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Weird or Wonderful Wellness Routine?

Breakfast, Breathing technique, Cold shower, Exercise, HIIT Pilates, Hot Yoga, Hot/cold immersion, Meditation, Morning routine, Rising early, Stretching, Wim Hof Method, Yin yoga -

Weird or Wonderful Wellness Routine?

Do you have a morning/daily routine? Or do you tend to sleep in until the very last minute, scrambling out of the house without even a sip of coffee or a bite of toast?

That's ok if you do and it's also very common but I invite you to consider a different approach...

An approach that will add years to your life (potentially), more energy to your tank and more joy to your days. 😌

This thing I'm referring to is a great morning routine.

If you're a night owl, that's cool, you don't need to change and there's no right or wrong, I just want to get you to see the benefits of getting up early as there are too many to ignore.

If you sleep in and feel like you could never adopt an early morning ritual, stay with me because it is absolutely possible, it's just about taking small steps on the regular.

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Today in this blog, I'd like to share my weird (or wonderful depending on how you look at it?) morning routine that I like to call my 'wellness routine' because I feel like it really contributes greatly to my overall health, happiness and productivity. 

Now, I must add in here, there is no such thing as a 'perfect' routine or a perfect day, I still miss things in my routine from time to time and that's ok! Some days I'm really consistent and on fire and other days I drop the ball completely.

Just be gentle with yourself, you're human!

The Ritual 

  • Rise early each day at ridiculous O'clock (before 5 am)
  • Wim Hof Breathing Exercises
  • Meditation (usually Jo Dispenza)
  • Cold shower (finish with warm)
  • Some form of exercise/movement 
  • 5-10 minutes of stretching if time permits
  • A healthy breakfast
  • Make a smoothie for later so I can take all my supp's
  • Go to work (where I use a stand-up desk and other ergonomic support)
  • The late afternoon might be hot/yin yoga followed by cold/hot plunge pools (hot/cold immersion therapy) every other day
  • A healthy Dinner
  • A warm bath (if no plunge pools), Sauna or Reading
  • Get to bed early as I get up so early and sleep is crucial for good health and a good mood
  • Saturday morning is HIIT Pilates

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The Benefits of Getting up early

Rising early has endless benefits and it's something I'm pretty passionate about. I've found in order to get the most out of my life, I have to get up early most days. On the occasion, I love to sleep in but it's never past 7 am.

I've put together a list of "getting-up-early-benefits" to stoke the dawn fires of your heart 🌅 😍

  • It's quieter in the morning, therefore, more peaceful 
  • You get so much more out of the day
  • Time for yourself uninterrupted and without disturbance
  • It can help improve your stress levels, happiness and overall health
  • Opportunity to reflect, meditate, journal, write, read, learn and grow!
  • More time to really enjoy that cuppa (while it's hot)
  • Gives you a more optimistic view of life
  • Time to make and enjoy a delicious breakfast
  • Time for exercise, movement, yoga, stretching and more
  • Time for creative projects that you may feel too tired for at night after a long day at work 
  • Helps you to get organised, set goals and achieve them (the organised part one will naturally help reduce stress)

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How to become an early-bird 🌅 đŸ€

  1. Start slowly and gradually by making small changes like rising 15-20 minutes early each day for a week until you reach your desired wake up time goal
  2. Get an early night and proper rest (this kind of goes without saying really)
  3. Have an alarm clock far away from your bed so it forces you to get out of bed to turn it off and DO NOT HIT SNOOZE! "You snooze you lose!"
  4. Don't overthink it, just do it! Take action right away to avoid analysis or the mind trick of rationalising or justification
  5. Take a cold shower (but finish warm), this will create resistance in you if you've never experienced the benefits of a cold shower, but again, it's mind over matter. If a man can walk through snow in his undies and swim in freezing water, a cold shower is a walk in the park! 
  6. Be on purpose. Have a good reason to get up early and out of bed, plan the night before and this will keep you motivated to get up and get going!
  7. Make it fun. Life is for fun and this includes an early morning routine (believe it or not?). If you set out to reward yourself with something you love, it will make you far more likely to leave the warm cosy covers of your bed, pillow and doona. Your reward will be personal to you but it could include making a delicious healthy pancakes breakfast while indulgently sitting in the sunshine to enjoy every last mouthful without feeling the pressure of time.

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The Benefits of Wim Hof or Any Good Breathing Routine

Breath is life and without good quality breath, we are dying a slow death. Well maybe that's a bit dramatic but you catch my drift... Proper breathing can add so much nourishment to your health, happiness and life.

It was about 2 years ago that my husband Jason and I discovered Wim Hof method and this includes his breathing technique but also the cold water stuff, which I'll get to soon...

We have done the practice on and off since (yes, we too get slack sometimes) and have recently found our way back to it.

Some of the benefits of this type of breathing are:

  • Natural painkiller (could help people in chronic pain)
  • Improves blood flow and circulation
  • May improve posture
  • Can help to increase energy naturally (cells get more oxygen)
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Improves digestion
  • Stimulates the lymphatic system
  • Helps with mental focus to create more productivity and brainpower
  • Improves sleep, heart health, both the nervous system and immune systems!
  • Improves both performance and recovery

The Wim Hof method has been shown to help reduce symptoms of certain conditions such as asthma, autoimmune diseases (some), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis and vasculitis.

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The Benefits of Meditation

This practice is something I've been passionate about for almost 2 decades and something I know I'll do until I die. The beauty of meditation is that no matter how long you stop for, you can always come back to it and it really is life-changing.

I'm certainly no master but I do enjoy everything about it, the process, the way I feel after and the many many health benefits (including mental and emotional).

If you're new to it, please don't be put off by the word and if you're not particularly spiritual that's ok too, you don't have to be anything to get still, you just have to find the time, a quiet place and let go.

There are plenty of guided meditations online and available as downloads. In particular, I really love Dr Jo Dispenza's meditations (and teachings) as they really seem to work and resonate for me but you may like something different and that's fine too.

I'd like to share with you some of the many benefits that come from quieting our mind and going within. They are:

  • Natural Stress-reliever
  • Reduce and even prevent anxiety and panic attacks
  • Great for emotional and mental health
  • Connection to self and higher self (more in tune with inner knowing/intuition)
  • Enhances self-awareness
  • Increases longevity (lifespan)
  • Helps you to stay calmer, more centred, grounded and focused
  • Cultivates compassion and kindness towards self and others
  • May help to improve one's memory and cognition
  • Can help a person to break dependencies/addictions
  • Can be a great tool for sleep
  • May help pain sufferers (such as Fibromyalgia, arthritis and more)
  • May help decrease high blood pressure
  • Improves the quality of your life

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The Benefits of Taking a Cold Shower

Taking a cold shower can be a mind over matter thing for many of us (especially if the weather or climate is cool or even very cold!) đŸ„¶ but our minds are so much more powerful than we may think!

I never thought I could be someone who took cold showers or bathed in very cold water but I began doing this a few years ago and now it is much easier (the water never gets any warmer haha, but the mind gets stronger!).

Not sure about you, but I love pushing my mind past the safe boundaries it tries to create for me.

If you haven't tried showering in cold water, perhaps give it a go? The health and wellness benefits really do make it worthwhile. You can expect to notice any/many of the following:

  • Can help calm itchy/red skin
  • Wakes you up naturally without the need for coffee or other stimulants (I have nothing against coffee don't get me wrong, I drink coffee sometimes myself)
  • Helps to increase circulation
  • Reduces muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise
  • May help with weight loss
  • Gives your skin a radiant glow
  • Naturally energising and revitalising 

It's the shock feeling from the cold water that increase O2 intake, heart rate and alertness.

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The Benefits of Exercise

This one is like stating the obvious but sometimes we need reminding (if we've stopped moving our body on the regular). We can forget the benefits to exercising and how good we can actually feel, so I'd like to share some of the many benefits to hopefully inspire you to get moving if you've stopped for some reason.

  • Mood and happiness (may relieve feelings of anxiety and depression)
  • Weight loss and staying "in shape"
  • Exercises as weight-bearing exercises can help maintain strong bones and muscles
  • Helps you to feel more energised throughout the day
  • Can help to reduce the risk of certain diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and more...
  • Helps increase antioxidant production (if we don't overdo it) that helps with skin health, slowing down aging, disease-prevention etc...
  • Can help improve brain function/health, memory, focus and productivity
  • Improves your ability to relax and fall asleep (just be careful not to do any over-stimulating exercises late arvo/early evening as this may have the opposite effect)
  • Pain reduction: Exercise may actually help reduce chronic pain (the right type of exercises). People with fibromyalgia, lower back pain etc. may benefit greatly from the right type of gentle exercises!
  • Improve your sex life: yes, yes, YES! This is because exercise improves flexibility/mobility, circulation, muscle tone and sex drive (potentially)

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The Benefits of Stretching

This one, I think is the most ignored of the wellbeing practices but it can also be one of the most important! I am guilty of ignoring stretching many days of the week but when I do, I feel that much better!

 Here are some of the benefits:

  • helps to increase flexibility and mobility
  • Increases your range of motion
  • Improve performance when engaging in physical activity
  • Helps increase blood flow to your muscles
  • Can help with posture
  • Injury-prevention
  • Help for healing (and preventing) back pain
  • Natural stress-reliever
  • Calms the mind
  • Can help decrease tension headaches

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 This may seem like a lot and for some, it may be but just take form this blog what you will, even if you incorporate a few things from this list into your daily routine you'll be better of than if you'd added in none of them!

 

The Benefits of Eating a Healthy Breakfast/Brunch

Now I realise not everyone eats breakfast but it's still worth mentioning the many benefits of doing so just in case you have considered it?

  • Gives your body fuel to perform your daily tasks and have the energy you need
  • May help your productivity and brain function 
  • Can help with mood and happiness (we get grumpy when we are hungry)
  • May help with productivity
  • A good opportunity to get in some extra, much-needed nutrition

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The Benefits of Yoga (hot)

Hot yoga is slightly different to Bikram (not as intense or serious) but has all the same potential benefits for mind, body and soul, such as:

  • Increasing flexibility
  • Detoxifying the body (from the sweat)
  • Improve skin health
  • May help balance blood sugar 
  • Can be helpful for digestion
  • Burns loads of calories (more than other forms of yoga)
  • You feel amazing afterwards!
  • Helps build bone density
  • Naturally reduces stress
  • Helpful for depression and anxiety
  • Good cardio workout

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The Benefits of Yin Yoga 

Yin yoga is one of the loveliest, most gentle forms of yoga in my opinion. It's a slower-paced form of yoga with a focus on relaxing into, cooling, calming and holding postures for longer. Because of this longer holding of postures, it can go deeper to help to stretch out connective tissue and fascia.

"Yin" is the opposite of yang (male/active), which makes it feminine/passive. It's more restorative and potentially healing than other forms of yoga which make it incredible for people with health issues such as adrenal fatigue, anxiety, depression and more!

I just adore this form of yoga and it's benefited my health in many ways, so much so, that I want to share with you the many potential benefits here:

  • Calms the mind and soothes the soul
  • Helps cultivate self-love, compassion and kindness towards self and others
  • Releases held toxic or unhealthy emotions
  • Reduces stress, anxiety and depression
  • May help to increase circulation and blood flow
  • Stretches out tight hips and other tight areas
  • Is a form of mediation in itself (great for busy minds and over-thinkers)
  • Helps you to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system
  • Improves flexibility
  • Helps to release connective tissue and fascia to improve joint mobility
  • Creates more inner balance in the body and mind

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The Benefits of HIIT Pilates

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and when combined with pilates (HIIT Pilates), you get a full-body, workout with cardio PLUS the added benefits of improving strength, muscle tone, flexibility and more, see below:

  • Great fitness (cardio workout)
  • Calorie-burner
  • Improves strength
  • Great sweat/detox session
  • Improves muscle tone
  • It's fun and dynamic
  • Improves core stability
  • It's a great way to meet new people

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The Benefits of Contrast Water Therapy (Hot/Cold Immersion)

There are 2 components to hot/cold immersion therapy and that is both hot water to immerse yourself in and very cold water to do the same.

Coldwater therapy (also a type of Cryotherapy) involves immersing yourself into very cold water for minutes at a time. This type of therapy has been popular amongst athletes for many years and has gained a new wave of wellness warriors due to the famous "Ice Man" - Wim Hof.

It has been touted to have many benefits and I can speak from experience that it makes you feel absolutely amazing!! But it's not for everyone and I'll talk more about this soon...

Potential Benefits of Cold Water Immersion May Include:

  • Help with muscle pain and soreness
  • Aid in recovery from training or strenuous activity 
  • Help the central nervous system
  • Limit inflammation and speed up the healing process
  • Trains your vagus nerve

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Hot Water Therapy is similar to cold water therapy, in the fact that you immerse yourself into water again but it's quite hot (usually between 38-40 c). This causes vasodilation (blood vessels to dilate) which naturally helps blood circulation. When done in conjunction with cold water therapy, this helps the lymphatic system (in theory) to better pump stagnated fluid which helps inflammation and healing.

Potential Benefits of Hot Water Immersion May Include:

  • Aid in sleep
  • Muscle relaxant
  • Helpful with recovery when done with cold water
  • Increases circulation 

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Contraindications/Warnings:

While this type of therapy may be great for some people, it's certainly not good or even safe for everyone. If you have any of the following conditions, please be mindful of the risks involved.

  • People with pre-existing cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure
  • Both type I & II Diabetes (due to a reduced ability to maintain core temperature when experiencing extreme temperature changes)
  • Pregnancy (the hot water part anyway) I could not find anything to support pregnant women not having cold baths but if it were me, I would avoid and if you are pregnant and considering ice baths, it is always best to speak to a health expert.

I deliberately avoid the ice baths just before and also during my period and that is because, from an energy point-of-view, it's not a time to introduce cold, it's a time to stay warm. I read/heard somewhere that the cold can affect the chi energy prior to menstruation and I have actually experienced for myself the cold water 1 day prior to the first bleed day, made my PMS 10 x worse!

So needless to say, I avoid the cold in this part of my cycle and I'm a much happier camper because of it! 

I highly recommend hot baths, infrared sauna and hot water bottles on the lower abdomen during this time.

Speaking of infrared sauna, this is also one of my favourite wellness activities as it makes me feel amazing and the benefits are too many to ignore! Here are just a few:

The Benefits of Using an Infrared Sauna

  • Incredible detoxification as you sweat (must stay in until good sweat occurs)
  • Better sleep
  • More relaxation
  • Weight management
  • Muscle soreness relief
  • Joint pain relief (arthritis)
  • Clearer, tighter and more radiant skin
  • May help with cellulite
  • Improved circulation
  • May help adrenal/chronic fatigue sufferers

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We hope you enjoyed today's blog and that it gives you some inspiration to perhaps try something new or add back in an old practice. 💜

 

Disclaimer:

This article is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as health advice. Statements made have not been evaluated by the TGA and are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent and one should always consult with their trusted health professional before adding a new health practice to their life.

 References:

https://zenhabits.net/10-benefits-of-rising-early-and-how-to-do-it/

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/fitness/advantages-of-deep-breathing-exercises/articleshow/19213960.cms

https://www.wimhofmethod.com/breathing-exercises

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#section13

https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-shower-vs-hot-shower#Whats-so-great-about-cold-showers?

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-exercise#section10

https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-stretching#types

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/many-benefits-breakfast#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/hot-yoga-benefits#lowers-glucose-levels

https://www.longevitylive.com/health-living/fitness/hiit-pilates-perfect-fitness-combination/

https://www.bodymindlife.com/blog/yoga/what-is-yin-yoga

https://escapehaven.com/2019/06/why-all-women-need-to-try-yin-yoga/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrast_bath_therapy

https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/ice-bath-benefits#tips-for-taking-an-ice-bath

https://www.healthline.com/health/infrared-sauna-benefits#1


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