Today’s most popular ways to take care of yourself
Michelle von Hahn
Welcome to Next Gen Natural, a column where we share a Gen Z perspective on natural health and wellness. I’m Michelle—alive’s Editorial Intern and creator of the Healthy Num Num food blog. I love healthy living and want to inspire you to integrate wellness into all parts of your life, regardless of your age.
These are some of my favorite methods to support health that are currently trending in the wellness world, from different ways to exercise to new nourishing foods to try. Some of these trends have been developed and practiced for years and have recently become popular again among a new generation.
This yoga pose, also known as Viparita Karani, helps with circulation, stress, and feeling better overall. Find a wall to rest your legs against, whether that’s lying on the ground, couch, or bed. Try this pose for a couple of minutes after you’ve been standing or sitting for an extended period of time or when feeling bloated.
Originally developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1920s, Pilates has found new popularity among Gen Z. Pilates focuses on building core abdominal strength and lower back muscles. I love following Move With Nicole’s YouTube Pilates workouts because they are low impact and beginner friendly. She also guides you on how to correctly breathe throughout the videos, which improves your mind-body connection.
Popularly known as “hot girl walks,” going for a walk is another low impact way to exercise. Getting outside for a walk in nature lowers stress. However, if I’m inside at the gym, I like to do the “12-3-30” workout, which is walking on the treadmill to an incline of 12, at the speed of 3 miles per hour, for 30 minutes in duration.
Setting a walking goal every day can be a helpful motivator. I’ve realized that I’ve never regretted going for a walk and always feel better after moving my body. During my walk, I like to listen to music or a podcast, phone a friend, or complete a task like responding to emails.
Podcasts can be a fun way to learn about a certain topic you are interested in. I like to multitask and play podcasts while I’m going for a walk, driving, or cleaning. Some of my favorite podcasts, which are mostly about health and wellness, are the Health Code, What a Mouthful, and the Blonde Files Podcast.
Along with the increased importance of mental health, journals, which are frequently incorporated in therapy, have become a popular private way to reduce anxiety and stress. Although any journal can be used, I like journals that include prompts, for example, what you are grateful for, daily affirmations, and highlights of the day.
Chia water, which is chia seeds mixed with water, is a great source of fiber, protein, and omegas. Considered a superfood, chia seeds can absorb as much as 12 times their weight. Try adding a tablespoon of chia seeds to your water bottle to drink throughout the day—it will help you feel satiated between meals.
Adaptogens, such as reishi, ashwagandha, and ginseng, are plants and herbs that help your body respond to stress and anxiety, and support your overall well-being. For example, cordyceps, which is a small mushroom, provides anti-inflammatory effects that stimulate the immune system and promote antitumor activity. Most adaptogens have a mild taste and are easy to mix into any beverage, like tea, coffee, or water. I like adding adaptogens into my smoothies because the flavors often get hidden by the other ingredients.
Lymphatic drainage is a type of massage used to relieve swelling in your body. It can also stimulate the immune system and improve chronic fatigue symptoms. A gua sha and a dry brush are two tools used to massage your face and body. I like to use a gua sha in the morning, which reduces facial puffiness.
Do you feel bloated or constipated, have trouble sleeping, or experience acne? These can all be signs of an unbalanced gut.
Gut health covers the health of your entire digestive system. A healthy gut helps your body clear toxins, fight against disease, and boost your mood. A few ways to balance your gut are to add probiotics into your diet (found in many foods or in supplement form), limit processed foods and sugar, eat slowly, drink water, and reduce stress. The foods you eat can have a major impact on your gut health. I love the Good For Your Gut Cookbook by Desiree Nielsen because it’s filled with holistic and evidence-based recipes for fueling your gut health.
Did you know cold water showers increase circulation in your body by increasing blood flow to warm your body? Cold water also heightens your immune system and makes you more resilient to illness. Having a cold shower or an ice bath are a couple of methods to try. You can build your tolerance to the cold water by staying in 10 seconds longer each time. Try having a cold shower in the morning to help you start your day feeling energized.