Nobody is exempt from stress, and it's something that's turning up in the form of our eye bags and fine lines. But instead of slathering on that anti-aging cream, what about trying to defy stress from the inside out? Here's a list of my feel good morning rituals that are helping me look 10 years younger (or so they say!)
1. Dry brushing
This detoxifies the lymphatic system and helps get your blood flowing to regenerate the cells all over your body. All you have to do is take a dry brush and move in circular motions toward the heart.
2. Oil pull - It's an Ayurvedic practice that detoxifies your mouth of harmful bacteria. To do this, take one tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and swish it in your mouth for 20 minutes (I do numbers 3-4 to save time.) Spit, don't swallow.
3. Foam roll - Loosens tight muscles to improve blood flow for muscle repair and it works wonders for those of you with fitness programs. Take the roller and knead out all your tight spots, best to watch a YouTube video so you know you're doing it right.
4. Yoga stretches
More blood flowing activity to help awaken and energize the body. I just do the basics at this point in the day, downward dog, chaturanga, and upward dog.
5. Himalayan salt gargle - Salt has many healing properties and I use this in combination with the oil pull. Just take half a teaspoon of Himalayan salt and mix with a glass of water. Gargle.
This fermented tea is a powerhouse of probiotics and it's the first liquid I take in the day; take one 8oz glass and chug it straight. Do this regularly and you will be heading to the throne in minutes.
THE single most important thing on this list as it's your pathway to peace and calm. Find a quiet space, close your eyes, and connect with your breath. Let all your thoughts pass without judging them. Do this long enough and you will reach a space where there are no thoughts, just being. It's so liberating. I've heard the app Headspace has helped a lot of people, if it's your first time this might be a good jumping off point.
8. Brekkie #1: Superfood energyball and green veggie juice
Super nutrient dense breakfast that is highly alkalizing (read: anti-aging) AND light on the tummy so I can hit number 9.
I know most people say they don't have time to workout everyday, but for me it's what gives me energy and gets me prepped to be more alert and efficient at work. I swim, bike, run, yoga, and, nowadays, focus on bootcamp.
10. Brekkie #2
You'll need to feed your muscles after a workout so they can recover and repair. I take an avocado-grassfed whey smoothie with a combo of banana/mango/cacao or whatever fruit is in season. It's the perfect combo of healthy fat, protein, and carbs in an on-the-go form so I can whisk away to work.
With as much care as I put into starting my day right, I also wrap up my day with these feel good night time rituals to prepare me for sleep:
1. Play and cuddle with my cat Yuki
Animals have the purest energy and immediately shake off any bad energy I've picked up from the day.
2. Yoga stretches
I like to focus on the supported fish pose. Take a yoga block and put it under your back in between the shoulder blades and lie down on the floor. If you've been crouching over a computer all day (or a camera for me) this is a great passive stretch to remove tension in the shoulders.
3. Foam roll
At night I focus on foam rolling my back and legs especially if I've had a tough location shoot where I've been on my feet all day.
It helps calm me down and prepares me for bed as opposed to watching TV, which I find too stimulating.
5. Dry brush - It's exactly the same as the morning session.
6. Take a warm shower - Use a shower gel infused with lavender essential oil. It's naturally relaxing.
7. Foot reflexology
The best shortcut to a full body massage as pressure points on the feet correspond to parts of the body. Massage feet with essential oils to match your mood or needs for the night.
8. Your last thoughts for the day should be...
- 3 things your grateful for (Gratitude always helps me keep things in a positive perspective.)
- 3 things I could improve on in the day that passed (Constructive criticism to improve on myself.)
- 3 things I intend for the next day (This is very powerful in manifesting what I want to achieve.)
9. Switch my phone to airplane mode and sleep in complete darkness (no small lights from appliances)
Sleep is when our body rests and repairs itself. This probably has the most impact on decreasing our stress so it's important to give it the reverence it deserves!
This list is really just the tip of the iceberg, so drop us a line if you're interested in learning more.
Our guest editor for the month of August is Sara Black, a photographer who loves dedicating her time to the practice of wellness. Aside from snapping your fave celebs, she inspires others via Instagram to start on their fitness journey with her thoughts on yoga, running, and integrating health into your lifestyle.