Posts in Wellness
Spring Has Be-Sprung!

Has anyone else been walking around lately and noticed all the different shades of pinks, greens and blues? The blossoms have returned, the leaves are green again and those clouds are just about disappearing! Central Park is back to its beautiful, colorful self and it’s starting to look like the blue skies are here to stay. Finally!

With Spring making a bold return, now is the perfect time to reflect on the past few months of the New Year. Have you met your New Year goals? Perhaps the arrival of the Spring season has given you that ‘spring’ in your step that you’ve not seen for a while? Now is the time to set new goals, and really make the most of the uplifting mood in your everyday activities, both in your work and home life. Try and reflect this positive and happy seasonal transition in your moods and let it inspire you to do things that can make you an all round better, happier and more productive person.

So what can you do to make the most of ‘Spring Fever’? Here are a few ideas!

1. Do a workout in the sunshine! Exercise can lead to a boost in endorphins, the same feel-good chemical that can come from warmer weather. Twenty to forty minutes of activeness most days of the week is a good place to start, but make sure you stay well-hydrated to fight off those allergies that many of us are familiar with!

2. Spend more time in the outdoors! A scientific experiment proved that on clear, sunny days, people that spent more than 30 minutes outside saw an increase in memory, mood, and flexible thinking styles. Proof that the glorious Springtime weather could make you more innovative, so take a long walk through the park this weekend and get those thinking caps on - you never know what you could come up with!

3. Eat a well-balanced diet and say goodbye to those carb-heavy cravings, it’s salad season! You should try and stick to foods that make you feel light, yet satisfied. Fruits and vegetables are key at this time of year, they will give you the energy boost you need to feel good and jump right into Spring. Also foods rich in omega-3 are a big yes, they often make for tastier meals and will also boost your mood.

4. Reach out to old friends and spend more quality time with your family! Spring is the perfect weather for daytime AND nighttime activities, it’s not too hot and not too cold, but just the right temperature. I really encourage you to make the most of this warm weather before the Summer temperatures become sweltering and unbearably hot (think of those dreaded subway journeys in 90 degree heat!). Your family and friends want to spend time with you, so reach out to them and enjoy the outdoors together.

This is just a guideline and a few pointers for some inspiration, there are SO many ways in which you can make the most of the Spring to help reach the ultimate goal - staying healthy and creating the best version of yourself possible!

Spring has be-sprung, enjoy!

Vitamins: A to Z
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Vitamins are essential nutrients that you can get from certain foods. A proper balance and adequate levels of these are important for a range of complex processes in your body. Vitamins play key roles in bodily functions such as metabolism, immunity and digestion. It’s important for us to assess our diets and become knowledgeable on which types of food source the vitamins we need in order to stay healthy and avoid deficiencies.

Nutrients actually work better together, you may consume enough of one vitamin, but may not actually absorb it. For your body to get the full benefit of one vitamin, you may need sufficient amounts of others. For example, to fully deliver calcium into the bones and tissues, you would need sufficient amounts of vitamin D and vitamin K. Vitamins work together as a team - just as many of us do in our day-to-day working lives! You need a little of all of them so they can do their job properly, it’s all about balance.

Vitamins are either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissue of the liver and the body. They are easier to store than water soluble vitamins and can stay in the body as reserves for a longer period. They are absorbed with the help of fats and lipids. On the other hand, water soluble vitamins do not stay in the body for very long as the body cannot store them, so these types of vitamins need to be more regularly consumed.

Fat soluble vitamins:

  • Vitamin A - supports eye health, (good for those of us that spend half our lives in front of a computer screen!). Good sources include carrots, liver, salmon, spinach, broccoli and sweet potatoes.

  • Vitamin E - a strong antioxidant that helps boost immunity and prevents cell damage. Good sources include vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and leafy greens.

  • Vitamin D - this vitamin is found naturally in limited foods but added to many others, the best source is natural sunlight (perfect excuse for a sunny vacation in Barbados!!), but you can also get it from salmon, egg yolks, mushrooms and shrimp

  • Vitamin K - creates healthy bones and keeps the heart strong. It is found in a variety of foods such as cooked kale, spinach, some cheeses, chicken, pork, avocado and other green vegetables.

Water soluble vitamins:

  • Vitamin C - this is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage, maintains skin health, and strengthens the immune system. It’s found in (but certainly not limited to) oranges, strawberries, broccoli, kale and parsley.

  • Vitamin B group - this family of vitamins is responsible for boosting your energy levels, feelings of well being as well as lowering stress and anxiety (not sure about you but these sound good to me!!). A good source of these vitamins can be found in a variety of foods including whole grains, meat, eggs and dairy products, citrus fruits and avocados.

The best way to meet your vitamin needs is through a balanced diet. However, what some of you might not realize is that no matter how healthy you eat, it can be difficult for your body to get all the nutrients it needs from food 100% of the time. In some cases therefore, dietary supplements can be used to fill in the gaps (this is dependent on your current diet/health - please consult a medical professional!).

A supplement is defined as something that completes or enhances something else when added, it is therefore NOT something to be used as a substitute. Nobody’s diet is perfect all of the time - we all have “cheat days” and enjoy pizza on the weekend and that’s perfectly acceptable (and also very normal). So a little help along the way to make sure our bodies are getting all the essential nutrients it needs won’t do any harm. Remember, your body is a temple!

Generally speaking, eat plenty of fruits, veggies, non-fatty meats, nuts and seeds, exercise regularly (or at least take the stairs from time to time!) and you are well on your way to a healthy, vitamin-enriched body. Taking supplements may be used as a boost, and an easy time-saving practice to incorporate into your morning routine. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and this ultimately is the answer in creating the best, happiest version of yourself possible!

A Day Off Well Spent Brings A Week Of Content
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When was the last time you binged watched your favorite TV show? Or the last time you went out to dinner and didn’t check your phone? Chances are you can’t remember! It’s ok - being work-focused and career-driven are good things, but not always. You will see exactly why that is and hopefully be encouraged to take that extra day off that you deserve!

A glassdoor survey shows that the average U.S. employee (of those eligible for vacation) only take around half of what they are entitled to, and two in three employees reported that they actually worked whilst on vacation. Also, did you know that the United States is the only country (out of 37) in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that does not mandate paid vacation? These facts and figures may not come as a shock to you, but they really should, even with scientists saying you almost certainly need more rest that you’re currently getting.

So why is it that Americans are so reluctant to take time off? Many view vacation time and days off as an indulgence. Think how guilty we feel when we indulge in that third slice of Mom’s best homemade pie. That third slice represents your day off; taking it feels good but wrong, and you know you’re going to kick yourself over all the extra work you’ll have to catch up on (or all the extra calories you’ve consumed!) the next day.

When you feel tired and stressed, do you power through to try to impress others so that you don’t appear weak? This is understandable, but it is extremely counterproductive. People who never take time off are short-term focused and maintaining this motivation with little vacation time is not sustainable. Give those poor little brain cells a rest and cut yourself some slack for a break! Here’s a reminder of the refuelling principle: you get more done quicker when you step back and recharge the brain and body.

According to Leonard Mlodinow, a physicist:

‘Though some may consider doing nothing unproductive, a lack of downtime is bad for our well-being, because idle time allows our default network to make sense of what we’ve recently experienced or learned.’

His insightful scientific research on this topic can be viewed in his book, Elastic. There are many reasons as to why we need time off, and plenty of other research that consistently shows taking downtime is crucial to a healthy work-life balance.

Here are some of the key benefits (some, not all!):

  • Improves job satisfaction, employers encouraging time off increases employee retention as they will have improved moods and positivity.

  • Builds a more collaborative work environment and promotes team cross-functionality, where teams work together and take on other tasks of those on vacation.

  • Reduces stress and improves concentration and productivity on returning to work. This could be in the form of innovative thinking and creativity.

  • Here’s another great tip: mindfulness and practicing self-care is a great way to manage stress.

  • You are a healthier person. If you don’t take time off, you risk burning out which can make you more susceptible to illness.

  • Gives you the chance to improve relationships with loved ones and create a more healthy work-life balance.

Think back to that refreshed feeling when you take only a few minutes away from your desk, and imagine what a whole day or week could do for your productivity. What should you do with your days off to achieve these benefits? It goes without saying that a week in the Caribbean loading up on “vitamin sea” or a fitness retreat in California will almost certainly allow you to de-stress in the most glamorous way possible. However, there are other simple things that can benefit you in the same way that you will have probably overlooked.

Here are some things that may spark some ideas, with a variety of budgets in mind:

  • Read your favorite book; when was the last time you finished one?

  • Binge watch your favorite Netflix series with a big bag of your favorite healthy snack (or watch as many rom-coms as humanly possible - my personal preference!)

  • Hang out with friends and go for that brunch you promised you would go for three months ago

  • Sleep in, take a gym class in the middle of the day, or take the dog for an afternoon walk

  • Find that recipe you’ve been waiting to try and make a delicious dinner for you and your other half or friends

  • Spend quality time with your family - whether it be while enjoying the outdoors together or sitting around the table playing board games

Don’t forget, you will only achieve full benefits if you do not check your phone and remain disconnected from work. You must completely unplug and embrace fully the benefits of doing so!

As a final note, it’s good to remember that your job does not define you. Modern day life pushes you to identify yourself with your work, but it’s your family, friends, hobbies and passions that also help to make you who you are. You must not neglect these things, while also taking some time off and focusing on yourself. As a result, you will generally be a happier and better person, both in your work and home life.

You work best when you... drink celery juice?
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Celery Juice; the latest wellness trend that everyone is talking about and instagram’s most recent phenomenon. I’m sure one way or another you have heard about it or perhaps you have succumbed to social media peer pressure and have already tried it for yourself?

So why is this ‘magic juice’ so popular and what is it all about? Its recommended usage is that you should have one 16oz glass of celery juice every morning on an empty stomach, even before you’ve drank any water, and wait around 30 minutes before eating breakfast.  

The health benefits are endless, according to the Medical Medium (whom I first heard about celery juice through on instagram) and there are so many incredible healing stories out there. The Medical Medium shares a lot of ‘before and after’ transformations on his instagram page and some of them really are mind-blowing. The benefits of incorporating celery juice into your diet include clearer skin, improved digestion, less bloating, sustained energy, better mental clarity, weight loss, and more stable moods.

Two of the benefits above really jumped out at me. Would you like to have better mental clarity and sustained energy on a daily basis? I certainly do - just tell me how!

Also, many of you reading this will probably agree that having a more stable mood is always a huge positive. We all have our down days or days where we feel like we really just can’t be bothered (the word ‘hormones’ may spring to mind!). But, it’s how we uplift ourselves to deal with these feelings and get that glow back that’s important, and a glass of celery juice every morning may be the answer you’re looking for!

Sustained energy and better mental clarity are pivotal in ensuring your working day is as healthy and productive as it possibly can be. There are lots of fancy words and meanings to describe how drinking this juice can help our bodies, but we will keep it nice and simple (for those of you that are familiar with biology jargon and want to understand in more depth, read some more here).

Simply put, celery is a major alkaline food which helps to clear the body of acid and toxins as well as cleansing the liver and bloodstream. It is also extremely hydrating and restores the entire digestive system. By doing this, it puts our hearts and minds at ease and has a significant calming effect on our bodies, in turn having a huge positive effect on how we go about our day-to-day lives.

It’s also important to note that drinking celery juice should come hand-in-hand with a healthy lifestyle and fairly nutritious diet. In other words, please don’t have a 16oz glass every morning and expect to see benefits if you eat junk food all day long! In an ideal world, eating pizza every day is the dream, but unfortunately you’re unlikely to see the real benefits of celery juice if you do this.

I can vouch for the fact that it actually DOES work. I suffer with fairly bad psoriasis and after having celery juice every morning for only 2 weeks, I started to notice a big difference (I was truly amazed!!). However, please be aware that our bodies work in different (and mysterious) ways and it may not necessarily work in the same way for everyone. That said, it’s always reassuring to know someone who has tried it and has seen results first-hand. I also felt so much more energized throughout the day having had a glass in the morning - so much so that I significantly cut down my daily coffee intake (yes, really!).

Everyone at Primary knows you work best when you feel great, and you feel great when you drink celery juice, so… you do the math!

Side note - if I have inspired you to get on the celery juice hype (I won’t be offended if not), you will need a juicer to get started. Here’s some research of a good recommendation for you all, reasonably priced and easy to clean with most parts being dishwasher safe too.

Happy juicing!

De-stress your weekends with Fall events this October!
 
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With a Friday afternoon sigh of relief that the work week is almost over, it’s time to put away your computer, switch off your notifications and relax into the tranquility of the weekend. Even if your agenda is crazy, it’s important to utilise the time that we get away from our desks to focus on activities that will allow us to enjoy some downtime to unwind, reflect and re energize for the upcoming week.

The (even though short) amount of time that we get over the weekend is vital to be used for leisurely activities to replenish our attention and motivation, revive your mind and body after all the thinking and doing it does through the work week.

Luckily, New York is a city where there’s always something new and exciting to experience and see! And with the change of season there’s even more new and and accessible ways to spend your free time this Fall.

For this reason, and to motivate you to get out there and relax into the weekend, here are some worthy events and activities you might want to check out. I know I will!

Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the city can get to be too much, try slowing the pace down and take a weekend trip upstate by taking a scenic drive up along the Hudson Valley - breathe in the fresh crisp air and let the beauty and tranquility of fall make this activity all the much more mind clearing and reinvigorating.

Ok, so this might be a winter activity but the rink is up! Take some time out of your day or night and skate across the rink and let any of your weeks thoughts slip away.

You can’t ignore the fact that it’s almost Spa Week in New York! Even just saying it makes me feel instantly relaxed! If you are looking to really unwind, take advantage of this event by zoning out while getting a relaxing facial or deep massage and letting your body unwind to refresh, refocus and reset.

If you’re a coffee lover, then this is your lucky weekend because the New York Coffee Festival is back! Take your time wandering through the vibrant coffee scene, smell the coffee scented air and taste test your way through different coffee brews, enjoy with friends as a way to unwind and relax.

Halloween is near and the Great Jack O Lantern Blaze is on! Make sure to make a stop, take in the bright lights of  the incredibly carved pumpkins and take a walk through the festival , get into the holiday spirit and let the creativity inspire you.

Looking for a more inspiring, positively uplifting and meditative approach to unwinding and relaxing? October events at Primary are a great way to connect with yourself and with others, dedicated to inspiring a better work life balance, from networking events and growing your business to self realization and discovery all while developing ways of taking care of your mind and body.

To keep your mind and body in balance, take the time out this weekend to relax and unwind by doing something that’s mindful to you.   


 
Happy Fall Equinox + Full Moon In Aries
 

Happy Fall Equinox and Full Harvest Moon in Aries. September always brings changes, as we feel the weather shifting, the trees start to change colors, and leaves from the branches that once hung on, let go. As we let go into the unknown shifting gears mentally and preparing for the winter months. This is a time for preparation and deep cleansing. It’s a time to sit without judgment and go back to see what we’ve grown through in the past summer months, and what still needs tending towards now as we enter the Fall Equinox.

 

Aries makes our emotions heightened during this time, and it brings our mind body and soul to the front gates. It fires us up, and connects us to our sacred gifts if we listen closely enough. This is a time when our inspirations and goals are pressing on us fiercely, almost so much that we feel the tendency to run away when things feel like it’s too much to handle. We all know the feeling. The trick is to stay with this fiery aspect and activate our potential to get things done as wisely, lovingly and as patiently with ourselves as we can.

 

This isn’t a time to not tend to your desires, because the affect of not tending to what needs to be looked at during this time can be destructive moving forward.

 

This Harvest Moon is reminding us of responsibility, which comes with the fiery aspect of this moon, as we look at our inner most dark shadow selves we start to clear out whatever needs clearing at this time, so we can continue to work and be well to ourselves, and in affect others.

 

Let’s use the power of this Full Moon to our highest good. Let us bring what we want towards us. As we do this, as we sit with whatever needs letting go of, it helps us move forward on to greater heights. This Harvest Moon is here for us, and to help us move through this time and into the unknown.

 

Be well.

By Elizabeth Scholnick