5 Ways to Support Your Mental Health & Wellbeing

It’s important to care for your mental health and wellbeing on a daily basis. Below are five easy things you can do to enhance your mental health and wellbeing.

Build relationships with others – Relationships and social connections impact our mental and emotional health. Strong social connections are key to happiness.  Strengthen existing relationships by spending time with family and friends and work to develop new relationships by getting involved in community activities, group classes or by volunteering for a worthy cause.

HealthKick Partners to try: Evryman, Our Breath Collective, Yoga International

Establish Healthy Sleep Habits – Quality sleep is critical to good health. Sleep is essential for repairing the body, and it also helps maintain cognitive skills, including attention, learning, memory, and emotional regulation.  Inadequate and interrupted sleep also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.  Adopt healthy sleep habits such as establishing a regular sleep schedule and reducing caffeine intake and explore options such as meditation to wind down at night.

HealthKick Partners to try: Oura Ring, Insight Timer, Rootcha

Stay Physically Active – Exercising 3-5 times per week for 30-60 minutes provides mental health benefits in addition to the obvious physical benefits. Exercise helps reduce stress, I increase confidence and self-esteem, improve concentration, and it helps you sleep better too..

 HealthKick Partners to try: FitReserve, Barry’s, Aaptiv, Alo Moves

Eat a Healthy Diet – Brain health and mood regulation are impacted by what you eat. Make sure your diet includes foods rich in omega-3’s, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fermented foods. Just as important, limit your intake of processed fatty foods, salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

HealthKick Partners to try: Sun Basket, Everipe, Thrive Market

Adopt Strategies to Manage Stress – Meditation, breathwork and mindfulness are examples of techniques that help individuals achieve a relaxed state of mind, and are great tools to have when you are experiencing heightened stress or anxiety.  Try out some different techniques and find one that works for you.It can be as easy as a five minute guided meditation or taking 5 deep breaths throughout your day.

HealthKick Partners to try: Calm, Aura Health, The Well, Talkspace

We hope you find these tips helpful. Taking care of your mind, body and soul on a daily basis will help you boost your health and happiness! 

Vitamins & Nutrients for Optimal Health

In honor of National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, we have collaborated with HK partner Binto, to highlight vitamins and nutrients that are particularly important to maintaining good health. Find out more about how these vitamins impact different body systems and functions.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in blood production, nerve function and cell production.  It is an essential water-soluble vitamin found in foods such as poultry, meat, fish and dairy.  B12 supplements are also available.

Benefits: 

  • Helps the body produce healthy red blood cells (when B12 levels are too low, the production of red blood cells is altered, causing megaloblastic anemia)
  • Plays a role in nerve function and the production of DNA
  • May improve mood and symptoms of depression − Vitamin B12 is needed for the production of serotonin, a chemical responsible for regulating mood 
  • Plays a role in cell production, so adequate levels are needed to produce healthy hair, skin and nails

Magnesium

Magnesium plays a vital role in a number of bodily functions, including energy production, immune function, and cell communication.  It also helps maintain healthy bones. Magnesium can be found in leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, meat, and dairy  products.

Benefits:

  • Plays a critical role in brain function and mood – low levels have been linked to an increased risk of depression
  • Contributes to increased bone density and helps prevent the onset of osteoporosis 
  • Has been shown to enhance exercise performance by aiding in the disposal of lactic acid, thereby easing muscle cramps and reducing inflammation
  • Helps balance hormones

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is critical for bone and cardiovascular health.  It also supports lung function and plays a role in mental health and cognition. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin present in fish oil, egg yolks, butter, and fortified foods such as milk and yogurt. Our bodies also produce Vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the UV rays in sunlight. 

Benefits:

  • Promotes the absorption of calcium, which is critical to growing and maintaining healthy bones (low levels of calcium increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures) 
  • Reduces blood vessel inflammation, and can help moderate blood pressure 
  • Activates receptors in the brain related to the regulation of behavior 
  • Helps you take in more oxygen when you breathe and reduces the likelihood of  conditions that negatively affect respiration
DHA Omega-3

Omega-3s are a family of essential fatty acids that play an important role in brain, and bone health. As the human body cannot produce Omega-3s, we must get them from foods, such as fish, nuts,seeds , or from supplements. 

Benefits:

  • Improves ability to think, remember and recall information by protecting against the loss of brain plasticity
  • Improves bone strength by boosting the amount of calcium in your bones.

These are just a few important vitamins and nutrients that should be part of your diet. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out Binto. It’s a great resource for women who are interested in personalized healthcare, with the convenience of a monthly subscription and access to licensed health experts. Take their quiz to tell them about your unique health needs and they’ll match you with the right supplement routine for you and connect you with a licensed provider.

10 Small Wellness Tips that have a Big Impact on Your Health

Screen Shot 2020-07-14 at 7.38.16 AM

The idea of “living a healthy lifestyle” can feel overwhelming. What does that even mean? It’s easy to mentally equate health with strict diets and grueling hours of daily exercise. In reality, health is multifaceted and looks different for every person. There’s no need to be overly critical of yourself in your journey towards your own uniquely healthy lifestyle. Small changes to your lifestyle can have a huge positive impact not only on your overall health, but also in your daily exercise routine. Small steps are more sustainable and more likely to turn into healthy habits that ultimately stick. As personal trainer and fitness instructor Nina Saunders puts it, “Get a little uncomfortable in order to get comfortable.” Here are 10 small changes to try out in your daily routine that can have a big impact on your health.

1. Stand Up Alarm

Brianna Biffignani, professional dancer and certified fitness professional provides us with a timely tip: “Set an alarm on your phone to stand up at least once every 2 hours that you are working. Just standing up from your work space will increase overall health and make you more likely to walk around for a few minutes – even if it’s just a walk around your desk or office space. Maybe you’ll even incorporate a few stretches while you stand before getting back to work again.” 

2. Netflix Plank

Who else has been watching more Netflix than usual since quarantine? Gilmore Girls enthusiast Hit House Muay Thai instructor, yoga instructor (and Gilmore Girls enthusiast) Regina Postrekhina suggests that while binging on Netflix it’s a good idea to do a 1 minute plank between episodes. If you binge TV like us, you’ll end up doing at least three sets of these every evening. Still watching cable? “Plank during ads or commercials,” founder of The Ness, Aly Giampolo, suggests.  

3. Push Up Challenge 

Mike Pierce, Hit House instructor and fighter, has another quarantine suggestion. He shares, “Something I have been doing during quarantine is pushups every hour. It gives me a reason to get up from my desk and move each hour.” If that sounds like a big change, don’t sweat it: try incorporating one set of push ups once a day to start and build from there.

4. Rolling Not Scrolling

A lot of us reach for our phones first year in the morning to scroll through Instagram and look at the news. “Instead of scrolling through your phone, roll out your feet while drinking your coffee,” says Rowena Villanueva, founder of The Pilates Nook.

5. Airplane Mode

“Turn your phone on airplane mode by 10PM, and don’t turn it on until after you’ve taken your morning walk,” shares Cam Norsworthy, creator of Pilates service Cam On-Demand.

6. Serious Schedule

It’s easy to let the week slip by us and lose track of time. Sam Castro, Personal Trainer at Equinox, suggests taking a few minutes out of your day once a week to set up some plans. “Schedule your workouts for the week in advance so it can be a non-negotiable,” he says. 

7. Calf Raises 

Justin NG, founding instructor at Hit House and striking couch at NG Combat, provides us with a practical move to warm up your muscles. Waiting in line for something? Do some calf raises while you’re waiting!

8. Morning Dose of Protein

Marissa Graham, Professional Dancer, Certified Trainer at Dancers Who Lift (and virtual Hit House instructor) provides us with some insight to her morning routine, a simple healthy step: “Mix in a scoop of protein to your morning coffee. Caffeine plus hitting those macros… there’s no better feeling.” If you try this out, it’s recommended that you add a little milk or creamer to prevent your cup of joe from getting foamy. 

9. Back to… Boring Basic?

Co-Founder and CEO of Hit House, Tyler Scott, has some “straightforward” advice: “Prepare and eat the same meal for 7 consecutive days on the same hour. Keep it simple. Lots of protein with leafy vegetables.”

10. Bone Broth

Kara Rosella, professional stunt person, advocates for the power of bone both: “Add a cup of bone broth to your daily routine. It works wonders for digestion and skin!” She suggests investigating different bone broth powders available that are both easy to prepare at home and affordable (or try HealthKick partner Owl Venice for fresh Organic bone broth delivery!)

 

Emma Boelter graduated from Tulane University with a BA in English in 2017 and is currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Although she has writing experience in many different areas, right now she is focusing on providing clients with high-quality digital material. She currently lives in New Orleans, LA.

Dana VanPamelen is the co-owner of Hit House, a Muay Thai Kickboxing studio in NYC. She has a Masters degree in Marketing from Hofstra University and loves gathering wellness life hacks.

Parenting in Turbulent Times Webinar: Replay, Resources + Key Takeaways

The Parenting in Turbulent Times webinar on June 17th, was a 60-minute roundtable discussion with HealthKick’s expert panelists offering support and guidance for parents during this turbulent time. They provided tips and tools for managing the stresses of working from home while taking care of the kids, keeping kids entertained and having difficult conversations.

Panelists:

Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart: President & Owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PsyD (Doctor of Psychology), Clinical Psychology & ABPP (Board Certified) Child/Adolescent Psychology

Joanna Loewi: “The Present Mama”, is a Mother of 3-year old twin boys & Parenting Coach

Kayleigh Vogel: Mother, Life Coach, Meditation Teacher & Mindfulness Coach

 

Listen to the full webinar HERE!

Resources From Our Panelists

Kayleigh’s Resources

Joanna’s Resources

Dr. Lockhart’s Resources

 

Highlights and Key Takeaways:

  • Help balance full-time work and parenting by implementing a schedule for you and your kids to build structure into the day. Make adjustments, as needed, and see what works best for you both.
  • Supporting our children’s emotional needs starts with being gentler and kinder to ourselves. When that “inner critic” starts talking, remind yourself to speak to yourself, as you would a close friend; try these compassion meditations from Kayleigh Vogel 
  • Practice easy breathing and mindfulness techniques with kids during regular play, so that these are familiar practices at times of stress and anxiety; check out some easy go-to’s from Joanna
  • Limit screen time and keep kids engaged during the summer by getting outdoors as much as possible, taking family walks, scavenger hunts, setting-up an arts and crafts table, or taking a virtual yoga class together.
  • It’s important to gradually re-introduce children into social settings. Virtual playdates, socially distanced bike rides, going to the grocery store with masks are all ways to make the transition back to social engagement.
  • When having difficult conversations with your kids, be honest and vulnerable about your own feelings and encourage them to share their feelings as well.