Small Daily Habits For Big Health Returns

Small Daily Habits For Big Health Returns

Everyone might be strapped for cash after Christmas, but there's one January investment that always makes sense: our health. 'New Year, New You' goes the overused slogan, but the idea of taking fresh interest in your wellness goals is a good one - and it needn't come at a price. Five wellness entrepreneurs tell us what small daily habits they incorporate into their lives that make a big difference to their wellbeing.

Thomas Robson Kanu

Founder of Turmeric Co. and Former Professional Footballer

“Daily meditation is a key component to bring awareness to how I’m thinking, feeling, and acting. Acknowledging how I’m feeling before I meditate, and setting an intention for the way I want to feel once I am finished meditating helps me to align my mind and focus. How we approach and react to things is our own choice, and being conscious of this can seriously transform your life.”

Anna Gough

Breathwork and Cold Water Immersion Expert

"I ground myself first thing - bare feet on the grass - and get exposure to natural light as soon as I can upon waking. This helps to balance my circadian rhythm. I use my breath to help anchor me - slow nasal deep diaphragmatic breathing with a longer exhale is a perfect relaxer. I create a sleep ritual in the evening - warm bath, herbal tea, journal - and I turn off electronic devices at least an hour before bed. These daily habits bring me back to my centre, my internal landscape: the place where all my answers and intuition lies. Therefore, the grip of external seeking doesn’t take my own power away. We have all the answers within us if we stay connected to our ‘home’."

Renée Elliott

Founder of Planet Organic and Author

"I get up at 5.30am so that my husband and I can meditate together for 20 minutes - it's like a head start for me in the day - and I also mediate in the evening. I've been meditating since 1991, and now do a type of meditation call Samadhi that's been scientifically proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, create brain wave coherence, and promote healing. I always ring fence and protect my sleep no matter what's going on in my life - and particularly if I'm under pressure - and I aim for around 8 hours each night. I'm an organic high priestess and food freak, so I do eat incredibly well every day and for me that means I cook and bake almost everything from scratch for my family, including our bread. It's important to me and I'm not willing to compromise on it."

Katie Brindle

Founder of Hayou and Chinese Medical Practitioner

"In Chinese Medicine, the winter is closely associated with our kidneys so it is especially important to care for these delicate organs during the colder weather. To care for my kidneys during this time, one very effective technique is I take a short nap or meditation during the afternoon, the time that most benefits the kidneys. This practice is not simply resting the body, it is also about conserving and nurturing our Qi, our vital energy. A brief nap, ideally between 15 to 30 minutes, can help in rejuvenating the energy reserves of the body, which is particularly beneficial in winter when the days are shorter and the body naturally inclines towards conservation of energy. Another valuable Yang Sheng practice for Winter wellness involves nightly foot baths with a touch of ginger. There are many meridians of the body that converge on the souls of the feet, so a warming foot bath, ideally for at least 10 minutes, will allow the heat from the water and the added warming ginger to open up and stimulate these channels, encouraging Qi to flow freely."

Stephanie Drax

Founder of Leapfrog Remedies

"I start every day with a warm shower, followed by one minute of as cold as the water will go. A 30-second cold shower can kick-start your immune system. A study has shown that those who had a 30-90 second burst of cold water during their shower reported fewer sick days that those who took warm showers. It helps to boost your white blood cell count because the body is forced to react to the changing conditions, and the activation of the stress system in the short term is very good at keeping us healthy. I'm addicted to the intensity of it! I’m also obsessed with the Japanese art of forest bathing. Getting into green spaces helps to counter a roll call of physical and mental diseases. Not only does it reduce blood pressure and cortisol, but studies have found that the phytoncides – chemicals released by plants and trees – can supercharge the immune system. The effect on my mental state is profound and I aim for ten hours of walking in woodland per month."