5 Self Care Podcasts to Inspire Your Practice

As our lives become increasingly more chaotic with a steady diet of bad news, overwhelmingly divisive rhetoric, and a never ending stream of work emails pouring into our phones even after business hours, the need for self care has never been more important. I’m sure you’ve heard that the path to self care is paved with aromatherapy candles and soft bath towels. You’ve heard that all you need to do to travel that path is to unplug for a while and meditate. The fact of the matter is, it’s just as impossible to meditate while crammed on a Manhattan bound, rush hour 2 train as it is to get more than 10 minutes to yourself on a busy weeknight.

Self care is a little more complex than all that. That’s not to say that ritual baths and relaxation aren’t a necessary part of self care. Intention is key. It’s not about escaping, it’s about letting go of what is standing in the way of your overall well-being. Whether it’s anxiety and mental health, or lack of sleep and feeling overwhelmed, we all have challenges in our lives that can’t be ignored. So as part of my self care practice, I’ve been listening to some mind blowing podcasts. These self care podcasts offer honest conversations and real life strategies for improving overall wellness. Here are some of my favorites!

Sarah James, a lifestyle blogger and self-help aficionado, and her bestie Kristen Howerton, a writer and psychotherapist, tackle the tricky and often elusive aspects of caring for ourselves on the weekly podacst, Selfie. Their conversations explore questions like: Why don’t I eat the way I should? How do I get enough sleep? What aspects of my personality make self-care tricky? And what’s the best way to deal with pubic hair? From the silly to the serious, Kristen and Sarah are taking a vulnerable and often humorous look at body, mind and spirit . . . and maybe a touch of the random, all while looking at the distractions and defenses that keep us from caring for ourselves like we should.

Untangle is the meditation podcast produced by the Meditation Studio app. This podcast features interviews with experts who have devoted their lives to helping others through meditation.

In this podcast series, Fearne Cotton, author of the bestseller Happy: Finding Joy in Every Day and Letting Go of Perfect, interviews inspiring individuals who have either made a change in their own lives or who help people every day to find a different way of looking at life.

On Make Light, bestselling author, speaker, and photographer Karen Walrond interviews light-seekers and light-makers from around the world, learning how they live with intention and a sense of adventure.

On the Mom Hour, Megan Francis and Sarah Powers, two moms with eight kids between them from preschool to teen, take on parenting topics and issues related to motherhood in a tone that is reassuring and real— with lots of room for laughter.

Wellness: 5 Realistic Tips for a More Restful Sleep

When I first heard about Gwyneth Paltrow’s clean sleeping trend last year, I couldn’t help but scoff a little bit. I mean, seriously.  I imagine her being hermetically sealed into an anti-ageing, oxygen chamber while a fleet of Oompa Loompas work frantically to make sure that her sleep isn’t disturbed by any outside distractions. Meanwhile, in my world filled with all the Wangdoodles and Snozzwangers, and rotten, Vermicious Knids, quality sleep is often an unattainable luxury. In fairness, Paltrow’s suggestion that we should lay off of our phones and TV before bed is probably all kinds of true, but she totally loses me when she starts talking about copper pillowcases.

That being said, I know that quality sleep is extremely important when it comes to overall wellness, but I had to take a more realistic approach than giving up on electronics because, you know, Netflix doesn’t just binge watch itself at 1 am. I started by doing a complete overhaul of my bedding, with a new mattress, new pillows and, sigh, full disclosure, I even bought one of those copper pillowcases which is kind of amazing to sleep on. Well played, Gwyneth, well played. But what next? I thought for sure that I’d become one of those morning people that can just pop up out of bed all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Hardly. Though I felt way more rested than I have in years, I still felt a little groggy. Here’s what I was missing. Sleep is as vital to wellness as exercise and diet, so it should be treated as such. The careful design that goes into your workout of choice and your meal plan should also go into your unique sleep routine.

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.

We’re not kids anymore, so bed time doesn’t have to be at 8pm, but establishing a consistent sleep schedule that works within your schedule and not against it, will train your body to wake and rise with ease. Circadian rhythm and other science type stuff, y’all.

  • Establish an evening bed time ritual

Truth: I love rituals. Candles, aromatherapy, meditating, herbal tea. I think I was a witch, or worse yet a hippie, in a former life. Anyway, a nice chamomile tea and a homemade sleep spray are just what the shaman ordered.

  • Snack Intelligently

I absolutely can not fall asleep on an empty stomach. I know I’m not alone. But instead of reaching for a three course meal at midnight, eat foods that actually help increase your body’s melatonin without weighing you down. Think pineapples, bananas, oranges, oats, yogurt, or trail mix.

  • Rage against your sleep tracker

Not a band name, y’all, it’s a battle cry. Because one thing’s for sure: if your sleep tracker is causing you stress, you should probably stop paying so much attention to it. We all feel this need to compile as much data as we can to fix some problem. These sleep tracker apps tell us all the details of our sleep cycle. Each disruption. Each second of sleep we missed. Fact: worrying about that data will cause anxiety that will keep you restless. It’s like looking at your throat when you’re sick. Is it really any redder than it was when you were perfectly healthy? Ignore the data for a bit and just listen to your body.

  • If all else fails…

Invest in some technology that helps you drift off to dreamland. White noise machines will help drown out all the ridiculousness, like some dude speeding down Linden Blvd. blasting trap music at 3am. Air purifiers are also a must have especially if you’re noticeably congested every morning. Try using this 2-in-1 air purifying, white noise machine available on Amazon or Wayfair.

4 Wellness Rituals to Start Today

There’s been a lot of talk about self care recently. While it may sound super indulgent at first glance what with all the emphasis on ‘me time’, it is an essential part of physical and mental health. If you’ve ever felt like you have nothing left to give, like you’re emotionally and physically exhausted, or even like you just need a moment to get away, you already know how important self care is for you and everyone else around you. There is no shame in hitting the reset button. There’s no shame in trying to keep all the cogs and wheels in your mind and body running as smoothly as possible. That’s essentially what all this ‘me time’ talk is hinting at.

There’s no one-size-fits-all method for self care. Sometimes it’s as simple as lighting a candle and meditating. Sometimes it’s as painful as confronting the obstacles that we put in our own way. Whatever method of self care we choose, the fact of the matter is, we just need to find the rituals or habits that allow us to be our best selves. The mind and body are inextricably connected. We have to nurture both. Here are 3 suggestions for self care that you can incorporate today!

Drink warm lemon water every morning

As a coffee drinker, I completely understand if you hesitate on this one, but if I can do it you can too! Warm lemon water, detoxifies and hydrates the body, aids digestion, and gives you a nice kick of Vitamin C. Just squeeze the juice from a fresh lemon into a mug of warm water and enjoy.

Start a gratitude journal

I used to think journaling was something you did just to vent out deeply repressed frustration. Not so! There is so much to be thankful for and sometimes we lose sight of it. Each morning, take a few minutes to jot down a quick list of things you’re grateful for to kick the day off with a positive frame of mind. Seriously, a gratitude journal will remind you to be happy and keep you grounded.

Try Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic tradition that is primarily for oral health, but is also known to vastly improve overall health. Oil pulling is said to boost energy, clear up the skin, alleviate headaches, and much more. Swish a tablespoon of organic coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes first thing in the morning. Spit it out in the toilet or in the garbage to avoid clogging your drains. Rinse your mouth out and start your day!

Dry Brush Your Skin

This is another Ayurvedic tradition that has a ton of benefits. Not only does dry brushing stimulate the lymphatic system, it promotes detoxification, improves circulation, and you guessed it, it exfoliates your skin. Using a brush with natural bristles take an extra few minutes before your regular shower routine to dry brush. Beginning at your feet, gently brush in upward strokes working your way up toward your heart. Shower as usual. You’ll totally feel the difference.

Again, there is no right or wrong blueprint for self care. Don’t hate on yourself if you’d rather take a bubble bath than do any of the things on this list. Find what’s right for you and start today! Your future self will thank you.

Wellness Trends to Look For in 2018

I had a major crush on this boy that was way into Tai Chi and who (spoiler alert) turned out to be a totally self important tool bag. Considering he was so wrong about so many things, I started to firmly believe that Tai Chi is ridiculous because, ya know, there’s no “I” in denial. But with the new year comes the opportunity to restart, rejuvenate, and reinvent yourself. Even though I’ve come to see the practice of Tai Chi as a reliable red flag as any, this new year is already telling me otherwise. Tai Chi classes have already started making their way into a gym or park near you. Alas, this low impact exercise is perfect for reducing stress and creating calm in both mind and body. Still bitter. I probably need to work on that. Wellness is all about mind, body, and soul, right? So, what else is 2018 bringing into the world of wellness? Here are just a few things that we’ll be seeing more of this year.

Indoor Air Purification

As world leaders continue to compare missile sizes, and pretty severe weather patterns are devastating entire regions, we can’t help but notice environmental effects on our overall sense of wellness. Clean water has been a concern for decades, but this year, expect to see more talk about indoor air purification.

After you painstakingly planned your diet and really got yourself into a successful workout routine, breathing in the comfort of your own home should be a no-brainer. Sadly, dust, mold, and other pollutants have been putting a strain on that otherwise quiet existence for some time now. Searches for air purifiers and air purifying household plants have already increased by nearly 300% and we’ve only just begun.

Fortunately, there are some pretty awesome air purifiers available on amazon. For larger spaces in your home, this tower-style HEPA air purifier with a charcoal filter is a workhorse, clearing the air of allergens and odor from pets and smoke. For smaller spaces, like your bedroom nightstand, this cute purifier will filter out 99% of the allergens in the air. Best part, they’re extremely affordable.

The Importance of Self Care

Mindfulness in meditation has been trending for a while now. The idea is to be present in the moment and gradually let go of the thoughts that produce anxiety and adversely affect our mental well being. This trend is going to have some company this year as self-care becomes more and more important. Whether the emphasis is on caring for your body through restorative post workout stretches or snacks (Huel and Althletic Greens have been my saving grace), getting enough sleep, or slipping away into a spa-like bath, the principle of self care is no longer a luxury. This year, it’s a necessity.

 Well + Good predicts…

From athletic gear, to women’s health, to brain-boosting supplements, to craft Kombucha elixirs, to gut health, and beyond. Those trailblazing folks over at Well+Good have rounded up their Top 18 Trends of 2018. It’s so worth the read. I don’t know about you, but bio-hacking and high-tech sleep sound uh-mazing!

Food Trends to Watch For in 2018

Happy New Year, everyone!!! Fact: The closest I came to dieting in 2017 was when I deleted some of the food photos from my phone gallery. I’ll admit, when I’m talking about dieting here, I’m almost never talking about weight loss. What I am talking about is the way diet totally effects how we feel.  I’m here to tell you that skinny vegetarians can feel like crap too. Take it from me. I’m also here to tell you that big girls can be amazingly fit. Case in point: this fierce yogi. So, with less of an emphasis on weight, nutrition and health take center stage. This year, we can expect to see some super nutritious additions to last year’s growing list of healthy food trends. I don’t know about you, but I’m totally ready! Seriously, after a steady diet of cake, sweet, sugar, pastry, and cocktail since Halloween, I’m determined to start this new year off right. Let’s take a look!

2018 Food Trends

Whole Foods Predicts…

Whole Foods just released their annual report on food trends, giving us a clue as to what we’ll be seeing a lot of this year. Plant based products, floral flavors, mushrooms (anyone ready for a mushroom coffee?!), airy snacks like jicama crisps, root to stem recipes (zero food waste, hello!), and both Middle Eastern (mmm, Halloumi Burgers) and Filipino cuisine are all set to have a huge impact on 2018.

the dairy aisle gets some help from Sweden

Last year, while I was in Stockholm, I had one of the best lattes ever, y’all. I went to this coffee shop called Snickarbacken7 in the Norrmalm neighborhood. Anybody that knows me knows that me ordering a latte is always a production. Vanilla soy latte, one pump of vanilla and light on the foam. I’m trying to buy coffee, not air bubbles and simple syrup. Does that make me picky? Anyway, Snickarbacken7 didn’t have any soy milk, and I was so over almond milk and coconut milk lattes the second I tried them. The barista offered me an oat milk latte instead. YOOOOOOO!!! Oat milk is absolutely amazing. Creamy, subtly sweet, and easily my new favorite dairy alternative milk. Look for the Swedish company Oatly to hit US shelves in February.

Move over, matcha, Make Room for Moringa.

While matcha has made it’s rounds in everything from lattes to must-have beauty products over the last few years and while it doesn’t show signs of stopping, get ready to see a lot more moringa. Moringa is made from the leaves of the moringa tree, a plant native to Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. The leaves are dried and ground into a powder that has a deliciously earthy flavor, not so different from matcha, but with comparable anti-inflammatory properties to turmeric. This year, you’ll see moringa in smoothies, nourishment bowls, health bars, and even lattes. Moringa powder is readily available on amazon making it easy for a home cook to experiment with it’s unique flavor.

The next big thing after Instant Pot

In 2017, our Instagram feeds were flooded with delicious Instant Pot creations. That versatile little kitchen appliance combined the capabilities of a pressure cooker, steamer, slow cooker, and skillet into one convenient device. The Instant Pot gave us healthy meals in a fraction of the time, using a fraction of the energy. What it didn’t give us was fried food. Um. We need fried food. Enter the air fryer. What sets fried food apart is that familiar crunchy texture we all love. What makes it unhealthy is the loads of oil we have to use to get that tasty crunch. The air fryer remedies all of that by evenly circulating air around your temptation of choice, giving you that fried food comfort without all the guilt. These gadgets aren’t exactly new, but more and more companies are joining the trend and offering more affordable options. If you wanna go for broke because fried food is your happy place, you can opt for the pricier, latest version of the Phillips Air Fryer. A more frugal version is yours for under $100 here.

I’m so excited for this year! You guys! 2018! Can you believe it?