6 Easy, Effective Ways To Improve Your Health, According to Wellness Professionals
These simple daily self-care practices will help clear your mind, provide balance and allow you to feel more centered.
When life gets busy and our stress levels are at an all-time high, it may seem unrealistic to combat that sense of overwhelm with simple, positive self-care techniques. The irony is, this is when we need it most. Self-care rituals can bring a sense of much-needed peace and balance into our lives, even when it feels like we don’t have much control.
If this sounds like your current state of mind, consider implementing a handful of practices touted by experts who live and breathe wellness on a daily basis. From their morning teatime rituals to their intentional evening wind-down routines (and everything in between), they’ve pinpointed some key daily wellness habits that help them stay calm, youthful, and grateful — and can help you do the same.
- Start The Day With Sunlight
“First, I greet the sun by opening up my blackout shades or by going out on my terrace with a smile on my face with gratitude that I am up for another awesome day,” shares Dr. Susanne Bennett, founder of Purigenex. Sunlight exposure first thing in the morning helps keep your circadian rhythm (or sleep/wake cycle) in check, cueing the body to wake up and jumpstarting metabolism. Morning sunlight also helps you sleep better at night.
During the winter months when sunshine is scarce, Dr. Bennett relies on another source of light. “To combat the winter blues, I breakout my [light therapy] box that mimics the sun rays so that I can start my day with energy and focus.”
- Take Time To Meditate Or Connect With Nature
Daily meditation is a cornerstone of acupuncturist Sherrie Matthews’ wellness routine. After spritzing herself with her Sanctify Aura Spray and doing some breathing exercises while holding her crystal quartz palm stones, “I create my intention for the day, recite an affirmation, and finish by listening to the Daily Meditation on the Calm app. I started using this app right before quarantine — I reluctantly tried it out thinking it was going to be very commercial and out of touch with my needs, but it is a lovely tool. You can pick background nature sounds and specific topics to meditate on as well,” she says.
In the evening, Matthews does another short meditation to reflect on the day and check in on whether she met her intention, followed by a journal entry of the things she’s grateful for.
To try another form of mediation, just go outside. “Nature is my best medicine to prevent stress and release tension from my mind and body,” adds Dr. Bennett. “I connect to nature daily using my senses, by feeling the sun on my skin, playing with my little pup Lola, listening to birds chirping, noticing the bright colors of a beautiful flower, or inhaling the salty ocean air.”
- Find A Way To Move Every Day
“Movement is my next go-to stress reliever — power walking, jump roping, aerial yoga, snorkeling, and calisthenics are my favorites,” says Dr. Bennett. “And a few times a week, I get into my high heels, turn up 70’s disco music and dance until I am sweaty and relaxed!”
Matthews also swears by regular movement. Twice a week, she joins a Zoom Kundalini yoga class. “Keeping a strong mind and body in tune with this type of yoga just feels right to me. I love the breath work and the stories of how the body physically connects to certain things you want to work on, like creativity, overcoming blockages, etc., but mostly I like the sense of community when I join these classes.”
She often ends her day going for a calming walk in the hills where she lives at sundown. “I like to listen to a book on audible and I usually have healing stones in my pocket that I roll around in my fingers as I walk,” says Matthews.
- Harness The Power Of Laughter
“Laughing is a huge healing modality! I do laughing exercises daily to stimulate the vagus nerve that sits in the back of the throat. Studies show that laughing increases your feel-good neurotransmitters levels including serotonin and GABA, which relaxes your mind and body. It takes you out of the “fight, flight, fright” state by calming the adrenals and sympathetic nervous system,” explains Dr. Bennett.
She teaches her patients a daily laughing exercise to enjoy the benefits of this (even if there’s nothing particularly funny happening). Tip your head back to look at the ceiling, take a deep breath, and then loudly and deeply, say “ha” five times in a row and repeat. “Do this daily even if there’s nothing to laugh about, but don’t be surprised when you start spontaneously laughing because it’s actually fun and makes you really laugh!”
- Utilize A Balance Of Supplements
The right supplements can act as a wellness-enhancing complement to a healthy, nutrient-packed diet. “Some of my favorite supplements include a multivitamin and mineral, extra vitamin D and C (especially during this pandemic times), an adrenal support formula for energy and endurance, bone formula with calcium and magnesium, antioxidants including glutathione and pycnogenol to prevent premature cellular aging, and finally, my Super 8 Aminos, which I don’t think I can live without,” says Dr. Bennett. “For over 20 years, amino acids have kept my muscles strong, my body lean in all of the right places, my memory and brain laser-sharp, my skin thicker with resilience, my gut integrity and immunity robust and protective.” And, although it’s not a supplement, she also swears by consuming probiotic-rich kimchi daily (fermented foods have been shown to benefit gut health).
While the right supplements for your own wellness routine may be different, Dr. Bennett’s go-to’s offer a balanced starting point. (Another supplement that’s touted by wellness experts and we love here at Beautytap is immune-boosting Turkey Tail.)
- Treat Your Skincare Routine As A Healing Ritual
There’s lots to be said for using a skincare routine as a self-care ritual. To enhance the well-being benefits of her own skincare steps, Matthews begins by taking a few deep breaths and reflecting on what she’s thankful for as she applies her botanically-based skincare products. Afterward, she uses her Gua Sha scraping massage tool to Zen out while boosting facial circulation, followed by a 5-minute facial Qi Gong routine.
“[Facial Qi Gong] is a series of massage techniques to rejuvenate by keeping your face active, open the channels, and increase oxygen. It consists of upward sweeps of the neck and massaging acupuncture points around the eyes, nose, and ears,” she explains. This holistic practice is thought to reduce fine lines as well as unblock sinuses, improve vision and hearing, and reduce premature gray hair through scalp massage.
Even if your skincare routine is a bit simpler than Matthews’, taking just a moment to be mindful about what you’re grateful for as you apply your favorite cleanser, serum and moisturizer can serve as an instantly soothing wellness ritual — without adding even an extra minute to your day.