Simple Wellness Practices that Transform Your Bathing Ritual

I’ll be honest, I’ve wasted many a shower composing emails in my head, or tallying up a mental list of to-dos to check off the minute I’m dried and dressed. I think it was becoming a mother that made me realize that a routine shower (or bath) is less a task to perform on autopilot and more of a self-care ritual to be savored.

I challenge you to seize those precious bathing moments to incorporate some simple wellness practices that will help you look and feel your best— mind, body and spirit. I try to incorporate a few of these 8 practices every time I bathe, whether I’m hopping in for a quick rinse or taking time out for a long soak.

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8 Wellness Practices that Transform Your Bathing Ritual

1. Gratitude. You’ve probably already made a mental note to bring more gratitude into your life, but you may not have found the time to be consistent. So incorporate it into your bathing ritual. When I shower in the morning, it wakes up my senses and I’m instantly grateful for another sunrise, the calming feeling of warm water flowing over my body, a roof over my head, and food that will be my breakfast meal.

2. Healthy Beauty. Your bathing ritual just won’t support your body and beauty if the products you use contain hormone-disrupting or carcinogenic ingredients. Put thought into the products you choose, and remember that your dollars are well-spent on products that absorb into your body in seconds, and influence your overall health. For ideas, I’ve shared lots of my favorite natural and organic products on this site!

3. Head massage. You know how drool-inducing a head massage can be at a salon, now slow down and bring those techniques into your regular routine. The benefits are way more than just pleasurable: gently massaging your scalp encourages the flow and drainage of lymph from your brain that keeps your brain and waste-removing lymphatic system in top form.

4. Deep, steamy breaths. If you’re showering, take a few moments to deeply breathe in steam that rises from the stream of water. You’ll calm your body, open up your airways, and help your body detox naturally.

5. Aromatherapy. In addition to steam, there are so many benefits to adding natural scents to your bathing routine; I recommend using small amounts of essential oils to avoid any synthetic fragrances. You can sprinkle a few drops of essential oils on your shower floor, make or purchase a baking soda-based aromatherapy tablet that dissolves on the floor of your shower and emits scent as you bathe, or mix essential oils with a carrier oil and/or natural salts to add to your bath. I share some of my favorite essential oils in this post.

6. Single-tasking. You’ve heard of multi-tasking, now single task— mindfully perform one task at a  time. I see this as kind of a mini warmup or trial run for meditation that strengthens the brain’s focus and calm in the same way. Pay attention to the details of your bathing ritual (even though I bet you could bathe in your sleep, it’s so routine) like scents, textures, and sensations, and you practice a habit that will serve you outside of your bathing ritual.

7. Dry brushing. I love dry brushing after I bathe— when my skin is clean and my circulation is already flowing. I think it’s the perfect addition to a bathing ritual, as it speeds up the flow of waste-removing lymph and brings glow and tone to your body (it can even reduce cellulite!). Get your own natural-bristle body brush and add this quick, transformative step to your routine using instructions found here or in the Eat Pretty books.

8. Skin-nourishing oils. The final wellness-boosting step I’d encourage you to adopt in your bathing routine is applying high-quality natural or organic oils to your skin. This practice gives you a chance to touch your skin, head to toe, and love your body. And plant-based oils will enhance the effects of your beauty diet from the outside-in.

What wellness practices do you love to incorporate in your own bathing ritual?

Meditation for Beauty- and Win My Favorite Meditation App!

People ask me what I still struggle with most when it comes to beauty— is it sugar cravings? missing coffee? finding enough time to cook at home?

Nope, it's none of those things. My struggle is way more complicated than forgoing a brownie or cup of coffee— it's STRESS.

There are plenty of days when I toe the very fine line between balancing it all fabulously and feeling crushed by the weight of overwhelm. My mind switches between my roles as a mother, sister, wife, daughter, coach, author and editor like a flashing strobe light. And guess what? This is something we ALL deal with in one way or another. It's one more of our shared human experiences, and I think one of the best ways to deal is to support and empower each other to develop the tools to push back against stress mode when it hits.

My stress-reducing arsenal includes walking (living in a city, I love that I can fit in walks while running errands; walking instantly lowers stress), mindful breathing, my favorite magnesium drink Natural Calm, stress-busting aromatherapy, power naps (I'll admit, I've taken 10-minute power naps on my office floor when in dire need of a time out), and meditation. This last one is big.

I've dabbled in meditation for several years, but didn't fully commit until January 2015, when I set the intention to meditate for 10 minutes a day, every day. I don't know what's harder, sitting in meditation for 10 minutes, or finding 10 minutes to sit and meditate! I've tried all kids of apps to help me stay consistent when I'm traveling, and I finally found one that I love so much, I even use it when I'm at home. It's called OMG. I Can Meditate!, and I am so excited to give away ten 3-month memberships to OMG this week!

To enter to win one of ten 3-month memberships to the OMG. I Can Meditate! app, comment, tweet and/or follow, via the box below, by 6/5/15.

A screengrab from a meditation session in the OMG. I Can Meditate! app.

A screengrab from a meditation session in the OMG. I Can Meditate! app.

The connection between stress and beauty is real. Getting stress under control can be the key to restoring hormone balance, boosting the body's natural detox abilities, improving digestion, and lowering inflammation. Many of my clients struggle with breakouts that are connected to hormones and stress, and we work hard to develop ways to manage stress even as we build a diet that clears skin from the inside out. Stress greatly impacts sleep/wake cycles, weight and adrenal fatigue— all important for our overall beauty and wellbeing.

If there's one thing I would challenge you to do to lower your stress this year (and reap the added benefits of increased mental focus, reduced anxiety, and more radiant skin!), it would be regular meditation. Apps are great ways to start, and I fell in love with OMG. I Can Meditate!, for its beautiful images, relaxing narration voice (of its creator, Lynne Goldberg), and all kinds of cool extras— from bedtime meditations that help you fall asleep to kids meditations and 'missions,' where you choose your ongoing intentions. I'm still discovering all the content.

Enter to win your 3-month membership below— you will LOVE it!


A Wellness-Inspired Babymoon

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Babymoon: a search of this term will turn up images of bikini-clad bellies lounging on tropical beaches. And while I'm always in favor of a beach day, I never imagined myself babymooning with a mocktail in hand. In fact, I never imagined myself babymooning at all.

But with a 2-month countdown to my due date and the busy holiday season filling our calendar, my husband and I decided that, yes, we really did want to escape for a few quiet days together pre-baby.

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Everything You Need to Know About Spa-ing, in Pictures

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I'm sure you remember your very first spa visit— you weren't sure what to expect, you had no idea what articles of clothing to take off or keep on, and you probably felt pretty awkward in general. For most of us, being a spa newbie takes away from the overall enjoyment and relaxation of the experience. And guess what? This awkwardness doesn't automatically go away on your second visit, especially if a trip to the spa is an infrequent indulgence. But it doesn't have to be this way!

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The App that Helps You Relax

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The constant connectivity made possible by our smartphones can be a major source of stress, but there's a growing number of tech tools that actually help us relax and check out of the hectic world around us—if only for a few moments. My new favorite app for deep breathing and stress relief is Breathe2Relax.

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Sleep Month Giveaway: The Beauty Benefits of Sleep

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I’m not the only one who has been daydreaming of spring lately. The natural beauties at German skin care brand Amala have been too! To celebrate the arrival of spring AND National Sleep Month, Amala is supplying me with 20 Aroma Apothecary Lavender Essential Oil Concentrate roll-ons to help you catch up on beauty sleep during the month of March. I’ll be giving away 5 of these relaxing roll-ons (valued at $20 each) every Friday in March!

Tell me one beauty benefit you see when you sleep well and you could be one of 5 winners this week!

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Sleep Month Giveaway: Best Bedtime Rituals

amala-lavender-concentrate-giveaway

I’m not the only one who has been daydreaming of spring lately. The natural beauties at German skin care brand Amala have been too! To celebrate the arrival of spring AND National Sleep Month, Amala is supplying me with 20 Aroma Apothecary Lavender Essential Oil Concentrate roll-ons to help you catch up on beauty sleep during the month of March. I’ll be giving away 5 of these relaxing roll-ons (valued at $20 each) every Friday in March!

What’s your favorite bedtime beauty ritual to prepare for good sleep? Comment and you could be one of 5 winners to receive an Amala Beauty lavender essential oil roll-on this week!

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Celebrate National Sleep Month with a Giveaway from Amala!

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When it comes to great beauty sleep, eating the right foods can be the difference between wide awake and fast asleep. It's best not to eat a big meal close to bedtime, so your body can use its precious energy for rest and repair rather than digestion. But a late-night snack isn't out of the question. Eating a light snack that's rich in serotonin-boosting amino acids can help you achieve a better night's rest. This works especially well for those who eat many small meals throughout the day and wake up hungry or with low blood sugar during the night. Try a snack that contains complex carbs or protein, like a banana, a small cup of oatmeal, some smoked salmon, a hardboiled egg, or a cup of miso soup.

Tart cherry juice is a known melatonin-booster that also helps you fall asleep, and nutmeg (try it in a glass of warm almond milk) helps lull you to sleep as well. Stay away from sugar or dark chocolate that can keep you awake or send your blood sugar crashing during the night.

Do you snack before bed?

Tell me your favorite beauty food snack for sleep and you could be one of five winners this week!

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DIY Pumpkin Cream Pie Facial, from a Natural Beauty Pro

I've already gushed about the beauty benefits of eating fall squash (Fall Spice Smoothie, anyone?), since our favorite squashes have vitamin A to spare (wonderful for maintaining healthy cell growth and renewal). But if you've got a little extra pumpkin in your fridge (2 Tbsp is all it takes), you might want to whip up this DIY Pumpkin Cream Pie Facial, from Cecilia Wong, NYC esthetician and founder of the beautiful Cecilia Wong Skin Care line.

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