Self-Care in the City

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Chōsen’s team of Lifestyle Mentors – global experts in fields ranging from fitness and movement to holistic nutrition and mindfulness – have devised life-optimization tips to make city living a breeze. 

At their simplest, they are the means to achieving three goals:

1. Relaxing with Purpose

2. Healthy Eating Habits

3. Disconnecting from Devices

1. Relaxing with Purpose

The city makes many demands on our time, but most of us get a day or two for ourselves each week. How we choose to use those days is up to us. Rather than vegging out in front of Netflix, Chōsen’s Taylor Rank, Movement Mentor suggests making them Active Rest Days that prioritize low-impact activities for personal repair. 

An Active Rest Day might feature a Playful Movement activity, such as parkour, animal movement or mindful hiking. Adding a variety of new movements to your usual practice allows you to create new neural pathways.

According to Rank, Self-Myofascial Release is effective in muscle recovery. Performed using a simple foam roller or a small roller ball, this alternative therapy helps with mobility and soothes muscle pain, also improving blood circulation and stimulating the lymphatic system to aid detox. You can do this while lying in the floor playing with your puppy or using the roller ball on your feet while brushing your teeth.

Active-Rest Days also provide opportunities to Cultivate Mindfulness. One of Rank’s preferred mindfulness activities is to notice what is happening around him while on a walk. “I ask myself, ‘What can I smell?’ or ‘What kind of flower is that?’” says Rank “These questions help enliven the senses and allow me to see the world with fresh perspective.”


2. Healthy Eating Habits

When we exercise and pay attention to our wellbeing, we are more aware of the food we eat, says New York City-based health coach and Chōsen’s holistic nutrition consultant Elisa Haggarty. Active-Rest Days automatically encourage healthful meals, stopping us from overindulging in bad habits.

Haggarty advises city dwellers to Think Local when they purchase meals of foodstuffs. Many city neighborhoods these days hold regular farmer’s markets selling fresh produce sourced if not in the city itself then in its greener environs. 

Haggarty also suggests selecting unprocessed, unrefined Whole Foods while avoiding highly processed foods that contain additives, preservatives and fillers. And while it is not always possible, we should make every attempt to Eat Organic, especially when it comes to what Haggarty calls the “dirty dozen” – 12 foods that may have been exposed to pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals during their production. These include leafy greens, berries, coffee beans and animal protein. 

3. Disconnecting from Devices

Another effective way of lessening the strain of inner-city living is the Digital Detox, through which we consciously disconnect from our mobile devices, social media and the Internet. Fixing an unhealthy relationship with technology is easier than you might think, and baby steps can be employed to wean yourself off gradually. 

Capping Daily Usage is an easy first step. Setting windows of fixed length in each day for personal and work-related tasks encourages clear focus on priorities and the avoidance of digital distractions. “I give myself 30 minutes a day for professional needs, and the same for personal,” says Rachel Fearnley, Chōsen’s Mindfulness and Yoga Mentor.

The times of the day when we go online is also important, with experts suggesting we avoid all digital devices for an hour or two at the beginning and the end of each day. One easy way to do this is to make the room where you sleep a Technology-Free Zone

And before sleep, Personal Journaling the traditional pen and paper way is the ideal way to wind down, and has been alleged to have a number of health benefits. University of Texas at Austin psychologist James Pennebaker contends that writing about taxing days – and city life has many of those – acts as a stress-management tool. 

Living healthy in the city can be challenging and requires some thought, but if you begin with small steps building into long-term living habits that prioritize your personal well-being, then you can have it all; both the benefits of city life and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

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