You ever feel like your day is totally packed, you have no time to breathe or think or god forbid eat, drink or exercise?

Really!?!? What’s that like, I’ve never experienced that? Joke, I’m just kidding.

Today one of my clients was off. I decided after watching her struggle through her outdoor conditioning, that I would cut out 5 minutes and use it for something special.

I asked if she had a picnic table in her back yard. “Yes”, was her reply. I say, “O.K., we’re going to finish in the back with some stretching. Does that sound cool?” “Yes” was her reply”

I lead her through 5 minutes of body weight stretching and then I ask her to lie on her back on her picnic table with her knees bent & feet on the bench.

I tell her, “O.K., here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to lie on your back, with your eyes closed and we’re going to spend 5 minutes relaxing. 1 minute on each of the 5 senses. Ready?”

“Yes!,” she said.

Minute 1: Hear

“O.K. Eyes closed. I want you to listen. Listen to all the sounds around you. Listen to the birds, listen to the air, your breathing, my voice, the traffic off in a distance. Separate each sound and listen to all the different sounds.”

Minute 2: Smell

“Now smell the air. Can you smell the grass, the flowers, the trees? Can you smell yourself, your hair, your clothes, your scent? Can you smell your breath? Take a big breath.”

Minute 3: Touch

“Now feel your body. Feel your feet. Feel your sneakers, the foam insulation, the treads, the wooden bench. Feel the picnic table. Feel your shirt, your shorts. Feel hair, just hanging. Feel your knees, your butt, and your shoulders. Feel the air as you breathe. Take a big breath. Feel the limitless air you can consume.”

Minute 4: Taste

“Taste your mouth. Imagine how water tastes when you’re thirsty. Imagine today’s workout, when you asked for a water break. How did the water taste. The coldness, frost on the glass. The ice. Was it refreshing? Taste how clear & pure it was. How satisfying. Now imagine your favorite food. How does it taste. How does it taste as you roll it around in your mouth. What does it taste like? Is it hot, cold, hard, soft, squishy or crunchy? Is it sweet or salty?”

Minute 5: See

“Now visualize something beautiful. Imagine your favorite place. Is it the beach, is it home. Is it a country or a resort? Are you with people, your husband, your daughter, and your friends? Are you by yourself? What’s the weather like? Is it warm or cool? What are you doing? What are you wearing? Are you laughing? Why is this beautiful? Why is this a favorite place?”

“O.K., now wake up. How do you feel?”

Silence and a foggy smile. “C’mon, let’s go back inside”, I say”

“Where did you learn that?” she softly says, while still awakening.

“In a relaxation class in college, different books, conferences, here & there.”

“That was great!” she says.

“Thank you! I figured you were a little beat up today and could use something special. So, I subtracted 5 minutes from something important (conditioning) to give you 5 minutes, to reboot & recover. Was it good?”

“Yes, it was great!” was her reply.

I said, “Sometimes your day is so packed, you’re tired and you need energy, but coffee isn’t doing the trick. You decide, f’ it, I need to reboot and take 5 minutes for myself. You can nap or do relaxing meditation like you did today. I often use this trick. I’ll sleep in my car, at my desk, in a park, on the sofa, or I’ll go for a walk, lie on a foam roller, anything. Just 5 minutes to slow things down, clear my head & reboot my system. It’s amazing how 5 minutes can feel so long and powerful. It doesn’t recover you completely, but it sure makes you feel better or more able to conquer what lies ahead. Do you agree?”

“Yes!” she replied still groggy.

5 Minutes. Because you’re worth it!

Yours in living the active life,

Mike Alves

Newton Personal Trainer and Newton Fitness Boot Camps

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