Who’s Taking Care of Mama?
For real though…Who?
Part 4 Body
The month of May brings forth many different things; for example, here in North Jersey it finally starts to feel like Spring. (Thank sweet baby Jesus) Even though May is packed with fun,this post isn’t about Cinco de Mayo (sadly), nor is it about fun spring outings (those will come soon). This is about the holiday May brings, that’s right kiddies I’m talking Mother’s Day. I won’t be focusing on the usual Mother’s Day shenanigans though (not yet anyway). This series, yes I said series, is going to be focused on YOU as a whole… mind, body, spirit. So, go get out your notebook, grab a glass of wine, and get ready to fill your cup (your hypothetical cup this time, but as always #doyou)
Today’s installment is how to take care of your body. Under the general definition of “body care” fall most of the skin care applications which are NOT targeting the face. Body care is addressing come of the most common sources of imbalances in our body affecting the skin, health, and appearance. Remember this is the vessel in which you live your life, attention needs to be paid.
Here are my top 5 EASY and QUICK
(see I now speak mom fluently)
ways to take care of yourself and make yourself feel good.
Before we dive in…
I know how easy it is to fall into the routine of motherhood and not create windows of time just for yourself, trust me, BUT these are important pieces of the puzzle that makes you. We’ve talked about filling your cup. Now we’re going to get into another “how to” fill that cup. It seems crazy cliche to say “when you look good you feel good” so I won’t but I will say when you feel good you carry yourself differently.
YOU DESERVE TO BE YOUR BEST YOU
Now let’g get started
The Who: Dry brushing is the juice cleanse of the beauty world. All of the chicest crunchy granola celebs (we see you, Gwyneth Paltrow) are doing it—between their Bikram classes and runs to the local organic farmers’ market, that is—and it’s supposed to cure, well, basically everything, including poor digestion, cellulite, and whatever bad thing happens when your lymph nodes aren’t draining (there is no less appealing phrase in the English language than “lymphatic drainage”). Frankly, the whole thing has always sounded kind of silly to me, but with summer right around the corner and my legs looking pretty scary after a winter spent doing nothing, I decided to dedicate a month of my life to it.
The Why: Think back to your human biology class (minus traumatizing exams) and answer these questions: What is the largest organ in the body? What is one of the most important elimination organs in the body, playing a large role in daily detoxification? What organ receives a third of all the blood that is circulated in the body? When the blood is full of toxic materials, what organ will reflect this with problems? What organ is the last to receive nutrients in the body, yet the first to shows signs of imbalance or deficiency? Answer…..Skin. Increasing the circulation to the skin could possibly reduce the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite is toxic material accumulated in your body’s fat cells. So, rather than take drastic measures like liposuction, how about utilizing the dry skin brushing techniques to help break down unwanted toxins? Dry body brushing helps shed dead skin cells (and encourages new cell renewal), which results in smoother and brighter skin. It can also help with any pesky ingrown hairs.
The Where: Good news – you don’t have to book a pricey spa treatment to reap the benefits; this one can be done in your very own bathroom. All you need to do is purchase a natural bristle brush (not one made from nylon or synthetic materials). One with a long handle is also a plus, as it means you can reach all areas of the body.
The How: To do it yourself, start at your feet and brush upward towards the heart. Similarly, when you start on your arms, begin at the hands and work upward. Use firm, small strokes upwards, or work in a circular motion. For the stomach, work in a counterclockwise pattern. Harsh exfoliation is never the point; be sure not to press too hard, or use too-stiff of a brush. Any kind of brushing or exfoliation should be gentle and should never break the skin. I’ve tried skin brushes that are so hard they cannot be used due to the damage they do. I chose medium-soft cactus bristles for our skin brush for gentleness; the skin should never be scratched or damaged.
The Who: Literally everyone, even animals, ffs drink the damn water.
The Why: Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don’t expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines, says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate. When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions. If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates.
The Where: Literally everywhere…. don’t be dumb.
The How: I find myself drinking more water if I have a cute bottle, because I’m vain and these things matter to me but #doyou. Some people choose bottles with time lines dawn on them. I personally love the hydration reminder, Reminds you to hydrate if you forget, blinks before dehydration kicks in, tracks when you drink, fits on any water bottle, and it’s fully automated…. #win. Others choose to infuse their water. However you do it, just do it. More water = feeling better.
The Who: All the cool kids… but seriously everyone should be stretching at the very least once a day.
The Why: Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. For example, sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh. That can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way, which inhibits walking. Likewise, when tight muscles are suddenly called on for a strenuous activity that stretches them, such as playing tennis, they may become damaged from suddenly being stretched. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, which can lead to joint injury. Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible, and this means that exertion won’t put too much force on the muscle itself. Healthy muscles also help a person with balance problems to avoid falls….. #winning
The Where: (to start) Starting a stretch routine allows you to reap all the benefits that stretching has to offer. Stretching exercisesshould be performed in a comfortable area with no distractions, so that you can focus on reaching your full potential. Wear clothes that are light and that do not restrict your movement. Warm up before you stretch. A good warm up activity is going for a 10 minute walk. Getting Started When starting a stretch routine, make sure that you’re performing stretches correctly to prevent injury. Start with performing each exercise a few times, and as your muscles become more supple, you can increase the amount of time you spend on each one. Listen to your body and if a stretch is causing you pain, stop immediately. Stretches should only produce mild tension, so don’t force yourself into a difficult stretch. Stretches should be held for 20 to 30 seconds. When performing stretches, movements should be smooth; jerky movements should be avoided. Keep a regular breathing rhythm while stretching and never hold your breath while trying to perform a stretch. If you have any injuries, such as a back injury, be cautious about what stretches you perform. Ideally, you should consult an expert who can give you advice specific to your injury. When starting a stretch routine, include exercises that are not risky, such as ones that involve twisting. It’s important to have variety in your routine so that you don’t get bored.
The How: The following are stretches that can be incorporated into your stretch routine.
Abdomen Stretch This stretch focuses on stretching the muscles in your abdomen. Lie flat on the floor face down. Place your hands palm down on the ground in line with your shoulders. Straighten your arms, lifting the top half of your body up and keeping your head aligned with your spine.
Supine Stretch This stretch focuses on your lower back. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet against the floor. Lift your knees up and hug them towards yourself. Link your hands behind your thighs to pull your knees towards yourself. Hold for 30 seconds, then release and repeat.
Supine Hamstring Stretch Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Lift one leg into the air, keeping your leg straight but slightly bent at the knee. Put your hand around your leg and pull it towards your chest. Hold for a count of 30, then release and repeat.
Kneeling Reach This stretch focuses on your shoulders. Kneel down on the floor and extend your arms forward. Stretch your buttocks towards your heels while keeping your arms extended in front of you. Keep this position for 15 seconds, then release and repeat.
Deltoid Stretch Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Keep your arm straight and bend it over your left shoulder. Place your right hand on your left elbow to help pull your arm over. Hold the position and then release. Perform the same exercise with your other arm.
Lower Spine Stretch This exercise focuses on opening the lower spine. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Lift your buttocks of the floor. Roll your back down, slowly placing each part of your back on the floor.
Use a Roller
The Who: All the cool kids…. Seriously though after spending decades on the fitness fringes, foam rolling has arrived at center stage. Whole classes are now devoted to the practice of slowly rolling different parts of the body over a tube; I mean I can get down with that….it’s thought to improve athletic performance and flexibility, reduce workout-related soreness, slash recovery time and knock out muscle pain.
The Why: Using a foam roller can assist in breaking up these muscle knots, resuming normal blood flow and function. The goal to any corrective or recovery technique is to get you back to the point of normal functioning, as if nothing was ever wrong in the first place.
Here are the 10 best reasons for using a foam roller
- Much reduced pain after exercise
- Improved blood circulation
- Release muscle tightness
- Improves athletic performance
- Breaks down knots in muscles
- Helps to prevent injury
- Improves balance
- Maximised effectiveness of stretching
- Alleviates delayed onset muscle soreness
- Enhances delivery of nutrients to tissues, thus aiding recovery
The Where: Best part you can do it from the comfort of your living room! Find the best roller for you here.
The How: To foam roll properly, apply moderate pressure to a specific muscle or muscle group using the roller and your bodyweight. You should roll slowly, no more than one inch per second. When you find areas that are tight or painful, pause for several seconds and relax as much as possible. You should slowly start to feel the muscle releasing, and after 5-30 seconds the discomfort or pain should lessen. ***If an area is too painful to apply direct pressure, shift the roller and apply pressure on the surrounding area and gradually work to loosen the entire area. The goal is to restore healthy muscles – it is not a pain tolerance test.***
The Who: Everyone with real teeth in their mouth. Seriously if you’re not flossing twice a day you’re fucked. My dentist told me years ago to “only floss the teeth you want to keep” Wellllll I want to keep all of these motha f*ckas so I floss 2+ times a day. I carry floss picks in my bad… This mama does not play with oral hygiene.
The Why: Your dental health is an important component of your physical health. It’s a frequently underappreciated aspect that can have a profound systemic influence. In fact, thousands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease. Your mouth is like a window to your health; the soft tissues and your teeth reflect what’s going on in the rest of your body. Inflammation is well-known as a “ravaging” and disease-causing force, and gum disease and other oral diseases produce chronic low-grade inflammation. When the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter into your circulatory system, it causes your liver to release C-reactive proteins, which have inflammatory effects on your entire circulatory system.
The Where: Any bathroom or really anywhere… I floss a lot on my couch, it’s gross I know but #Iamdoingme
The How: Here’s a step-by-step guide to find out how to properly floss your teeth:
|Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.|
|Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.|
|Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.|
|When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.|
|Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.|
Once you’re finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss won’t be as effective and could leave bacteria behind in your mouth.
I know, I know… this all feels like a lot of information. I’m also very aware that I didn’t touch on diet or exercise, and I won’t be, everyone is different and these are 5 things that are, ALMOST, one size fits all.
No matter what you choose to do, remember to be good to you. You’re the only mama they’ve got, be the best.