Head’s Up: Sponsored By Nature’s Way
I have heard it stated this way, simplified: Work. Relationships. Wellness. Pick two.
But I prefer David Sedaris’ version of four burners, retold in an old (beautiful) piece for New Yorker. That our lives are a stovetop of simmering pots – friends, family, health and work. That to be successful, however it is we define the word, we must turn off one burner. Better yet, two.
It is not difficult for me to know which burner I have turned off in a small attempt to keep the rest of the pots bubbling well. It is evident in my yoga mat, initialed and mauve, rolled into itself, leaning in the corner of a studio I once frequented daily and haven’t returned to since last February.
There have been reasons, of course – a smattering of travels, a large project for Ken, a general sleeplessness from the baby. There are always reasons, some better than others. But here we are: a body that is not well, yet not unwell, and a burner in need of stoking.
Here, then, are 4 simple ways I’m incorporating a bit more wellness into my 2018 routine:
There was a time, some five years ago, in which I lived on a steady diet of food in styrofoam and wrappers. I’d often reference my lack of kitchen know-how as the excuse for a near-constant rotation of takeout dinners and prepackaged lunches, but the truth was, the why didn’t matter and the what did: I felt, on the regular, sick. I soon made the switch to paleo and committed to chopping my way through the kitchen, experimenting with rich, vibrant flavors once dulled by plastic wrap and additives.
I have never once looked back, and making real food is still a top priority in January and beyond. This year, I plan to add more vegetarian plates to my arsenal with a few borrowed cookbooks from the library (namely this, this and this).
For the foreseeable future, the daily yoga classes I pine for just aren’t realistic. Until I can steal away for an hour and a half of incense and 105 degree detox, I can choose to get creative with exercise by moving and shaking throughout the day, right here at home. Kitchen dance parties to fend off tantrums, arm circles while the water boils, calf raises while teeth-brushing — the little things add up just enough to maintain a (somewhat) active lifestyle.
When all else fails, flinging open the back door for a race around the yard in the snow never hurt a mama, either (nor the stir-crazy littles).
I’ve often shied away from traditional herbs and vitamins, prone to second-guessing the ingredients and wondering if I was giving my body too much to process all at once. And yet: B12 nearly saved my postpartum self, and I’ve long relied on holy basil tea for seasons heavy on stress and light on coping mechanisms.
A friend of mine suggested Nature’s Way – the first herbal brand with both non-GMO and Tru-ID certification – as a smart solution to boost my intake of herbs without the extra fluff. So far, I’ve been adding in Ginkgo, Rhodiola and Holy Basil with my morning meal as a surefire way to step-up my energy and mood during these dark winter months.*
I keep an odd schedule, but mostly, am able to sneak in at least seven hours of sleep, almost eight if I forgo my nightstand stack of reads. And yet, I’m a firm believer that, in matters of wellness, how I wake up is just as important as how I fall asleep.
Some months ago, I dug up my old travel alarm clock to experiment with leaving my phone in the kitchen drawer throughout the night. While the alarm itself was more jarring than the quiet setting on my phone’s ringer, I loved waking up with my own thoughts, rather than a quick scroll through messages I’d missed while sleeping. After a few weeks, I noticed an uptick in productivity, as well, choosing to finish my morning’s writing, reading or meditations before checking my phone at all.
It’s a practice I’ll undoubtedly keep throughout the year.
I know it’s not yet boiling, this fourth burner of health. But if one must choose (and one must choose), I suppose a slow, simple simmer is better than nothing at all.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Tell me, any simple wellness improvements you plan to incorporate this year? I’d love to hear!