Salt & Pepper of Wellness: 2 Everyday Essentials
Wellness gets a bad rap.
Until I started working at Komuso, wellness, in my world, was relegated to yoga studios, fancy (and spendy) spas, and celebrity-endorsed skincare products. Not exactly at the top of my list.
But this equation has simplified greatly during my two+ year tenure with Komuso.
Read below for…
Our co-founder and resident therapist, DA's take...
We live mental lives. What you sprinkle that salt and pepper on makes all the difference. If breath is salt, and pepper is movement, thoughts are protein. This is the gateway to a sustainable wellness routine. Start with basics and see how they impact how you feel.
What does wellness really mean?
Why is it important? How can and should it play a role in your everyday routine? And what does that look like? How do you feel when you adopt an everyday wellness routine?
As I kept thinking about essentials, I kept coming back to salt and pepper.
And maybe that’s just because I love to eat (and get really grumpy when I have to eat unseasoned food). So what are the salt and pepper of any solid wellness routine?
Breath and movement. [Click for two super simple steps to implement this routine].
If we can resolve to focus on our breath and movement throughout the day, we’ll have a highly effective wellness routine that will help us feel better day in, day out.
We have a super simple and effective tool that can help you develop and maintain this wellness routine, but more on that in a sec.
For starters, we have to simplify and redefine wellness.
To do that, I started by stripping my day of every nonessential thing. Anything I didn’t rely on or use every day was gone.
What stayed were the things I couldn’t imagine going a day without. My family was the first to go. Just kidding. If I wake up without seeing and hugging them and making sure they are waking up well, my day is just off.
With family off and running, what’s next? What do I need to do myself to make sure my day is off and running?
I have to breathe.
I have to move.
Yes, I am oversimplifying at this point. But, can you imagine your day without breathing or moving?
So a successful wellness routine involves two things: breath and movement.
Wellness Essential #1: breath.
Without salt, we cannot survive.
But how much attention do you pay to your salt intake? Do you measure it out? Do you use different salts? Do you taste what you are about to eat and then adjust?
I am a salt nerd. I buy all kinds of salt from the places I’ve traveled and I drink salt water first thing in the morning. Weird, yes for sure (my daughters remind me of this most mornings).
But I have no idea how much salt I eat, and whether that’s good or bad or just right.
I might start thinking about it if I start to feel off.
Low energy? Maybe some salt water or electrolytes.
Feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? Maybe back off on the salt intake for a minute. But that’s about as scientific as it gets.
It’s the same with the breath for me.
How much attention do you pay to your breath during the day?
When my chest feels tight, I take a deep breath and slow my exhale way down.
When I feel anxious or overwhelmed and can’t get past the stress, I think about my breathing patterns and try to slow them down.
But when I can make a routine of breathing better, even if that means I just think about my breath each day, I routinely feel better.
The Shift makes this way easier for me because it takes the guesswork out of breathwork. As I sit down to work, I grab my Shift and breathe through it for 5 minutes, then keep going. I can focus on work and easily elevate my wellness routine through breath.
Wellness Essential #2: movement.
Ok, so the second essential element to any good meal? Pepper. For me anyways. Without a little heat to balance out the salt and fat and acid, I am grumpy once again.
Same goes for movement. If I sit at my desk all day and focus on content, emails, bills, and just general adulting… very grumpy.
If I can get up and move around, if I can step outside and look up, if I can go for a walk, if I can manage a workout, I am feeling better.
Side note: the bonus here for me, maybe the same happens with you? If I can move, not only am I feeling better physically, I am not mentally beating myself up for not having moved by body all day.
How you move does not matter.
As long as you move, and you make a routine of moving (and breathing better), you will feel better.
If you resolve to walk to the other part of your house every hour…
If you resolve to stand up and touch your toes every hour…
If you resolve to jump rope or swing your arms or stand up for meetings, these small actions will add up and you will make a habit of feeling better.
Step 1: resolve to make this simple change.
When you wake up in the morning, set a timer on your phone for 60 min.
This is modeled after the 2-minute rule from Atomic Habits by James Clear, which states: “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”
For example: say you want to start running, tell yourself you will put your running clothes and shoes on instead of thinking about how long the run will take. Focus on the first, small, 2-minute step, and you’ll have an easier time getting started.
When that timer goes off…
- Hit repeat
- Stand up
- Breathe in for a count of 6
- Breathe out for a count of 6
- Do this for 2 minutes.
Step 2: if you make two changes all year…
Coherent Breathing is one of the simplest, and most fascinating breaths for me. In addition to all the benefits of coherent breathing, and the simplicity, I found a really easy way to implement this into my everyday routine.
I have a puppy. He needs to move. Or rather, I need him to move so I can get some work done.
So when I walk him, I coordinate my steps and breaths.
I count 6 steps as I breathe in.
Then count 6 steps as I breathe out.
And repeat for as much of the walk as I can.
I return home feeling refreshed and ready to jump back into work or whatever I need to get done.
But the real impact has come from making a habit of this walk over the last 18 months.
I am less stressed, I am less prone to outbursts of frustration with my family, I am able to pay more attention to the needs of my family and more connected to their moods, which helps me help them in times of stress and frustration.
If you make one change all year, let it be this.
The tool that helped me make this change.
I knew I needed a change. I could feel this tightness in my chest, I felt disconnected, I was frustrated and overwhelmed and snapping at the family. I wasn’t the person or partner or dad I wanted to be or knew I could be.
So I started looking for ways to make changes that would help me be more focused, more efficient, and more connected.
- Journaling with daily prompts.
- Working with daily sprints to turn down the noise.
- Filling out tomorrow’s tasks to help me focus.
- Tracking mood states to spot trends and fluctuations.
When I started talking to Todd and Vanessa about all of this, we decided to bring all of these tools and learnings together in one place. After collaborating with DA to ensure the journal was grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy and habit forming best practices, Rotezen was created.
Rotezen is the one tool that brings all of this together.
Add the guided themes and the therapist-led thought starters, and Rotezen helps you create some real change in your day, your week, your month.
Sneak Peek: How to follow the MYA&THSF model.
The excerpt below is a sneak peek at one of the therapist-led thought starters from our resident psychotherapist and Komuso cofounder, DA.
In Rotezen, you’ll find 13 thought starters just like this, rooted in DA’s experiences as a therapist and the best practices he has seen lead to a habit of micro-adjustments and impactful change and growth.
Follow the MYA&THSF model.
Can you recall a time when the anticipation of an event was more frightening than the experience of the event itself?
It’s called anticipatory anxiety. It’s our body’s way of protecting us, and it’s totally normal as long as it doesn’t shut down the system.
So there’s this big scary hologram that stands between you and the experience. This hologram, otherwise known as fear of the unknown, can keep you from experiencing life, it can paralyze you.
How can you cope with this? Follow the MYA&THSF model.
What does that stand for? Move Your Ass and Thy Head Shall Follow. It’s also known as Behavioral Activation.
Just get moving. From far away, that hologram can look really scary. But as you move, as you see it from up close, it turns out that it’s not that bad. It looks scarier than it actually is. And that’s just the worst-case scenario really.
Time to second-guess your prediction and ask yourself: what’s more likely? That you have the worst time of your life? The best time of your life? Or somewhere in between?
The Shift Collection