All too often, when society talks about bodies, what is really meant (and what we often hear) is physical appearance, shape, and weight. But really we are so much more than this.
Your body is also your emotions, your mind, your energy levels, your self-confidence, your hormones - everything that makes you, you. Your physical appearance is the least impressive thing about you (and you’re pretty damn impressive).
Our idea of a summer bod doesn’t line up with the outdated notion of what a beach body is (answer: have a body, go to the beach).
When we talk ‘summer bods’ we mean feeling our best, having buckets-and-spades of confidence, managing our stress, and being in control of our emotions so that every day has the hope of being a good one, and if it’s less good than we hoped, we can cope.
So, how can we do that? We have 6 ways to start!
Balance your hormones
It’s hard to feel great in, and about, our bodies when we’re experiencing period bloat and water retention, mood swings, hormonal acne, and irregular or heavy bleeds.
So, first things first, get familiar with your cycle. Try an app like Flo or Clue to know everything from cycle length to when you’re ovulating and why you feel weird one day and over the moon the next.
Then, try Period Pal: Loaded with herbs and nutrients, including hero ingredient Vitex agnus castus, Period Pal supports ovulation as well as healthy levels of oestrogen and progesterone production which leads to balanced moods, calm skin, weight management, and chilled-out periods.
After the past few years, we don’t need to tell you what stress looks like. In this crazy world of ours, stressors abound. Sometimes stress isn’t actually a bad thing; it’s often the kick we need to get stuff done.
If it becomes prolonged or chronic, that’s when we need to step in and say ‘not today, hun’. When we are constantly living in a ‘fight or flight’ survival response (activating our sympathetic nervous system), there isn’t much time to ‘rest and restore’ (activating our parasympathetic nervous system).
Given that the vast majority of cells in our bodies have cortisol receptors (meaning they have a fine-tuned response to stress) it’s unsurprising it can have a huge impact on almost every aspect of our health: our mental wellbeing, hormones, periods, gut health and more.
Managing stress is personal. Some people like to lie down in a dark room and meditate, others wanna duke it out in a boxing class. As long as it works for you, you can do whatever you like!
Sometimes we’re so highly strung that calming down feels impossible. What can help us adapt to this situation is, you guessed it, adaptogens. We need the right nutrients in order to help our body calm itself down and not sit in stress. Adaptogenic herbs are ingredients in several of our supps for this very reason.
You can find Rhodiola rosea and panax ginseng in Morning Person to help support your stress response, calm your mind and give you nice smooth energy. Ashwagandha is in Period Pal to support your stress response and brain-ovarian connection for less hormonal mood swings.
For more acute help, Chill Pills are 100% Vanuatu Kava. Used in the Pacific Islands for generations, we love kava for its ability to bring a sense of calm to your mind and body, fast. They can even work as a sleep aid if you need help in that department. Sleep is the antidote to stress.
Top-Up Your Nutrients
Nutrients are the nuts, bolts and oil that keep our bodies working properly. Food is fuel for a reason. We need nutrients to make serotonin, to respond to stress, to fall asleep - Every. Single. Thing.
If we’re not getting ample nutrients - which FYI these days most of us aren’t - we probably won’t be feeling tip top, our hormones might not be super happy, our moods might not be all that stable and our hair, skin, nails, gut health (you name it) are all impacted.
Taking a multivitamin every day is like an insurance policy for our nutrient stores. Even if we ate the most nutrient-dense foods for every meal, every day, we would still not be lacking. A daily multi steps in to fill that gap.
Our need for nutrients becomes even greater if we’re on hormonal contraception which is why we made Take Me With The Pill. It has all the nutrients we have an increased need for and none we don’t (like copper, vitamin C, and Iron).
Morning Person - B vitamins are important for making sure the body's cells are functioning properly. They help the body convert food into energy, create new blood cells, and maintain healthy skin and brain cells, as well as other body tissues. Most B vitamins are water soluble and can't be stored by the body, meaning they must be consumed regularly to keep stores up. Morning Person is like a B Vitamin complex on steroids, as it’s got high doses of bioavailable Bs, but also some sexy adaptogens to get you feeling real good.
Moseying and Moving
As humans, we’re made to move. So it’s quite weird that often we need to set aside time to do it. In between working from home, the daily commute, and busy social lives - you’d be surprised how little movement happens unless we make a point of it.
But movement is one of the fundamentals to a happy and healthy body.
How can we move better?
- As the hormone and period obsessed people we are, we’re all about exercising right for the phase of your cycle and how you’re feeling. E.g. if you’re in your luteal or period phase HIIT might not whet your appetite, but some yoga or a walk might be just what the doctor ordered.
- Set the bar at a realistic (for you) level - you don’t have to do an hour workout every day, or even workout every day. 20-30 minutes of gentle movement is a great place to start.
- Find something you enjoy. Maybe you hate the gym. That’s ok! Try dancing. Hate that? Try pilates. Hate that? Try walking, or cycling, or paddle boarding, or tennis, or swimming, or water aerobics! There’s something for everyone.
One of the most important things we can do for our physical and mental health is get support. Whether that’s from ourselves, our pals, or from a professional - support goes a long way. It takes courage to face your emotional fears, but, wow, is it worth it.
How can we do this?
- Find a good psychologist, counselor, coach or therapist. Chances are one of your friends will be seeing someone and can recommend you. Otherwise, psychologytoday.com/nz has the details of lots of great people, most of which also offer online consultations #covid.
- Insight Timer - this started off as a meditation app but now includes talks and even live sessions from incredible leaders in the psychology, self-awareness and spirituality spaces. If you’d prefer to do some self-enquiry to start diving into your stuff, you can check out some of the talks and meditations on here to start prompting your mind to blossom.
- Journaling - journaling is the practice of getting your thoughts out from their bouncing-around-your-head cycle and onto paper. This cleanses your mind and helps you to hold your thoughts and emotions at arm's length to be able to view them more calmly and practically. Things can feel a million times bigger when they’re stuck in our heads, but a million times more manageable once we get them out in a quiet, safe space.
Eat for nourishment
Another common thread amongst humans is that many of us can recall a time when we’ve had a not ideal relationship with food. Societal pressures have led us to adopt some not-so-great beliefs around food. But shifting your mindset around food to one of eating for nourishment can work wonders.
Eating nourishing food also supports our hormones (yay), mental wellbeing (double yay), gut health and more. Hello feeling good in and about your body!
How can we do this?
- Eat healthy fats: Growing up in the 80s, 90s and 00s we learned that fat was the devil. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Healthy forms of fat like those found in avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds and extra virgin olive oil are wonderful for both our taste buds and our bods. Healthy fats also contain a range of key fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, and provide slow burning energy to complement the energy from carbohydrates and keep blood sugar stable.
- Carbs aren’t the enemy: No food is the enemy! People often think that cutting carbs holds some magical key to happiness and it’s just not true. Females can be particularly sensitive to both under eating, and restricting entire food groups such as carbs. While some women with insulin-resistant PCOS might do well on a lower carbohydrate diet, many women find they simply need carbs to feel balanced, energised and healthy and even full.
- Research suggests that non-inflammatory starches such as rice, potato, pumpkin and kumara are actually calming on our nervous systems; and can support the cortisol and stress responses, and restful sleep.
- Greens: Eat your greens. Quite possibly the most basic but most important nutrition advice there is. Nowhere else can you find calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc, as well as vitamins A, C, E and K in a tasty, ready-to-eat package.
- Don’t skip soul food: As well as being nourishment and fuel, food is also pleasurable and a social thing. The 80/20 rule is a wonderful thing. Eating ‘well’ is all about finding a way of eating that’s sustainable, and usually that means finding the sweet spot between feeding your body and your soul.
What are the next steps?
If you find yourself feeling less than fab in your mind or body consider this your cheat sheet back to your best life.