Eat your fruits and veggies, drink plenty of water, exercise daily, make sure to get enough sleep… the go-to’s for taking care of our bodies.
But what does wellness really mean, and how do we actually incorporate beneficial lifestyle choices into our daily routines? At URJA, we like to focus on living a low-inflammatory lifestyle because we recognize that high to chronic inflammation wreaks havoc on the body.
WELLNESS [noun] – the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.
While we thank dictionary.com for this wonderful definition of wellness, let us acknowledge that wellness should be a verb. We could go on for hours about why this word is an action and not a thing… or even write a song like John Mayer’s “Love is a Verb”… “Wellness is a Verb”… catchy, right? The point is this – our attitude towards wellness is much like our holistic approach towards beauty. We believe that overall health (including skin health) is best obtained through actively seeking anti-inflammatory choices while listening to the mind + body.
Big picture, this sounds simple. Of course we would all love to work out every morning after a nice 8 hours of sleep, drink 80oz of water throughout the day, get plenty of fresh air and “eat the rainbow.” But we get it - the average person (including us!) knows that these ideas are not often a reality.
It often seems as though there are not enough hours in the day to finish everything on our to-do list, while also taking care of our body + mind. We aren’t suggesting you set aside consecutive hours of your day for your personal health, but we do think you should hear us out – implement at least 3 of the below tips into your weekly routine. Any small step in a healthy direction is a good step. Aiming to release and prevent inflammation in your body doesn’t have to be too difficult.
- Make time for movement –
According to livescience.com, muscle cells release a small protein when exercised, which plays an important role in fighting inflammation. Workout sessions do not have to be intense in order to have anti-inflammatory effects on your body. With this in mind, find what exercise is right for you. Movement can mean different things for different people, but we suggest practicing yoga at least once a week. According to Healthline, multiple studies have shown that yoga decreases the secretion of cortisol (your body’s primary stress hormone). Lowering the amount of cortisol in your body can help relieve anxiety and keep your inflammation levels in check. Check out these anti-inflammatory yoga stretches.
- Nurture the mind –
With a daily list of 15 things to do and 100 things to think about, it is easy to get overwhelmed and caught up in the stress of life. While stress is a natural occurrence, it is important to keep in mind that chronic stress can lead to an inflammatory response in the body. This inflammation is sneaky, showing itself in places you might not even realize – your digestion, immune system, skin, or all of the above. Get in the habit of meditating. According to Mayoclinic.org, “meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine.” One of meditation’s most notable benefits is stress reduction and comes in many shapes and forms. Research and try out the various kinds meditation to find your groove, but even adding just 5-10 minutes of meditation to your morning routine gives your brain a blank canvas to explore.
Journaling is another way to nurture your mind – start with the 3-5’s rule. Write down five things you’re thankful for, five things you’re anxious about and 5 things you want to accomplish. Documenting your thoughts before beginning your day can help improve your mood, calm your mind, promote productivity and give you clarity about the past, present and future. To reflect inward and seek self-discovery, try a few of these journaling prompts.
- Get adequate sleep –
It’s recommended that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep deprivation impairs concentration, productivity and memory consolidation, which may lead to depression, weight gain and suppressed immune system. A restful night of sleep might sound like the greatest idea you’ve had all day (especially after that 9-5 shift), but factors such as fluctuating hormones, diet or ongoing stress + anxiety can prevent this from happening. If you have ongoing problems falling or staying asleep, consider a few of these tips …
- Take melatonin supplements
- Find your favorite podcast or guided sleep app (we love the Calm App) to help wind down your thoughts…
- Reduce screen time for at least an hour before bed (this means your phone too!)
- Limit your caffeine intake at least 6 hours before bed … caffeine can impact the efficiency and onset of sleep, so keep in mind that your body feels its effects for 4-6 hours.
- Reduce your alcohol intake … studies show that alcohol can negatively affect your hormones and sleep cycle and increase the symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring.
- Find your rhythm… try to fall asleep and wake up around the same time every day.
- Target inflammation in your diet practices –
Food heals. With restorative diets aimed towards certain illnesses such as Lyme Disease or Crohns Disease, it is no secret that (the right) food has the power to soothe. For starters, try adding some of these anti-inflammatory foods into your grocery list …
- Celery: this wonder veggie contains almost 25 different anti-inflammatory compounds and has been shown to support digestion. Consider drinking celery juice in between meals or add a stalk to your daily snack options.
- Turmeric contains a strong antioxidant called curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects on your body. Turmeric is also an adaptogen (herb containing complex compounds which help your body adapt to stress). Try adding turmeric rich recipes into your weekly meal plan.
- Peppermint: an aid in digestion (menthol – a chemical compound in peppermint – acts as a carminative, which helps relax the intestines) and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. You can add peppermint into your diet with peppermint teas, or even by adding a few drops of URJA’s Be Well Tincture (which contains peppermint extract) into any tea, coffee or smoothie.
- Ginger: a powerful anti-inflammatory with medicinal properties, which may help reduce oxidative stress. Try drinking a ginger water or tea before bed to aid in digestion of your dinner and help lower your risk of infections.
- Berries: antioxidants!!! These compounds boost production of cytokines (which regulate your immune response) and combat inflammation. Adding berries to your oats in the morning or with a bit of dark chocolate in the evening is always sweet.
*Note: Consider taking a food allergy test to find out what foods you personally should avoid. You could be eating foods which trigger a stress response in your body without knowing it. We all have unique sensitivities.
- Hydrate… DUH –
We could go on and on about hydration, but the most important thing you should know is that drinking adequate amounts of water improves skin elasticity (helping it to stay youthful), rids your body of toxins, aids in digestion, reduces swelling and helps maintain your skin’s pH. As a good rule of thumb, try to drink at least 75 ounces of water – or try filling your 32 oz water bottle about 3 times a day. Getting into the habit of drinking enough fluids can be hard – try these hacks to get into the groove.
- Use URJA! AKA, an Anti-Inflammatory Skincare Routine –
Did you know that skin is our largest organ? Additionally, our skin soaks up about 60-70% of what we put onto it. (This is why staying away from harsh ingredients and toxins is so important.) Signs of inflammation in the skin may be recognized as blemishes, uneven skin texture/tone and premature aging. Typically, if we’re stressed out – our skin is too! Calm, detox and restore your skin with URJA’s clean, vegan, Dermatologist tested, gluten-free and efficacious formulas. URJA sits in the intersection of science and nature, rooted in anti-inflammatory ingredients, including: avocado oil, vitamin C, turmeric root, CBD, frankincense extract, rosehip oil +more! Give your skin some anti-inflammatory goodness… you’ll experience the importance of choosing quality, anti-inflammatory products.
Written by URJA Intern, Leila Grant