By: Jennifer Gallegos
Tis the season… to likely forget all our best practices. We know the champions of wellness: meditation, yoga, gratitude, internal and external potions, doses of nature, etc. The list of wellness activities is long and varied, but how often do we go an entire day without a single glance at our sneakers or a moment of mindful breathing? There is plenty of joy to be found during the holidays, but at the same time it is especially easy to get overwhelmed this time of year. And 2020 is like no other we’ve ever seen.
Life in a “normal” world can be hectic, but these days the challenges can feel staggering. The stress of the pandemic, missing friends and family, and juggling multiple roles (Me? I’m full-time at IO and a solo mom of 2!) often leave me feeling overwhelmed and, frankly, disinterested in rolling out my yoga mat. But I know that if there were ever a time not to abandon my wellness practices, this is it. (You can’t get the best of me, 2020!).
So here’s how I do it in my everyday life and especially during the holiday season. And, yes, it’s all about what I call wellness snacks – doable, bite-sized bits of wellness. I sprinkle in 2, 5, or 10 minute chunks throughout my day. I have a goal of 30-40 minutes a day, total. That’s it, that’s my target. I know to some that might seem ridiculously easy, but to others (like me), that can be a huge accomplishment with plenty of benefits.
Here are some of my go-to “wellness snacks”:
• A few minutes of stretching and breathing warm me up and get me going first thing in the morning. Often, I just flip over in bed and start with Child’s Pose and a few Cat/Cow stretches.
• While the kids are eating breakfast, I jump on my mini elliptical or rebounder to get my heart pumping for 10 minutes.
• While showering, I put my foot over the drain and add in a few drops of essential oils to the pooling water below. A few slow, deep breaths with sweet orange or eucalyptus perk me up, while good old fashioned lavender settles me down. Not sexy, but effective.
• On our way out to school and work (currently the same place… ugh) my kids and I state 3 things each that we are grateful for. Admittedly, our mornings can be a bit tense and chaotic trying to get out of the house, so a gratitude check-in is a perfect reset for the rest of our day.
• On our best mornings, I play a 5-minute guided meditation (thank you, YouTube) that we listen to in the car once we’ve reached our destination. I know, I know, seems unlikely to get somewhere early, but it does happen, and this is the best way to spend those extra minutes. My kids love it.
• The JUNA Balance drops (availble in spa boutique) live on my desk and always make it into my mid-morning coffee, keeping me feeling calm and focused. Having supplements/adaptogens in sight and easily accessible makes a huge difference in terms of remembering to take them.
• Another 10 minutes of Pilates or Kundalini yoga after work and I’m feeling like a champ.
• Bedtime equals a few minutes of facial massage. I love to use the In Fiore Calendula Solution or the Boditonic Baby Oil with Gua Sha stones (availble in spa boutique), working to relieve tension in my neck and jaw and stimulating facial reflexology points. I keep the Gua Sha on my nightstand, so they are in sight and ready to use.
The options for wellness snacks such as these are endless. Indulge yourself this holiday season and feel good about every small “bite” you take. And by all means, feast on an hour-long wellness meal whenever you can - you’ll never regret a good soak in the tub with all the fixings. If you’re like me, and time is a little harder to come by, know that all the little things matter just as much and can sustain you for the long haul.
Wishing everyone a well-thy, healthy and happy holiday season.
Jennifer Gallegos is the Director of Esthetics and Retail at io. She is a passionate, adoptive mom of two, ages 9 and 5, and lives in Marin. She has been devoted to esthetics for 20 years and has worked at International Orange for 18 years.