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Five Habits to Promote Wellness

how a little can go a long way

We've seen and heard a lot about how we can feel, look and be our best. 

Influencers provide tried and true rhythms and products.

Fitness coaches provide us with the best techniques to build muscle, improve internal wellness and stamina.

Food blogger's lead the way to show us how to be our own chef.

And others show us by way of example and spreading encouraging words how we can "be true to ourselves" and how not to steer away from our own lane when it seems we should be in someone else's. 

I wanted to write up a brief look into what habits I've taken from each of these categories - all of which can re-direct my attention on what I can control when life seems quite unfair or unsteady.

Each of these are simple and can become rhythms when implemented on a daily basis, and not just when we "feel like it" (because if we just did the things that were good for our whole selves when we felt up to the task, it wouldn't get done).

1) Cold Water Exposure

Have you ever done a "cold plunge" or taken a cold shower? If you have, chances are you've either thought "never again" or "I feel amazing".  Now, you don't have to sit in an ice-bath for 5+ minutes unless you really want to. Splash some cold water on your face a few times in the morning, afternoon, or evening or hop in a cold shower to reap the many benefits of cold therapy, some of which are: improved blood circulation, strengthened nervous system, increases energy, keeps hair and skin healthy (redness from heat is not necessarily a good sign for your skin), improves deep sleep quality and reduces inflammation.

I've experienced quite a few changes when I added this habit to my day-to-day, especially my mental health.

2) Early Morning Hydration

This almost feels unnecessary to include, but since I need this reminder every single hour, I'm just going to leave this here. Our bodies need water to help us face all the things in the day, it guides our energy, our perspective, clarity and overall ability to function at our personal best. Rule of thumb: drink at least three times your age in ounces. To get a head start, drink a full 8 ounce glass of water soon after you wake up.

3) Move Your Body

And if you can, do it outside. Stretch, run, dance, do yoga, lift weights - even if it's for 15 minutes, moving our bodies sends all the good messages to our mind and muscles. It won't solve all of our problems, but it sure does give us the ability to see more clearly, find joy in the simple things, and continue the momentum needed for the tasks ahead. Set a few 10-minute slots aside each day to intentionally move or go outside. Also, we prove to the self-critic we tend to me that we are capable of keeping promises we make to ourselves. 

4) Drop the Phone, and Go to Bed

Whether it's because you forgot to look at something until your head hit the pillow, you want to watch one more episode, or you feel like you missed out on a random event you want to catch up on - repeat after me: it can wait until tomorrow. It truly can. Your sleep is more important, trust me. When we spend time on a screen (phone, computer, television), our sleep cycle won't feel so great. Why? Our melatonin levels (plays a role in sleep) go way down, as light exposure blocks its' production thus causing our deep sleep cycles to pretty much suck. 

If you literally cannot step away from a screen because your job has you work night shifts, be sure to create a dark and cool space when you are able to get some rest during the day-time to get some good good sleep in.

5) Plan "Snack Breaks" Throughout the day

This is also more of a reminder then a new thing to implement. However, I think we can be more intentional here. Some days, the time just flies by and suddenly you've worked four hours straight without taking a sip of water or eating anything but a Ritz cracker that was by the couch.

Plan to eat one or two snacks between each meal, or whenever your body signals to you "hey, we're reaching the point between hangry and brain fog".

Keep it simple (and at least somewhat nutrient dense) to prevent much prep-work and promote energy for the tasks that follow (even if it's a nap).

Some of my go-to snacks are:

- Trail Mix (dried cranberries, almonds, cashews, dark chocolate chips)

- A snack plate made up of: edamame, Mary's Gone Cracker (gluten free), hummus (we love ithaca's lemon garlic!), carrots, berries, and dark chocolate

- Apple slices with almond butter mixed with honey and chia seeds

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