Diet and exercise are the best place to start when it comes to health and wellness. Getting into a daily workout routine and mastering your diet are two of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself, and they affect everything from your energy levels to your mental health. In the New Year, this is where most people will start their journey to a better life.
But what comes next? What do you do after you’ve established a workout routine and positioned yourself for success in the kitchen? Truth be told, there’s always more you could be doing for your health. It starts by exploring different wellness practices that often go overlooked or underutilized in favor of continuous tweaking to diet and exercise.
If you’re gearing up to fine-tune your approach to health and wellness this year, do a little exploration into these seven oft-neglected wellness practices.
- Meditation. Meditation often gets lumped in with the likes of yoga and stretching, but the reality is that it’s something everyone should practice every day. Closing your eyes, clearing your mind and regulating your breathing for short periods each day is linked to broad health benefits. Meditation is effective in fighting a wide range of wellness ailments, including irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder!
- Rhythmic breathing. Rhythmic breathing is studied as a tool for athletic improvement, but its benefits are widely noted for any person practicing it. From box breathing to induce calm before sleep to cadence breathing during your morning jog, rhythmic breathing is something every person can (and should) participate in daily. It’s a powerful regulator for your physiological processes and a great complement to physical wellness.
- Intermittent fasting. We’ve discussed the benefits of intermittent fasting before, but fasting is still in the realm of “trendy” dieting and not yet embraced by people for its holistic benefits. Leaning on IF as part of your daily diet and exercise regimen can enhance both and help you achieve better results in regard to focus, energy, stamina, metabolism and much more. If you haven’t purposefully explored the opportunities of intermittent fasting yet, now’s the time to start experimenting and reap the benefits.
- Contrast therapy. Contrast therapy isn’t an everyday thing, but something you should think about weekly or routinely. Jump into an ice bath, hit the sauna, rinse and repeat to embrace the benefits of “shocking” your system into a higher state of metabolic efficiency and alertness. If you don’t have an ice bath or sauna, you can do this in your shower. Contrast bath benefits are linked to everything from improved muscle recovery to pain management.
- Traction. The benefits of chiropractic care for your spine and central nervous system are well-documented. One of the common strategies affiliated with chiropractic care is traction: elongation of the spine to reduce disc decompression. This opens up the nerve pathways to improve nervous system health and total physiology. Talk to your chiropractor about traction this year or invest in an inversion table to reap the benefits of spinal decompression.
- Taking a nap. For those looking for an easy way to improve their approach to wellness in the New Year, taking a nap ranks high. You might’ve left naps behind when you grew out of infancy, but it’s time to bring them back! Napping for just 10-20 minutes each day can revitalize your mind and body in numerous ways. Plan to nap between 2-5pm for best results, and consider drinking a cup of coffee before you doze off. Caffeine takes about 30 minutes to kick in, which means you’ll wake from your nap totally reenergized.
- Sunning. Ever wonder why your cat follows the sunbeam around your house each day? Sure, the warmth is nice, but there are actually many benefits to getting controlled doses of sunlight each day. For starters, Vitamin D is hugely beneficial to your body. Sunlight is also proven to fight against depression. There are even a wide variety of studies linking sunlight to cellular health, posturing its ability to combat carcinogenic cell growth and slow cellular decomposition. Needless to say, getting a little sun each day is hugely important for your wellbeing.
There’s no replacing a well-orchestrated fitness regimen or a fine-tuned diet, but these seven wellness practices can definitely supplement them. Consider adding them to your everyday routine or lifestyle to reap the big-time body benefits that come with them. Don’t feel like you need to dive right into them, either. Most of them are simple enough to experiment with, allowing you to get a feel for the benefits they offer one by one, before you start seriously incorporating them into your everyday life.