5 Ways to Support Mental Wellness This Winter Season

5 Ways to Support Mental Wellness This Winter Season

Wellness Article Wellness Tip

As the year winds down and the weather gets cooler, it can create a change in our physical and mental space. Before you say yes to more invitations and holiday to-dos, it’s important to check in with yourself first and make sure you have the capacity to take on additional tasks, to prevent burnout and over committing yourself. 

If you’re feeling like you want to end the year with more peace and calm in your life, here’s a few ways that you can support your mental wellness this winter season. 

1. Bring Your Attention to the Present Moment

Stay in tune with what you’re doing now. 

When you feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be completed, just focus on what needs to be done in the moment and how this moment connects to the spirit of the season. If you find that what you are doing doesn’t contribute to your true intentions or desires for the season, consider changing directions.

If you need a moment of pause to check in with yourself, try this grounding exercise: Pause while standing and curl your toes, alternating feet a few times, as if you’re a squirrel gathering acorns for winter. Next, spread your toes for a second and relax them. Feel your feet touching the earth. Then, close your eyes and take 3 feather-light breaths, equal parts inhale and exhale. 

Another way to stay present in the moment: Try leaving your phone in another room for an hour and practice being present with those around you or the task at hand. Pay attention to how you feel. Are you able to complete your task with more focus? Are you more present with the people around you? 

2. Have a Centering Routine

When your schedule gets full this time of year, it’s easy to put self-care on the back burner and get caught up in a frenzy of endless tasks. 

One way to make time for yourself is to set a time to do your routine every day and prioritize it no matter what else is going on. This could be journaling, meditation, yoga, or saying a daily mantra. 

Studies show that journaling reduces anxiety, depression, and improves all over mental well-being. The great thing is, you don’t need anything special to get started. Journaling is an accessible practice that anyone can do from home using a notebook or your phone. It’s also a great way to reflect on the past year and plan out what you hope to accomplish in the future with your personal and professional growth. 

Journaling Prompts to Try Out: 

  1. What are three things you’re grateful for today?
  2. What three ordinary things bring you the most joy?
  3. List 10 things that inspire or motivate you. 
  4. What are your top 3 happiest moments of this past year?

3. Get Proper Rest

If you find your stress levels rising as the seasons change, it could mean that you need more rest, both physically and mentally. Proper sleep and rest will help you think more clearly and be in a better mood. 

Ask yourself, “In what ways could I add more restful activities into my day?

Resting doesn’t have to mean just sleeping or laying down. It can also mean getting out into nature and invigorating our senses. If you have to think a lot for work or use a computer, it could mean doing something more active, like taking a walk or hike to give your mind and eyes a break from the screen. 

According to the American Pyschological Association, researchers have found positive correlations between nature and mental well-being: 

The stress reduction hypothesis posits that spending time in nature triggers a physiological response that lowers stress levels. [Another] idea, attention restoration theory, holds that nature replenishes one’s cognitive resources, restoring the ability to concentrate and pay attention.

With screen time reaching an average of ten hours a day, making time for mental rest is just as important as getting proper sleep. 

4. Set Intentions for Before Each Activity 

One powerful centering technique can be to set an intention for what you’d like to embody or experience before each activity of the day. This will help plant the seed in the fertile soil to manifest growth in various areas of your life. 

Here are some ideas for setting intentions in your day: 

Before a meeting: Center yourself by setting an intention of what you want to achieve in this meeting. What kind of energy do you want to bring? What is your objective?

Before getting together with a friend: Clear your mind of any mental clutter or stresses from the day and focus on enjoying the present moment with your company. 

Before attending a holiday gathering: Set an intention of the energy you want to bring and how you want to interact with others. If you get overwhelmed in crowds, take mental note of this to prepare some conversation starters to ask others. 

5. Surround Yourself with Positive Quotes and Affirmations 

Think about how you can sprinkle your day and life with positive thoughts and inspiration, such as quotes, a book, or listening to a podcast. After all, you are what you think! 

Developing a positive mindset can be as simple as having a conversation with someone who inspires you or is a good friend. If you often fall into fear and panic, try limiting your news and social media exposure and focus on bringing more positive channels into your life. 

Here’s some daily affirmation and quote ideas to get you started. Feel free to write your own in your journal or display them on your office wall for a simple, daily reminder. 

Daily Affirmations:

I am enough as I am. 

I am allowed to rest and take breaks. 

I am at peace with myself. 

Things do not have to be perfect to get started. 

You can try writing your own affirmations as a daily practice. 

Positive Quotes: 

“The groundwork for all happiness is health.” – Leigh Hun

“Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being.” – Greg Anderson

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” – Paulo Coelho.

“Health is a state of body. Wellness is a state of being.” – J. Stanford.

By adopting a few of these practices, you can bring more balance into the holiday season. If you’re looking for more guidance, check out our previous article on Mindfulness Tips for the Holidays. Feel free to share your other wellness tips in the comments. How do you stay centered in the winter months and throughout the holidays? 

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season! 

Pain Explained – How Chronic Pain Can Be Managed

This article includes different evidence-based approaches, including the type of team on which I work teaching exercise, yoga and meditation.

“Patients who believe in themselves and want to partner with their [interdisciplinary medical teams] very often do better [managing pain] than those seeking doctors who are going to cure them.”

Article from Brain & Health (August/September 2023) title Pain Explained

Building Community & Resilience Through a Yoga Practice

Building Community & Resilience Through a Yoga Practice

Daily Practice Inspiration Yoga

Simple Ways to Overcome Your Barriers to Socialize

Three years into the pandemic, many of us are still struggling to find our “new normal.” The way that we live, work, and socialize has completely changed, leaving many of the community aspects of life behind. 

Earlier this year, Arthur Brooks, a Harvard professor and PhD social scientist, wrote an article called, “How We Learned to Be Lonely.” This article articulates the way so many of us have been feeling lately, but maybe haven’t been able to put into words. He brought up a lot of important points that got me thinking about the importance of community and how that relates back to my own yoga practice. 

Why Have We Become Hesitant to Socialize? 

In the article, Brooks explains that community can be healing after experiencing times of crisis. However, in the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw the opposite happen as isolation forced people into their own bubbles forming what he calls, “habitual loneliness.” 

He goes on to say, “If you’ve sought remote work instead of in-person work out of convenience, chosen one-to-one activities over group activities out of awkwardness, or have chosen not to reconnect with old friendships out of sheer numbness, you may be stuck in a pattern of learned solitude.” 

It’s hard to break out of patterns of isolation because loneliness affects executive function,  which are the skills needed to make a phone call, reach out to a friend, or make social plans. That’s why you may feel lonely, yet struggle to make the first step to reach out to your community or social circle. 

Getting Back into Community Spaces  

Why is it so hard to try new things and go back to doing activities in real life? I found myself having a hard time getting dressed, packing a bag, getting out the door– all things I did daily when I worked in an office. 

It turns out that the uncomfortableness we feel when trying something new is just a muscle we have to exercise. The more we do it, the more it will be good for us. 

Brooks offers some advice to overcome the uncomfortable obstacles of socializing more or trying a new activity outside the home. Similarly to building a muscle, he compares it to starting a new exercise routine; it’ll be uncomfortable at first, but you will feel better afterwards: 

“To break the cycle, you may need to try a “countersignal” strategy. Your indolence is probably telling you that getting dressed and going to work will be a hassle, and asking someone over to dinner will be awkward. You should definitely do these things. Think of it as starting an exercise routine after a long period of sedentary life (another common COVID problem). At first your system complains bitterly, but as you push through the discomfort you soon find that you can exercise (or socialize) easily because it has become routine and because you can feel it improving your life.” 

How I Found Community Again Through a Yoga Practice 

One way to build this new social “muscle” is to add classes or activities outside of the house into your weekly schedule. This past year, I started going to yoga classes in the evening,  which is the perfect transition from work. Yoga classes or any other type of workout classes are a great activity because they check the box of exercise, socialization, and community all in one.  


It was a welcomed positive change in my life, as I felt the isolation and sedentary lifestyle of long working hours affecting my life and energy. Taking one hour to be completely present without technology and constant notifications can do wonders for your mental health and overall stress levels.  

Tips for trying a yoga class with image

Are you looking to try a new yoga class but don’t know where to begin?

Here’s some tips for getting started:

  1. Look for small group classes:  If you don’t like the idea of a large group, try looking for small group classes, as they can be more accommodating to the individual. 
  2. Arrive early and lay/sit with eyes closed or socialize with others: Do you want to be in a group setting but are not ready or wanting to socialize? It’s okay to set up before the beginning of class, either sitting or laying on the floor with our eyes closed as other participants enter and set up. Your teacher and others will know to leave you space before class begins. 
  3. Meet the instructor beforehand: If you have any questions or special accommodations, it might help to meet the instructor beforehand. This can help put you at ease and make you feel more comfortable before the first class. 
  4. Take a friend with you: It’s always easier to try new things in pairs. Grab a friend and try out a new class together. 
  5. Try just one class to start: Tell yourself that you’ll just try out one class. The first step to starting a habit is showing up. 

Try out these tips and see how it goes. You can also set weekly goals to try new activities until it becomes second nature again. No matter how busy life gets, we have to remember that social interaction and community are essential to our well-being. 

After laying out some actionable plans, Brooks closes out the article with a great reminder that we can learn from:

If you can remember the warmth and happiness of your old social self and make a few changes, 2023 can be a year of renewal.”

Attend Small Group Yoga Classes in Boise, Idaho 

Are you local to Boise, Idaho and looking to start a yoga practice?  Yoga Therapy of Boise offers small group classes and private sessions at her yoga studio space to help relieve stress, build resilience,  care for acute and  chronic pain, and support neurological conditions and disorders. She also offers virtual sessions for those located outside of Boise. Reach out for a free consultation or book a class today. 

Relax, Restore, Recharge Wellness Event

Relax, Restore, Recharge Wellness Event

Wellness Workshop

Relax, Restore, Recharge 

Start the New Year with restored energy, relaxation, & balance 

Are you looking to rejuvenate and recharge for the New Year? Join us at an in-person yoga wellness event at the Healing Arts Collective in Boise, Idaho where you can spend two hours focusing on relaxing your mind and body. You’ll leave this workshop feeling balanced and ready to start 2023 with renewed energy. Class sizes are limited to 5 spots to leave room for personalized attention and all levels are welcome to attend. 

Yoga Wellness Event in Boise 

When? Saturday, January 21st 1-3pm

Where? Healing Arts Collective at Bown Crossing

3046 S Bown Way, 2nd Floor, Boise

Cost: $50

Yoga Workshop Flyer

Nourish Your Mind & Body 

Take your health and happiness to new heights in the New Year! Unwind from the holidays, reconnect with your inner wisdom, and rejuvenate to return to the healing rhythm of the season and your body. In this two-hour yoga workshop, we’ll nourish the body with a blend of warming releases, gentle twists, supportive heart-openers, and guided meditation to promote a healthy and healing mind-body connection. We’ll follow the practice with tea to detox and ignite digestion. Together let’s celebrate a new, balanced you.

Reserve Your Spot Today  

The class is limited to 5 spots. Registration is required in advance. For bookings, contact Julie or

Book an appointment with Personnel Calendar using SetMore

If you’re looking for a nurturing and healing yoga studio in Boise, I’d love to have you join us for this event. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year! 

Transitioning into Fall

Transitioning into Fall

Daily Practice

In order to be in balance and to stay grounded with what is around us, we need to seek or find grounding and balance within ourselves…the best we can. Create a ritual for yourself – maybe something as simple as a 10-minute meditation to steady the mind. Or, start your morning with some gentle sun salutations and balancing postures to invigorate you and prepare you for your day. Finish the practice with a forward fold and a cozy Savansana.

2 Simple Breath Techniques for Managing Stress

2 Simple Breath Techniques for Managing Stress

Daily Practice

Try These Soothing Techniques to Calm Your Mind and Body in Times of Stress or Anxiety. 

Calming the mind during stressful or uncertain times can feel overwhelming. Navigating fear and uncertainty can be challenging for the mind and body as well. The breath can be used as a simple tool to support the mind and body and tap into our inner resilience. Breathing naturally soothes the nervous system, which helps calm the mind. 

Today, I’m going to share with you two simple breathing techniques that you can do from home. Even though both of these techniques are easy, the trick is to remember to do them regularly. Developing a regular practice will help you build a healthy habit and reduce your overall stress level over time. You can do these sitting in a chair during the day or by simply lying on the floor. The beauty of this practice is that it’s incredibly versatile and easy to do from wherever you are at the moment, with whatever energy level you have.

Diaphragmatic Breath

You may have heard of the diaphragmatic breath, or belly breath before. The diaphragm is the most important of the muscles that helps move air in and out of the lungs. Attached to the ribs and lumbar spine, the diaphragm is shaped like a parachute or dome. When the diaphragm contracts on an inhalation, the dome pushes downward and if the abdomen is relaxed the belly will gently expand outward. On an exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes and moves back up.  Belly breathing can help most people feel relaxed. As you practice it, periodically pause and observe any changes in the mind or body.

Benefits of this Exercise

In our day to day lives, it’s easy to become overstimulated with electronics or notifications on our phones. This belly breathing technique will help quiet the mind and calm the nervous system from everyday stresses. The exhale helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the nervous system in charge of controlling your body at rest (these are functions like digestion and heart rate). 

  • Helps quiet the mind and nervous system. 
  • Exhale helps to stimulate the parasympathetic stimulus nervous system. This is the nervous system in charge of controlling your body at rest (things like digestion and heart rate). 
  • Eases fears of unknown, uncertainty and doubt, and monkey mind.  
  • Helps restore your sense of self, internally. 

How to Do It

  1. Sit in a comfortable upright position, or lie on your back on the floor. 
  2. Relax your shoulders, letting go of all tension in your upper body. 
  3. Put one hand on your chest and hand and on your stomach.  
  4. Breath in through your nose for two seconds, allowing the air to expand into your diaphragm. Allow your chest to remain mostly still while your stomach expands like a balloon. 
  5. Next, purse your lips and exhale for two seconds, gently contracting your abdominal muscles. If comfortable, seal your lips and exhale through the nose.
  6. Repeat this exercise several times for two minutes, in a slow and controlled manner. Afterwards, you should feel a sense of calm and relaxation in your body. 
  7. As you become comfortable with this breathing practice, explore making the exhale longer than the inhale to experience a similar (or different) calming effect.

Basic Bee Breath

This next technique is known as the bee breath, or brahmari. The name brahmari is derived from the Sanskrit term for bee. For this breath, you’ll be making a humming sound that resembles a buzzing bee. Known for its relaxing effects, this breath can help break up mental thought patterns that cause anxiety. 

Benefits of this Exercise

This exercise helps soothe the nervous system by focusing your breath and limiting outside distractions and thoughts. It can help calm the mind from racing thoughts and ease anxiety by using longer focused breaths. 

  • Soothes the nervous system with longer breaths. 
  • Helps create a calm, centered inner voice. 
  • Reduces inflammation in the body by decreasing stress. 
  • Eases your fight-or-flight response (sympathetic nervous system). 
  • Activates your body’s built-in stress release (parasympathetic nervous system).  

How to Do It

  1. Sit comfortably in a seated upright position or  or lie on your back on the floor. 
  2. Take a breath in slowly through your nostrils. 
  3. Exhale and make an “mmmmm” sound with your mouth closed. This should sound like a buzzing or humming sound. Keep your facial muscles relaxed and lips gently sealed. 
  4. Focus on the sound you make as you exhale and ignore all outside distractions and thoughts. Notice and feel and vibratory sensations in your body. This should create a relaxing and calming feeling. 
  5. Inhale again through your nostrils and exhale making the “mmmmm” sound. Repeat this exercise for two minutes. 

You can do these breathing exercises wherever you feel comfortable. Whether it’s sitting upright at your kitchen table or office chair, driving in traffic, or lying on the floor, you’ll be able to reap the benefits by simply taking two minutes to focus on your breath. Remember, no matter how overwhelmed, stressed, or busy you may feel, taking two minutes to slow down and focus on yourself can help you recenter and regain control of thoughts again.  

If you’d like to explore more, let’s get started. You can book a complimentary 1:1 consultation with me here.

Building Resilience Through Mindfulness and Wellness Routines

Building Resilience Through Mindfulness and Wellness Routines

Wellness

Now that we’re coming out of the third COVID-19 winter and heading into spring, many of us are experiencing the struggles of transitioning back to work during these colder months and through a season of prolonged sickness. You may be asking yourself, “Will we ever return to the former lives that we once knew?” 

Finding strength and inner resilience during these times of uncertainty can be challenging.  Not only are individuals struggling to balance childcare, work obligations, and virtual schooling, but we are also experiencing trauma on a collective scale. This extends not only to the global pandemic, but also with the social unrest and climate change issues unfolding around the world. 

As you begin assessing the changes around you, here’s a few resources and strategies you can use to restore balance in your life during this time of resurgence. 

Steps for Getting Back to the Real World in a Pandemic 

Establish a schedule and set boundaries at home and work for greater balance. 

With the increasing demands of work and home life, it’s even more important to set healthy boundaries to protect your time and energy. Creating a schedule and allowing those around you to know your availability can help reduce the stress and overwhelm of feeling “pulled” in many directions at once. 

Another important area to focus on is your sleep routine and managing your technology usage at home. 

Tips for creating an ideal sleep environment: 

  • Get in the habit of turning off technology at a certain hour each evening. 
  • Keep your phone out of the bedroom to eliminate distractions and blue light at night.  
  • Set a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking at the same time each day.

Over time, your body will adjust to your new sleep routine, creating a feeling of safety and peace that will help regulate your nervous system and allow for better quality rest. 

Take a mini-break to reboot or take time to slow down.

Give yourself permission to pause, refresh, rest, unplug from the hustle culture. This is particularly important if you are taking care of children or parents at home that require even more of your time and attention.

When we can return to balance in this way, giving attention to our own stress and uncertainty without making it worse, we contribute to a greater balance and harmony in our environment as well.

For those who like to do-do-do and live a fast-paced lifestyle, it takes more work and a conscious effort to slow down. The power is in the stillness.

Embrace daily routines or rituals to restore balance in your life.  

A basic tenet of Ayurveda is “like increases like.” If you’re experiencing burn-out in areas of your life and work, you can seek out ways to restore balance.

Whether it’s ten minutes or an hour, integrate a centering and calming practice that promotes mindfulness, such as meditation, yoga, or tai chi. This can be as simple as walking outside to be with nature, or reading a book in a cozy quiet place. Such practices can be a natural way to refresh your brain. There are yoga breathing practices and postures that can help with fatigue and exhaustion and give the body and mind a reboot.

It’s important in times of turmoil to look for activities that ground and support us. Can you create an inviting, quiet spot in your home to spend some alone time thinking and reflecting? A blanket and some pillows  on your favorite chair or corner of the couch can make a great retreat from the world.  Look for the daily rituals that will help balance the constant energy of change.

Even on busy days, make sure to take the time to eat a nourishing diet. Soups and stews are great for colder weather and will help fuel your body during the winter months.  

Acknowledge that you are doing the best that you can in your unique situation. 

Strong feelings of fear, uncertainty and doubt can lead to distorted thoughts or a constant narrative of mental negativity. Try positive reframing of thoughts that are true and helpful. Hanging meaningful quotes around your home or in your office can also help spark much needed motivation when you’re feeling overwhelmed or low on energy on one particular day. 

I also believe that sometimes we must acknowledge that a situation is not ideal and then use it as an opportunity to go up from there or an opportunity to try something new.  

Once we learn to honor our obstacles, we can move forward with less fear.

Seek out help from your support system and create positive environments. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s from a family member, a friend, a colleague or a therapist or wellness professional. 

Remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together, which can be hard to keep in mind when dealing with challenging circumstances. It’s part of our human spirit to help and be kind to others, and when we come together, that is when the healing starts to happen. 

If you’re interested in gaining more support for your wellness routine, feel free to contact me for a complimentary consultation to discuss your individual needs. 

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

Harvard Medical Recommends Yoga, Meditation and Breathing Technique to Deal with Covid-19 Anxiety

While this recommendation dates back to the near beginning of the pandemic, it’s just as valid now as many suffer Covid-fatigue, social isolation, depression and stress. The methods are tried and true for many. Article is from the Harvard Medical  School Harvard Health Blog  (March 2020) title Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety.”

Another good reference: Coping with Coronavirus