5 Self-Care Tips for the New Year

Do you feel bloated, exhausted and sluggish with the abundance of holiday foods, special events and sugar everywhere?

Here are five tips to reduce bloat and stress.

Focus on one each week to build sustainable habits. This can help you improve your physical wellbeing and brain health.


Drink 8 – 10 glasses of clean, filtered water a day to help your body flush out. Water is the primary component of all your body fluids. It is involved in almost every bodily function: circulation, digestion, absorption, and elimination of wastes. It carries electrolytes – mineral salts that help convey electrical currents in your body. Water is an important detoxifier. It helps clean your body through your skin and kidneys.

Eat a Nutrient-Dense Salad Every Day

Leafy greens are high in nutrients and low in calories. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and good carbohydrates. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant green and cruciferous vegetables help your body’s natural detoxification process and help protect you from disease. In addition, they:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve your immune system’s resistance to viral and bacterial infection
  • Enhance your defenses against destructive toxins
  • Help to renew/regenerate your cells
  • Support healthy gut bacteria
  • Remove carcinogenic compounds from your body

To make a nutrient-dense salad, add:

  • Rainbow vegetables
  • Beans
  • Nuts or seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower)
  • Healthy fats: canned salmon or sardines, avocado, hummus

Make your own salad dressing tossing extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.


Stress activates your sympathetic nervous system. In response, stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline surge in your body. Mindful, deep breathing triggers a parasympathetic nerve response. It is a way of quickly flipping the switch from high to low alert in seconds and calms your body on many levels.

The parasympathetic response changes your physical and emotional responses to stress and is characterized by

  • Slower breathing
  • Slower heartbeat
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Reduced inflammation

Mindful breathing also benefits your lymphatic system – a key part of your immune system. The deeper you breathe, the more active your lymph system is.  Deep breathing and physical movement pushes lymphatic fluid around your body.
This way it delivers nutrients and collects cellular waste. And also helps to destroy pathogens and other harmful organisms.

Here is a basic deep breathing exercise.

  • Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor
  • Relax your body. Release the tension in your neck and shoulders
  • Inhale through your nose for a long as you can
  • Feel your diaphragm and abdomen rise
  • When you think you’ve filled up your lungs, sip in a little more air
  • Slowly exhale to the count of twenty
  • Push all the air out of your lungs
  • Repeat 5 times

Move Your Body

Let go of the binary idea that you are either exercising, or not exercising. We are literally born to move. Human life has become so structured that it is easy to avoid movement.
Add movement each day to offset stress and bring balance back to your nervous system.
Use everyday actions — as both a mindfulness and a movement practice. For example, when you sweep the floor, sweep with your whole body. When you reach for something on the top shelf, use it as an opportunity stretch from your feet on the floor through the reach of your fingertips.
Take a walk. When you walk, swing your arms and smile. You can boost your mood just by walking in nature, even in urban nature.
Breathe fully and deeply throughout the day. Let breath be its own kind of

Honor Sleep Time

Sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Sleep is not a state of inactivity. It impacts every system in your body. Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences, including inflammation and depression.

Healthy, consistent sleep habits are essential to hormonal balance: affecting hunger, digestion, stress, cellular recover. Prioritize a pre-midnight bedtime. The hours of sleep before midnight are the most rejuvenating of the night. Ideally head for bed by 10 pm, to capture the slow-wave sleep that occurs the early part of the night.
Creating a bedtime ritual is a powerful self-care practice and an investment in your physical and mental health. Unplug to recharge. Disconnect from digital devices at least 30 minutes before sleep.
Take a warm bath with Epsom salts for the calming effects of magnesium.
Do some deep breathing exercises when you lay down in bed.

Hydrate for Health’s Sake!

Did you know water is the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S? About 60% of our body is water.  We can go 8 weeks without food but only days without water.

[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”full” source_site=”U.S. National Library of Medicine” source_url=”” full_quote=”Mild to moderate (body water loss of 1 – 2 %) levels of dehydration can impair performance on tasks such as short-term memory, perceptual discrimination, arithmetic ability, visuomotor tracking and psychomotor skills. Reintroduction of fluids can reverse dehydration-induced cognitive deficits.” short_quote=”Mild to moderate dehydration can impair performance on tasks such as short-term memory, perceptual discrimination”]

Quick look at some functions water performs for physical and cognitive health:

  • Improves oxygen delivery to the cells
  • Transports nutrients
  • Enables cellular hydration
  • Moistens oxygen for easier breathing, it’s easier on our windpipes and lungs
  • Cushions and lubricates bones and joints; there’s an important relationship between hydration and cartilage because they are not vasculated so they dehydrate slowly and rehydrate slowly. It can take months to completely rehydrate joints and bones
  • Absorbs shock to joints and organs
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Prevents tissues from sticking, dehydrate makes you stiffer and you have less flexibility –
  • Improves cell communications – we are electrical beings, part of our communication system depends on electrical potential of our body which requires hydration
  • Helps body’s natural healing power
  • Provides hydration for digestion, without water we cannot properly digest
  • Removes waste thru urination, through cellular level to kidneys
[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”full” source_site=”National Library of Medicine” source_url=”” full_quote=”Dehydration has been linked with urological, gastrointestinal, circulatory and neurological  disorders. There is a growing body of evidence that links states of fluid imbalance and disease.” short_quote=”Dehydration has been linked with urological, gastrointestinal, circulatory and neurological disorders”]

If body water content drops by as little as 2%, it causes fatigue. Chronic dehydration can cause:

  • Joint pain — drink water and electrolytes for a long time to rehydrate
  • Back pain – the discs in our  back are composed of cartilage
  • Migraines – because of the relationship between fluid in the blood and dilation/constriction of blood vessels in brain
  • Colitis – the colon is poorly vasculated (meaning it does not get blood flow). It gets hydration and energy supply through a process of reabsorbing water material in the colon and recycling nutrients from the fecal material. Chronic dehydration of the colon leads to inflammation, chronic inflammation leads to disease
If the body’s water content drops by 10% it will cause significant health problems:
  • Digestive
  • Cardiovascular
  • Immune
  • Musculoskeletal

Water intake is impacted by the foods we eat. Ancestral foods (what humans ate for  millennia) were water-rich: tubers, grasses, fruits, vegetables, etc. Modern foods are very dry. And instead of drinking water, most beverages consumed are:

  • Juices – which are dehydrating
  • Tea – which is dehydrating. Green tea is not as dehydrating as black tea
  • Coffee – also dehydrating; consumption is about half a gallon per person per week
  • Alcohol – this moves water into the cells and out of the blood to detoxify
  • Carbonated soft drinks are the worst offenders –59.9 gallons/person/year!
  • People who don’t drink sodas, are probably drinking carbonated fake sugar water, 2 – 3 gallons/week .
  • Original Gatorade consisted of electrolytes, but today’s Gatorade lacks adequate electrolytes, is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and has artificial dyes. Most sports drinks are junk.
[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”right” source_site=”National Library of Medicine” source_url=”” full_quote=”Mild to moderate (body water loss of 1 – 2 %) levels of dehydration can impair performance on tasks such as short-term memory, perceptual discrimination, arithmetic ability, visuomotor tracking and psychomotor skills.” short_quote=”Mild to moderate (body water loss of 1 – 2 %) levels of dehydration can impair performance on tasks such as short-term memory”]

What to Do?

  • Drink water. In general, we need a minimum 2 oz per pound/day
  • Drink a glass or two of water after waking up. Our bodies detox while we sleep, drinking water helps flush those toxins out
  • Sip throughout the day
  • Get a high-quality water filter and drink filtered tap water. Unfiltered tap water often contains fluorine, chlorine, and even lead. It’s best to You’ll save money, drink water that’s purer than tap water and help solve the global glut of plastic bottles
  • If buying spring water, look for spring water bottled at the source, ideally in glass bottles
  • Find a natural spring near you (visit
  • Avoid drinking out of plastic bottles. They leach BPA, a toxin that is hard on endocrine systems, especially female hormones
  • Never drink from a plastic water bottle that got hot in a car
[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”full” source_site=”Environmental Working Group” source_url=”″ full_quote=”When you shell out for bottled water, which costs up to 1,900 times more than tap water, you have a right to know what exactly is inside that pricey plastic bottle. The bottled water industry fails to provide information to consumers about the water’s specific geographic source, purification methods and the results of purity testing. Only two of 188 bottled water brands provided the three most basic facts about their water — source name and location, treatment and purity. Bottled water companies enjoying massive commercial success may suspect that their customers would turn away if they knew that most of them draw their product from municipal tap water, or that the plastics used to make the bottles can be laced with chemical additives that leach into the water” short_quote=”When you shell out for bottled water, which costs up to 1,900 times more than tap water, you have a right to know what exactly is inside that pricey plastic bottle. “]