Raise your hand if your idea of perfect snacks are chocolate chip cookies and Cheetos, instead of oatmeal and carrots. My hand is UP! After the holiday crazies, 2020 stress, and making some guilty choices — I can’t deny the effect on my physical health. I was used to my body being tired, lethargic and bloated at all times. And this was starting to effect my mental health as well! Not surprised.
Serotonin, often called the “feel good hormone,” acts as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter in our body. Low mood, depression, and anxiety are associated with altered serotonin levels. Because it’s so important to mental wellbeing, you might expect that the brain is where we find most of the body’s serotonin. In reality, though, the gut contains the vast majority of the serotonin in our body. This is why I quickly found a handful of simple things to get back into some better habits. I don’t know about you, but I’m much better at small changes I can stick to rather than a super restrictive cleanse or detox.
I will share with you some of the things that have been helping me feel a little less icky. Let’s go!
Drink More Water
I know we all know this, but as a hair designer who is usually pretty busy, remembering to drink water (and finding time to use the restroom) is difficult. We should all be drinking half our weight in ounces per day. So, if you weigh 150lbs, you should be drinking 75oz., which is roughly 2.5 liter bottles or 10 cups. Easy enough, right? Yes…until you’ve binge watched Schitt’s Creek for hours and suddenly realize it’s 5pm and you haven’t had a drop of water all day. So, when I have days at home, I set alarms to remind me to drink some water every hour. Ridiculous? Maybe, but it’s what I had to do to get in the groove of drinking enough water. And as an added bonus, this makes you get up and move. It’s so easy to be a bum and snuggle with the fur babies all day, but I won’t allow sweatpants to be the only thing that fits at work!
Tip: First thing in the morning (yes, even before coffee), enjoy a glass of warm water with the juice of half a fresh lemon. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning helps wake up your liver and stimulate proper stomach acid production and bile production to aid in digestion. Lemons are a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium, so it’s also an instant immunity boost.
Snack On Raw Fruit
We’re all guilty of having a sweet tooth at times — I know I do. The natural sugars in fruit help manage those cravings, so much so that Oreo’s (a favorite at my house) aren’t on every “essential grocery run”. Berries, grapes, clementines, and bananas have been a few of my favorites. They’re so easy to eat, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time preparing them like pineapples or melons. Berries are an especially good source of fiber, including soluble fiber. Studies show that consuming soluble fiber slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness.
This one’s easy… the higher the percentage of cocoa, the better! Studies have shown that dark chocolate (sorry, milk & white chocolate don’t count) is rich in antioxidants and packed with nutrients, making this bittersweet treat a superfood favorite. Green tea and red wine actually have LESS antioxidants than cacao. Your best bet is choosing a bar with 70 percent cacao or higher. Bars with lower percentages of cacao have more added sugar and unhealthy fats. Even though quality dark chocolate is a better choice than milk chocolate, it is still chocolate. Unfortunately, that means it’s high in calories and saturated fat. To avoid weight gain, let’s limit to less than 1oz per day shall we?
Take A Detox Bath
It is well known that adding Epsom salt to a nice hot bath can help ease pain, soreness and inflammation, but did you know that adding baking soda can add even more benefits? A baking soda bath is all about detoxification. The Western diet is filled with acidic foods including red meat, sugar, cheese and refined foods. Exchanging parts of your diet for healthier, natural foods can help reduce the ramification to some degree. The neutralization process that is created by baking soda can also detox your body from the outside in, diminishing more pronounced acid levels and leading to a more regulated, balanced pH level within the body.
In much the same manner, baking soda baths can also help to neutralize toxins and harmful chemicals lurking inside the body. This can be caused by ingesting alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and medications that can create internal byproducts. My go-to bath includes 1cup Epsom Salt, 1cup Baking Soda (both can always be found at Target or Walmart) and some essential oil or Aveda Composition Oil. These days, Aveda Stress Fix has been my aroma of choice because it is time to relax! I’ll add the composition oil directly on my skin for long lasting layers of aroma that help reduce stress and lead to a great nights rest.
I hope that few of these tips (or hopefully all of them!) help you bring a little balance to your life, and help get your new year started off happy & healthy! I would love to hear from you — please share how you incorporate any of them! Try a couple and share your photos/stories, and don’t forget to tag @NeroliSalonSpa and me @DressingYourTresses on Instagram.