Happy 2018! Well, this post was supposed to begin as : "2018 is nearly here and the usual thoughts have entered my head. What can I do to lead a healthier, better life in the New Year?" . Well, what happened? The flu happened! Ugh! So here we are- almost into February and I'm committed more than ever to increasing my immunity, flushing my body of unwanted/needed substances, and making sustainable improvements to my health.
As for 2018 resolutions? The usual suspects immediately come to mind: exercise more, meditate regularly, drink more water (and less, um, adult beverages), less sugar, more veggies... the list could go on forever! Am I right?!?
Well, I have decided that 2018 is going to be the year of lymphatic flow! To detox my body by enhancing its innate healing abilities. No crazy diets, exercise regimens, or cutting all of the fun out of my life. How do I plan on accomplishing this? Here are my top 6 lifestyle tweaks to get my chi moving!
The Lymphatic System is one of two circulatory systems in our bodies and is responsible for moving lymph throughout our bodies (and with it white blood cells to fight infection), absorbs excess fluid from our bodily tissues, and plays a HUGE part in our immune system. Lymph nodes can intercept pathogens ('bugs', dangerous bacteria, viruses, etc) as the lymph fluid flows through them and can prevent them from causing our body harm. However, lymphatic flow can get stagnated when we lead sedentary lives and don't take care of ourselves like we should.
So here are my commitments to 2018. I may not be perfect but I'm going to give it a go!
#1 Drink More Water and Lymphatic Supporting Teas (and Eliminating Alcohol... for now)
The lymphatic system is composed of a large percentage of water (as is our body) so it just makes sense that it flows better when we stay hydrated. Non-caffinated teas such as those containing milk thistle or nettle also support your bodies' natural detoxification processes, liver and kidney functions. In a nutshell, I've been swapping my morning coffee for a hot nettle tea followed by lots of water throughout the day.
Eliminating alcoholic beverages has also been on my mind for the last few weeks. I hate the way I feel after even 1-2 drinks so I'm getting rid of it for now. I'm not saying that it's permanent as I do enjoy a cocktail with friends or a glass of wine with dinner but this hiatus is helping me to clean out my body and reset.
Update 3/5/18: two months in and I'm still sans adult beverages! My birthday is coming up so I'll probably make an exception for a little celebration but I've found that I make smarter/healthier food choices when I forgo a glass of wine in favor of some kombucha or lemon water.
Dry brushing is a wonderful way to increase blood and lymph circulation in the body. It consists of stroking the skin in long, light strokes with a stiff bristled brush- brushing up and toward the heart. This works by stimulating the circulation beneath the skin which stimulates the lymphatic system. I usually do this before a shower a few times a week and I always notice that my skin has more of a 'glow' afterward. Let's see what 7 days a week will do!
Update: I have been dry brushing every morning 3 weeks and counting! My skin is noticeably less flaky, less dry, and 'feels' more vibrant. It also gives me a little kick start to my morning. Highly recommend!
Update 3/5/18: I LOVE dry brushing everyday! It has softened my skin, given me a little extra glow, and it helps to wake me up.
#3 Walk, Walk, Walk
A brisk walk is one of the best things you can do for your body and well-being. It's pretty cold out there so make sure to dress in layers and exercise common sense to keep safe. I've been fortunate enough to have access to a treadmill that has been my friend this January but I'm looking forward to getting back out into nature once it warms up a bit in the mornings. Make sure to take lots of deep cleansing breaths (see #4) !
Update 3/05/18: Today it was finally warm enough to walk my son to school again. It was so lovely to spend a little heart-to-heart time with him before he started his day and then go on a brisk walk to start mine!
Meditation has always been a challenge for me. My mind is always chattering away with every to-do list, task, and random thought. I am committing to at least 10 minutes of mindful breathing and/or meditation per day. Some of the benefits include: stress reduction, better sleep, helps you to regulate flight/fight responses, and in general imparts a feeling of calm. Who couldn't benefit from that!?
Not only is it great for your mental wellbeing, deep diaphragmatic breathing is a fantastic lymph mover! Slow deep breathing oxygenates the blood, and increases the relaxation response in your body so take a few minutes to just breathe! Your body will thank you!
Update 3/5/18: This is still a work in progress...to be continued...
I have just received my first batch of Jade Rollers from Jade Roller Beauty for the spa and I'm in love! The simple routine of gliding the authentic jade roller across the skin helps to increase lymphatic flow, increase circulation, reduce muscle tension, infuses facial serums, reduce fine lines, and increases firmness of the skin just to name a few benefits! It's incredibly easy to do and they even provide a little cheat sheet in the box.
This is a simple way to add a layer of mindfulness to your skin care regimen and to loosen up any fascial restrictions that can result in lower lymphatic/circulatory flow. Remember, when it comes to your skin - No Flow, No Glow!
Update 3/5/18: I have observed a noticeable difference in my face with this technique. My jaw (which I tend to clench at night) has been looser, my skin a bit more vibrant, and the ritual of rolling is a great way to get ready for bed at night.
Let's see what a few months of this will do!
Underwire bras constrict your body just where you need the most circulation. There are a TON of lymph nodes around the armpits and wires reduce the amount of blood and lymphatic movement leading up to them. I cut them out of my wardrobe during my years as a nursing mom and now I am cutting them out for good. Now, I just need to do some research to find some great brands to try that specialize in wire-free undergarments. I promise to report back when I come up with some awesome finds!
Any suggestions are welcome!
Update 3/5/18: Since my original post I have finally found a bra that gives me light support (as a 32D), no uni-boob (you know what I'm talking about!), and is super cute! There's no underwire to suppress your lymphatic flow and the Geo Lace Bralette (shown) by Lively is comfortable enough to wear all day but waaaaay more flattering than a sports bra or shelf bra. They make several different styles in many colors so if you've been looking for a great cross between function and fashion ----> check them out here!
As an added BONUS for LLS readers, use Code: AMB-liveloveskincare for $10 OFF any Lively purchase!
How are you starting off 2018? Any new adventures, detoxes, or commitments?
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Hello! My name is Elizabeth and I am the professional holistic esthetician/licensed massage therapist turned skin care blogger here! I am a southern girl with two little ones at home and a full time job running my boutique spa. I am passionate about holistic/organic skin care, wellness, clean foods, and discovering new ways, services, and products to help you age well and healthily. Welcome!