This holiday season it's time to slow down and be good to your body. Between feeling anxious about traveling, attending countless holiday parties, and trying to stick to your food plan, your brain is working overtime and your body is feeling the stress. If getting to a good night’s sleep isn’t happening during holiday time, then turning to active rest may be a way to restore your body and mind. Sleep specialist Dr. Matthew Edlund has written a book documenting how controlling the process of restoring your physical and mental bodies – active rest – keeps your blood pressure, muscular tension, and nervous system in check. Similar to meditation, active rest allows you to turn off your brain and your body and just be. Instead of lying awake at the end of a long day wishing for sleep to come, pop in you headphones and listen to a soothing voice guide you into an active rest. You maybe be surprised to find this is more restorative then a few hours of shut eye. - Linden Schaffer
It's no secret that our founder, Linden Schaffer, has one of the coolest jobs around. No matter where she travels around the globe, staying at a hotel that promotes health and wellbeing is paramount. From New Zealand to India to right here at home in the U.S., Linden reveals some of the best options in Singapore's World Travel Magazine.
From the time I got my first passport at 16, I've had a case of wanderlust.
The need for constant exploration has taken me across six continents and into 40 countries and counting. Traveling opens your eyes to the fact that no matter our race, religion, ethnicity, or circumstance, we are all in this together. As Mark Twain so famously wrote, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
No matter where in the world I find myself, my journey of discovery has led to these universal truths.
1. Simple is better.
During a family vacation I took as a child, my mother accused the maid at our hotel of stealing her engagement ring. After a day of upheaval, my mom found her ring, secreted away in a hidden layer of her suitcase. She had been so afraid of losing the ring that she had actually hidden it from herself. After much embarrassment and profuse apologizing, nothing like this ever happened again—to my mom or me.
The experience taught me once and for all that you need less than you think when you travel. Today, I advocate for using a carry-on whether you're traveling for five days or five weeks. Having less with you at the start of your trip is physically and spiritually freeing, and it shows you can really survive on less than you think.
2. Intuition is your guide.
Fear stops many people from ever taking a step outside their comfort zone, let alone outside their country. Remember that some basic common sense and intuition is all you need to head in the right direction. A motorbike ride up a mountainside, a trek through the woods, dinner with a family of strangers—these are all experiences that have enhanced my travels. I've embarked on these somewhat uncomfortable adventures because they felt right, and I've declined a fair share of offers that did not. You know more than you think, so be open to your intuition and trust what your body tells you.
3. Plans change.
Traveling is a lesson on relinquishing control, as something is always bound to go wrong on the road. Life goes on after canceled flights, lost hotel reservations, sudden changes in local government, and other unexpected hiccups. Sometimes these diversions from the original itinerary can even lead to unexpected lessons or exciting discoveries. Stressing out over the things you cannot change is wasted energy. Early on in my travels, I began leaning on my yoga teachings and quickly noticed that being able to go with the flow can mean the difference between an amazing trip and a terrible one.
4. You have the power to make someone's day.
Energy, both good and bad, is contagious. If you make the decision to start your vacation on a positive note—saying hello to the person next to you before you curl up to sleep on the plane, smiling at the taxi driver who picks you up from the airport, learning how to say "thank you" in a new language—you can set yourself up for a wonderful experience. It may not always be easy, especially when your plans change, but take a breath and tap into the feeling you had when you first booked your trip to give yourself a boost.
5. People are inherently good.
Travel is the best educator, and learning from other cultures is priceless. Everyone in the world is seeking a way to feel more connected and less alone. From the waitress I chatted with in a cafè in Istanbul to the history professor I met in Cairo to the young woman studying to be a nurse in India, I've connected with all types of new people and found it extremely easy to make friends on the road. These complete strangers have enhanced my travel plans by suggesting new things to see and do, inviting me to their dining tables so I wouldn't have to eat alone, and sharing their life stories—all of which have shifted how I relate to my surroundings. To me, these chance connections are what make the world so beautiful. - Linden Schaffer
Article originally appeared on MindBodyGreen
Take a moment for a quick 5-step self-evaluation.
1. Sleep—Would you generally say that you are not getting enough sleep or hours of quality rest?
2. Eating Habits—Do you lose your appetite when you’re busy or reach for the unhealthiest option to cope in what seems like an unmanageable situation?
3. Exercise—You know movement is the way to counteract the ill-effects of our increasing sedentary lifestyle. Do you find yourself overwhelmed with the thought of adding exercise to your schedule?
4. Coping Mechanisms—Do you lash out at others over minor issues? Do you fire off emails that you later regret?
5. Success—Are there never enough hours in your day to complete everything on your list? Do you forget to stop and celebrate the small victories because you bypass them on your way to the next thing?
If you answered yes to more than half of the above questions, congratulations, your fight-or-flight response is in a constant state of readiness. That means, it's time for a VACATION!
We look forward to reigniting your spark. - Linden Schaffer
There’s a story about a jaguar in a zoo who lived for nearly a decade in a 500 square foot enclosure. The zoo had provided it with proper food, water, and, for the most part, stimulation. However, over time, the wild cat began to feel the stress of living in captivity. These animals hold the memory of freedom deep in their bones, so the jaguar began to pace. Back and forth it went, day after day, month after month, year after year, until a dirt ring had sunk below the green grass around the perimeter of the cage. A well-worm pawed path to trace the anxiety of a wild creature held captive.
Eventually, the organization built the jaguar a larger cage. 3,000 square feet was the new size. It was over six times as big as the old enclosure. There was a large swimming hole, trees to lie under, plenty of rocks to climb. There was even a cave to curl within. They reintroduced the cat to its new home. It explored a bit, took a dip in the swimming hole, slithered into the cave. Almost immediately, the jaguar resumed its habit of circling those 500 square feet where the perimeter of the cage used to be, and was no longer. And now again, day after day, week after week, the majestic cat would slink back and forth as if nothing had changed.
We are not so different from jaguars. We thrive when we are free. We thrive when we can roam without border. We also live within habits. Sometimes we do not realize that the limits that used to surround us are no longer. We get so busy, or stressed, or preoccupied with our lives, that we forget to look around to see if the cage is really, in fact, still there.
This pacing jaguar speaks to the nature of habit. At one time, the habits we formed were helpful. Perhaps they let us cope with stress, or unpredictability. They gave stability. Over time, if we want to thrive, we must shift our habits. The jaguar in the cage represents those well-worn neural pathways in the brain. These are the automatic things we do without thinking. From the way we eat, to the words we speak to ourselves, our habits shape our lives. Neuroplasticity is a relatively new discovery in the scientific community that says we can actually create new neural pathways in the brain. Through many practices (like yoga and travel), we can actually change the patterns of our brain; we can shift out of that old cage.
Travel increases neuroplasticity. We step all the way out of the cage. We are gifted new eyes with which to see the world. We literally cannot repeat the same routine we do at home. We are ushered into new cultures, new sights, and new people. The sunsets have a different hue of purple than we’re used to seeing at home. We smell cooking that we do not recognize, and feel our mouths watering for that unknown blessing. We get to meet people we wouldn’t otherwise, who have some piece of the puzzle and perspective in the web of life that is completely, uniquely theirs. Whenever we immerse ourselves in these experiences, we are forever and irreversibly changed. We cannot go back. We have peeled a layer of the world back. We can see. We carry this new vision back with us into our lives. When we re-enter home life, we see that the cage had long disappeared. - Nicole Nardone
Join me in creating a new path for you: Nosara, Costa Rica March 11 - 18
Wellness History in: Bali, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, and Togo.
Prescribed for: Achy joints, digestive issues, exhaustion, high blood pressure, insomnia, and stomachaches.
Found in the tropical climates of India, Southeast Asia, and Oceania, the lemongrass plant is used in food and tea as an herbal remedy. Lemongrass tea recipes can be found in many herbal medicine practices across the world. Mexican folk medicine calls for the tea to calm nervous disorders, Brazilians prescribe it treat digestive problems, and Amazonian cultures regularly drink the tea as a natural sleep aid. The taste of lemongrass can be quite strong so be warned. In the U.S. I've had a difficult time finding tea that is just lemongrass. What I've found is usually mixed with ginger or a citrus fruit; therefore I've resorted to making it myself. - Linden Schaffer
Want to try some of the best lemongrass tea in the world? Book a trip with us to Bali or India and sip fantastic homemade versions.
While they probably have more stamps in their passports and don't often travel coach, these high-flying celebrities have some healthy travel tips that we want to steal. From Chrissy Teigen's in-flight face mask to Sports Illustrated model Nina Agdal advice about not taking a vacation from exercise, we all for adding more wellness to our travel.
Read full article here.
Summer's over and the dreaded return to shorter days and a full-on heavy fall work schedule are here. (We're already daydreaming about our next vacation!) Don't let the stress of your to-do list get you down. Instead try these quick made for work tips to increase your wellness right now:
Work in 90-minute intervals – Uninterrupted short work sessions help you to avoid exhaustion. Reward your work with a healthy break such as watering your office plants to allow for renewal.
Take a Stroll – Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that a walk can immediately change your mood for the better as well as provide better you with a better ability to handle stress at work.
Turn off your Phone – Shuck that Pavlovian response and take control of whom you text and when. Stash your phone in your drawer while you work for that 90-minute interval and challenge yourself to extend it.
The future of the workplace is evolving and leaning more and more toward wellness. Offering standing desks, organic cafeterias and in-house yoga are small list of some of the perks that startups pitch to prospective employees. Just because your company has been around for years doesn't mean you can't stand out as a wellness leader in you office. Pitch these ideas at your next meeting and a way to improve productivity and give people a reason to be excited to be in the office.
Ban digital devices from meetings – Get through more material in less time, as you will have everyone’s undivided attention.
Create renewal zones in the office– Set up meditation areas, nap zones, or an indoor garden to take people out of their cubical environment and into some new headspace.
Restock the kitchen/vending machines with healthy snack choices – Conditioning people to stop eating as a stress response is going to take time. Aid the consumer of healthier foods by providing fresh fruit, nuts, and protein for high-nutrient fuel-efficient options.
Grown only in Southwestern Morocco, this oil is extracted by hand from the nut of the argan tree. A good source of vitamin E as well as essential fatty acids, argan oil can be ingested – it’s often used in place of olive oil in Morocco – or used as a beauty remedy, think face moisturizer, leave-in conditioner or bath oil. Since argan oil became the latest beauty trend in the western cosmetic industry, it is offered at various prices with varied effectiveness. When purchasing argan oil as an organic treatment, remember you get what you pay for. - Linden Schaffer