It may only be a few days into the New Year but already some of you may be struggling with the discipline necessary to stick with your strict, ‘new year new you’ plans. We impose such high expectations on ourselves. Go to the gym everyday before work (Seriously? Everyday? That involves getting up at 6am in the dark and having your bag packed with work-suitable clothes, make-up, breakfast-prepped etc?), Give up coffee. (Really? Right now, on in a chilly January morning after a dreadful commute?). Going vegan. (Highly commendable but probably best in stages as you have to learn to shop and cook in an entirely new way). And that’s why I’ve never been a big fan of making resolutions - basically, we’re setting ourselves up to fail.
In my experience, we’re always much more successful at making long-lasting lifestyle change when we add small healthy activities into our day instead of focusing on giving up the unhealthy ones we find hard to resist. You might not believe it now, but these will fade and become less important to you as your mind and body adjust. With time, you may actually prefer going to bed early in preparation for yoga the next morning, or you will pass on that offer of a glass of wine because you simply don’t fancy one.
But what if the reality of your busy life seems so far from your wellness dreams of daily workouts and super-food eating that you feel the only way to improve your wellbeing is to ban all the “bad” things. I suggest that you reconsider and avoid the all-or-nothing approach.
How? By changing the way you think about your wellbeing – stop compartmentalising wellness and simply make it part of your lifestyle. You don’t have to go the gym to workout, you don’t have to follow a trendy recipe to eat healthily, you don’t need to go to a yoga studio for a fulfilling practice, you don’t have to have a beautiful bathroom to create a home spa, unbelievably you don’t even have to find extra time to meditate. All these wellness activities are already accessible to you within your daily life – with very little outlay, besides investing in some time to be positive, creative and mindful.
A while ago now, you may remember as I have blogged on this before, I stopped getting frustrated about not having time or childcare to go to the gym, get a massage or book a yoga retreat, finally coming to the realisation that this is where my life currently is, and that I needed to embrace it and make the most of it. What this acceptance did was to reinforce my belief in what I have just suggested to you – your whole life is your wellness journey.
Your walk to work, your breakfast bowl, your posture at your computer, your lunch choices, your yoga flow (even if it’s in the living room as the kids do their homework), your evening bath, your bedtime. All you have to do is elevate these everyday activities into wellness rituals through your intention and simple mindful techniques – such as mantras, essential oils, breathing techniques, yoga postures.
So no detoxes, diets or complicated plans from me, instead I have created a month long series of simple, do-able, however busy your schedule, however tight your budget, wellness rituals that you can fit into day that will help you feel nurtured, nourished and simply your best. Below you will find a morning-to-evening selection of some of my favourites, the ones I rely to keep my mood positive, my mind calm and my energy levels high. For more of these simple yet highly effective daily wellness fixes, follow @calmia_uk for selfcare inspo, morning energy boosts, therapeutic yoga poses, evening re-sets and peaceful bedtime tips.
Here’s to a healthy, positive and happy 2018 – make this the year that you truly take care of yourself, from the inside out, the one where you lay a strong foundation for the kind of healthy wellbeing lifestyle you want to lead and keep leading for years to come
Namaste, Lucy x
Practicing self-care rituals creates mindfulness and brings balance to our lives. When we stop prioritizing self-care our physical and mental health can suffer — our confidence depletes, our energy decreases, our skin breaks out, we look tired. Make this the year, you join me in consciously controlling your routine lifestyle activities, such as maintaining a healthy diet, regularly exercising, caring naturally for your skin, and finding time to restore and reabalance by sprinkling wellness rituals into your week.
Make the most of those first precious moments with a mantra to set the tone for the rest of the day. Try, “I am forgiving. I can do this. I believe in myself.”
Visualise washing away any tiredness and negative energy - anything that isn’t in line with your positive vision for your day can go down the drain. Feel the warmth of the water cleansing your skin. Add in aromatherapy body wash (look for ingredients such as Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Tea Tree, Lemon and Lavender) for extra revitalisation. It’s the perfect way to clear your head and start the day fresh and revitalised.
Don’t think you have time to workout? If you’ve got 20 minutes you’ve got time to exercise – you just have to be mindful to work at a high enough intensity and not go through the moves on autopilot. A simple bodyweight circuit (think burpees, planks, push ups) can be done at home, anytime, without equipment. Don’t feel you’ve got the energy to workout? Create your own natural, aromatherapy pick me-up by diffusing or mixing uplifting essential oils such as Rosemary, Lemon, Orange and Peppermint.
Not confident exercising on your own – check out Sarah Kusch, Kayla Itsines or Alice Liveing for great do-anywhere workouts.
Make sure your kitchen is always stocked with essentials – oats, seeds, nuts, plant milks, fresh fruit - that make having a nutritious and delicious breakfast easy. Keep Greek and/or Coconut yogurt in your fridge for a high-protein start to your day. Or, take 5 minutes the night before and prep some fibre-packed Overnight Oats to eat when you wake up or get to work. Take five minutes to enjoy your concoction with a cup of green tea and feel accomplished and ready for a healthy day.
Ground Yourself at Work
Can you bring more of your holistic lifestyle into your workspace? I keep a stash of herbal and green teas, a water jug, a mini candle, a pile of inspiring magazines, a little Buddha and a collection of flower mists, to calm or re-energise as required, on my desk. I also have a mood board of inspirations and visions. There is just about enough room for me and my laptop!
You might feel a bit silly at first but if you need to take some time out, spray your face with a relaxing mist and focus on your breath, the calming benefits are amazing. Or try some yoga stretches to release the tension that builds up so quickly from sedentary screen-time. Trust me, your colleagues will be only too eager for you to share your knowledge and teach them what you know and what’s more the whole office will be more happy and productive.
Anytime Mini Savasana
Exhausted by the day’s events? Overwhelmed by your responsibilites? Wiped out by that workout? Don’t save Savasana just for the end of your yoga class. Any time, any place you really can just lay down and let all your tension and problems sink away. Silence, a comfy yoga mat and eye pillow add to the experience but aren’t essential. I am well known for disappearing into a meeting room for five minutes or so and re-emerging refreshed and ready to face the day again!
Sometimes we look so worn and wintery, even the prettiest make-up doesn’t seem to make us sparkle. The reason? We need to focus on unlocking our inner beauty instead of covering it up. Every evening, try a simple facial massage with a beautiful botanical oil to help increase lymph flow and reduce puffiness. For a step-by-step facial ritual visit My holistic guide to glowing skin.
Evening Stress Release
Instead of flopping on the sofa after supper, light a relaxing candle, play some chilled music and spend some time foam rolling or working on releasing tightness and tension with deep hip openers, hamstrings stretches and posture improvers. I’m guilty of never spend enough time stretching after exercising and find this a lovely end of day ritual to give my hardworking muscles the attention they deserve.
Run a deep, warm bath, add milk powder, a handful of salts a few drops of your favourite essential oil – mine is always Jasmine, but Rose is beautiful too. Light a few candles, turn on a guided meditation or chilled music if you wish, and just relax in the warm, sweet floral haze for at least 20 minutes knowing nothing else matters in this moment.
It’s easy to get swept up with the busy-ness and to-dos of wellness – the workouts, the yoga flows, the food prep, the inner beauty rituals, – but sometimes we simply need to stop and let our bodies absorb the benefits of all these activities. This is a simple meditation, I use to close the day before I go to bed – enjoy.
Sit in a comfortable seated position with your palms facing down on your knees. Close your eyes and turn your attention to your breath. Without forcing it, gently extend the length of each inhalation and exhalation. Every breath is taking your mind and body closer to a state of relaxation. Begin to count – inhale for three, hold for three, exhale for six. Once you feel sufficiently relaxed, repeat this simple mantra - inhale ‘I am’, exhale – ‘relaxed’. Aim for eight to ten rounds or carry on for as long as you wish.