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7 daily health habits

Once upon a time, a year and a bit ago, my self-care routine took 2 hours and I was in heaven for living a balanced slow life, being true to my beliefs and what I preached to my patients. In the last 6 months I have come dangerously close to a serious burnout and once again I was saved by the routine which seems so simple, yet so powerful.

This post is a reminder to myself and everyone else out there who needs to slow down, prioritise your needs and give as much love to yourselves as you give to your loved ones. If our post-lockdown lives are busier than ever, it’s even more vital to take time for ourselves doing things that we love. Below are my favourite healthy habits that brought me back to a balance. What do you do to get to your optimal state?

1. Morning Qigong
I always start my morning with Qigong. It is an ancient Chinese practice that involves gentle movement and breathwork to tonify vital organs, promote circulation of blood and lymph and increase Life Force or “Qi”, which is the root of all health. If the weather allows I do it outside barefoot, which gives an extra benefit of normalising the body's biological rhythms, reducing inflammation and slowing down ageing process.

2. Breathing
Would you say, that we never appreciated our ability to breathe as much as we do nowadays? Breathing deeply is one of our body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms, increasing oxygenation levels, boosting immunity, improving circulation, moving lymph, while calming your mind at the same time. For many people, however, deep diaphragmatic breathing is no longer instinctive. Instead, many of us have become shallow breathers, myself included! So we need to practice, the more the better, every day if you can. Especially now, as this will protect your lungs and boost your ability to fight pathogens. My favourite techniques are Wim Hof method and Pranayama.

3. Postural exercises
Many years of desk/computer work in finance have given me a bad posture and now the situation is not much better as I spend hours at the computer writing patients dietary and wellness notes. Postural exercises have become a daily must and what I also notice improvements in my breathing, as my diaphragm expands. What is also interesting, that correct posture gives you an instant face lift as it pulls fascia back to its original ‘youthful’ position. Fascia is the layer of connective tissue right under the skin. It acts as the support and infrastructure for your skin and is responsible for giving it lift and tone. It can also carry a lot of tension and adhesions that restrict the circulation of blood and lymph. As we age, fascia moves from its original position, pulling skin with it and creating wrinkles.

4. Face yoga and guasha self-massage
I am a spa girl and whenever I can I try to carve out some time for a facial or a massage. However, I believe that in beauty and wellness, it’s more important to do less but regularly than a lot but infrequently. That’s why I make sure I find 15 minutes a day in the morning or the evening to give myself a gua sha facial, incorporating face yoga and fascia stretching techniques. These 15 minutes do wonders to my wrinkles!

5. Being in nature
Wherever I am, I try to spend at least 30 minutes a day in nature, whether it’s walking in a park (without devices or discussion on upcoming house maintenance with my husband!), hiking in the mountains, foraging in the forest or looking after my herbs in the garden. It is one of my favourite ways to distress. ‘Forest bathing’ is a real deal in Japan, where I spent 10 years of my life. It’s quite incredible that scientists have actually measured and proven scientifically beneficial changes in the body from being in nature.

6. Homemade meals
Cooking is my passion and seasonal local homemade meals became a daily joy during lockdown. I love being in control of the ingredients that are in my dishes. I also love creating new recipes, especially from something I foraged, or something I have just picked in the garden. Living foods have the most nutrition and “Qi”, which supports us not only on the physical but also on the energetic level. Plus it’s so much fun to go through the full cycle from picking your food to eating it.

7. Meditation before sleep

Restful sleep is so crucial to our health and wellbeing and it is very important to go to sleep with the right intention. Before bed I a do short meditation to remember everything that happened during that day that I am grateful for, connect with my body, visualise my happy place and manifest positive thoughts.

Jenya Di Pierro
Herbal Medicine Practitioner, BA, MA, AMH, ANP

Tags: Health, Wellness, Tips, Mental Health | Author: Jenya Di Pierro, Herbalist & Naturopath

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