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28 Days of Mindfulness


Self-care strategies from Lead Instructor Trainer Sarah Jarvis

Lead Instructor Trainer Sarah Jarvis shares how she’s keeping healthy in mind and body during this time of social distancing.

The term ‘self-care’ might come across as being a selfish or self-indulgent practice, but it’s anything but. Self-care is about being perceptive and aware of what you need— mentally, physically and emotionally— so you can prevent burnout and sustain yourself and others.

There’s lots going on in the world right now and lots to manage at home, so making time for self-care, even if it’s just five minutes of doing something you enjoy, is worth the effort.

We spoke to Merrithew Lead Instructor Sarah Jarvis to find out how she’s coping with social distancing.

Q: How do you practice self-care and manage stress?

“I make sure to get lots of sleep so I can better handle this stressful situation. I also find a good workout helps, taking ample time to breathe and warm up. I then like to do a nice and controlled workout with an easy stretch at the end.”

“I also like to do things that I consider therapeutic. Right now, for instance, I’m spring cleaning my house and purging things I don’t need. I’m also trying to work through my ‘to-do’ list now that I have a bit of time, like taxes! Cleaning and purging feel so good and it occupies my mind during this stressful time.”

Q: What’s your favorite mindful movement exercise to do at home?

“Breathing Side with the Arc Barrel. This exercise supports and moves the spine through lateral flexion, rotation, flexion and extension, releasing spinal restrictions and general stiffness. The focus is to create 3D movement in the rib cage. I tend to stay in each position for a few breaths to allow time for my body to open and release in each area. It feels amazing in my spine and allows me to focus on my breath.”

Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit next to the Arc Barrel with legs in Mermaid position
  • Inhale and slide inside hand over the Arc Barrel, leaning torso towards it while opposite arm is at shoulder height and then exhale, reaching that arm overhead as you take the spine into lateral flexion
  • With both arms long and overhead, focus on breathing into the lateral rib cage, inhaling to expand the rib cage and exhaling to release naturally toward the spine
  • Exhale and rotate the spine forward so it's now in some flexion. Inhale, focus on breathing into the posterior rib cage
  • Exhale and rotate back through the side bend to open the chest toward the ceiling, supporting the head with the bottom hand and reaching the top arm back with arm long
  • Allow the cervical and upper thoracic to extend while the gaze follows the arm reaching back. In this position, focus on breathing into the chest

Q: What’s your favorite movie/book/podcast/workout or other activity right now?

“I just finished re-grouting/caulking my bathroom. It's something I've put off for a long time. It was a big project, but it needed to be done.

“I'm doing workouts in my living room to try and stay fit. My friend and fellow STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor Sarka Osecka and I FaceTime each other and do workouts together to keep motivated through this. We do TRX, Pilates and have a nice chat! Merrithew’s 28 Days of Mindfulness campaign is keeping us in check as well.

“In the evening, I am watching The Crown on Netflix or Jim Gaffigan’s comedy. He makes me laugh and this is what we need right now!”

Challenge edition

Now it’s your turn: Take a few minutes every day to practice self-care to prevent burnout and keep yourself sustained. Share your tips and suggestions with us on social @Merrithew! Tag #MerrithewWorkout #MerrithewConnect #Merrithew28Days.

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