“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”Aristotle

Having no routine or structure is mentally, physically and emotionally draining and can bring on yourself a lot of stress. By not doing habits like exercising, meditation, fueling our body right or creating gratitude lists,  we deprive our body and our mind of our true potential.

This time of year, we tend to feel tired, stressed, worn out and simply ready for a holiday. Unfortunately for many of us, this is not going to be a reality any time soon. Which is why we have put together a small list of our ‘seasonal must-do rituals’  to keep the body, mind, soul and skin happy, healthy and glowing for the summer months.

Drink at least 2L of water a day: As it starts to warm up it is important to keep the body hydrated. This will reduce the chance of headaches, keep skin and organs well hydrated and help keep the body and mind clear of toxins allowing for better perspective and mental stamina. Approximately 75% of the human body is water. The body has a variety of mechanisms to ensure you know when you need to hydrate but the truth is often we are too ‘busy’ to listen to these signs. The best way to be is proactive!! Use a water bottle and know its volume, set reminders on your phone & drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning. 1.5 – 2L is a good measure for most people.

‘Green before caffeine’ & have breakfast: Caffeine is known to interfere with our circadian rhythm having an effect on our sleep quality and quantity. It is known to cause arousal, an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity and up-regulation of the neurotransmitters noradrenaline and dopamine, which respectively control and regulate our sympathetic nervous system, ‘fight or flight, and our emotional response to situations. Many people tend to reach for a coffee cup first thing upon rising to help ‘wake-up’ the body but we encourage you to line your belly well as you break-the- Breakfast consumption is associated with a range of positive outcomes, including better nutrient intake and a healthy body weight. Interestingly, consumption of breakfast tends to decrease with the increase of age, which has been linked with a ‘lack of time’. Skipping breakfast may impact health and wellbeing negatively, directly affecting cognitive function and psychosocial functions. Additionally, skipping breakfast is associated with less healthy eating patterns, such as lower consumption of fruit and vegetables and a higher consumption of unhealthy snack foods. Make a list of things you like to have for breakfast and make sure you have them handy at home.

MOVE: Not only can it help to enhance your body physiologically and metabolically BUT exercise also helps to improve your mood, mental health, sleep, wellbeing and quality of life. Make movement a priority for you, take it slow. Start by committing to one or two new activities a week, find a way to make it a sustainable and an achievable goal for yourself and most importantly find a form of movement you LOVE, & simply do that!

PAUSE: Stress, anxiety and tiredness can make us unhappy, impatient, frustrated, stressed and sick. Mediation is a self-care and self-development tool, which helps to manage stress, reducing stimulation and controlling anxiety of the mind and physical body. Psychologically, meditation is known to promote a better sense of wellbeing and to help control frustration associated with dis-ease in the body. Meditation, gives our minds a break, bringing a sense of calmness – making us more focused and connected to the present moment. Additionally, it helps with sleep function and reduces fatigue. Often 10 minutes a day of stillness and deep diaphragmatic breathing can help to overcome and manage stress, restoring a peaceful ebb and inner-balance. There are now many apps to help you to meditate, which are available free of charge. Top picks include: Insight Timer, Buddhify, Smiling Mind and Head Space.

Get 8 hours sleep each night: While you sleep your body restores and heals itself. Ensuring we have enough sleep can help to reduce stress and anxiety, help to heal chronic conditions, reduce inflammation and bring clarity to the body and mind. How to ideas: get an app to monitor your sleep, set a bedtime routine and better yet call it your SELF-LOVE ritual. Cut out your afternoon naps, in the morning make your bed and seek beautiful light to help balance your serotonin & melatonin – you sleep/wake hormones.

Remember, it is not what we do every once & a while that creates our lifestyle, but the small, accumulative practices we do day in & day out which shape our world.

Nik Boswell
Yoga Teacher & Wellness Advocate
Wellness Retreats NZ

Nik will be hosting a ‘Revamping Your Routine – Morning & Evening Rituals’ workshop at Wellness Retreats’ Motivate & Move Women’s Retreat on Sunday 12th November.

For more details: www.wellnessretreatsnz.co.nz