Did anyone else find January super long this year? Despite my initial enthusiasm and realistic New Year intentions, it was tough to be upbeat, active and plant-based through five of the Mondayiest Mondays ever. Now, finally it’s short, sweet little February. We’ve been blessed with the energy of the Super Blue Blood Moon and the days are getting just a touch longer. With a sigh of relief, I am settling back into the wellness ways that work for me.
Many of you ask me what these ‘wellness ways’ are and how I fit them into my busy day – well, the short answer is that it’s all down to the healthy hacks I rely on to make me feel good from the inside out. The long answer is that I’ve actually spent years honing these down, establishing which ones are the right ones for me. Over 20 years, I’ve researched complementary therapies and medical studies, interviewed doctors, experts, instructors and healthy celebs, read a LOT of books, participated in countless different workouts and classes, been on retreats, followed nutrition plans, experimented with supplements and tried everything from bullet proof coffee to oil pulling, as well Ayurveda (my favourite), crystals, juicing, smudging and everything in between.
I’ve discovered to keep me at my happiest and healthiest best, I simply need to respect my body and listen to it. Finally, I’ve come to a place where I can blend all this experience and knowledge into a holistic lifestyle that is rooted in self care - lots of yoga, exercise, sleep, connecting with nature, mood-balancing essential oils and of course great food - healthy fats and super-foods for longevity, digestion, and energy. Though this might sound like a lot, wellness is a lifestyle for me.
Here are my top wellness hacks in the context of my daily routine, so you can get an idea where I slot self care and healthy activities in and hopefully find some inspiration where you can to.….
I start and end my day with self care
I am certain that book-ending my day with self care explains why I almost always get a good night’s sleep and wake up easily and early enough to fit in my morning rituals. I’m pretty sure no phone an hour before bed and half an hour after waking also contributes. Most nights, I take an essential oil bath (Vetiver and Jasmine are my sleep-inducing go-to), do some meditation or maybe a little chanting, spritz my bedroom with a calming pillow mist and write my gratitudes. In the morning, I have a glass of warm water with lemon (at the minute I’m adding a scoop of Collagen powder which is amazing for skin, hair and nails) and I do my Ayurvedic-inspired tongue cleaning. I’ll then roll out the mat and do my yoga or go for a run. Your self care rituals may look completely different to these, but whatever they are guard them fiercely and don’t let others trample on them.
I wear yoga clothes nearly all day, everyday
One of my all time favourite hacks is to wear active wear and trainers whenever possible. You can build a stylish, even smart look from a base of good sports bra, long length tank, great pair of yoga pants and cool trainers – layer over a trendy knit, jacket and scarf and you not only look great you are also ready to walk everywhere, pop into a yoga class if the opportunity arises or workout when you get home. It’s a no brainer.
I’m a breakfast prepper
I’d happily skip lunch and I don’t like a big fussy dinner but breakfast is my favourite meal and the key for the rest of my day going healthily and happily. I have three nutritious staples on repeat which can all be prepared the night before – porridge, overnight oats, chia pudding hacked up with berries, seeds, nuts, whatever I’ve got to hand at home.
Most often, I also have a freshly-made green smoothie for a big boost of vitamins and minerals. Usually a whizz of avocado, spinach, berries, almond milk, chia seeds, greens powder. You could pre-prep the smoothie by chopping a bulk load of the fresh ingredients and stashing them in little individual serving bags in the freezer– but who really needs a hack when smoothies are so quick? Plus, think of all that plastic! Who else saw Blue Planet 2? I am now obsessed with plastic consumption – thanks for opening our eyes yet again David Attenborough.
I counterbalance time sitting with time stretching
I’m terrible company at the movies and you definitely won’t want to sit next to me on a plane but it turns out my fidgety nature is actually good for me and my daily Move goals. Luckily, my workday is fairly active but when I do have to work for long hours on the computer I make sure to counterbalance all that sitting later in the day with poses that will improve my posture and lots of heart and hip openers. Just imagine all that stuck energy that gets built up in our bodies when we sit hunched over our computer all day and then the extra bad hand we deal it, if we have to drive home or sit on a train – yoga can really help with this.
How do you fit this in when you’re tired and hungry? Well, when the sofa is tempting you instead of fIopping down and giving up for the day, simply roll out your yoga mat and stretch while watching your latest Netflix fixation or the evening news. I do this all the time, I don’t follow a complete yoga routine, I just hold the poses I know my body needs for a long time and use my breath to go deeper. I sometimes use a yoga roller too for an added bit of massage-style pain/pleasure.
I’m crazy about essential oils
In my bath, on my wrists in place of perfume, on my pillow, mixed with sugar & oil for a scrub, added to transform a body lotion from basic to luxurious, diffused into my home, used to clean the kitchen, misted round our studio, even in my chocolate (visit Ottar Chocolate for the lovely Shelly’s fragrant delights) - essential oils are a big part of my life. Give me a wellness concern and I’ll give you an aromatherapy hack. Can’t sleep – massage oil with a few drops of Lavender into the soles of your feet. Can’t get moving in the mornings – dot citrus oils onto a flannel place on the floor of your shower and let the citrusy steam awaken your senses. Dip in energy mid-afternoon? Inhale Eucalyptus, Basil or Lemon instead of having a cup of tea and a biscuit. Feeling down and emotional? Try an Ylang Ylang bath. From diffusers to pulse-point roll-ons, bath oils to mouth washes, essential oils not only take the place of toxic perfumes and artificial fragrance in my home, they also make me feel balanced from the inside out with their therapeutic properties. Take a look in your cupboards and see what switches you can make.
I walk everywhere I possibly can
Have you heard of LISS? It stands for “low intensity steady state cardio” – it’s the latest buzz and trainers recommend it for active recovery on the days in between full on HITT sessions. I love everything about it – even the name is lovely and rhymes with kiss. It means we can basically exercise anytime and anywhere – like going to the park with the kids or walking to the shops at the weekend. You don’t have to be doing a workout to workout. Think you are too busy for LISS? Well, think about somewhere you travel to a lot – the office, your kids school, the supermarket. Even if you’re convinced it’s too far walk, always check a map app on your phone before you head off. You will be AMAZED how places are perfectly walk-able and in fact, are quicker to walk to. For three years I drove to pick my kids up from school, which takes about 20-25 minutes and is a horrible, busy journey with endless humps and traffic. Finally, I thought to check the walking route - it takes 25 minutes plus we get to walk along a beautiful canal!!! Remember, if you are a fast walker like me, better still a fast walker with trainers on, you will certainly beat the destination time stated on your app. Give it a try! All of us can benefit from walking and getting outdoors more.
I borrow healthy hacks from other on-the-go ‘wellness women’
I may know a lot about wellness but I certainly don’t know everything. In fact, I am keener than ever to learn more – that’s why at a time when there seems to be so much negativity about social media, I am actually feeling pretty upbeat about it as it enables me to connect with a wellness community of amazing women, women who have lots of healthy hacks that they have developed to help them lead their own busy, active lives.
Self-care tips from Julie Montague, how the latest wellness research can improve my day from Brigid Moss, a great kettlebell finisher from Alice Liveing, a beautiful new way to flow from Cat Meffan, a delicious no-fuss recipe from Amelia Freer, home facial tips from Abigail James, an Ayurvedic-take on a supper staple from Jasmine Hemsley, a great book suggestion from Reese Witherspoon, reminders on the importance of thriving not just living from Arianna Huffington…..the list is endless. Follow women whose lifestyles and careers inspire you and see how they do it, it’s a great way to learn and to realise that at the end of the day we all want the same thing – to be happy and healthy.
Hope this gives you lots of inspiration and food for thought
Love, light and warmest wishes, Lucy x