5 Healthy Living Tips From the YO1 Wellness Center
Get ready to set your days up for success.
The term “work-life balance” can be somewhat of a Catch-22 in today’s fast-paced world. Is there really a magic solution to a productive schedule? September 25th marks the 18th annual National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, which reminds ladies of all ages to focus on healthy living. On that note, I’m reflecting on five zen tips I learned from a visit to the YO1 Wellness Center. This spot is a center of holistic healing in the Catskill mountains of New York, located 90 minutes from New York City. Even if you are home, you can adapt these wellness practices into your daily routine and lifestyle. Get ready to set your days up for success.
1. Start with Morning Meditation
At YO1: The wellness center offers therapies, such as yoga classes, focused on Ayurveda. This ancient healing system from India focuses on prevention rather than a cure. Muralidharan Ramalingam, Ayurveda counselor at YO1, notes that meditation— preferably in the morning— is a proactive step towards better health.
At Home: The best part about meditation is that you don’t need any physical materials so you can practice it anywhere. The act of doing so may be easier said than done, as many of us have restless minds and busy days. If you need a bit of motivation, start by finding a quiet corner at home. Sit on a comfy mat and try a meditation app such as Headspace for a calm and relaxed start to your day.
2. Stick to a Sleep Schedule
At YO1: Every evening during the stay, there was a wellness lecture at the first-floor theatre. I was most concerned to learn about the harmful effects of deficient sleep: memory loss, decreased cognitive function, diabetes, and more. Ramalingam said the ideal sleep hours are between 10pm and 6am. While your schedule may vary according to the day, but keeping this general goal in mind can help form healthier sleep habits.
At Home: To get the most out of your sleep, aim to slow down your activities two hours prior. Avoid large meals and reduce screen time on your phone and TV. Take this time to unwind—maybe turn on the record player for a few smooth jazz tunes and read a really good book. On the contrary, make an upbeat playlist for the mornings. You’ll want to turn this up in the A.M. for an energy boost while getting ready!
3. Develop Healthy Eating Habits
At YO1: “It’s all about the right food at the right time, in the right quantity,” notes Naveen Sharma, Naturopathy counselor at YO1. For a light and energetic start to the morning, the wellness center recommends a fresh glass of juice instead of a full breakfast. Guests receive 4-5 glasses of juice per day, as it helps with the natural cleansing process. Unless you’re following a therapeutic fasting program, the center also serves a daily three-course lunch and dinner (salad, soup, and entrée). These meals follow Ayurvedic principles and are personalized according to your dosha (Sanskrit for biological energies found throughout the human body and mind). A wellness counselor can help you find yours, which will be Vata, Pitta, Kapha, or a mix of two.
At Home: Healthy food can ultimately help strengthen your immune system and detoxify your body. Easily make your own smoothies with a powerful blender such as Vitamix. As for meals, conscious cooking may take more time. Not sure where to start? Cooking classes at a local culinary school are a great way to learn the dos and don’ts in the kitchen. This is not to say that a chocolate croissant is off-limits. It’s all about the balance!
4. Exercise and Repeat
At YO1: In addition to a fitness center, there’s also an indoor swimming pool on-site. Not only does working out increase energy levels, but it can also help aid weight loss, boost mood levels, promote better sleep, and even strengthen brain health. The key to results is consistency.
At Home: To celebrate National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, there are plenty of fun fitness activities across the United States. Check out this website to stay up to date on local opportunities to amp up your fitness regimen in your area. You can also go for a run outside, go on a hike, or join Classpass for not-so-ordinary workout activities. Don’t forget to stretch before and after each workout!
5. Create a Work-Life Balance
At YO1: Circling back to this topic, Ramalingam mentioned to focus solely on work while on the job to keep productivity in check. Once you’re clocked out, leave those work-related thoughts behind. If you’re a freelancer, he notes the importance of taking breaks and working a maximum of 8-10 hours a day. A remedy for the overworked is to take a detoxifying wellness retreat. At YO1, relaxing therapies offered include massages, mud therapies, acupuncture, jet baths, and more.
At Home: There are many ways to add a bit more zen to your everyday life. Take a walk during your lunch break, enjoy an at-home spa session (think: face masks and manicures), catch up with loved ones, and take a moment to do absolutely nothing. Sometimes, the best plans are no plans.
On the last day of my stay at YO1, I visited the juice bar and came across a bowl of inspiring quotes printed on pieces of paper. I opened one up to find a saying by Socrates: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” I found this to be so true, as no matter where you are in your wellness journey, there is always room to learn, grow, and improve. After all, the smallest steps can lead to the greatest of changes.
Wendy Sy is a fashion, beauty, and lifestyle writer based in New York City. In addition to her editorial website, Style Meets Story, her work has been featured in Allure, Avenue Magazine, InStyle, and more. When she’s not brainstorming ideas for upcoming articles, you can find her spending countless hours searching for lost treasures at vintage shops. Photo by Sophie Elgort.