New Year, New Mindful and Healthy RitualsSally Powis-Campbell
January 3, 2019
New year, new you. Sound like your typical new year’s sentiments?
Unrealistic resolutions are rarely REAL solutions to the wellness woes of the busy holiday season. Join us as we explore some mindful choices to help you on your journey of happiness, health, and mindfulness in the new year!
Goals vs Intentions
In 2019, I’m going to do _______ every day. Insert what pops into your mind: 30-minute meditation, running 10 km, eating less, eating a whole-foods only, plant-based diet, taking a cabinet full of supplements to upgrade your health and functioning. These are common goals I see clients coming in with.
We all have visions for what we’d like our days to look like. Or perhaps we compare what we should be doing with those we idolize on social media. But these notions often lack intentionality and realistic applications.
Setting Your Intentions for the New Year
The idea of curating intentions for the new year has a far better ring to it than setting hard-and-fast-forgotten new year’s resolutions! All our actions rely on intention, whether we’re mindful of it or not. It provides a guiding principle for how you want to be, live, and show up in the world. It’s not something you attach an expectation or evaluation or deadline to.
- Identify Your Core Values:
Connect with the elements of your life that reflect your personal values and bring you joy or satisfaction. What would you like to create or nurture in your life? What makes you proud? How do you feel when you’re your happiest, healthiest self?
- Gather Honest Feedback:
If this first step alone is challenging — you’re not alone! Many of my clients find it incredibly valuable to seek out friends and family to give their thoughts on what your values and passions are in life. You can ask “When have you seen me at my happiest, healthiest self? What do you believe I value most?”
- Make an Intention Statement or Mantra of it:
Setting an intention gives the mind a direction and purpose. Silently stating your intentions at the beginning of each day or revisiting it throughout the day calls it to the centre of your mind and can help you remain grounded and connected with that which matters most to you. For example: “I nourish my body and mind with ingredients and activities that make me feel vibrant”.
- Consider Actions:
Think of ways you can do something to demonstrate your commitment to your intention. Today, tomorrow, next month, and for the remainder of 2019. For example: “I will up the greens and protein in my morning smoothie.”
- Anchor your Actions:
Look at activities you presently do every day. See how the actions noted in the step above may be paired with actions in your daily routine. For example, if you wake up every morning and have a smoothie, and have the intention to start bringing into your ritual whole foods and herbs that may support reducing inflammation, add those to your smoothie!
- Practice Gratitude:
Take time each day to reflect on what you are grateful for. Perhaps it’s having access to stellar wellness ingredients in our modern society. Or a body able to consume, digest, and integrate foods and supplements that impact your mind-body functioning in line with your intentions.
- Practice Self Compassion:
Also, take time to show yourself some compassion if you see times in your day or week when you strayed on your personal intention of a healthy lifestyle. Don’t let perfection or comparison hold you back. The mindset of progress over perfection can be supportive when your mind tells you to give up after one deviation on your wellness path.
Mind & Body Health Hacks
As a Registered Psychologist specializing in Nutrition Psychology and Mindful Eating, there are a few topics I frequently explore with clients on their wellness journey. In my practice, December is always fully booked with individuals or families looking to dive deep into these specific topics: stress, anxiety, cognitive functioning, gut health, energy levels, and immunity. Botanica has formulated several supplements to specifically address these areas, which may fit within your daily ritual or when you’re noticing certain areas ramping up or down and in need of attention.
Below I’m sharing ways you can anchor Botanica supplements and mindfulness activities into the meals or activities you do every day!
- Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can be attended to with different therapies, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or nutritional psychology. There are also practices from these therapies that anyone (including you!) can implement when stress or anxious feelings ramp up.
Do you have a daily, weekday, or weekend ritual of having a smoothie or in the morning? If you said yes, I have a nutritious ingredient and mindfulness-based practice you can anchor to that already established ritual!
Botanica has come out with a new Perfect Protein Elevated line, designed with specific goals in mind. The Adrenal Support formula has 20g fermented and sprouted complete plant protein packed with naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, fibre, and adrenal-balancing ingredients. Those foods and nutrients include: ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb to support energy levels, immune function, and reduce anxiety and stress1,2; reishi, which helps increase energy and resistance to stress3, and vitamin C, which is used by the body in particularly stressful times1,4.Before you enjoy your upgraded smoothie in the morning, try doing a 3-minute breathing space. Breathing exercises have been shown in numerous research studies to reduce one’s stress response5. Start by closing your eyes and focusing on the physical sensations of your deep breath, and gradually expand that awareness through your whole body, and to your environment, for as little as 3 minutes. Open your eyes and enjoy the nourishment before you!
Another supplement Botanica offers to support with anxiety and mood is their John’s Wort Liquid Herb. St. John’s Wort is compared with antidepressant drugs in many clinical studies and has been found to reduce anxiety in some populations2,6. You can add this to your first glass of water in the morning as a means of anchoring this habit to what you already do! This is a herbal remedy that you always want to check use of with your family doctor and/or pharmacist due to known drug interactions and contraindications for use.
- Mental Clarity
Mental clarity is our mental state when we’re awake and focused. Nutrition and mindfulness practices have the potential to support you in reaching mental clarity.
The body scan is a foundational mindfulness practice, with serious scientific backing7,8. It can be practised seated in a chair or on the floor or lying down. The body scan provides a rare opportunity for us to experience our body as it is, without judging or trying to change it. You can use a guided body scan from apps such as Calm or Insight Timer, or simply allow your awareness to float systematically from your feet towards the top of your head. This practice may also increase awareness to your physical needs and sensations, which can help you take better care of your body and make healthier decisions about eating, sleep, exercise, and more.
A body scan meditation is a practice that can be performed daily or even several times a day. This meditation can help you learn to identify what you’re feeling and where you’re feeling it and learn to release the stress in your body and mind.
My suggestion? Try it paired with an existing daily routine. Perhaps you have a morning coffee? Make it a better butter coffee by using a cup of regular or decaf coffee + 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or coconut oil + 1/2 scoop of Perfect Protein Elevated Brain Booster. Set your coffee to brew, find a comfortable sitting or lying position, complete a 10-20 minute body scan, then whip up your upgraded coffee for a mindful morning kick!
Anti-inflammatory diets are very popular, but what I’ve found in my practice is many new clients don’t know why they’ve found themselves on it. Further, they haven’t reduced stress in their lives which is known to cause inflammation. It’s important to know that dietary interventions on their own or behavioural interventions on their own are not enough to reduce inflammation. Instead, considering integrative nutrition and lifestyle interventions simultaneously is seen as most beneficial9.
Nutrition-wise, perhaps you have a nightly ritual of a warm beverage (tea, hot chocolate, golden mylk). Make it a mindful and nutritious wind-down from the day with either Botanica’s Turmeric Golden Mylk. It features ashwagandha, which is a herb with anti-inflammatory, rejuvenating, and anxiety-reducing qualities1, 2 you may want to consider having daily or at times of high stress in your life. Turmeric has been all the health-food rage for many years as it’s known to be a potent anti-inflammatory10.
You can pair this delicious warming beverage with a mindfulness practice to attend to lifestyle interventions. Consider pairing it with Loving Kindness Meditation. We know from research that meditation helps regulate the stress response, thereby suppressing chronic inflammation states and maintaining a healthy gut-barrier function11.
What’s your morning energy-boost beverage of choice? Many are switching up or alternating their usual coffee with a matcha latte.
Green tea, especially matcha green tea that contains the whole leaf ground down into the tea for you to consume, has a high L-theanine content. L-theanine in matcha green tea significantly increases the brain’s alpha waves, which relaxes the mind without causing drowsiness, thus enabling you to have focused energy12.
Further, to keep mood and energy stable instead of having highs and lows, you can pay further attention to the macro and micronutrients to consume. From nutrition psychology, we take the approach where ALL meals and snacks contain healthy fat, protein, and complex carbohydrates.
So upgrade that morning energizing beverage by making it a Matcha Latte with your choice of milk, a spoonful of matcha tea powder PLUS 1 scoop of Botanica Perfect Greens or 1 scoop of Botanica Perfect Protein.
- Immune Health
It’s the time of year when we’re running on fewer hours of sleep and eating more processed food between wrapping up work for the holidays or social and family commitments, and the time of year it seems everyone is getting sick!
Sleep and diet play a large role in your immune health. Lack of sleep can severely impair your immunity and make you more vulnerable to infections like colds and flu13. One of the factors that affect natural resistance or immunity is nutrition14.
Perhaps your current bedtime ritual can be upgraded to support greater quality and quantity of nutritious intake in the evening as well as sleep to benefit the brain and body.
My tip? When you feel worn down or like you’re getting sick, have a mindful and nutritious bedtime routine. Power down electronics 1 hour before bed. Dim the house lights and noises. Take 10 deep, diaphragmatic breaths. Then have a shot of green juice with 4-6 drops of Botanica Oregano Oil. The green juice will offer up Vitamin C, known for its immune health quality15. Research has shown oregano oil can act as an antibacterial remedy for enhancing the healing process in bacterial infections and as an effective means for the prevention of antibiotic-resistant strain development16.
This is YOUR Health Journey
Don’t forget — this is YOUR health journey, nobody else’s! You can switch up any of these tips above and consider using the supplements in other foods or drinks, from smoothie bowls to chia seed puddings or energy balls. And remember, the best drinks and snacks are mindful ones.
So, try our recipe of nutritious and mindfulness practices for lasting health upgrades for mind and body for the year ahead. We look forward to joining you on the journey! Share your recipes with us by using #BotanicaRecipe on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Happy new year, and may you experience joy, love, happiness, health, and good intentions!