Six weeks to wellness

Week 1 - Small changes

Our resident expert, Wendy Rushin, will take you through a series of exercises and simple steps which cleanse and rejuvenate body and mind.

Iím Wendy Rushin and I am a Registered Homeopath (RSHom) and Weleda Wellbeing Advisor. I am one of those truly lucky people who has found a vocation, running a busy practice from my home in Berkshire, where I live with my husband and two children.

As a homeopath, I talk to people about their health and wellbeing on a daily basis and Iím very conscious that every body is a finely-tuned organism that needs continual care. What we put into and on our bodies has a huge impact on our overall health and wellbeing, toxins causing damage and other substances enhancing our wellness.

Toxins are poisonous substances that can accumulate, with impacts on the efficiency of the body. From the outside the clues are that we may become sluggish or bloated as our digestive systems struggle to eliminate toxins. The skin may break out in spots and look unhealthy, and people report symptoms ranging from tiredness to digestive upsets and joint pains.

Detoxification is a process of resting, cleaning and nourishing the body. Itís not a punishment or an extreme process, but it is about cleansing and rewarding the body with goodness, to create a positive effect on overall health and wellbeing. Small changes can make a big difference to our general health, and it is these small changes that I have made myself, in my own life. You donít need to treat this as a step-by-step guide, but see if you can make some of these simple changes to have a significant effect on your own health and wellbeing.

Step 1 Start the day with warm water and lemon juice

I find myself making better choices through the day, if the day starts off well. A cleansing glass of warm water and lemon juice really wakes me up and gives me a kick-start to the day, at the same time as it helps my digestion and flushes out unwanted toxins from the body.

You do it: Squeeze half a lemon (preferably an organic lemon) into warm water and drink it before you eat or drink anything else in the morning. Wait 30 minutes and then eat a protein-rich breakfast such as porridge or eggs.

Step 2 Using natural, organic skincare and bodycare

If I want a cleaner system then why would I use chemically laden products on my hair, skin and teeth? Using products with 100% certified natural ingredients means I am not adding to the daily toxic load coming from sources I canít control Ė such as air pollution or unhealthy indoor environments.

As a Weleda Wellbeing Advisor, my bathroom is fully stocked with lovely, natural Weleda products. To me, using natural products on my skin, hair and teeth is an investment in my own health, and one simple way that I can eliminate toxins from my life. You do it: Start the day with dry body-brushing, to awaken the body from sleep and get the lymph circulating.

Now move on to a hot shower with a creamy body wash from Weleda. My favourite is Sea Buckthorn Body Wash, which nourishes the skin while the Mediterranean aromas take me back to summer, my favourite time of year. Then I love the gentle exfoliating powers of Birch Body Scrub, especially for cellulite prone areas which might get to see the sun when summer comes!

When I step out of the shower the first thing I reach for is not a towel, but a bottle of 100% natural body oil. While my skin is still damp from the shower, just a small amount of oil is needed to moisturise from top to toe. My all-time favourite is Calendula Massage Oil, which smells delicious and is incredibly mild and kind on the skin.

The oil soaks in quickly, and that should give you a couple of minutes for your face. I use One Step Cleanser Toner, following up with a quick wipe with damp cotton wool before applying day cream and eye cream. If I havenít washed my hair, I will also give my head a squirt with Rosemary Hair Tonic to invigorate my scalp. After getting dressed, the only product I use is a dab of Skin Food, warmed in my hands, then dabbed on my lips to protect them from the elements. Less is more in my book!

Step 3 Drink plenty of water Ė at least 2 litres per day

Water is undervalued, and your body is the first to suffer. Deprived of water, youíll begin to feel tired and sluggish, your immunity will dip Ė making you susceptible to bugs Ė and your digestion will slow down, leading to constipation. Meanwhile your brain suffers too, leading to a lack of mental clarity and feelings of stress. This is all because your body is good at filtering toxins from your blood, but the toxins then need to be flushed out. The body has to do very little work to process water, so visualise it as an efficient flushing system, ridding the body of accumulated toxins.

Itís easy to keep a glass or jug of water within easy reach through the day and sip regularly. Donít wait until youíre thirsty!

Step 4 Donít deprive yourself!

To me, body cleansing is about reducing toxicity, not punishing yourself for what you enjoy. If you fancy a cup of coffee, have it, but try to reduce the amount you drink and alternate it with green or fruit tea. The same goes for alcohol, chocolate and the odd take-away. Try to eat a generally wholesome diet but, every once in a while, itís ok to have what you fancy in moderation. Itís all about balance.

If you really feel you have overindulged, and youíre getting the sluggish, under-par feeling afterwards, take the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica 30c and then implement some of the steps shown. That should help you to feel more energised once again, whilst at the same time cleansing the body.

Step 5 Exercise

Our bodies are designed to move, so get out in the fresh air every day and let any form of exercise speed up the cleansing process, lift your mood and invigorate you. I love to walk my dog, come rain or shine, and I am also a huge fan of Pilates as it really allows me to stretch, test and connect with my body. If I have pushed myself hard, I reach for Weledaís Arnica range of body and health products to soothe my tired muscles.

Step 6 Get plenty of sleep

I like to end the day as I started, slowly and mindfully. Winding down and getting a good nightís sleep sets me up for the challenges of the next day. Sleep is vital to keep our bodies in good working order so that we can deal with the daily stresses of everyday life. During sleep we re-energise, heal and recuperate, so if we are not getting enough sleep then the whole body will become depleted. You can see why rest, relaxation and sleep are a vital part of your detox and healthy living routine.

I see many patients in my clinic who are experiencing sleep problems and I have developed a list of tips to help them get back into the rhythm of a great nightís sleep:

These are my top tips for a great nightís sleep:

  • Turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before bed.
  • Make your sleep area a haven, free of work and distractions, so you look forward to getting into bed.
  • Have an indulgent 15-minute soak in a bath using Lavender Bath Milk. Lavender is naturally calming, balancing and revitalising to both body and mind. Moisturise afterwards with Lavender Body Oil to lock in the healing properties of lavender.
  • Get into bed and read or listen to relaxing music.
  • If you have trouble switching off your brain. Take a few drops of Avena Sativa Comp in water 20 minutes before sleep.

This herbal preparation will help relax you into sleep without the hungover side effects from more conventional sedatives. If you are in the habit of waking in the night and instantly switch into work or worry mode, you can take a few drops then to allow you to drift back to sleep. I also know that shift workers and new mums can safely reach for Avena Sativa Comp, so that they can switch off quickly and get much-needed sleep at odd times of the day or night.

Step 7 Start NOW

Make just one simple change out of all these ideas, and enjoy the positive effect on your health and wellbeing.

Remember, if you have a long-term chronic condition, or experience prolonged symptoms of lethargy, pain or general ill-health, then itís advisable to seek a consultation with a qualified homeopath or health practitioner.