The last few months have certainly put a focus on health and wellness, with the latter being a combination of both mind and body. Luckily, wellness can be achieved from anywhere in the world.
“Practicing self-care by moving your body and eating nutritious foods can make all the difference in boosting your mood,” said Anna Haddad, founder of ONEYOGAHOUSE in Brooklyn and Montauk, New York. “Even a quick walk outside listening to your favorite podcast, and coming home to make a delicious breakfast, can set the tone for a better day ahead.”
While accessing our go-to exercise studios or engaging in large-group activities may not be possible at the moment, there are loads of devices and equipment you can invest in to kick your workout into high gear.
Even if you don’t have a room to devote, sectioning off a corner of your living room, outdoor deck or lawn is all you need.
Here, wellness pros impart their best advice for building strength, clarity and health even at the most trying of times.
Make Movement a Priority
“Exercise helps release endorphins which are feel-good chemicals that help us dull pain receptors (which is why moving around helps get rid of morning aches and pains and joint stiffness) as well as trigger a happy feeling inside the body.
“Hire a personal trainer for virtual sessions if you can. Have one design you a customized plan based on your goals and abilities. This way you can progress with a plan that’s manageable and without the high-risk movements that can cause injury. Additionally, you’ll have someone who cares about your workout even when you don’t—when it’s easy to get into a rut and you might just need that little push.
“Some easy exercises at home include: Walking up and down a flight of stairs, doing incline pushups on the kitchen countertop, sitting and standing from a chair or couch, lifting a gallon jug of water or detergent overhead 10-to-15 times on each arm, crawling like a bear (on all fours, face down) down a hallway and back like a crab (on all fours, face up) and balancing on one leg while reaching down to that knee with the opposite arm (have a chair, table or ottoman nearby to put your free hand on in case you lose balance).”
–Brad Sims, a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach based in Mendham, New Jersey
Nourish Yourself From Head to Toe
“Habit formation is the only way to break a bad cycle. Creating healthy routines eventually becomes second nature. I start the day with 30 minutes of outdoor exercise followed by a breakfast of eggs, spinach, broccoli, onions, tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. Beginning the day with a low glycemic meal reduces insulin, satiates you and maintains a stable blood sugar, which decreases sugar cravings. This will enhance your focus during the morning, enabling you to make a much healthier choice for lunch.
“Exercising outdoors allows us to destress by providing increased levels of oxygen to the brain.
“Cortisol released during stress kills memory and emotion, so it’s important to work out ways that help you stay calm. Slow down, disconnect from devices, reduce sugar and caffeine intake, talk to people that love you, hug your pet and regulate your breathing.
“Try breathing in through the nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, breathe out through the mouth for a count of 8 and repeat 4 cycles. This is a powerful anti-anxiety, which works by controlling the autonomic nervous system.”
— Integrative nutrition health coach and pharmacist Sacha Judge of Kiwi Peak Health in New York City
Eat the Right Foods
“Some of my favorites foods to help boost immunity and energy are lemon, ginger, pumpkin seeds, turmeric and Brazil nuts. My go-to snack is a smoothie with dark, leafy greens, lemon and other fruits. It’s filled with fiber, which keeps you full, so you tend to eat fewer heavy foods later on in the day, avoiding an energy slump.
“Try sliced veggies with sprouted hummus or fresh salsa. Raw veggies are filled with immunity-strengthening nutrients and fiber that fill you up without weighing you down.
— Kimberly Snyder, Los Angeles-based nutritionist, holistic wellness expert and founder of the lifestyle brand Solluna by Kimberly Snyder.
“Create a routine. Wake up in the morning around the same time. Think about one or two things you’re grateful for. Set your intentions for the day and practice compassion–towards yourself and others.
“Be present-minded. Focusing on being versus doing, even for 15 minutes, it’s a natural endorphin. Reading a great magazine, FaceTiming with a friend, watching the sun set or gardening always boost my mood.
“Anxiety arises due to uncertainty. The antidote is to tether yourself to the present moment with the breath. Find a quiet place, sit still and observe the breath. Allow thoughts to enter, it’s totally natural, but compassionately prioritize the breath.”
— Anna Haddad, founder of ONEYOGAHOUSE in Brooklyn and Montauk, New York
“Maintain a balance of movement, nourishment and rest—three core practices identified by Sensei co-founder Dr. David Agus as instrumental in promoting self-care and lifelong wellbeing.
“Journaling can contribute to improved mood, memory and perspective by providing an opportunity for self-reflection, tracking patterns in health, monitoring learnings and acknowledging one’s feelings. Ask yourself, ‘What is my intention today? What does being well mean to me? How can I be more present in this moment? What impact would I like to have in this world?’
“While you may now be working in the same place you are resting, it’s important to distinguish between the two in order to allow yourself time to recharge and process.”
— The Sensai guides, a team of trained fitness, nutrition and mindfulness specialists at Sensei Lānaʻi, A Four Seasons Resort in Lānaʻi, Hawaii