Keeping fit and healthy from head to toe – Shoulder, lungs, arms, and hands

Keeping fit and healthy from head to toe – Shoulder, lungs, arms, and hands

Today’s highlighted body region contains the shoulders, lungs, arms, and hands.  Pay extra attention to this region, exercise it, and look after it! Below you find some tips and recipes. You can do these also on other days, but use this symbol as a reminder, and after all, today is the best day to do it

Exercise your shoulders and arms

To keep them toned and flexible. If you have weights at home train the biceps and shoulder area. Here is a 15-minute video you can follow,  I find the timer very convenient. Thank you Caroline Girvan for modeling the exercises. 

Breathing exercises to get rid of stress and tension

I use an exercise that I call Happy In/Grumpy Out and you can do this anywhere! These days breath work has become quite fashionable, but I started implementing this exercise when I was only 5 years old! Nobody explained to me why and how, it just felt good and I kept doing it ever since.

Take 2 really deep breaths to get warmed up. I mean really deep breaths where you hold your breath as long as you can and release all your tension with the exhale. On your in-breath breathe right into your belly and blow it out. Then hold until you need to breathe out. Then slowly breathe out, sucking your stomach in, squeezing every bit of air out. Hold and repeat.

On breath 3 imagine that you are in a beautiful area with lots of trees and flowers, maybe at the seaside. Close your eyes, picture this scene, and feel yourself taking the energy from this natural environment. Hold it in and finally slowly release. Imagine that you release all kinds of negative experiences you had with the out-breath. If you find this difficult, picture a chimney spurting out smoke or something along this line. A vision that expels anything negative. As you empty your lungs feel all of this mental negativity draining out of you. You are now ready to inhale again and take more energy from your visionary environment with the next breath. I tend to do 5-10 of these visualized breaths and once you have perfected the technique this breath visualization exercise is a really effective stress-buster. 

I use it in situations like after an irritating phone call/email or any other incident that exercises you! Retreat to a safe space and repeat these exercises a few times.  This immediately releases any built-up tension.  Even better go for a quick walk whilst doing these exercises. Don’t let negativity fester, deal with it as soon as you can and get it out of your system.

This works for minor stressful incidents. For major issues, you need to seek the help of a friend or even professional advice. But the same principle stands. Work on it as soon as you can and don’t let any negativity linger.

Breathing exercises to energize your body and mind

The following exercise is the polar opposite of ‘Happy In/Grumpy Out’.  It is meant for all those who are overwhelmed and fearful. Instead of focusing on release, we deal with energy coming in and keeping it in. Again, start with 2 warming-up breaths – see above. On breath 3  inhale in short bursts. Visualize you have a closed flower in front of you and with each extra inhale (of the same breath) you open and breathe life into another layer of this flower until it is in full bloom. Hold this image and release gently the air. Repeat a further 8-10 times.
It is best to do this exercise in the morning before getting dressed to pump yourself up for the day. It can also be helpful when you receive bad news, before an interview, or whenever you feel overwhelmed and anxious. Feel stronger and life force flows into you with every breath. Instead of a flower, you can visualize that you are getting stronger or whatever picture helps you to achieve this goal.

Why do these breathing exercises work?
Breath is a vital function in our fight-or-flight response. When we are chased by a tiger we don’t want to practice slow, calm breathing. We need shallow – get me away- breathing techniques. But once we are back in safety we need to switch back again to a calmer and more relaxed way of breathing. Most of us don’t get chased by tigers, but we get bombarded by pinging phones and unrealistic expectations. Our brains get rarely an opportunity to switch off – except when we force it by changing the way we breathe. It is a physiological reaction. Here is more about the scientific explanation and benefits of deep breathing methods. 

Manicure and beauty treatments for your hands and arms

File your nails and treat yourself to a manicure. Finish by applying lots of moisturizing hand cream and cuticle oils.

An Introduction to LWTM

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Nail strengthening manicure

Nail strengthening manicure

 Today is a great day for a manicure and anything to do with handcare. 

Clean, manicured hands and feet are part of a groomed appearance. If you suffer from rather brittle nails (like I used to), then please read this tip for a nail strengthening manicure.

Look out for the hand symbol on the LWTM life-style calendar as these are days that are especially efficient for manicures, but of course do use other days as well to maintain your nails.

manicure setA step – by – step manicure:

What you will need to hand

  • A bowl of warm water and add a bit of washing up liquid to it, so it makes a soapy mixture.
  • a hand towel
  • A cuticle cream or hand cream
  • A pair of nail scissors
  • An emerald board and/or nail clippers
  • An orange stick
  • New undercoat, chosen nail varnish and nail varnish remover

Before you can start you must take off your current nail varnish. I find it is a good idea to watch TV or read a book whilst doing your manicure, as there are times when you need to soak your hands in water or need to wait until your nail varnish has dried and I can get easily bored without any extra entertainment.

Step One: Take an emery board and file your nails into shape. You can make them oval
(the preferred shape), round, pointed or square. Always shape with the coarse side from the side
towards the centre. Never see-saw you file on your nail as it will cause it to split. Then tilt the board
and with the fine side smooth the rough edges and file the edges of the nail downwards. If your nail are very long you might find it easier to trim them with nail clippers first, but always finish with the emery board.

Step Two: Once the nail is in shape, soak both hands for about 5 -10 minutes in a bowl with warm water with a dash of washing up liquid and soak your hands until the water has cooled down.

Step Three: Dry your nails off with the hand towel. Then take an orange stick (manicure tool) and add some cuticle remover cream to its tip and start to push your cuticles back. If your cuticles are very long or have grown over your nails, you may have to cut them off with a nail/cuticle scissor. But this should be your last resort, as normally it should be enough to just push them back.

If you have neglected your hands for quite some time, then my tip would be to get a professionals manicure done. Afterwards  you can maintain your hands with this technique.

Step Four:
Massage a good hand cream into both hands and wait until it has absorbed into the hands and nails.

Step Five: If you don’t wear nail varnish, then you have finished. But most nail look nicer with a varnish on.  With a tissue or damp cotton remove any excess of the hand cream from your nails and finally wash your hands with soapy water. Now you are ready for the base coat.
Always apply nail varnish in 3 strokes. The first is in the centre, from  the base to the nail tip, the other two on either side. If you go for a deep red or darker colour, it is vital to choose a clear base coat underneath, otherwise the varnish will stain your nails. Once the base coat has dried, apply the relevant colour, making sure that each coat has dried in-between. For longer lasting effect, finish off with a clear top coat.

French manicure: Put on a base coat, then colour the tip of your nail in half-moon shape with a white nail varnish. A good trick is to put your thumb over your nail and follow the line. Finish with clear or light pink topcoat.

 To strengthen brittle nails: 

If you suffer from thin and brittle nails, here is the recipe for this completely natural nail strengthener that will help to condition and strengthen your nails. This would replace the hand cream in step four and I would then use a clear nail strengthening calcium gel instead of a normal nail varnish. Over time done consistently,  this technique can improve your nails a lot.

You will need:

2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp. castor oil
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 drops of rosemary oil

To Make This Fingernail Care Nail Strengthener: Mix ingredients thoroughly and pour into a lidded container. Shake before using. To use: Rub a small amount onto your nails and let set for 5 minutes.


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