Illustration by Samantha Schaffer
Welcome to my blog series “Weekly Wellness.” It’s exactly what it sounds like. Every other week, I’ll be going over something in the realms of wellness to hopefully help you feel better in some way. These are all things I’ve found that work for myself, and I’m all for sharing the wealth to hopefully help someone else. So take a deep breath, drink some water and let’s feel better.
You’re probably not breathing enough. Like, seriously. You need to breathe more. Obviously you breathe all day long to stay alive, but you’re probably not taking enough deep breaths that really reset your system, calm you down and bring more oxygen into your body for overall well being.
The first step in a lot of relaxation and meditation techniques is to breathe deeply. A lot of practices use a specific technique called diaphragmatic breathing, which essentially helps to strengthen your diaphragm, a super important muscle when it comes to breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is a great technique to utilize, but I’ve discovered that you don’t need to follow a specific rule book when it comes to breathing. So long as you’re taking in plenty of oxygen and doing what feels good for your body, that ought to be enough.
These are my three favorite ways to incorporate deep breathing into my day:
- First thing in the morning
As soon as I wake up, I get a good stretch in. I’m sure we’re all familiar with that unmatchable feeling of the first stretch of the morning while you’re still laying in bed, half asleep and it feels so good it’s almost unreal,but it feels even better when you get out of bed.
I always try to give myself at least ten minutes of breathing and stretching in the morning before I start my day. I stand up and just take three big, deep breaths and then move into stretching out my body in a quick yoga flow. This makes me feel awake and alive and totally ready to start my day.
- In between classes
Spending all day sitting in front of my laptop for classes isn’t my idea of fun or wellness, but it has to be done. In order to counteract the grogginess I feel halfway through the day, I try to take time for a five to ten minute break, essentially repeating what I did for my morning routine.
Deep breathing and taking a moment to scratch out your body can really help you to clear your head and wake up a bit. That extra oxygen you’re taking in really works wonders. Not only does it give you a little jolt and make you feel better, but it’s not good for anyone to spend the majority of the day sitting. Try to take breaks from your chairs as often as you can.
- Right before bed
I consider this my time to exhale my day before going to bed. Whether it was a good or a bad day, I like to take this time to reset myself and get my mind and body in a place of relaxation before going to sleep and bringing on the next day. It’s basically my way of giving my body a fresh start in the morning and not holding onto anything that may be negative or just not serving me.
The only thing I change here is I typically do this breathing laying down in bed, that way when I’m ready to sleep I just do it. Plus, laying down gets my mind and body on the same page, knowing it’s time to relax.
Overall, I’d recommend these practices to everyone. It’s important to take time, even if it’s just a couple minutes a day, to do something that makes you feel better and maybe for you, that’s deep breathing. And maybe it’s not — that’s okay too. Hopefully through this “Weekly Wellness” series something will stick out to you, whether it’s the way I do it or not, and you can implement a new practice into your daily routine that serves you.
Maria McGinnis is a senior journalism major with minors in advertising and psychology. She is currently editor-in-chief of A Magazine (@amagksu), features editor for The Kent Stater/KentWired and a blogger for The Burr. When she isn’t writing or working on school work, Maria loves to spend time with her family and friends, do yoga, bake and watch Netflix. She is currently rewatching “The Vampire Diaries” after finishing “Gossip Girl” during quarantine and would love some new streaming suggestions. Follow Maria on Instagram @maria.mae98 and on Twitter @MariaMcGinnis13.