9 Wellness Tips to Ring in the New Year
With a new year upon us, who doesn’t want to get healthier? We can always improve the way we live, with health and wellness in mind. We can learn to eat better, move better, and sleep better. We can learn how to take care of our own bodies and minds in natural ways, without the intervention of modern medicine ripe with its pharmaceuticals. In doing so, we can learn how to live with greater ease and an overall sense of true well-being. How do we do this? By making some small, positive changes in our lives, and adopting the wellness tips below. That said, let’s take a look at some of the most fun and effective ways to thrive this year.
Breath is life
My boyfriend, a yin yoga teacher in the Midwest, is forever reminding his students that we live in a world of shallow breathers. Generally speaking, this is true, especially given the fact that stress causes us to breathe shallow breaths. This is why the teachings of yoga, with its emphasis on deep breathing, is so timely. With so many breathing techniques out there to ease our nerves and even help us fall asleep, it’s hard to pick one to share in this article. But, here goes. One of my favorite techniques is called box breathing. All you do is inhale to a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4. Then, exhale to a count of 4. Then, hold to a count of 4, and repeat the sequence. Keep this one in your stress-relief toolbox and you’ll feel much more prepared to meet the challenges of any given day.
Attune yourself to the rhythms of nature
The ancient medical systems of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda emphasize the beauty of living in tune with Mother Nature. And with winter upon us, it’s important to remember this. We may want to consider some of the ways we might improve our health by attuning our lives to the rhythms of nature.
Winter is a time for hibernation. It’s a time to look inward, to be still, and to rest. We need to conserve our energy, just as the animals do. There are also certain foods that nourish our bodies during winter. According to TCM, those foods are dark in color. Think blackberries, mushrooms, black beans, black sesame seeds, lentils, wild rice, seaweed, and bone broth.
We also want to sip warm teas and tonics throughout the day. Ayurveda suggests sipping warm water throughout the day, even in the warmer seasons. It’s something I like to do during the winter, and adding a little citrus juice to the warm water is always a good idea for some extra vitamin C.
Going to bed early during the winter also makes sense. Lately, I’ve been in bed by 9pm. This early bedtime feels right for my body, and I encourage you to try going to bed earlier during the winter season as well.
Supplement with vitamin C
I cannot stress enough just how important vitamin C is for immune health. Not only does vitamin C massively support healing when you get sick, it also works as a potent preventative. Therefore, if you’re concerned about getting a virus, supplement with vitamin C on a daily basis and eat the most nutrient dense foods you can get. I like to get a powdered version of vitamin C and take 1,000 mg per day on average. And because getting nutrients from your food is always a good idea, focus on eating foods known for their high vitamin C content.
Being your own health advocate is important and even essential
You know your body best. The modern medical system gets so much media attention, whereas the holistic system of health prevention and natural health gets none. There’s so much propaganda around Big Pharma these days because there’s so much money in it. We’ve all evolved from nature, and intuitively, we know that nature knows best. Know your body and mind and what they need. You don’t have to follow the advice of a medical talking head on the television for every, single aspect of your health. Rather, do what you know intuitively is best. And be your own health advocate.
Sleeping naked is healthy
Do you sleep naked? Some of us do, some don’t. We all have our preferred sleep suits, whether it’s a cozy pair of flannel pajamas, or a simple night shirt. Many experts believe the best one is our birthday suit. Why? One reason is that being naked in bed speeds up the body’s natural process to lower its temperature to what’s optimal for sleep. This helps us fall to sleep quickly. It also helps keep us from waking in the middle of the night. Sleeping naked also naturally gets us in touch with our own naked bodies, which can promote intimacy with a partner, and self-confidence simply being in our own skin. If you don’t currently sleep in the nude beneath your sheets, you may want to consider giving it a go and see if your sleep improves. We can all use a dose of healthier zzz’s these days.
Cure your hangover with nutrient dense food and drink
While some of us may opt to kick our alcohol drinking habit if the train of moderation left the station in 2020. Others of us will over do it from time to time. And that’s ok. We’re all human. If and when that does happen, you’ll want to know what to eat and drink to cure a hangover. And, no—it’s not the greasy spoon of fried foods or the hair of the dog. The healthiest ways to cure a hangover have to do with hydration and replenishment of nutrients.
Because we’re super dehydrated when hungover, it’s best to cure a hangover by drinking coconut water. Coconut water is full of electrolytes and antioxidants that are the perfect antidote to the diuretic effects of alcohol. If you’re going to drink, and want to prevent a hangover, you may wish to alternate between your alcoholic beverage of choice, and a glass of coconut water. If you forgot to take care of yourself during a mindless but altogether fun night of drinking, make sure the fridge is stocked with coconut water in advance to help cure the morning after a hangover.
Did you know that honey is a hangover food? This study, published in the journal Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, suggests that eating honey actually helps detox the body from alcohol. Honey also contains a bunch of vital nutrients which replenish the body after a night of drinking. Another good hangover food is nuts. Cashews, almonds and walnuts all contain the mineral magnesium your body needs after that magnesium has been depleted by drinking too much alcohol.
And last but not least, the stuff that popeye ate to grow his huge muscles, is one of the best veggies you can eat to cure a hangover. Spinach greens are full of many vitamins and minerals that we lose after drinking too much. Vitamin K, folic acid, and chlorophyll are just a few of the life-giving nutrients found in spinach that will no doubt help you recover from a hangover.
Ditch the sugar for lucuma powder this year
Do you have a sweet tooth but know eating sugar is doing your body and mind a world of harm? Believe me, I get it. I have a real sweet tooth, and while I do pretty well, I’d definitely like to cut back on the sweets—especially after the December binge of holiday treats. Luckily, an all-natural sweetener from high in the Andes is filled with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients. In fact, this sweetener is so good for you, it’s often referred to as a superfood. Lucuma powder is healthier than most sugars, and even agave nectar because it doesn’t spike your blood sugar. It’s low on the glycemic index, which makes it a good sweetener for everyone, even diabetics.
Mindset is everything
Our minds are infinitely powerful. They can make us sick and they can heal us. When my dad was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer at stage 4, he took a small bit of time to freak out, and the majority of time to be so utterly positive I know for a fact it’s why he’s still here today. His attitude was so great. And he was determined to live longer, so that he could see his children and grandchildren grow older. Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief delves deep into the why and how behind our thoughts creating our reality. It’s a powerful book that will no doubt motivate you to think healthy thoughts.
Your social connections will keep you healthy
In this time of social distancing I suggest you think of it more as physical distancing. Social isolation is inherently unhealthy, and your relationships are here to create health and help you stay healthy. So keep those social connections the best way you possibly can. And be kind and compassionate to everyone around you. This promotes good health in ways no pharmaceutical medicine can.