I’ve learned an immense amount about relaxation from my eight-month old baby, @lucia. And it’s not because Lucia is very good at relaxing.
In fact, Lucia is absolutely terrible at relaxing.
In her growing brain and body, she has two gears: Off, and Full Throttle. If you’ve hung out with a baby before, you’ve likely seen this behavior. Little babies can’t sit still.
Lucia will not look at a book calmly. She will not sit on your lap in peace. And, most depressingly as a mother, it is entirely impossible to actually hug her, unless she is dead asleep, because she will twist her head (and thus entire body), like a Meerkat, back and forth in both directions to get away from oncoming kisses.
This is why, of course, so many parents battle so fervently with getting babies to sleep. Lucia rarely is put into the crib in a drowsy state. Instead, the moment at which we put her in the crib for her scheduled nap or bedtime is likely a moment in which she is at an all-time high of frenetic activity. And so, those first few minutes in the crib are ones of complete mania. The number of full body turns and complex baby yoga moves performed are impressive, truly. But, as we’ve learned by watching her for all too many hours in the video baby monitor, this time is not wasted unnecessary. Instead, she needs this time. Desperately.
She needs to wear herself out in order to fall asleep.
Now, translating this to big people language is not straight forward. For example, no adult human should make their King-sized bed a veritable gymnasium as they drift off to slumber. That said, there is a lesson here we can learn about relaxation.
And that lesson is all about our physical mobility.
In order to sleep better at night, we need to move more during the day.
It’s a simple thing, and it’s a big thing. It’s a thing you’ve likely heard before, and something you have likely (at times) tried to put into practice. And I’m here to say it’s something you and I need to keep learning. Day in and day out.
There are three things I’ve done in the past six months to dramatically increase my movement. I’m convinced that they are helping me be healthier, and relax better.
1. I track my movement.
Since buying my Jawbone UP shortly after Lucia’s birth, I’ve been incredibly motivated to move more. Convincing my mom and BFF to also buy Jawbones means we’re on a team, and can see each other’s activity on a daily basis. I find this whole team thing fun, although some might find this maddening.
2. I walk more.
My Jawbone came at a great time, because as a new mom I learned early on the power of walking with the jogging stroller to calm a screaming babe. I walk way more than have in years, thanks to an awesome stroller, and an anxious baby. Since I run (almost) daily, my walks aren’t big scary hard walks up big scary hills, but are rather relaxing ones, jogging stroller in hand, audiobook on play.
3. I stand up when I work (some).
Using a standing desk some days is another way I’ve tried to add to my mobility. I haven’t bought a real one yet, because my architect husband thinks everything out there is insanely ugly and does not aesthetically jive with the lovely office he built me, so for now I’m using some random cubes arranged in a haphazard fashion. Building me one, he says, is on his list. (It better be;)
Have you tried anything that has worked to increase your movement on a daily basis? If so, what was it? If no, what can you do to move more?