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.

One-On-One with Lucas Krump: Co-Founder & CEO of EVRYMAN

Logo-Navy

  1. What motivated you to start EVRYMAN?

For years during my own emotional health journey, I could have used the principles and tools that our co-founder Owen Marcus developed over the last 40 years, but I didn’t know they existed. I also would have benefited much sooner from the support of other guys in the process, but I didn’t know how or where to find them. EVRYMAN’s commitment is to provide access to both the tools and the other guys, essentially.

We each bring deep and unique experience in education, business, men’s health and wilderness therapy (Dan Doty, Owen Marcus, Lucas Krump and Sascha Lewis). We saw the need for something that is between primal emotional expression that can be hard to translate into everyday life, and medical therapy.  It’s both a science-based curriculum with “how” and “why” to express and act on emotions, and a daily practice to create and strengthen more authentic relationships.

2. What does wellness mean to you?

I appreciate your asking what it means for me. Part of our ethos at EVRYMAN is that we don’t prescribe a certain way of being. Every man decides for himself. For me, wellness is balance. It’s not a hardcore regimen of nutrition, meditation, working out and bio-hacking to some optimal level of performance. It’s making sure that I am doing something everyday, big or small,  to care for my mind, body and spirit. That could be a hike or a workout or taking time to slow down and connect with my fiancée, or calling my mom. For me, wellness is consciousness, knowing that we have the agency to change our state and our behavior, and in doing so, improve our wellbeing.

3. Do you feel like the wellness industry has made space for men to participate? Why or why not?

I don’t. I think the wellness industry has perpetuated goals that for many men and women aren’t really supportive of the word “wellness” as we just agreed is different for everyone. For men, the message is generally around bio-hacking and optimal performance. There is a competitive undertone that says, if you don’t look this way, do this, believe this, eat that, then you’re not well or manly enough. That message drives self-judgment and competitiveness among men that is lonely and hurtful.

Wellness should be an individual journey where you are accountable to yourself, not a spreadsheet of your reps, for finding that balance and your own best results as you define them. I believe that more guys would find meaning in “wellness” if the industry were more inclusive and accepting of everyone wherever they may be on their personal journey.

4. What are the biggest benefits of community, especially for men?

Humans are social mammals, we’re hard wired to connect. You can see in all the Zoom groups and parties today at a safe distance, how strong that hard wiring is. However, if you think of human connection as a nutrient, it doesn’t take, isn’t absorbed, unless we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to receive it. As men we’ve been conditioned to believe we should do it alone, to not ask for help– and beyond that, we are taught to disconnect from our emotions, to “suck it up,” “act as if,” and all that. The result is, we’re isolated, alone, and not set up to receive the nutrient of connection.

When men can join a community and be open and see other men like themselves open up, it’s freeing and more empowering. And to be part of a nonjudgmental community supports our mental, physical and emotional health, which are all connected.

5. What do you think we can do to help fight the stigma around mental and emotional health for men?

Stop calling it mental health in the sense of you’re either mentally healthy or mentally ill. Stop telling guys that traditional one-on-one therapy is the one answer. Of course, I support therapy for guys who need it. I’ve been in therapy myself. Unfortunately, in a lot of male circles, any kind of “emotional” or “mental” program or therapy is perceived as a weakness, that you are ill, that something is “wrong with you.” Guys hear that and are put off, and continue to suffer in silence, which probably means that others around them are experiencing pain as well.

There is also the reality that formal therapy is costly, can be hard to access, is something that guys don’t want to discuss with others, and there’s a stigma around admitting it. That stigma goes back to the idea that if you feel the need to talk about or express anything emotional, you’re not a normal guy. That’s just not true, and that’s the assumption that we need to keep calling out.

The stigma also comes from an assumption that everything that’s not as physical as flu or cancer is woo-woo. If you believe that, you ignore the real connections between physical, mental, and emotional health. We need to change that and it’s a big part of Evryman. We acknowledge those connections and help guys become well, healthy, confident, and secure within their own definitions of those terms, and of their manhood, across how they feel, think, behave, interact, and make decisions. Those are the building blocks of a good life, and every guy deserves to feel that way.

6. Are there any mindfulness or recovery practices that you incorporate in your routine?

I wake up between 6:00-7:00 and I spend 5-10 mins just being. I check in with my fiancée and take a few breaths. I also practice intermittent fasting, so I start my day with water and black coffee. I take cold showers daily, meditate a few times a week, and my biggest routine is my weekly EVRYMAN groups. We call our practice “CrossFit for your emotions.” Each week I connect with my group and practice expanding my emotional capacity, receiving the nutrient of community, if you will, while connecting with other men.

7. What wellness brands or studios do you use/attend on a regular basis?

I love Insight Timer for meditations. When I lived in the city, Modo Yoga was my go-to yoga spot and Calm has featured us on their app. There are so many great brands and companies innovating in the wellness space.

 

Check out our exclusive discount with EVRYMAN on the HealthKick platform to get involved with the community!

 

Difficult Conversations: Resources to help speak with your kids about racism

 Knowing how to broach this topic with your children can be stressful. Below are a variety of resources to educate you and help you navigate these conversations.

Resources for Books:

Podcasts:

Articles: 

Social Media:

 

Breathing to Calm Stress

fp_about_kayleigh

Breathing consciously is one of the most powerful ways to calm the body’s stress response (sympathetic nervous system) and activate the body’s rest response (parasympathetic nervous system), powerfully changing the cascade of hormones and communication molecules flowing through your brain and body for the better. Try integrating the following breathing practices into your daily life and notice the effect on your mood and mental clarity.

If you have no time at all, try: 

Observing Your Breath: Don’t change your breath in any way; simply observe your breath. Where is your breath going in your body? Feel your lungs expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale. Focus on the changing sensations as air moves through your nose and fills your chest and abdomen. You may mentally note, “inhaling,” as inhaling and, “exhaling,” as exhaling.

Belly Breathing: Place your hand on your abdomen and as you inhale let your belly expand, like the belly of a baby or a puppy dog. When we are stressed, we take short upper chest breaths. Breathing deeply into the belly tells the brain that we are safe, bringing blood to the prefrontal cortex (PFC), the highest part of the brain. “Willpower pause” is the term researcher Kelly McGonigal uses to describe how two minutes of deep belly breathing shifts blood away from the reactive parts of the brain to the PFC, allowing us to respond with clarity and resilience during times of stress. Amazing! 

Focusing on the Exhalation: Take a deep breath in through your nose and as you let it out through your mouth, focus on squeezing out every last sip. Notice the effort in the muscles between your ribs (called intercostal muscles). The amount of air you move out of your lungs determines the amount of air you can draw in. 

If you have 3 minutes, try:


Counting Your Breath: This is a powerful anti-anxiety technique. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, and exhale through your mouth (like you were blowing out of a straw) for a count of 8. Repeat the processes three more times, maintaining the 4:7:8 ratio and notice the effect on your nervous system. Do four breath cycles at least twice a day. 

If you have 5 – 10 minutes try: 

Making your Breath Deeper and More Easeful with an Anchor: Sitting or lying down, scan your body for any areas of unnecessary tension and let the body soften. Bring your attention to your belly and invite your breath to be deeper and more easeful. At the bottom of each exhalation, silently whisper a word or phrase that makes you feel safe or peaceful. This word or phrase is an anchor for your attention. When your mind wanders, invite your attention back to your breath and your word. Keep inviting yourself back for 5-20 minutes. Researchers use the term “relaxation response” to describe the healing that occurs through this practice. In one study, participants who practiced for 10 -20 minutes once or twice per day demonstrated changes in the expression of genes related to immune function, energy metabolism, and inflammation. Relaxation literally changes the substance of your body!

Resting in Your Breath: Find a comfortable position lying down. Let the eyes close and the arms and legs rest heavy. Find your breath wherever you feel it most easily – belly, chest, or nose. Now, sense that you are “being breathed” by the universal life force. There is nothing you have to do, just enjoy being breathed. Inhaling to receive this nourishing life force and exhaling to let go. Allow yourself be carried by this mysterious life force, resting in the fundamental rhythm of nature to which you already belong. 

 

By Kayleigh Vogel, Wellness & Positive Psychology Coach 

http://www.kayleighwellness.com