I have a business plan. I have a financial plan. I have a reading plan. And now, I have a wellness plan – a plan to help me stay healthy and look and feel my best (both on my 2020 goals list). If you don’t, might I suggest you think about it…
Today is my first day of Spring. Finally, the sky is blue, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the flowers are blooming. After our Polar Vortex Winter, it feels like life is finally beginning anew.
Here are some of the ways I have begun to celebrate Spring, and how I will continue to.
I opened the windows in my house and let in fresh air. Simple, and glorious.
I cut 4 inches off my hair and I have never felt lighter. Thank you, Jason Snyder!
I cleaned out my closet, thanks to the inspiration of my dear friend Jennifer Mapp Bressan, who is constantly reminding the world that we need less clothing than we think we do.
I took a good look at my to-do list and got rid of two items that had been sitting on there since January; one task I (finally) completed, and one task I decided I was never going to complete and just deleted.
I had coffee in my yard, listening to the sounds of Spring, watching the sun rise over Georgetown, watching the world wake up.
I incorporated abs in my exercise regimen, per the inspiration of my friend Anne who does 200 of them five times per week. This should be a year-round ritual (because summer bodies are made in the winter!), but for now, it will start as a Spring / Summer ritual.
I went to yoga. I don’t do yoga, but when my friend Kelly DiNardo, owner of Past Tense in DC, invited me. I figured at the very least it would help me get rid of the winter cobwebs in my body.
I finalized a new partnership for Alchimie Forever, which will yield its fruit a little bit later this season.
I still need to get my first Spring pedicure… I am hoping to make time this weekend to go to Mia Bella, my favorite nail place in New Orleans.
How do you celebrate the first few days (weeks) of Spring?
One of the keynote speakers was Ben Greenfield, who spoke about habits to enhance health and longevity, as reported in the book Blue Zones. This resonated with me particularly strongly as I recently read the book Ikigai, which touches on the same theme, and am in already struggling to keep some of my New Year’s resolutions.
The list of healthy habits below may not be new information, but I know I get in my own way, and needed the reminder. Here are Ben Greenfield’s healthful recommendations for cleaner, better, longer living.
Don’t smoke. (If not for longer living, do this for better skin)
Avoid sugar and vegetable oil.
Eat dark colored fruits and vegetables, like purple cabbage and blueberries. (And put them on your skin too!)
Implement 12-16 hours of intermittent fasting in your routine, to help your body “clean up the trash.” That may mean giving up breakfast…
Go to the gym, yes. But beyond that, incorporate low impact movement every day. (Walking or gardening come to mind)
Ensure you have a strong sense of community. (When is the last time you called your best friend?)
Possess a strong life purpose, what the Japanese call “ikigai”.
Ruthlessly eliminate the sense of hurry to minimize stress.
Engage in a spiritual discipline, religion, or the belief in a higher power.
Remain reproductively useful. (Yes, he did tell the audience to have more sex)
Drink a little every day, mostly wine, preferably red.
Burnout. This could be a four-letter word. While I have never spent time thinking about what this word really means, I think I have come close to burnout twice in the last 5 years. Is that good or bad? I am not sure.
She defined the symptoms: to be burnt out, you need to have 2 of the following 3:
She reminded us that we contribute to our own burnout, with the following:
Incorrectly defining success (we should all have our own, genuine definition of what success means, beyond “keeping up with the Joneses”)
Celebrating busyness (I gave up the word “busy” for Lent one year, I think I should give it up altogether).
Striving for perfection
Allowing ourselves to be distracted from our goals and purpose
She made us rank ourselves from 1-5 (1 being great, 5 being abysmal) about how we feel on the following parameters:
Workload (how overworked are we really?)
Control (burnout feelings increase when we feel out of control)
Values (are our businesses’ values in line with our own?)
Fairness (how fair is our work or family environment)
Reward and recognition (are we being recognized for our efforts, at work and at home?)
Community (apparently the #1 thing people need at work is a best friend – how do we feel about our work community?)
(If you are all 4s or 5s, you are in or close to burnout).
So how do we beat burnout? By being resilient: by having the skill and capacity to be robust under conditions of enormous stress and change. She reminded us of a truth we probably all know – that avoiding stress or change is not a strategy. She also reminded us that resilience is like a muscle – it can be trained, it can become stronger.
How do you train for resilience?
You create white space. Give yourself time. Silence. Unscheduled moments. Alone time.
You objectively face reality. Objectively and calmly. Not with the anxiety blinders on.
You find meaning in suffering.
You fill your tanks. Whether that is through sleep, exercise, time alone.
You claim your truth. You identify what is most important to you, what you are great at, what you need.
You see possibilities where others don’t. Instead of focusing on the problem, open your mind to solutions.
After working with Heyday for the last few years – since before co-founders Adam and Michael opened their first facial shop in New York’s NOMAD neighborhood (they now have 5 locations in Manhattan), I finally made the time to experience one of their facials (yes, this is my first facial of 2018… the cobbler’s daughter and all).
I experienced a 50-minute treatment by the fabulous Jenna who has magical hands. She gently approved of my appointment, saying that indeed it was time for my skin to have a “reset” and that extractions were “necessary” (I loved how she didn’t say “overdue.”).
If you have not yet been to Heyday, they are not a “traditional spa” but rather a “facial shop”. What you will not find at Heyday are no dimly lit rooms, robes, silence, spa music. Instead, the space is open, with movable “walls” made of fabric. The space is well-lit (“Doesn’t it help for me to really see your skin?”, Jenna asks with a smile), and sound travels – which is actually delightful. Looking at the space, I could tell there would be no silence. What I couldn’t experience until lying there was how lovely it is to hear unintelligible chatter from the front area or other “rooms” – it sounds casual, fun, happy (I heard laughter a few times). And the music is amazing – great current tunes (apparently Heyday has a Spotify channel).
Beyond the environment, the facial was one of the best I have experienced. I don’t trust my face to many other than my father, Dr. Luigi L. Polla, or the therapists at Forever Institut – but I will absolutely come back to Jenna and will happily recommend Heyday to anyone asking.
She started by measuring my hydration levels (not surprisingly given my travel schedule, my skin needs more moisture). She then proceeded to cleanse, exfoliate, extract, massage, and hydrate, using a blend of products – Alchimie Forever, Naturopathica, Image, and Shaffali, an ayurvedic brand that is new to me. The blend of products was chosen specifically for my skin and created not only immediate results, but also an amazing sensorial experienced. My favorite part of the treatment was Jenna’s massage, which she did with a mixture of Alchimie Forever Kantic Brighteningmoisture mask and Naturopathica Carrot oil, pre-extractions. In effect, as she explained, the massage will soften the skin and make it more malleable, hence the extractions easier to perform. And they were indeed painless. She then used a micro-current machine to help serums penetrate deeper into the skin, and applied multiple masks (for different areas of my face, as my T-zone needed purifying and my cheeks needed moisturizing) before sending me on my way.
I left glowing, without a mark on my face – and photos to prove it. (If you haven’t ever experienced a facial because you think you will leave with blotchy skin, please think again).
I can’t wait for the next Heyday training, which will once again end with a treatment!
I was invited by Progressions Salon and Spa last week to participate in a Wellness and Stress Management event. In thinking about the theme, I was reminded of the core of our brand’s DNA, and of the reason why my parents decided to create a product brand so many years ago: because looking good, means feeling good, means doing good. Indeed, looking good is a way to relieve stress, and increase wellness.
The question, of course, is what can we do to look good, to look better? Here are 15 rules, strategies, rather, that I learned from my parents – and that I follow religiously.
Prevention is everything. Don’t wait to see wrinkles or have bad skin to use great products, get regular facials, and go to your dermatologist at least once per year. Think of your skin care the way you think of your dental care – you don’t wait to have rotting teeth to brush your teeth daily; you don’t wait to have cavities to go visit a dentist twice annually for your checkup. The same behavior applies to skin.
No smoking. Ever.
No sun. Ever. If you must sun, remember: no “unprotected sun.” And no tanning beds either.
Exfoliate once per week. Every week. This not only helps your skin look its best, it also will help all of your skin care products work better. Using expensive serums and masks on skin that is never exfoliated is like taking a shower with your rain coat on. It’s a shower… but it’s not exactly have its full desired effect…
Use an antioxidant product every day, ideally twice a day. This will help your skin age as gracefully as possible.
If you’re old enough to drink, you’re old enough for a good eye cream. The skin around the eyes is the first to show signs of aging, so prevention is even more important.
Sleep on your back. You can train yourself to do this. Even if it’s not all night, every night, it will truly make a difference. My dermatologist father can always tell on which side a woman (or man!) sleeps because the wrinkles are deeper on that side of the face.
Use more skin care and less makeup as you grow older. Makeup ages you. Except mascara and lipstick.
Make an extra effort to look good on the days you feel bad, sick, tired, sad, upset, or are in a bad mood. Nothing brightens those hard days as regular compliments throughout the day about your lovely outfit, great hair, or fabulous necklace. It works every time!
Look at yourself in the mirror. Really look. That way you will never wake up thinking “how did this line just appear, it was not there yesterday….” Wrinkles take time to form. If you see them forming, you’ll be less shocked or upset when you realize they are fully formed.
Every year you grow older, spend 1 more minute in your bathroom.