How the Self Care Wheel Applies in 2020

self care wheel spiritual fulfillment

How the Self Care Wheel Applies in 2020

These days, downtime might be spent scrolling on your phone or squeezing in one last response to our never-ending emails. That time could be used for valuable self-reflection and improving our overall wellness. Practicing self-care is becoming increasingly difficult in our high speed, hyper-connected world. The Self-Care Wheel is an easy to use tool created to manage stress and help you lead a more balanced everyday life. The wheel is divided into six sections that represent various aspects of self care: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, personal, and professional care. These six sections focus on daily activities that will help you lead a more balanced life.

Knowing how each aspect impacts our lives is important when it comes to solving the problems that arise in our life. The Self-Care Wheel helps you treat your stress and unhappiness with a directed effort. Below, I’ll explain the six segments of the wheel to help you better understand and address your stress and stay healthy.

Physical Care

stair climb for beginners

Giving your body the daily attention it requires can be difficult to manage, especially when you have other family members to care for and focus on. It is important to make time for physical activity to reduce stress and maintain happiness. Work and familial responsibilities can become repetitive and often leave us overburdened. With continual work, we reach a breaking point in which stress and unhappiness can overcome us. One way to combat your overwhelming stress is doing something physical which requires conscious effort and planning.

The care and attention that your body requires is often overlooked because of outside factors demanding your time and attention (like your family or career). The Self-Care Wheel provides key physical activities to incorporate into your daily lives in order to focus some of that attention back on yourself. Like going for regular medical checkups and consulting your doctor about any unusual symptoms that you are experiencing. Additionally, it stresses the importance of maintaining a nutritious diet. A healthy diet keeps you energized but does not replace the benefits of regular exercise. Taking a morning walk or performing a light exercise would infuse positive energy in your body. Additionally, it is important not to forget about your sexual life. Finally, make sure your body is well-rested and getting good sleep. Referring to the Self-Care Wheel for ideas on physical care will help restore balance in your everyday life.

Psychological Care

psychological care

Psychological care is another important sector that needs your immediate attention. It is important to carve out time for self-reflection in order to discern trivial concerns from true stressors. Focusing on self-awareness can help you let some things go, which can be difficult sometimes. Other ideas offered by the Self-Care Wheel include arranging time for sensory engagement activities. For example, aromatherapy is a potential way to address psychological stress. Aromatherapy uses aromatic and essential oils to improve your psychological mood. Have you ever smelt lavender oil? It helps calm the body extremely well! Other things to consider would be relaxing under the sun, reading a book, joining a support group, or focusing on creative projects. These activities help in minimizing the stress that you would experience daily. Focusing on psychological care should be of fundamental concern.

Emotional Care

self care wheel emotions

Making time for emotional health can be difficult to prioritize but it can be something done daily with positive affirmations, like complimenting yourself. Alternatively, it can be something more long-term like picking up a new hobby. Emotional care starts with these acts of self-care and self-compassion. It is certainly important to care for others; however, caring for yourself is equally important. Often in life, we suppress our feelings and emotions for the sake of others. This must be avoided; letting your inner emotions out is vital to maintaining emotional stability.

Spiritual Care

self care wheel spiritual fulfillment

Spiritual care is another section that completes The Self-Care Wheel. Many associate spiritual care with religion. While being religious certainly may lead to a fulfilled sense of spiritual peace for some, the world is becoming increasingly secular. Spiritual peace can also be found while you are immersed in the natural world. Whether that be going out for a hike, swimming in a lake or the ocean, or simply sitting in a park. Regardless, being in nature occasionally is key to your spiritual well-being. Other sources of spiritual peace can be found while meditating, singing, or dancing. Spiritual fulfillment can perhaps be more abstract than the other sections but it can come to you in some of the simplest of settings, like when enjoying the sunset or sunrise.

Personal Care

personal self care

The Personal Care section aptly addresses some deeply personal questions, like determining your short-term and long-term goals. Working with direction helps create a sense of purpose in life. A feeling of purpose can save you from unnecessary negative energy, anxiety, and frustration. Having a purpose in life is easier said than done; you have to be intentional about creating time to explore what makes you feel fulfilled. Activities that provide fulfillment can vary from meeting friends to going on a date, or expressing your creative side and creating a piece of art or poetry. Fulfillment can be hard to achieve but try to determine what your personal source of fulfillment is and then make a plan to concentrate on that.

Professional Care

work-life balance

Professional care can perhaps be the most difficult section to handle because of how demanding professions can be. However, too much time devoted to your career is likely to have a huge negative toll on other segments of care. It’s a difficult balance, but can be achieved with help from someone like a mentor. The most important strategy to professional care is to set boundaries. The Self-Care Wheel offers expert ways to maintain boundaries between professional and personal life. Always take time for lunch, learn to say NO, and take PTO and vacation days. Giving all the attention to work is truly rewarding but in between all those tedious responsibilities, focus on having you-time. This balance will ultimately help your professional development so you do not burn out in the long-term. Most importantly though, leave your work and your worries in your office before leaving for home.

Closing Thoughts

The Self Care Wheel is meant to be a tool to help you look at your life holistically. Perhaps this post has helped you think about an aspect of your life you were neglecting or identified ones where you don’t need much improvement. Sometimes we get too focused on what’s in front of us and forget about the bigger picture. Use the Self Care Wheel to help you get back to balance!

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation: Everything You Need to Know

meditation on rock

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation: Everything You Need to know

One of the most powerful mental hacks out there is meditation. Learning meditation is like learning any new skill. It takes practice to learn a routine that he has never been worked on before. Mindfulness may sound intimidating, but is simply the practice of focusing the mind on a particular thought, object, or activity. Through mindfulness, one can achieve a clear, calm, and stable mental and emotional state. Meditation can also help you to break negative habits, reshape consciousness, and boost your health. Sa Ta Na Ma meditation is an exercise in mindfulness that has health benefits backed by scientific research.

Whether you are just starting with meditation or want to try something more powerful, Sa Ta Na Ma is a great exercise to try if you want to feel calm and refreshed. It will clear the subconscious mind of traumas and negative emotions, along with bringing increased mental clarity. You can adapt it to several lengths but practicing it for 12 minutes has proven to be time-efficient while still providing beneficial results.

The Origin of Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation

Sikh temple; the origin of Sa Ta Na Ma meditation

The Sa Ta Na Ma mantra is rooted in Sikhism philosophy. It originated from the Indian subcontinent in the 15th century and is commonly translated to “truth is our identity”. Sa Ta Na Ma is the most important meditation in Kundalini and was introduced to Western society by Yogi Bhajan. Sometimes Sa Ta Na Ma is just called Kirtan Kriya (KEER-tun KREE-a), the word derived from the traditional Indian language Sanskrit. Kirtan means ‘praise’ or ‘song’ whereas Kriya means ‘actions’ or ‘to do’. In Kirtan Kriya, each Syllable of the Sa Ta Na Ma mantra has a unique and specific meaning.

  • Sa– birth, beginning, infinity, and the totality of cosmos
  • Ta– existence, life, and creativity manifest
  • Na– change, death, and transformation of consciousness
  • Ma– resurrection, rebirth, and regeneration

Tip: The “a” in each syllable should be pronounced as “ah”.

Benefits of Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation

To date, there have been three studies published that prove the health benefits of Sa Ta Na Ma meditation. Two of them are from the University of Pennsylvania. Scientists recognize Sa Ta Na Ma meditation as a powerful tool for preventing Alzheimer’s disease. A study published in 2010 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, examined 15 participants from age 52 to 77 that were having memory issues. After trying Sa Ta Na Ma meditation at home for eight weeks, the participants experienced improved memory.

Another important finding was that the participants experienced better cerebral blood flow in the brain. Blood flow in the frontal and parietal lobes was also improved (both of these are related to memory retrieval). The study also showed that this practice helps with depression and makes people more resilient by enhancing brain chemistry. It has also become useful in minimizing stress levels and refining short term memory.

Mantra & The Use of Different Voices

You’ve likely heard of mantras before; it simply means an often repeated word or phrase. Some people have “carpe diem” (Latin for seize the day) as their mantra and others choose “live laugh love”. According to ancient yogic practice, mantras carry vibrations and are believed to hold sacred energy. Sa Ta Na Ma is the mantra used for this particular mediation. While repeating it, always keep in mind there are three voices. The first is singing, which represents the voice of action. The second is whispering, which represents the voice of the inner mind. Finally, there is silence. This represents your spiritual voice. Here you repeat the mantra mentally to yourself. You don’t use the words aloud; instead, say them to yourself. Using all three voices is a significant part of Sa Ta Na Ma meditation.

Mudras

Mudra simply translates to “motion of hands”. These sacred hand positions can have a profound energetic effect on your mind and body. Mudras in Sa Ta Na Ma meditation activate pressure points that help energy flow to the brain more efficiently. This flow of energy plays a vital role in clearing the subconscious mind, bringing great inner peace, and encouraging physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. The mudras involved in this meditation correlate to a particular syllable of Sa Ta Na Ma.

Guyan Mudra

Sa – the index finger (for wisdom – Jupiter)

While chanting Sa, press the tip of your thumb to the tip of your index (or pointer) finger. Experts think that this connection brings wisdom, knowledge, and releases a person from limitations. It also increases air elements within the body, creating a positive effect on emotions and empowering the nervous system.

Shuni Mudra

Ta – the middle finger (for patience – Saturn)

While chanting Ta, hold your thumb to your middle finger. This connection is said to be vital for bringing patience and purity. This connection also increases the cosmic elements within the body, creating positive effects on human intuition and thought.

Surya Mudra

Na – the ring finger (for energy – Sun)

While chanting Na, press your thumb to your ring finger. This connection brings vitality and aliveness by increasing the earth elements in your body while decreasing fire elements. Experts believe that this connection creates a positive effect on the body’s inner organs, bones, tendons, and muscles.

Na - ring finger movement

Buddhi Mudra

Ma – the pinky finger (communication – Mercury)

While chanting Ma, hold your thumb to the tip of your pinky finger. This connection supports clear communication. The thumb and pinky finger connection is said to reduce water elements in the body. It also helps to minimize symptoms of excessive hormones and water retention, like watery eyes, runny noses, and loose bowels.

The Use of Visualizations

When it comes to manifestation and clearing the mind, visualizations are an essential tool. The mental focus for the Kirtan Kriya in Kundalini yoga is known as the golden cord, an energy pathway that connects pituitary glands. While repeating in the different voices and using the related finger touches, imagine the vibration of each syllable flowing up to your Sahasrara chakra. This is also known as the crown chakra which is pinpointed at the top of the head. Then, feel the energy flowing out through the Ajna chakra. Also known as the third eye, it is located in between and just above the eyebrows. The glands located at these two chakras are directly associated with our spiritual connection, enlightenment, intuition.

sa ta na ma meditation

How to Do Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation

Putting it All Together

Sa Ta Na Ma meditation is composed of the three parts already covered: mantra, mudra, and visualization. Each carries equal importance. All three parts should be practiced simultaneously and with full attention. Mental focus and precision are vital. You definitely won’t be perfect to start, so don’t be discouraged. As you’ve figured out by now, Sa Ta Na Ma is rather complex. However, this shouldn’t stop a beginner from trying it out because you’ll quickly get better at it after only a few times. In order to experience the benefits mentioned above, follow these instructions:

  1. Sit with your legs crossed and a straight spine. Close your eyes and bring the mental focus to the chakra also known as your third eye. Make sure you are sitting comfortably. Rest your hands on your knees with your palm turned upward. With each syllable, imagine the sound flowing in through the top of your head (crown chakra) and out the middle of your head (third eye).
  2. Begin to sing “Sa Ta Na Ma” for two minutes.
  3. Then, whisper “Sa Ta Na Ma” for the next two minutes.
  4. For the next four minutes, say the mantra silently in your head.
  5. Return to whispering “Sa Ta Na Ma” for two more minutes
  6. Finish by singing “Sa Ta Na Ma” for the last two minutes

While chanting the Sa Ta Na Ma Mantra press thumbs with all four fingers as discussed earlier. Make sure to press hard enough so you can feel the pressure and stay awake. However, you shouldn’t press so hard that it feels strenuous or hurts. Find a nice middle ground and keep repeating this process in a stable rhythm. Also, imagine the golden cord with each syllable you repeat, and make sure to do this visualization throughout the meditation process. At the end, to come out of the meditation exercise, inhale deeply, make sure to stretch your hands above your head, and then bring them down slowly as you exhale. Shake your hands and body for a minute. This will help to release energy and wake you up.

Workout at Home With These Beginner Exercises

beginner workout at home

Workout at Home With These Beginner Exercises

As the United States struggles to keep the coronavirus pandemic under control, guidelines for which businesses can reopen vary widely from state to state. As a result, many of our favorite places to work out are closed. So, whether due to local restrictions or lingering concerns, more of us are exercising at home to experience the health benefits. There’s no doubt it’s much harder to get motivated when your gym or yoga studio isn’t open. To help inspire some motivation, we’ve compiled a list of the simplest, most effective at-home exercises. If you want to avoid the #Quarantine15, try this beginner workout at home.

1. Cardio Beginner Workout at Home

checking pulse beginner cardio

Depending on your fitness goals, you’ll likely want to include cardiovascular exercise (more commonly referred to as cardio). When you perform any movement that requires increased breathing, you are doing cardio. Cardio can range from low to high intensity and is one of the most universal forms of exercise around the world. Luckily, cardio rarely requires equipment. And don’t worry, we have alternatives to jogging. Generally, you can expect to burn about 160-240 calories per 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity completed. This makes cardio a great option for burning calories when on a time crunch.

Jumping Jacks | Difficulty: Low

Stand upright with your legs together and arms at your sides. Then, bend your knees slightly and jump while spreading your legs just past shoulder width. Simultaneously, sweep your arms above your head. Lastly, jump back to the starting position. Once you get the hang of it, try doing jumping jacks for 30-120 seconds. This is an ideal movement to include in your beginner workout at home because you can vary your pace to match the desired intensity.

Burpees | Difficulty: High

Start in a standing position. Squat down and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Kick your feet back so you are in a pushup position and do one pushup. Then, return to your feet and jump straight into the air, reaching as high as you can with both arms extended overhead. Once you return to the standing position, you’ve completed one rep. These are notoriously tricky to get the hang of, so don’t feel bad if it takes some practice. This full body workout will get your heart rate soaring quickly so be sure to follow up with some less intense movements.

Mountain Climbers | Difficulty: Moderate

Start in the up position of a pushup (also known as an arm-extended plank). Bring one knee up to your chest as high as you can and return your foot to its starting position. Alternate by completing the same movement with your other side. Again, your pace determines your intensity. Start slow and focus on your form, making sure your back remains flat at the top of your upright plank position. This is great to include in your beginner workout at home because it does not require much floor space.

stair climb for beginners

Stair Climb | Difficulty: Low-Moderate | Required: Stairs

This once requires you to have a flight of stairs accessible. If you don’t have one at home, try out a local park, library, or other public place. To get your heart rate going, simply go up the stairs at a challenging pace. Try setting a goal for yourself to keep you motivated. This can either be for the number of flights climbed or total time. Or try it with a workout partner and alternate going up and down together.There’s a lot you can do with just a simple staircase!

Jogging | Difficulty: Moderate

Most people don’t like running, but there’s no doubt it’s great for burning calories. What many don’t realize is that you don’t have to be going fast in order to reap the benefits. There’s no shame in having a 10-12 minute mile pace or taking occasional breaks. Ideally, all you want to do is stay between 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, if you’re 40 years old, your maximum heart rate is roughly 180.

workout at home jump rope

Jump Rope | Difficulty: Moderate | Required: Jump Rope

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and arms at your sides. Loosely grip the handles of a jump rope with the rope resting on the ground behind your heels. Rotate your arms backwards and outwards, so that you are able to make a loop around the top of your head. As the rope comes down in front of you, jump just before the rope makes contact with the ground. Once you’re going, your wrists will do most of the work for you. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get it right away; it’s probably been a while. It’s still a great exercise to include in your beginner workout at home.

2. Strength Training Beginner Workout at Home

Strength training is a complementary exercise to cardio. While cardio focuses on increased breathing intensity, strength training focuses on select muscle groups and helps build strength. Bodyweight exercises are a good place to start because you don’t need any equipment. These movements utilize your body’s own weight as resistance to help train muscles. If you do have access to equipment, though, it’s good to know a couple things. First, if you want to work towards increasing muscle size, the general rule of thumb is to use a higher weight for less repetitions. For getting toned or defined muscles, do just the opposite (utilizing lower weight but with a high number of repetitions). At only about 90-130 calories per 30 minutes of activity, strength training burns less calories during the period of exercise. That being said, research shows that the benefit of strength training lays in an increased metabolism (and extra burnt calories) for the next few hours after completing your workout.

With strength training, it is common to target different muscle groups on different days of activity so that they have time to recover properly before they are trained again. Below, I’ll go over the most commonly trained muscle groups and list some great bodyweight exercises for each group. If you want an in-depth explanation of the muscles included in the major muscle groups, refer to this awesome resource. No matter your goals, there’s no doubt strength training is a great addition to your beginner workout at home.

beginner workout at home squat

Legs

Squat (Jump, Sumo, Split)

Set your feet shoulder width apart with your toes pointed out slightly. Slowly bend your knees and move your hips back to lower your body. Stop once your thighs are parallel to the ground. Strongly push back to the starting position, making sure your knees do not point inward towards each other (they will want to naturally, but force them to stay evenly apart). Allow your arms to balance your body wherever they feel most comfortable. Many people keep their arms extended in front of them or place their palms together near their chest while completing the movement. Different variations of the simple squat target slightly different muscles. If you get bored with the original squat, try a jump squat, sumo squat, or split squat.

Fire Hydrant

After completing this exercise, you’ll understand its name! Start on all fours, like you would for a modified push up. Slowly bring one leg out and up towards your elbow on the same side. Your leg movement should be guided mainly by the knee, so focus on touching your knee to your elbow and you should get the hang of it. Repeat on the opposite side (right knee to right elbow, left knee to left elbow).

home workout lunge

Lunge (Jump, Side)

The lunge is another easy and versatile movement with many variations. For a classic lunge, start by standing shoulder width apart with your hands on your hips. Take a large step forward with one foot until your knee bends to 90 degrees. Push off your front leg to return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Once you’ve mastered that, try a jump lunge or side lunge.

Step Up

This is another easy leg movement to include in your beginner workout at home. Simply stand in front of a step, about 1-2 feet higher than the ground. This can be an actual step, a sturdy box or chair, your couch, or even an outdoor bench. Raise one leg and place it on the step. Drive your body up with the elevated foot, swinging the knee of your lower leg up to waist level on the step. Then, do just the opposite and lower the swinging leg back to the ground, followed by the leg you first placed on the step. Make sure to take your time and remain stable while you get the hang of this. Many people like to do this movement with equal weights in each hand to add some more resistance. The most common at-home dumbbell substitutes are milk-jugs, but check out these other alternatives.

Glutes

Glute Bridge

Start by laying on the ground on your back. Scoot your feet in until your shins are perpendicular to the ground. Squeeze your glutes while lifting your hips off the ground until knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line. Hold for 2-3 seconds before gently returning your hips to the ground. Once you get more advanced, try holding a household weight at the base of your hips to add some resistance.

beginner workout leg lift

Reverse Leg Lift

To perform a reverse leg lift, simply start on the ground on all fours. Lift one leg back, keeping it bent 90 degrees at the knee. Stop when the sole of your foot is parallel to the ground (or as close to that as you can get) and return to the starting position. Alternate with the other leg. During this movement, it is important to remember not to arch your back.

Curtsy Squat

Stand upright with your arms facing out. Lower your body while picking one foot off the ground and crossing it behind your other leg. Your knee should almost touch the ground, but not quite. Return back to the original position and repeat by moving your other leg to the opposite direction. These are definitely a bit awkward at first and require some balancing. However, they’ll likely become a new favorite of yours once you get it down.

Clamshell

Start by laying on your side, with your legs on top of one another and knees bent slightly. Rest your head on your arm almost like you are in a side-sleeping position. Slowly raise your top leg up and squeeze your glutes until your knee points straight up. Return to the starting position. Once you’ve done a few repetitions, switch to your opposite side to even yourself out.

Abdominals

home workout plank with friend

Plank

A plank is one of the simplest ways to tone your core. Simply start by laying on the ground on your stomach. Place your forearms on the ground directly beneath your shoulders. Your elbows should be bent at 90 degrees. You don’t want your butt too high or too low, so try and keep it in line with your shoulders and heels. Try to hold it for 30 seconds. As you get better, you can increase the time to 1-2 minutes or challenge yourself to see how long you can hold your plank. To target your obliques, the muscles on the sides of your stomach, try adding a side plank to your beginner workout at home.

Reverse Crunch

To do a reverse crunch, lie down with your arms at your sides. Raise your legs so that your thighs are perpendicular to the ground and your knees are bent at 90 degrees (calves parallel to the ground). This is both the position you will start and end in. Engage your abs in order to pull your knees towards your chest, raising your hips off the ground. Return legs to starting position, making sure to keep the bend in your knees. This movement seems easy at first, but after some repetitions you’ll start to realize why they’re an at-home favorite.

Russian Twist

Sit with your heels on the ground in front of you and your knees bent. Your upper body should be leaning back slightly to balance you. Place your hands together, forming a triangle in front of you, and keeping a natural bend in your elbows. Twist your shoulders and rotate your core to one side. Touch a space on the ground near your hips with both hands. Return to the balanced center position before moving to the other side and doing the same. Many people like to make this more challenging by carrying a light weight in both hands and slowly touching that to the ground on either side of your hips.

Ab Wheel Rollout | Required: Ab Wheel

For this exercise, you’ll need a simple ab wheel. Luckily, they can be bought for pretty cheap on Amazon. Start on all fours, with the ab wheel placed between your hands. Grip each handle with your hands. You should now have three points of contact with the ground: left knee, right knee, and ab wheel. Slowly shift your balance and roll the ab wheel forward. Keep a negative arch in your back as you lower your body and extend the wheel above your head. Stop when you’ve almost hit the ground and engage your back and core muscles to pull you back up to the original position. This movement is considered an advanced abdominal workout so don’t feel bad if it takes some getting used to. After only a few sets you’ll be doubled over and feeling accomplished!

Back

superman beginner back workout at home

Superman

Lay on your stomach with arms stretched out and palms on the ground. To perform a Superman, simply raise your arms and legs off the ground and hold for a few seconds. The main point of contact with the ground should be your hips and pelvic bone. Repeatedly lift your limbs and hold for a few seconds or try holding out for 30-60 seconds. Try the same movement but with your arms forming a Y, W, or T with your body to keep things interesting and target slightly different muscles.

Back Extensions

Lay across your bed, a chair, or some other elevated surface with your upper body hanging off the edge. You should start with your lower body parallel to the surface and your upper body hanging down perpendicular to the ground. This is the starting position. Slowly use your lower back to pull your torso even with your lower body, forming a straight line extended from the surface you’re laying on. Lower yourself back to the starting position to complete the repetition. Once you get comfortable, try holding a weight with both arms to give yourself an extra challenge.

T-Plank

A T-plank is an easy way to get some extra movement in your back while keeping your entire core stable. Start in an upright plank position, with arms fully extended. Lift one palm off the ground and open your shoulders towards that direction. Point the arm up towards the ceiling/sky directly above you. You should form a straight line from the wrist in the air to the one on the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other side.

resistance band home workout

Resistance Band Bent Row | Required: Resistance Band

Place your resistance band on the ground and step on the center of it, placing both feet on top of the middle of the band. Bend down and grab the loops on each side. Remain bending at the waist with your back parallel to the ground and the resistance band in your hands at about knee level. Pinch your shoulders blades together and lift the band up towards your chest. Lower the band back to knee level. For less resistance, keep your feet close together. For more resistance, spread your feet apart. If you have reservations about buying a resistance band, know that they can be used for dozens of great beginner workouts at home.

Push Up (Variations)

Push ups are a great way to get your upper body moving without any equipment. It’s hard to get bored of push ups; with dozens of variations, even the most intense fitness enthusiasts include the humble push up in their routine. You likely know the traditional push up form, so we’ll introduce you to a few of the variations. While standard push ups work your chest, bringing your hands below your shoulders will narrow your movement and target the triceps. Now, try the opposite. To complete a wide push up, just extend your hands further away from your shoulders at the top of the starting position. Completing a push up in a wider stance will target the muscles in your shoulders, back, and upper arms. The last variation we’ll cover is a pike push up. To perform a pike push up start in the original position and walk your feet towards your hands while bringing your hips into the air. Keeping your hips raised, bend your elbows until your chin nearly touches the ground. Push up off the ground and return back to the starting position.

Tricep Dip

To perform a tricep dip, place your palms on the edge of a sturdy chair. Hover your body in front of the seat with your hands behind you. Your elbows should be straight to start while your heels rest on the ground in front of you. Slowly bend at the elbows to lower your body. Stop just before your butt hits the ground. Push back up until your arms are straight again.

Up Down

These are a bit more challenging than you’d think but the premise is simple. Start in a normal plank position with your elbows bent 90 degrees. One arm at a time, push off and get into an upright plank position (arms extended). Alternate between pushing off with your left and right arm. Your core will be activated on this movement for an added bonus to your beginner workout at home.

Family Road Trip Tips during the Coronavirus Pandemic

family road trip

Family Road Trip Tips during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Cabin fever is real. What was at one point expected to be an eight week interruption has turned into a seemingly year-long pandemic. With social distancing measures in place, our choices to escape our daily routines are few. It’s hard to look forward to the weekends when you can’t go out and do typical fun summer activities. A road trip might be one of the best ways to take a break from it all and safely explore something different this summer.

In fact, the United States Travel Association (USTA), in partnership with MMGY Travel Intelligence, conducted a survey on Americans’ current perceptions of travel. According to the survey, 68% of travelers, “continue to feel safest when traveling by personal vehicle and when visiting outdoor destinations such as parks (34%) and the beach (26%)”. Additionally, 45% of the respondents said they are likely to travel more by car. Are you a part of this large group planning to end the summer with a fun family road trip? If so, you’re going to want to follow these 4 tips to ensure a safe and fun family road trip:

1. Safety First

cleaning supplies and first aid

If you’re planning to travel with the intent to escape coronavirus, think again. It’s always important to keep a first aid kit with you while on a road trip, but it might look a little different during the coronavirus pandemic. Make sure to pack plenty of hand sanitizer for the road, as well as a few masks and disposable gloves. Additionally, check the current rules and guidelines in place at your stops. Just because your hometown doesn’t currently have a mandatory mask requirement in place doesn’t mean that will be the case in the cities you’re traveling to.

Don’t forget to pack a few garbage bags, paper towels, toilet paper, and wet wipes for accidental spills as well. Although these essentials aren’t specific to the viral situation, they’re commonly overlooked and could avoid an unnecessary stop that increases your potential exposure to the virus.

2. Creative Ways to Save Time and Money

Waze app helps save time on family road trips

Use Waze to Reduce Road Rage
With more than 2.5 million iPhone downloads alone, Waze is widely known as the best free app to use while driving longer than your daily commute. How does this free app stand out compared to the standard maps app in your phone? Live traffic updates, warnings of police speed traps, and up-to-date road closures help Waze stand out. We all know that summer means construction, but Waze takes road construction into account to optimize your route. The coolest part is that it’s all run by an active community, so users report on traffic conditions, construction, etc in real time. Waze can even help you navigate tolls. Join the community today!

pack a cooler to save time and money

Pack a Cooler
This one is an absolute must if you’re trying to avoid crowded restaurants, long drive-thru lines, or are traveling on a budget. Packing food and drink in a cooler will not only help you save time throughout the trip, it will also help you save money. Checkout Pinterest for some easy road trip meals that can be packed in your cooler.

Use GasBuddy to save money on your family road trip

Use GasBuddy to Get Cheap Gas and Win Cool Perks
GasBuddy, another wildly popular app, is run by a community of people who love cheap gas. Even though gas prices around the U.S. are still quite low compared to 2019 prices, it doesn’t hurt to save money on the non-negotiable costs of a road trip. Use GasBuddy’s Trip Cost Calculator to plan your route efficiently and get the best deals on gas along the way! Plus, you can earn cool perks like free gas cards by confirming or updating prices in the app.

3. Enjoy the Path Less Traveled

take the scenic route and avoid large crowds

Traveling to more remote locations during your road trip will mean less potential exposure to coronavirus. Modern tools like the National Forest’s Interactive Visitor Map make it easy for you to find dozens of great locations for camping and other outdoor recreational activities. It’s even easy to set a maximum distance to travel so you can plan your route to fit your schedule. For more information on how to camp for free around the United States, check out this ultimate guide to dispersed camping.

Aside from reducing your risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19, centering your getaway around nature has other health benefits. From limiting your screen time to improving your circadian rhythm, there’s plenty of documentation supporting direct health benefits achieved from camping in the great outdoors. A few include:

  • Improved air quality
  • Reduced stress
  • Natural dopamine boosts
  • Stay stimulated and inspired

4. Download Content Ahead of Time

download content for your road trip ahead of time

Although we encourage reducing screen time while you’re at your destination, a long car ride can be the perfect time to catch up on your favorite tv series or movie. Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ all offer content that can be downloaded to your smartphone or tablet ahead of time. This allows you to watch your favorites without any Wi-Fi or cellular data connection.

Don’t limit yourself to shows and movies. Checkout some of the nation’s favorite podcasts or download a fun playlist from wherever you get music. For a more vintage experience (or to give your kids a history lesson), try burning a CD for the trip ahead of time.

Family Road Trip Takeaways

Coronavirus might have changed your travel plans, but it doesn’t have to ruin them altogether. The main thing is to have fun, stay safe, and respect guidelines put into place by experts. Let us know what other tips you have for making the most out of a family road trip this summer.