
A study published in the journal Applied Economics found that there’s a close link between texting and mobile phones and poor posture, which leads to neck and back pain. Others studies have found a blue light is enough to disturb our sleep, and others have found a link between too much time spent on technology and reduced productivity at work.
Robert Glatter, MD and emergency physician on staff at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC, shared his thoughts about the importance of devoting time to ourselves: “We need to nourish our brains; engage in exercise. Reconnecting with nature, taking time to look at our surroundings —instead of burying our heads in our phones — is a step in the right direction”.
Is there any space in your house that you can transform into a technology-free zone? Don’t leave it for another day and let your children know it’s a space where gadgets are not allowed!
#4 Pursue a good work-life balance, the perfect day formula
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You’re busy and you work hard, and when you get home, your family and the house demand your attention. We get it: finding a work-life balance is challenging! Not impossible though. You might find it inspirational to know some busy and successful people such as Oprah Winfrey or Michelle Obama find time for hobbies despite their busy schedules.
Some of the hobbies you might want to give a chance happen to have great benefits for your health. Does your house have a garden? Then taking some time a week to look after it could be the perfect chance to do something different!
When asked about how her working habits have changed throughout lockdown, former First Lady Michelle Obama remarked the importance of slowing down and finding times for hobbies.
In a recent interview with Rachel Ray, after being asked how much time she’s been working throughout lockdown, Mrs Obama confessed: “I’m trying to shift into a different kind of mode. I’ve started knitting!”.
The demands of being a best-selling author and one of the busiest and most successful working women in the world, haven’t stopped Michelle Obama from finding some time for a hobby; so what would stop you?
#5 Relax your mind and treat your body with a home spa day
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One of our favourite self-care tips of all times, relaxing baths and home spa days are highly recommended after a long busy week. One of the big pros of spending a lot of time at home is having your bath, relaxing oils, and skincare products at hand.
We particularly prefer bath oils over bubbles, and we couldn’t take a bath without dim lights or a few lit candles. One of the awesome benefits of having a warm bath is that steam can soften the outermost layers of your skin and will open your pores and prepare your face for a deeper cleanse, which is a great way to give your facial skin some extra bit of care.
Emilie Celine, the founder of Maison Ito, recommends creating a bathing experience with scented candles and oils, and to never forget to self-massage your face during this ritual — especially for those like her, who get quickly bored in a bath!
Emilie’s tricks and tips for an optimum experience start by applying a thick layer of a mask or a face serum, followed by a self-massage in the jaw and neck areas. After this, splash some cold water on your face: this will help tighten the pores. The perfect finishing touch? Rinse your face with cool water: it will do wonders for your skin!
If you feel your daily routine needs to be spiced up with new and exciting activities, then you should definitely give any of the above ideas a go! Staying positive, active, and willing to learn new things will fill your day with some extra excitement and will surely be a way to turn your mood around. Never forget the cherry on top of the cake: self-care and time for yourself.
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BY JULIANA R. & EMILIE CELINE