Wellness

Are You on the Brink of Burnout?

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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!

Good news, you came to the right place! Join one of our upcoming group trips or get in touch to plan a custom wellness vacation of your choice.

We look forward to reigniting your spark. - Linden Schaffer

 

Want more tips for how to start or maintain a wellness routine at home or when traveling? Pick up Linden Schaffer's best-selling book
Living Well on the Road 

5 Packing Tips for Your Wellness Weekend Getaway

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Vacation doesn’t have to mean that your usual wellness practices go out the window. In fact, infusing your health and fitness regimens into a weekend getaway can actually enhance your travel experience, helping you ground more quickly into your new surroundings. We've rounded up our top five tips to supercharge your wellness weekend getaway, from on-the-go mindfulness techniques to the perfect packing essentials. 

1. Pack a Multi-Use Yoga Mat: Double duty! Add a yoga mat as a non-negotiable on your packing list. This ensures that you get your sun salutations, plank series or jump squats in no matter where in the world you are or what type of workout calls to you. Bonus: It doubles as a picnic blanket or a comfy mat to lay on beachside.

2. Excuse-Proof Your Workout Regiment: Pack a reusable pouch with all your pre and post workout essentials (deodorant, shower gel, body cleansing wipes) to make it impossible for you to skip a day, even while on the road. Sounds like too much work already? Grab a pre-packed kit with compact, portable items like no-rinse body cleansing foam and muscle recovery gel today.

3. Pack Only What You Love to Wear: Have you ever packed multiple outfits or workout ensembles, only to arrive at your destination and feel uninspired by everything in your suitcase? To prevent this issue, pack only what absolutely you love to wear. Even if you end up wearing the same outfit twice, no one has to know. This tip is a super simple game changer that will give you a daily dose of confidence—and save you precious suitcase space. 

4. Replace Your Supplements With a Travel Tonic: Herbal supplements are a must-have in our wellness routine, but packing all of the individual bottles can take up precious space—especially when we're taking a lighter packing approach. For a weekend getaway, opt for a wellness tincture or tonic packed with supportive herbs to add to your H20 on the go. We love this Travel Tonic, complete with ginger root and lemon peel. 

5. Don’t Forget to Namaste: The easiest way to keep wellness alive in your weekend getaway is to incorporate a mindfulness practice, which helps you ground more quickly into your new surroundings. Sound daunting? Set a timer for 5 minutes, sit in an upright position, close your eyes and focus on your breath. If you need a little more support, our swear-by app Welzen will help get you going.

Get Grounded in Your New Hood: 5 Mindful Moving Tips

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I am born and bred New Yorker, but two years ago, I made the decision to pack up my life and move across the country from Brooklyn to San Francisco, motivated by a new job, a rekindling of a romance, and most significantly, by a deep desire for a big adventure. My love for New York City runs deep, but I was longing for a change of scenery, and the glamorized “left coast” felt like the perfect place to make some new memories.

Moving across the country—at least logistically—was far easier than I thought it would be: I packed, sold what couldn’t be transported, booked a one-way ticket, and went. But emotionally, the move tugged on my heart strings as I underestimated how difficult it would be to leave my east coast tribe. Now that it’s been two years I can say confidently that I love my life in California.

Life transitions are never easy, but leaning on my wellness practices helped. These are the top five things I learned, which work not only for a move, but for any major shift we experience in life. 

  • Ditch What You Don’t Love: Only things that you absolutely love should take up space in your life. From the teachings of Marie Kondo: If it doesn't spark joy upon touching it, it isn't worth holding on to. This made my packing extra light (I boarded a plane with two big suitcases!), but unpacking was also a super pleasant experience because I had a true affinity for every single item that I kept.

  • Walking—Do a Lot of It: The best way to see a new city is by strapping on your sneakers and exploring. About a month into my move I challenged myself to take a solo trip to a new part of the city each week. These excursions help me navigate my new home and helped distract me when I would start to feel homesick or overwhelmed.

  • Focus on Present Sensations: I tasked myself to keep my thoughts focused on present sensations. Every time I caught my thoughts spiraling I would encourage my mind to come back to my surroundings and focus on what I was seeing, feeling, smelling, and hearing. This practice kept me focused and mindful while exploring my new 'hood and allowed me to notice all the little details that would have previously eluded me—from the cherry blossoms in Golden Gate Park to the sand dollars on Ocean Beach. This mindfulness practice was extremely beneficial during my move, but it can help you stay grounded no matter the transition.

  • Find Creative Ways to Discover Community: Finding like-minded individuals to spend time with is one of the most effective ways to make a new place start to feel like “home”. I used Meetup to find events related to my passions and met tons of people with similar interests. ConsciousCityGuide is another great resource for events in the health and wellness space—both platforms have enabled me to find my new tribe. 

  • Embrace Free Time: After living a jam-packed life in New York City, I found it jarring and often lonely to have a less than full social calendar. However, once I shifted my mindset to gratitude for all the free time now available, I began to appreciate the freedom to pursue creative passions I had previously been neglecting—from daily journaling to watercolor painting. 

Have you experienced a major transition in life where your wellness practices helped ground you? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below. - Leah Abrahams

6 Immunity-Boosting Travel Tips

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We’ve all been there: You’ve been counting down the minutes until your upcoming vacation, only to be knocked out by a cold or virus merely hours after arriving at your destination. Contrary to popular belief, flying won’t make you sick – but a compromised immune system will, and the recycled air in airports and airplanes is a prime place for germs to spread. While hand and seat sanitizers can work wonders while in flight, a healthy immune system is the best way to combat sickness, particularly leading up to long travel day. Scroll down for our top six pre-travel supplements, elixirs and lifestyle hacks to keep you healthy in-transit and beyond.

VITAMIN D:  Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses, according to research from the Mayo Clinic. Although our bodies produce Vitamin D when exposed to the sun, it can be difficult to get adequate amounts during the long winter months. Supplements are a great way to boost the immune system, just make sure you look for at least 600 international units (IU) per day when choosing one. Prefer to go the whole food route? Fatty fish, cheese and egg yolks are all rich in Vitamin D. Bonus: Vitamin D can also help aid in digestive health and brain health—a win-win. 

CHAGA MUSHROOM ELIXIR We’re huge fans of Four Sigmatic’s superfood mushroom beverages, and when it comes to boosting immunity, and we swear by the Chaga Mushroom Elixir mix. One packet contains extremely high antioxidant properties that support your daily wellness, energy levels, and protect your immune functions. Simply throw a packet in your carry on, ask the stewardess for a cup of hot water and voilà—you’ve got yourself an instant immunity elixir. 

MAINTAIN YOUR ZEN: Your first line of defense against illness is adopting a healthy lifestyle, and this means doing everything you can to reduce chronic stress. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, can alter the immune system and suppress digestion when consistently activated. Help keep stress at bay by adopting a consistent yoga practice, practicing daily meditation and developing deep breathing techniques. The great news is these practices travel, which means staying zen on the road is doable. 

EZC PACK: When it’s time to bust out the big guns (think: it’s been a long flu season and you’re boarding a red eye flight), we turn to this kit of heavy-duty Echinacea, Zinc and Vitamin C supplements. Starting this tapered pack five days before travel will enhance your body’s normal immune defenses and help you stay healthy amidst a plane of coughing strangers. 

PLENTY OF SHUT-EYE: Lack of sleep can wreak havoc on our immunity and leave us susceptible to colds and other viruses, our founder Linden Schaffer knows all about this and upped her sleep game when starting Pravassa. She details this along with the science behind sleep in her book Living Well on the Road. While all our bodies are different, getting between seven to eight hours of sleep per night is key and a non-negotiable in the days before you travel. Your immune system will thank you! - Leah Abraham

10 GET READY FOR SLEEP TIPS

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We've said good-bye to another year and have gotten the stress of the holiday season behind us. January is the perfect month to settle in for some serious downtime. Take your cue from the early sunset and focus on getting a great night's sleep. Not sure where to start? Try adding these tips to your day and see if they help create a new sleep routine.

1) Eat a light dinner.

2) Shut off the TV and computer 1 hour before your ready to sleep.

3) JOURNAL BEFORE BED to get out of your head.

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4) Leave your phone in the living room.

5) Take a bath TO RELAX YOUR MUSCLES and nervous system.

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6) MAKE A CALENDAR APPOINTMENT TO SLEEP AND KEEP IT.

7) Reserve your bed for sleep and sex—no other activities.

8) Invest in a foam mattress so you don’t feel your partner move.

9) Do a 10-minute yoga for sleep sequence.

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10) Play soothing music or mantras.

- Linden Schaffer

 

WANT MORE TIPS FOR HOW TO START OR MAINTAIN A WELLNESS ROUTINE AT HOME OR WHEN TRAVELING? PICK UP a copy of LINDEN SCHAFFER'S NEW BOOK
 LIVING WELL ON THE ROAD OUT MARCH 16TH. 

4 Reasons to Stay Active in Winter

 photo via  Shutterstock

photo via Shutterstock

It's not even March and we're already sick of the cold winter weather. We admit it happens every year. As the sunlight dwindles so does the appeal of the outdoors. Yet continuing to stay active in the cold months is vital for your wellbeing. Here are four reasons you should make movement a priority:

1. Boost Immunity. Research continues to show that consistent exercise, including a simple daily walk, strengthens the body's immune system. By increasing circulation, your white blood cells are more able to keep viruses, bacteria, and the flu at bay. Work a walk into your every day routine by going out to pick up lunch or taking the stairs in your office building.

2. Restore Energy. Your body already works overtime and the short days of winter can make you feel as if the day has come and gone before you've accomplished anything. Active rest like listening to a soothing guided meditation or visualization can keep your blood pressure, muscular tension, and nervous system in check. 

3. Try New Things. If you spend your time outdoors in the summer weather, use a nice, warm indoor setting as an enticement to explore in a new way. Check out the nearest rock climbing wall, try a spin class or an intenSati workout, walk through an art gallery, or book a fusion cooking class. Bonus points if you bring along a friend for motivation and company!

4. Maintain Weight. Of course we know we should be choosing salads over creamy soups this time of year, but the cold winter elements including lack of vitamin D can wreak havoc on our cravings. Manage your stress and food cravings by keeping your fitness routine in check. This way you can indulge a bit without a second thought. Then when you return to a more balanced diet in the spring, you won't feel like you have excess weight to shed.

5 Essential Truths That Unite The World (From Someone Who Travels For A Living)

 Linden in Thailand | photo: @sfreneenyc for Pravassa

Linden in Thailand | photo: @sfreneenyc for Pravassa

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