When we think of wellness in the new year, our thoughts most often jump to what (and how much) we eat, and how much physical activity we engage in. We truly believe that wellness goes far beyond food and exercise. It’s about taking care of your mind, your body, your spirit, your life and the balance among them – a harmony we like to call “flow”.
We believe that food is one of our ‘secondary nourishers’. Secondary, in that it comes second to our ‘primary nourishers’, which nourish our body, mind and spirit. Our primary nourishers include the relationships we have with our partners, children, families and friends, our career choices and our level of happiness at work (or what we do on a daily basis), a spirituality practice which makes us feel grounded, balanced and connected to ourselves and the level of physical activity we engage in on a daily basis.
So, in light of this new—more holistic definition of wellness—we’re sharing our top 5 wellness tips that we hope will help you create and experience a happier, healthier and more fulfilled 2017.
De-clutter your life
Think like Marie Kondo (author of the hit books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy) and take steps to de-clutter your life starting in January. During the holiday season, we accumulate so many new things—from clothing, to children’s toys and books to kitchen gadgets and tools (really the list could go on and on). So, at the start of each month in 2017 take an hour or two and tackle a closet, a cupboard or even a drawer. According to Marie Kondo, we should only keep things in our life that truly make us happy, or ‘spark joy’ in us. And, although this may sound silly to some, there is truth behind her philosophy. The more ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ we have crowding and cluttering our homes, our cars and our lives in general, the more clutter we have clogging-up our minds too. So, take some time to think about what is truly important to you and what you are just holding on to just for the sake of it. Then toss (or donate to someone who might need it), what no longer serves you.
Self-care is the buzz-word of the moment. And for good reason! Gone are the days where everyone believes that in order to be your best self, you need to work endless hours, function on zero sleep (once a badge of honour) and make everyone else happy, all before taking care of yourself. We, along with wellness experts everywhere, now know that taking care of ourselves is top priority when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy, happy and fulfilling life.
So what is self-care? Self-care is essentially any action or behaviour that you love to do that benefits you by reducing your stress levels and improving your mental, physical and spiritual health. And the good news is, it doesn’t need to be difficult of time-consuming! Simply taking 10-15 minutes a day (or even 3 times a week) to fit in a hike or a walk, hit up a power yoga class (or even stream one online at home), take a warm aromatherapy bath, book a coffee-date or a enjoy a glass of wine with a good friend, head to the spa or simply read a good book can all greatly increase your overall happiness and feelings of self-worth. And trust, us, once you start adding a daily dose of self-care to your life, you really do become a happier person.
Start each and every day with a warm glass of lemon water
Now this one may seem simple, so hear us out on this one. We all know that staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do to keep our bodies and our minds working at their best. But, drinking a large glass of lemon water in the morning—after you wake up and before you eat any other food—has so many hidden health benefits, it would almost be silly not to engage in this super-simple daily habit. Lemon not only detoxifies us but it helps set up our digestive tract for the day of eating. Another perk is that lemon is chock-full of immune boosting Vit C so you are also helping to ward of those nasty cold and flu viruses at this time of the year. Finally, lemons are a powerful antioxidant which help decrease wrinkles and reduce the occurrence of blemishes, keeping our skin clear and radiant (an added bonus during the harsh winter months!). So, this year make it a habit to drink a large glass of lemon water first thing each morning.
Create a gratitude practice and a mindfulness practice
For us, life is a balancing act. It’s all about doing your best to live in the present moment, being grateful for everything you have, learning to let go of the past and releasing the need to control the future. But, we get that this can be tricky! That’s why in 2017, we suggest taking small steps (not necessarily leaps and bounds) towards accomplishing these things. Two great practices that are easy to adopt and can help cultivate more joy, balance and overall well-being are a gratitude practice and a mindfulness practice.
We’ve seen it and heard it a thousand times, but the truth is, being grateful for the things that we have can make a huge difference in how we feel and our overall level of happiness. Being thankful for the things in our life, little or big, help to bring more of these things back into our lives. Experts say that by writing down what we are grateful for (i.e. having a gratitude journal) is a powerful tool. A simple way to start is to keep a journal next to your bed and each day write down three things that you are thankful for, either before bed or first thing in the morning.
Being mindful is another practice that helps us to cultivate inner peace and well-being. A mindfulness practice is anything that helps create balance and a sense of calm, while helping foster a connection to our inner selves. It can be as simple as moving your body or practicing Yoga, or it can be learning breathing techniques or starting a daily meditation practice. So, this coming year, we suggest that you take 10 minutes each morning to introduce one of these practices into your daily routine. We promise that the benefits you experience will trump those last 10 minutes of snoozing.
Most of you have most probably found that rigid, limiting diets not only do not work, but they pretty much make you miserable, fill you with guilt and back-fire in the end anyway. We say, no thank you! Enter our absolute favourite new way of looking at your over-all eating strategy: the 80/20 principle.
The 80/20 principle is super simple: 80 percent of the time you focus on eating good-for-you-foods (think whole, unprocessed foods, fresh fruits and veggies, grains, nuts and seeds, healthy fats and lean proteins) and 20 percent of the time you have the freedom to indulge as you please. So, for example, you may say choose to eat healthy foods during the week, but make your weekend eating choices a little more easy-going.
The 80/20 principle is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change that can lead to sustainable weight loss and a healthier outlook on the food you eat. It not only helps teach you about balance and moderation, but it eliminates the guilt and shame associated with traditional diets and rigid ways of eating. So, make 2017 the year of creating a balanced outlook when it comes to the food you choose to eat!
Lindsay Evans and Danielle McGrath are co-founders of Nourish Live Flow, a holistic health, and wellness company operating in Toronto and the GTA. They are integrative nutrition health coaches trained through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and are currently in training to become meditation and mindfulness coaches. Their mission is to enhance the health and wellness of women, men, and children everywhere and empower people to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. They whole-heartedly believe that reducing our toxic overload is essential in achieving optimal wellness. They have become ambassadors for 3 companies who share this belief, Beautycounter, dōTERRA and Juice Plus. Learn more about their health coaching practice at www.nourishliveflow.com.