New Year new you? We all want to live a little healthier, but that doesn’t mean we have to make massive changes. These easy health tips are simple and sustainable ways to increase wellness in a big way…
SOME NEW YEARS CALL for extreme measures, others for a simple re-inspection and an amping up of mindful daily health habits. We’ve all been through a lot in 2016 and, this year, our New Year’s plans have to do more with upgrading the good we’re doing now than completely interrupting what we were up to last year.
A little change here, an adjustment there and suddenly we’re feeling, looking and living better than ever. These twelve easy health tips are small but mighty. Find a few that resonate with you and pass it on to a friend for a gentle, self-loving 2017…
BREATHE DEEPER. Have you ever been on social media, in line at a shop or typing an email and realized that you’re holding your breath? Or barely breathing? One of the benefits of good aerobic exercise is that it gets us breathing deeply, but there’s no need to go on a run for a good dose of oxygen. Simply by being mindful of your breathing you can greatly increase your overall cellular health, brain function, and sense of well-being. Set aside a few minutes first thing in the morning for a simple breathing practice and place a reminder on your desk or in your car to remind to breathe better throughout the day. Try Ashley’s calming breathwork routine here.
EAT MORE PLANTS. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free…. There are so many dietary labels out there and they can be overwhelming. One simple way to cut through the nutritional confusion is to simply eat more plants. Plants – we’re talking veggies, fruits, beans, even grains – are full of such a wide variety of nutrients. Focus on filling your plate with more plants to simplify all the rules. Add a veggie or two with every meal. Find a way you enjoy beans and add them to your weekly rotation. Add raw or roasted veggies to everything from side dishes, sandwiches, slow cooker dishes and bowls. Read up on nutrient-dense foods.
GET HYDRATED. One thing we hear from trusted health pros a lot is just how chronically dehydrated so many people are without even knowing it. Chronic dehydration is at the root of so many health issues, not to mention fatigue and a general sense of, dare we say, malaise. Build hydration into your daily routine. The most crucial glass is the one you drink when you first wake up. Make a habit of one or two glasses of water upon rising to start your day on the right foot, instantly stave off AM cravings and get your body going in the morning.
MOVE YOUR BODY. Whether you work out or not, find ways to build bursts of physical activity into your day. This is the kind of “wellness discipline” I’m sure our ancestors would be dumbfounded by, but is nonetheless necessary when so many of us spend our day at desks. Take micro-breaks every 20 minutes to an hour. Watch your breathing. Find a way to fit at least two breaks into your workday for a light walk, stretch or stair climb. All that activity adds up to a more flexible mind and body with better circulation.
LAUGH. Joy is an integral part of true well-being. While Western medicine often sets it’s sites on staving off disease, some traditional medicine traditions focus on achieving a high state of well-being. Isn’t that a nice idea? Not “not being sick”, but actually feeling vibrantly well. What would it take for you to feel vibrantly well? Naturally, some of it is diet and exercise. But our state of well-being is also deeply affected by attitude, outlook, mending relationships, fixing heart issues and learning to laugh more!
DETOX. We hear it all the time: our body is designed to detox itself naturally, so why cleanse? True, our bodies have built-in detoxification mechanisms – and those very organs and mechanisms are supported by seasonal cleansing. Whether that means a fast, a juice cleanse or an elimination diet of some kind, most of us can benefit by giving our overworked systems a bit of a break. Our bodies are bombarded daily with an unprecedented level of compromising influences. No need to panic, just make wise consumer choices and up the ante on the support you give your body. If you can’t deal with a full-on juice cleanse (although we highly recommend it), just try this daily method for a gentle daily cleanse.
ELIMINATE THE WORST OFFENDERS: Want to detox your lifestyle but feel overwhelmed on all sides? Control the chaos. Pick an important category and start swapping out potentially toxic products there only. Which category of products to start with? We recommend one of three:
Products you use daily: Are there processed foods you use all the time? Say, a sweetener, condiment or snack? Start there. Experiment with non-chemical sweeteners until you find a few you love. Swap out that salty processed snack for one that fits the bill without the toxic ingredients.
Products you put on your entire body: Which products are applied to your entire body? Body cream, laundry detergent, foundation, perfume…. Start there. Begin learning about common ingredients, trying natural products or searching your daily go-to’s on the SkinDeep database.
Product you use in a hot shower: Massaging body wash or conditioner into your skin and hair under hot water may seem luxurious until you discover that those open pores are absorbing more than just oils and soap. If you start anywhere with clean and green living, start with these products and eliminate the worst offenders.
MEDITATE. No, meditation does not need to be esoteric or difficult. While there are esoteric methods and quieting your mind for any period of time can be a challenge in this day and age, meditation can be easy and pay off big time. Start by allotting five minutes a morning (or afternoon) to some mental alone time. Take a deep breath. Release your train of thought from the petty things of the day and think about your body, heart and mind reaching a state of equilibrium. Take a deep breath and release tension from your shoulders and face. Allow yourself to feel grateful and consciously focus on a short list of things you’re grateful for in this moment. Look, you’re meditating!
READ UP: We know wellness and self-care can be overwhelming, obnoxious or both. Peruse these two incredible lists of wellness resources as choose just one as a project for yourself this winter. You’ll enter spring more informed, better equipped and with a few better habits!
HAVE A FITNESS QUICKIE: Have a gym routine? Great! You’re a #yogaeverydamnday kind of girl? We love it. But, life happens – and the days we can’t make it through our normal routine are the ones we need a kick of endorphins most! Even if you don’t normally workout, this might be a great way to transition yourself into more activity. Find a short, versatile routine you know by heart that can be done with no equipment. Here are 6 30-minute workouts, try our hotel room routine, or find out how Tracy Anderson works out fast on the go.
EAT MORE FAT: Learn a little more about fat. The devil of the pre-00’s, but the darling of 2016. If you haven’t yet caught on, see how adding more clean fats to your diet can boost your metabolism, energy levels and overall well-being!
STAY INSPIRED: Do you love fashion, politics or sports? How do you stay on top of trends or sharpen your ideas about things you care about? Keep a steady mental diet of good wellness inspiration coming your way this year by subscribing to our newsletter or liking us on social media. A few other wellness inspos we love? Meet all of our Guest Editors here.