It is safe to say that when thinking about wellness goals, there is a lot of “noise” out there about how women can attain inner peace and overall health. Social media, magazines, internet searches—all offer numerous paths to find what we’re looking for. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and mistakenly choose unrealistic and unreachable goals that ultimately kill motivation. These mistakes typically turn our focus from what is best for ourselves and instead find us trying to accomplish what seemingly worked for another. They often lead us to focus on external changes and do little or nothing to improve well-being, which commonly leads to failure as these paths are often not attainable or appropriate for the individual.
So, how can women work on their own individual wellness and, importantly, how can wellness providers guide them on their journey? I recommend these three achievable goals and take-homes for our guests using an integrated approach toward a holistic plan.
Be More Present
In a world inundating us with nonstop stimulus, being more present is easier said than done. We have become so accustomed to our phones offering entertainment or distraction while alone that many of us seek it out even when in the company of friends. This self-developed habit causes us to miss some of life’s most important moments and creates stressors we do not need.
Perhaps one silver lining of the pandemic is a refocus on those things most prized in our lives. However, it’s also easy to slip back into old habits as we reenter the world. The goal to be more present must become a daily mantra in order to change our trajectory and ultimately break this habit. Our five basic senses—taste, touch, sight, sound and smell—affect every aspect of our lives, and how we use them affects our mental and physical well-being. We must rely on each of these senses equally to center ourselves and be present.
Additionally, chronic stress affects the body’s hormone balance, brain chemicals and immune system. Poorly managed anger or frustration can lead to hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders and cardiovascular inflammation or disease. Poor dietary choices can increase cortisol, which breaks down collagen, makes blood vessels more fragile and cuts cellular turnover virtually in half, leading to aging skin.
As providers, we can assist guests by offering grounding techniques that integrate the senses. Start by having your client take a few breaths while sitting with both feet on the ground. Have them identify three colors, followed by three sounds. It’s okay if they take their time, as that helps in the grounding process. Finally, have them smell three separate scents and you should notice an immediate change. They can now take this technique home, along with your bespoke brand of oils or products, and use them when feeling overwhelmed or as part of a daily routine to center themselves.
Smells send information to the central nervous system for processing through a direct route of the limbic system, which includes the amygdalae and the hippocampus. These two brain regions interact and relate to emotions and memory, so integrating a relaxation-promoting scent before and after a session can trigger the same feelings later as needed.
Another way to be present is to practice gratitude. You can easily remind clients to deliberately acknowledge the good aspects in life and give thanks. Recognizing and appreciating the positive has a powerful impact on well-being and happiness, and provides better sleep quality and less physical complaints. So, try ending treatment sessions with a small gratitude mantra.
Owner and principal of PLACE360 Health + Spa in Del Mar, California, Tracy Whynot aims to enhance people’s health inside and out, thanks to a fusion of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), massage and skin care. Whynot is a licensed, board certified acupuncturist with a masters of science in TCM. She specializes in pain and stress management, dermatology, women’s health and digestive disorders.