Wellness exercises to get through the dark days

It’s another payday and we’re (in every sense of the word) exhausted. After a very stressful week at work, it’s all too easy to spend a weekend without having done any sort of recovery, but self-care is essential for even the busiest workers. Take a point or two from this week’s Lifestyle Inquirer editorial wellness practice picks, curated by fitness expert Mitch Felipe Mendoza, so you’re back and ready for whatever life throws at you. Have a nice weekend, readers!

1. Outdoor walk

Being in touch with nature while you move can keep you calm and reduce loneliness. Shifting your attention to trees, clouds, sand, and dirt can remind you how beautiful life is. At the same time, doing something for your health through exercise can boost your energy and do you a lot of good.

Find a pleasant environment (around your village, park, beach, farm or mountain) where you can walk, jog, run or hike alone or with someone. Dedicate at least 15 minutes a day, every day, to this activity to achieve significant cardiovascular improvements. Increase the duration, intensity or speed as you get stronger.

2. Muscle training

Lifting weights can improve your mood because of the energy you feel during and after training. The whole experience is empowering because you discover your potential to get stronger when lifting weights or simply using your body weight as resistance. In fact, a 2018 study shows that strength training can help fight depression, regardless of exercise frequency and load.

Make time to lift weights at least twice a week. You can start by doing the most basic exercises even for 10 minutes. Your progress will strengthen your motivation to do something good for your physical health.

It’s also good to try to get a fitness trainer who can guide you with your goals. Having someone to be with and/or talk to during exercise is therapeutic.

3. Get a massage

Overcome stress or emotional eating by pampering yourself with non-food rewards, which can help alleviate negative emotions. A massage is a form of wellness activity that can reduce your overall stress and relax your mind and body. Schedule your “me time” now and enjoy the whole massage experience.

In addition to a massage, you can also devote time to your most relaxing hobby, such as listening to music, reading a book, playing a musical instrument, getting a massage, going to the salon or watching a film.

4. Journaling

Keeping a journal of spending time alone while writing down your thoughts can help you deal with stress and negative emotions. Express yourself by writing down anything that upsets you or depresses you and stresses you out. Acknowledging and accepting your feelings can help you deal with your problems easily.

Use your phone, laptop, or other special notebook to jot down your current thoughts and feelings. You can set goals. List the most positive things happening in your life – what are the things you are most grateful for right now? List your cation plan to pursue your goals. You can be creative and put some art in your journal.

5. Group lessons based on music

Music combined with music can do wonders for your physical energy, mind, and emotions. Express yourself by moving to the rhythm of your favorite songs. Release negative energy by sweating it out.

Join a dance class or any group exercise class (online or face-to-face) with upbeat music and an inspiring instructor. Seeing other participants moving around while having fun can greatly influence your energy and mood.

Try indoor cycling classes with motivating instructors who give uplifting fitness mantras to believe in yourself, focus on positivity, and stay strong despite challenges.


Yoga is a mind-body exercise that makes you more aware of your body and your breath as you move. The activity can be challenging, but at the same time relaxing. You will learn to appreciate your body because you will be able to discover a lot about the type of energy you have and how you can control your body while moving and holding the poses.

Explore different types of yoga that may match your fitness level, personality, and current goals. Certain types of yoga like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Bikram yoga will challenge your muscle strength. You hold the stretches longer with Yin and restorative yoga.

7. Conscious Breathing

Mindful breathing is a form of meditation that allows you to be aware of the present moment. This activity takes your mind away from your problems and worries.

Start by devoting at least three minutes a day to this activity. Find a quiet space where you can close your eyes, observe the natural flow of your breath, and realize how blessed you are to have the time and energy to pay attention to yourself. You can increase the duration as you get used to this practice.

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