From Erika Bloom, Pilates Expert and Founder of Erika Bloom Pilates
It’s wonderful that we have so much information available to us about wellness these days, but it can also be daunting to navigate. To find what will truly benefit us, we have to sort through it and commit to what fits into our lives. Spring is a perfect time to introduce a new wellness ritual. Prep for warmer weather and use the change of season to inspire new health habits and happiness. Here are my top wellness picks for spring:
1. Dry Brushing with Raw Silk Gloves
Dry brushing is a traditional Ayurvedic massage technique that exfoliates the skin, stimulates the lymphatic system, enhances blood circulation, and encourages the release of toxins. You can practice self-massage at home using organic silk gloves by massaging the body in upward strokes towards the heart.
Essential oils are healing for the body and mind. Naturally extracted essences from plants reach the brain through the nose to enhance psychological and physical well-being. Aromatherapy can be used to improve your mood, aid with sleep, reduce anxiety, eliminate headaches, or boost your immune system. Diffuse oils or apply a roll on from one of my favorite brands: Floracopia, Naturopathica, or Enfleurage.
3. Epsom Salt Baths
Soaking in a warm bath of Epsom salts is a relaxing ritual with healing benefits. Made up of magnesium and sulfate, they stimulate detoxification pathways in the body. These minerals improve nerve and muscle function, reduce inflammation, and aid in sleep. Fill your bath with warm water and add ½ cup of Epsom salts such as Leif, Herbivore, or Indie Lee.
4. Mindful Exercise
Mindful exercise like Pilates, yoga and qigong keep us in the present moment by teaching us to focus on our breath and stay connected to our bodies. Being present returns our nervous systems to a parasympathetic state, which results in a better mood, decreased anxiety, more efficient digestion, improved immunity, and a boost of energy.
Practicing mindfully means listening to the instructor, keeping a continuous breath, pairing inhalation and exhalation with every single movement, constantly staying in alignment, and focusing on connecting to the right muscles without added tension elsewhere in the body.
Meditation is a state of mental rest, where our attention is aware, but not engrossed in thinking. Meditation teaches you to become more grounded and live more consciously. The many health benefits include the ability to alleviate stress, improve sleep, enhance brain performance, and create a state of calm focus.
There are many forms of meditation, but the simplest version is just to find any amount of time, sit or lay in stillness, and let your thoughts go. Your mind can wander but do not follow it. If you do, return to your breath or to a quiet mind. Build up to meditating in a sitting position, in neutral spine, for 20 to 45 minutes.
6. Breath Work
Breath work is the practice of consciously and intentionally guiding your breath. Breathing cleanses the adrenals and can aid in digestion. More oxygen in your body’s muscles and tissues also leads to healthier cells, better clarity and better moods.
Begin by exhaling all of the air out of your lungs by drawing your belly button in to your spine and allowing your sternum to soften. Then inhale slowly through your nose, expanding the low belly first, then the mid-back, and then the chest. Hold the breath at the top of the inhale. Release the breath through your nose, slowly controlling the exhale. As you inhale, feel your diaphragm dome down and your pelvic floor relax. As you exhale, feel your pelvic floor tone and your diaphragm relax up. Consciously breathe for several minutes. Return to this breath throughout the day.
Our bodies are full of bacteria and maintaining a balance of good and bad bacteria is essential to being your healthiest self. Probiotics are made up of these good bacteria and incorporating them in to your diet can remarkably improve digestion, gut health, women’s health, allergies, anxiety, depression and immunity.
Take probiotics once a day either as a supplement or in a drink. May favorites and daily go-to’s are Sakara Chocolate Probiotics, GT’s Ginger Kombucha, and Juice Press Probiotic.
8. Good Fats
Good fats keep us happy, healthy, smart, and glowing. Your body uses these mono- and poly-unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids for a myriad of essential things such as cell regeneration, skin hydration, and brain function. They also assist in absorbing vitamins, controlling inflammation, and are an important source of energy. Get good fats from avocados, fatty fishes, coconut oil, nuts and nut butters, and seeds. Consciously swap out sources of bad fats for ones that provide good fats. For example, choose salmon over a steak at dinner.
Adaptogenics are herbs that help regulate the body’s hormones, especially the ones associated with stress, like cortisol. These herbs boost immunity, reduce inflammation, balance moods, and increase physical endurance and mental focus. My go to adaptogenics are ginseng, holy basil, ashwagandha, rhodiola, astragalus, milk thistle, and aloe vera. You can either take the herbs in capsulated supplement form, brew them in teas, or simply cut them up and use them in cooking.
10. Sleep Hypnosis
Natural sleep patterns, including REM and non-REM cycles, allow us to refresh and restore our bodies and minds. Using hypnosis to achieve a deep state of sleep can be very helpful in achieving this. Hypnosis is a guided session of relaxing the conscious mind while suggesting positive thoughts to the subconscious mind. Sleep hypnosis helps you to drift into sleep soundly and stay deeply asleep, which helps with weight loss, mood, energy, and disease prevention. I often listen to recordings by Michael Sealey on iTunes or YouTube before falling asleep.
The New Potato and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or ailment.
All content on The New Potato (even when supplied by a medical professional) is intended for educational and conversational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider before beginning any new diet, exercise regime, or wellness routine.