So like, there’s always a lot of talk about the “things” we should be doing in order to be healthy and fit; how to “stay in shape”; how to look a certain way; how to lose weight. Well, those things are hella important (and by “things”, I do mean eating healthy and working out regularly), but there are lots of other things that can contribute to your overall health and wellness that have nothing to do with working out and feeding yourself.
They are necessary, they are just as important, and they aren’t found in the gym.
They are things that don’t directly contribute to an “end result”, so they’re often forgotten. (You know, like how running every day and lifting weights will probably help you lose 20 lbs after a while. The end result is the weight loss, and it’s visible; tangible.)
These things aren’t.
Do you want to know that they are? (I mean, in my opinion anyways?)
Okay, I guess I’ll tell you. Otherwise, why am I wasting your valuable time?
So I’ll get on with it then.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Massage Therapy & Chiropractic Care
I never truly understood the power of these natural healing practices until I suffered an injury and needed them in order to rehabilitate. Right? This is what everybody does! Too often we wait until there’s something wrong before we look to these (amazing, and natural) sources of aid and wellness. They can become a means to an end – but I encourage you to try looking at them in a different way!
I try to schedule myself in for massage therapy once per month in order to keep the muscles of my back loose, fit and highly functioning – even if I’m not experiencing any specific discomfort. It’s preventative maintenance. It’s like getting regular oil changes on your car. You can’t SEE that it does anything, so you put it off. (Don’t you? Camaaan) Regular preventative maintenance (oil changes et al) makes a huge difference in the way your car functions, and will help keep your engine “healthy”. (How’s that for an authentic plug, babe? It just happened. *wink*)
But this post isn’t about oil changes.
If you haven’t noticed, your back is a HUGE part of your body; it is responsible for a LOT (you know, in part, holding up your entire torso) and it’s also one of the most common problems or areas of concern for so many people – largely due to the amount of sitting and lack of activity we’re experiencing on a daily basis.
If you don’t visit the massage therapist on a regular basis, chances are that you don’t visit a chiropractor on the reg, either. Am I right? Again, the first time I experienced a chiropractic assessment was after an injury, when I thought I needed someone to get me back to “normal”. Now that I am so active and push my body hard regularly, I make sure to see my Chiropractor at least every 3 months or so. Sometimes, it’s to address an issue (like recently, I had a bit of knee strain, which my Doc worked right out), but sometimes it’s just to check my alignment and get adjusted as necessary. It’s a small thing, but getting assessed often can help prevent alignment or postural issues that can contribute to your overall wellness in the long term.
These little gems have become wildly popular lately – but you don’t need to be an expert to find some oils that can help you to treat the symptoms of what could be daily ailments. You can find a reputable brand if you just start looking. A few brands I’ve tried include DoTerra, Young Living, and my favourite at the moment, Canadian-made Saje Wellness. I currently prefer Sage because I can just go into the store and pickup what I need, and I really enjoy the pre-made blends they have for specific problems. (Like, “Immune”, which I have both in a roll-on formula and also as an oil that I diffuse in my one-year-old daughter’s room when she has a cold. It just takes the guesswork out of which oils to pair together.) I know, I know – “DoTerra and Young Living have blends, too!” I’m not employed by Saje, nor is this post sponsored in any way by them – I’m just sharing my honest opinion ATM! Whether you want natural help with sleep issues, colds or allergies, digestion, headaches, pain or tummy aches – there’s an essential oil for YOU!
P.S. You can also likely find any singular essential oil you need at your local natural health store. (Not a supplement store; a natural health store. There’s a difference.)
Put your hand up if you love the dentist! *Blank stares* Yeah man, I know. Nobody does. I actually don’t mind the dentist now that I’m, you know, an adult and stuff… but I had a few bad experiences as a child and they stuck with me for a long time. I also, evidently, take much better care of my teeth now that I’m a grown up. Or I just eat less sugar-y crap. Probably both.
So, floss your teeth a few times a week, and then really good two weeks before you head into the dentist, and hopefully you have zero cavities and get a gold star with your free toothbrush on your way out. (Now, this is the method that works for me… but I’m not guaranteeing it will work for everybody…just sayin’.)
For realz, though. Making sure your teeth and gums are in good working order is actually an important part of your health. Get in there at least once per year if you can.
Yoga & Meditation
I know, I said the things on this list weren’t going to be “workout” related, but please allow me to elaborate. Yoga is not about fitness. Well, I suppose it’s kind of related to fitness, because it involves moving your body… but Yoga is about so much more than that. Namely, it’s about connecting your mind with your body. It took me a reeeeeally long time to get that. I always thought I needed to go to Yoga so I could improve my flexibility. Sounds about right, no? Well, sure, a benefit of practicing Yoga regularly might include improving your overall flexibility, but that’s not what it’s all about. Yoga is about learning how to be present, how to let go of judgement and to accept your body and your movement exactly where it is in the moment; it’s about balance and breath and strength and expression. It’s not about who can do the most advanced pose, and who can’t. It’s not about comparing yourself to the more flexible-looking person beside you. It’s not about your lululemon clothes. It’s about inward connection and focus. It’s about slowing down and spending some much needed time reflecting and practicing gratitude and feeling the beauty of movement. It’s about your own journey, and yours alone. I would argue it’s more about your mind and connecting your mind with your body than it is about your physical body. It’s something that everybody can do, it’s easily modified, it’s readily available, and it is just so. damn. good. for your overall wellness.
If you can’t get into a studio to practice, you can find something on YouTube in a snap, and practice in your bedroom.
Foam Rolling & Stretching
This may be the epitome of the “love/hate” relationship. Have you ever tried foam rolling? It can literally be a pain in the ass. Let’s just say it doesn’t initially feel… awesome. It kinda hurts. Except not kinda… it just hurts. Some spots are easier for certain people than others, though. I can roll my quads all day long, but when it comes to my hamstrings, calves, and IT band, I’m wincing through it and doing my best not to complain. It hurts because it WORKS. What, exactly, does it do though?
It allows you to practice self guided myo-fascial release.
Coles notes: your muscles have some soft parts called “fascia”, which provides support and protection. By using a foam roller to massage certain areas, it can help you to protect and release muscles that are often overworked.
It’s like if you could give yourself your own back massage. You would, wouldn’t you? Knowing how good massage therapy is for you? And for FREE? Well – foam rolling may not be as good as seeing a physical therapist who would work on your muscles by hand, but it offers a bit of an aid that you can do at home or after a workout.
Next time you’re at the gym, look around for some long (like, 3 foot) foam cylinders. You might have seen them before. You probably thought to yourself “what the heck are those for?” or “how is anybody going to get a workout with that?” It’s not to work out. It’s to repair and recover.
You should also make sure you are stretching your muscles once a day; especially after working out, but even if you haven’t.
Here’s one more thing I suggest to assist with your overall wellness:
Take a multivitamin
Yo, I’m not employed by any multivitamin people, either. Swear. Just find a good quality one and take it every day. Why? Because it’s very difficult to get alllllll the vitamins and minerals your body needs in your food. Even if you eat reeeeeally well – you’re still probably not getting everything in the proper amounts? Again why? UGH YOU’RE SO ANNOYING. Just kidding. Because there are a LOT of vitamins and minerals, and I’d venture to guess that you aren’t a perfect little food angle every day, are you? Do you have a perfectly balanced breakfast and plenty of leaf-y greens and fruits and vegetable and nuts and seeds and lean protein and healthy fats every day? Do ya? NAT. Take a multivitamin and then try to make some small changes to your diet to include all the good stuff. You won’t see it making a difference, but it does.
Okay guys, that’s all for now.
I hope this post helped you to remember that you need to take care of yourself – even if it’s by doing things that don’t give you a tangible end result.
GO TO THE DENTIST. NOW.
Let me know in the comments if you practice any of these, or if you have any to add!
Thanks for reading,