Use ashwagandha daily
“The day-to-day dramas of life play havoc on our health,” says Katie Pande, medical herbalist at Pukka Herbs (pukkaherbs.com). “Excess stress leaves us feeling anxious and unable to sleep, and this onslaught of cortisol hampers our immunity, blood sugar levels and hormonal balance. The ayurvedic herb ashwagandha works to nourish and rejuvenate an overworked nervous system and can be taken daily to counteract stress.”
Take a leaf out of Gwyneth Paltrow’s book and start sleeping clean (and no, we don’t mean you have to wash before hitting the hay). We rarely consider snoozing as a vital part of wellness, but it’s time we start taking it a bit more seriously. From today, try to ensure you’re getting seven to eight hours of solid, uninterrupted rest a night.
Do a Garshan massage
Boost your circulation and lymphatic system with this five-minute ayurvedic morning routine from Mary Dalgleish, vice president of the Federation of Holistic Therapists (fht.org.uk) – all you need is a soft brush or sponge.
1/ Massage your face, neck, shoulders and chest using stroking movements towards your heart.
2. Move on to your feet, up your torso and onto your neck, then from your hands to your shoulders. Use circular strokes on your stomach and joints and long, sweeping strokes on your arms and legs.
3. Apply light pressure on areas of thin skin, and stronger pressure where skin is thicker. More vigour and time can be spent on fatty areas.
Find time to meditate
This morning, instead of lying in bed scrolling though your phone when you wake up, take 10 minutes to meditate. To do this, find a quiet space, sit comfortably, focus your breathing and clear your mind (don’t worry if your thoughts wander). Doing this each day can increase your happiness, slow ageing and benefit both your immunity and cardiovascular health.
Pick up a book
Many of us leave reading to our summer holiday when we’re already relaxed, but there are so many reasons to peruse a novel throughout the year. Not only does it improve your memory and your focus, but it also decreases your stress levels by up to 68 percent, according to a study by Sussex University. Reading can also help you sleep, so why not curl up with that book you’ve been meaning to start tonight?
Up your fluid intake
How much water do you drink a day? The answer is probably not enough. From today, try to up your fluid intake – this way you’ll boost your energy levels, improve your complexion, increase your productivity and ward off sickness and pain. Not a fan of plain H20? Try infusing it with fruit, such as lemon slices, to add flavour (and extra nutrients!).
Make like Bridget Jones and grab a pen – there are so many benefits of recording your thoughts, from helping you to evoke mindfulness and achieve goals to boosting your memory and improving your self-confidence. Studies show that writing about your day can clear your head and aid you in solving problems.
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and it’s true. Not only does a hearty giggle relax your entire body and decrease your stress hormones, it also improves your mood, protects your heart and burns calories! Beginning today, make a point of smiling at everyone (even strangers), and create opportunities to laugh – try watching a funny TV programme, or heading to your local comedy club.
Have a bath
While a shower is usually a more convenient way of washing, making time for a bath could be the key to boosting your wellbeing. From helping your heart and joints to balancing your hormones, having a soak in the tub a great way to improve your overall health. To increase the benefits of your bath, add 250g of BetterYou Magnesium Flakes (£9.95 for 1kg, betteryou.com) – this will aid your skin and bones and relieve muscle tension – bonus!
Light a candle
The Danish are the happiest people in the world, and they also burn more candles than anywhere else in Europe. Coincidence? We think not, as the flame has been proven to soothe, reduce stress and increase self awareness. Light your favourite candle tonight to feel yourself instantly relax.
Add moringa to your diet
Using moringa powder in your smoothie, or sprinkling it on a salad can support your overall wellbeing, as Jenny Tschiesche, consultant nutritionist at Indigo Herbs (indigo-herbs.co.uk) explains. “Moringa provides high levels of antioxidants, as well as vitamins A and C, B vitamins, essential amino acids and zinc, iron and magnesium. It reduces inflammation, supports healthy bones, helps to stabilise blood sugar, reduces total cholesterol levels and boosts energy.”
Giving to others can not only make us feel better about ourselves, but it can also be as effective at lowering blood pressure as medication or exercise. Don’t panic if your budget is tight, as you could volunteer your time instead – visit do-it.org to find opportunities near you.
Mow the lawn
Did you know that something as simple as a smell has the power to improve your wellbeing? In fact, the scent of freshly cut grass can make you feel happy and relaxed, and could even prevent mental decline in old age, according to scientists at the University of Queensland. If you don’t have access to a garden, the aroma is available as an essential oil so you can still gain the benefits!
Look after your gut
“A healthy gut is vital to wellbeing,” says Amanda Hamilton, nutritionist at Udo’s Choice (udoschoice.co.uk). “The balance of billions of bacteria supports a healthy immune function and your digestive system. These bacteria are also involved in the production of vitamins B12 and K and even influence what we extract from our diet, both nutritionally and energetically, impacting on our weight. So, to help your shape, health and digestion, keep topped up regularly with beneficial bacteria, such as those found in Udo’s Choice’s range of microbiotics.”