For the final seven days of the seventh month of the year, I focused each day on one of my 7 wellness shifts to help my Instagram friends build a solid foundation of knowledge to grow on!
Here’s a recap of the 7 wellness pillars to shift you into renewed health:
- Efficient Sleep ?
- Spiritual Well-Being ??♀️
- Daily Movement ?♀️
- Personal Relationships & Community ?
- Non-toxic /Healthy Personal & Home Care Product Selection (Helpful vs. Harmful) ?
- Real Food Nutrition & Adequate Water Intake ? ?
- Connecting with the Earth/Sun ? ☀️
Read below to learn more about each of the 7 principles.
Let’s start with sleep ?! The reason I say efficient is because there is a HUGE difference between laying in your bed for 8 hours and actually getting quality sleep with a balance of light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep.
“Sleep is the Swiss Army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health.” – Dr. Matthew Walker (read “Why we sleep” – so interesting!)
Well that pretty much sums sleep up!! It’s an amazing free tool that you have access to every day – take advantage of it and work to improve it. Sleep helps keep your immune system in check, supports brain health, helps skin health, can help hormone balance, controls your appetite, and so much more. Sleep studies have even shown to help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and obesity just to name a few.
Here are some sleep tips:
- Expose your eyes to sunlight outside in the morning even if only for 10 minutes – this helps regulate your circadian rhythm (go for a short walk outside or drink your coffee outside, weather permitting of course)
- Incorporate movement throughout the day
- Avoid blue light in the late afternoon and evening (laptops, phones, tv, etc) – wear high quality blue light blocking glasses
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon + evening
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime
- Keep your room clean so that it’s a relaxing environment
- Stop eating a few hours before bed
- Keep the temp cool
- Block out all light in your bedroom including electronic devices by using black out stickers, or wear an eye mask
- Go to sleep + wake at the same time each day
- Sleep 7-9 hours
- A few sleep enhancers include chamomile, lavender essential oil, magnesium and CBD among others
Spirituality is going to look different for everyone depending on whether it is based on religion or if it’s rooted in something that’s not religion, perhaps a higher being. The specifics may vary, but it ultimately connects us all to something bigger than ourselves.
Incorporating spirituality into your life is important because it gives you purpose + meaning for your existence. Benefits include positive emotions like peace, gratitude and acceptance, motivation and drive, and a sense of belonging. Spirituality allows you to have something to fall back on + help guide your decisions.
I’m Christian and became a member of a church this year, which has helped me grow my spirituality with others, as well as build my personal relationship with God. Having an outside organization helps push me to grow in ways i wouldn’t have known how to on my own. Find something that works for you.
Here are some ideas on how to incorporate spirituality into your daily life, which will help with your emotional health.
- Spend 5-10 minutes in the morning or evening with prayer or spiritual learning (like a devotional, book, podcast, app, etc.)
- Listen to spiritual or worship music
- Go on a quiet walk in nature or just anywhere outside
- Consider “attending” (likely through zoom given the season we are in with c19) some kind of religious or spiritual organization for guidance (church, yoga, meditation group, etc)
- Meditate to help you connect spiritually ( @calm app is great)
Know that whatever route you choose, do what is best and true to you. I hope it guides your soul and helps you grow and stretch into the wonderful person you were designed to be.
Movement can be done without any fancy equipment or attire, outside/inside, and can be free!
The reason I say movement is because personally, exercise sounds overwhelming. It may seem silly, but to me it sounds like a lot of thinking and planning, and possibly more money to spend, which isn’t necessarily the case, but it just feels that way to me. When I started setting my goals to incorporate “movement” into my day, getting my body moving and heart rate up became a lot more doable and i was able to build on that!
I knew I could fit in a 10 minute walk or bike ride here or there, or simply jump up and down while my kids play. And that was a lot less overwhelming than signing up for a class, driving somewhere or joining a gym. From there, I was able to include doing little stretches in the morning and eventually started doing a free HIIT (high intensity interval training) app a few days a week, which required no gym equipment and only 5-20 minutes. Very attainable way to get in exercise without it feeling like a chore. I also realized that just playing outside is a fun way to get my body moving!
If you’re like me and are struggling to get in movement, here are some tips:
- Wake up and spend a few minutes stretching
- If your day allows, stop work mid-morning for a 5-10 minute walk outside. Raining? Do some jump & jacks, arm circles or run in place for a few minutes. This will get your out of the sitting position and moving
- Try the HIIT workouts and timer by 7m app (they also have great yoga, stretching and 7 min apps!)
- Go swimming or jump up / down in the pool
- Do yard work / garden
- Park far away when shopping or at work
I’m super grateful that I have the ability to move in the ways above, but i know that not everyone has the luxury – do what you are able ?!
Personal Relationships & Community
Have you heard of blue zones? These are regions around the world with the highest concentrations of people who live to be over the age of 100, AND are healthier in general + live without degenerative diseases.
The blue zone regions are located in Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Sardinia, Italy.
They have been studied and many common denominators found, and i won’t go into all of them, but community is one thing they all have in common. Family comes first and they also have close friends and strong social networks.
It makes sense that these people would live longer given that they not only have a strong support system to help them through the hard times, but have people to share good times with. Community groups allow for people with strengths to help other people with weaknesses and vice versa, allowing constant build up. Community provides a sense of belonging and builds positive emotions.
So how do you build community? Here are some ideas if you’re looking to build your family + social connections (obviously there may be limitations to some of the below given the season we’re in):
- Spend more time outside – sit on your front porch (if you have one) or go on walks near your home so you can meet ppl in your community
- Host a small gathering with neighbors
- Set aside at least 1 day a week to meet up with a friend or family member for a coffee, meal or a walk
- Text/call /FaceTime a friend or family at least 1x week to stay in touch
- Shop or eat at local businesses
- Join local groups, meet-ups or clubs
It’s pretty mainstream to question the foods we put in our body, but what about the products that we use on our bodies and in our homes? The idea is becoming more mainstream, but many people don’t think twice about it. I was that way for sure! I figured if it was on the shelf in a store, then it had to have been tested properly for safety and was fine to use.
Most of these chemicals aren’t regulated, and at least for personal care products, there are only 30 chemicals banned or restricted by the FDA (vs. 1400+ banned or restricted in Europe). Sadly, many popular products are only “tested” by the companies themselves (not 3rd party), so of course they are evaluated as safe by themselves.
And yes, some of the products we are using in our home and skin are absorbed into our bodies through our skin or lungs. The amount will vary from product to product and how much of it you’re using, but if it contains toxic chemicals, those are going to layer up over each other and build up in your body. If we can make safer shopping choices as we buy new products, we can minimize exposure and decrease our toxic load, freeing our bodies up to feel our best instead of constantly getting bogged down detoxing out the junk.
As you look to make swaps, look at the products you use daily and are exposed to the most. Then you can make swaps as you run out.
Here are some lists of products you might consider swapping out to a cleaner, safer choice as you run out. I have a guide to daily home & personal care swaps posted on here to check out with more detailed information.
Home Daily Use Products:
- All-purpose Cleaners
- Air Freshener Sprays, Candles, Plugins (swap all for a diffuser & some pure, trusted essential oils)
- Hand Soaps
- Dish Soap
Personal Care Daily Use Products:
- Body & Face Wash
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Moisturizer, Creams, Oils, Serums
- Lip Balm
- SPF/ Tinted Skin Creams
Real Food + Water
Eating real food doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or expensive. Pictured is a lunch (organic berries, chicken, cheese, butternut squash and peas) that took 5 minutes to whip up – clearly partial leftovers, but it was tasty & fueled me. You don’t have to have cooking skills or deprive yourself to fill your body with a delicious + nourishing meal. It’s just about eating clean, whole foods and making sure to drink plenty of clean H20.
What you put in your mouth has the ability to change your gene expression (epigenetics), hormones, immune system, brain chemistry and more. Wow, when you think about it that way, your fork is pretty powerful!
- Drink plenty of clean H20 (spring & mineral water are great for you!)
- Stick to organic when possible to avoid unnecessary pesticides on your food (esp corn, wheat & soy).
- Aim for pasture raised eggs & chicken, grass fed meats & wild caught fish
- Eat the rainbow – lots of plant foods
- Incorporate plenty of healthy fats: found in nuts + seeds, as well as omega 3-fats (wild-caught seafood, avocado & coconut oil)
- Avoid refined processed foods (can be high in sugar, toxic oils & processed flour – Save $ too)
- Stick to low glycemic (doesn’t spike your blood sugar) grains like black rice, amaranth & quinoa
- Have a sweet tooth? Opt for dark chocolate or berries with homemade whipped cream & honey, or make some nut milk ice cream w/fruit!
- Save $ by buying seasonal foods and/or in bulk (can freeze extra)
Earth + Sun Connections
I LOVE being outside, but often find myself stuck inside like most people, working, doing chores, etc. Getting outside has tremendous benefits! There is a direct relationship between nature and longevity, and taking advantage of our beautiful earth + sun is FREE in most cases!
Consider nature bathing (basically just walk or relax in nature), going a bike ride, walk, hike or even take up gardening. You can go by yourself, with friends or family – so many options. There’s no wrong way to do it!
Here are some benefits of keeping a strong connection with the Earth + Sun:
- Being outside in the sunlight assists in naturally regulating your circadian rhythm, which will help you sleep better
- Soaking in the direct sunlight for appropriate periods of time without a skin barrier (think sunblock, clothing or shade) allows for your body to absorb Vitamin D, which is very important for a strong immune system (download the DMinder app).
- Being outside encourages exercise + movement
- Spending time in nature helps lower cortisol levels, which helps manage stress and calm your mind
- Escaping to nature can allow you to get away from computers, tablets, cell phones and video games and encourages creativity, which will build your attention span
- Outdoor light helps improve your vision because you aren’t having to focus hard in dim indoor light
Hope this encourages you to venture outdoors and soak in the health benefits!