Thrive Market Employees’ Favorite Wellness Habits (And Why They Work)August 12th, 2021
Scroll through Instagram or talk to a well-intentioned friend and you’re bound to get some unsolicited wellness advice: tips for better sleep, better skin, even better brain function. But the true definition of wellness is much more individualized (and, often, much simpler). It may be something as small as taking a few moments to yourself before starting your morning — but over time, it just may become the very best part of your daily routine.
We turned to our own Thrive Market employees to talk about those daily wellness habits that they really cherish, whether it’s sipping a tried-and-true blend of adaptogens before bed or setting aside some alone time to journal before the day begins. Here are a few of our favorite ways our employees keep healthy in their own ways (and the science behind why these tips may work for you, too).
Healthy habit: “Laughing at the end of the day.”
How I got started: “I realized that I had trouble going to bed if I was still stressed, but if I found something as small as a funny TikTok or belly laughed over a comedy show while eating dinner, any stress of the work day melted away.”
Why I love it: “It helps release the stress of the day and relax my mind and body before bed. I end up having good dreams, being more grateful for my day, and relaxed in order to refresh for the next day.”
What the science says: In the same way that a nutrient-dense food nourishes your body, studies show that laughter may improve your mood and alleviate tension. According to some studies, laughter may help to combat anxiety and stress, and there are even studies that say laughing may be a way to alleviate depression in certain individuals. You don’t need a scientist to tell you that laughing just feels good—If you’ve had a stressful day at work or you’re spread a bit thin at home, laughing is a great way to wind down and take your mind off your responsibilities for a while.
Healthy habit: “Cuddling my dog at night after my son goes to bed.”
How I got started: “I adopted my puppy a few months before the pandemic hit, and realized that one-on-one time with her was beneficial for our relationship, but also for my mental health and happiness.”
Why I love it: “It calms me down, brings me a smile, and centers me before going to bed. It’s my way of meditating after a long day.”
What the science says: According to research from the Center of Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, animal companionship (known as the “human-animal bond”) reduces anxiety in humans, which is why petting your dog at the end of a long day helps to wash away stress and relax before bed. Studies also show that introducing a pet into the household may positively impact a child’s long-term health and wellbeing, offering companionship, emotional support, and a sense of purpose. Thanks to these positive benefits, animals make a welcome addition to the family dynamic—one that benefits both parents and their children.
Healthy habit: “Whenever I end my work day, the first thing I do is meditate for 5 to 10 minutes.”
How I got started: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Headspace app offered all Los Angeles residents free membership through the end of 2020. I was happy to try meditation for the first time since stress levels were at an all time high, and I’ve stuck with it ever since.”
Why I love it: “I find that it is a great way for me to unwind, relax, and reset after a long day, but I also use it as a sort of marker that the work day is now over (hopefully!) and I can enjoy the rest of the evening however I’d like.”
What the science says: When it comes to managing stress and anxiety and increasing focus, few things are more effective (or more affordable!) than meditation. The science behind why meditation works is extensive, but here are a few standouts benefits:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers cortisol levels (the hormone that causes stress)
- Increases regional gray matter density in the brain, which helps to process emotion, increases learning capacity, and improves memory
- Fundamentally alters connectivity patterns between networks in the brain and reduces brain inflammation
- Decreases anxiety and improves self-esteem, according to studies conducted on patients with social anxiety disorders
Healthy habit: “I make sure to never skip dessert.”
How I got started: “I always end my day with a sweet treat as a small act of self-love and a reminder to listen to my body.”
Why I love it: “I believe we should never deprive ourselves of cravings, and eating dessert is a small way I choose to honor that every day.”
What the science says: There’s a place for dessert and other treats in an otherwise healthy diet; the key is to find the right balance without overdoing it. According to one study, subjects who were offered macaroni and cheese daily ate less of it, while other subjects who were limited to only eating mac and cheese once each week ate far more of it. The takeaway? When a particular food is off-limits, you’re more likely to overdo it. When it’s viewed as part of a balanced diet, you’re able to develop a healthier relationship with it, and enjoy it judiciously—without guilt or overindulgence.
Looking for better-for-you sweets? Try GoodSam chocolate made with ethically sourced, organic cacao, SmartSweets gummies sweetened with allulose, or Thrive Market gluten-free cookie mix.
Healthy habit: “Body movement every day. I look at it the same as anything else I do during the day: eating, brushing my teeth, showering. It’s a non-negotiable.”
How I got started: “I used to be very overweight as a child and teenager. I started eating a vegan diet and exercising when I was 15, and I’ve kept with it ever since.”
Why I love it: “It makes me feel happy and good, keeps me healthy, and ensures I get good sleep.”
What the science says: Exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s also good for your mind—and there’s lots of scientific evidence to back that up. Regular exercise can help combat depression, and for adults with anxiety, exercise is an effective tool to combat those fight-or-flight sensations. According to one study, adults with depression who began exercising even reported rates of remission that were comparable to using antidepressant medications.
How I got started: “In search of something to make me feel more mellow at night and make it easier to fall asleep.”
Why I love it: “I try to use some or all of these adaptogens and herbs to ease my mind and body from the fast-paced day into a mellow, restful night.”
What the science says: This is a powerful blend of good-for-you superfoods. Here’s how they may help to improve your health:
- Adaptogenic herbs and plants (like reishi, ashwagandha, and tulsi) offer normalizing effects that may help your body to balance stress, alleviate symptoms of anxiety, and decrease fatigue.
- CBD (short for cannabidiol, a compound found in hemp plants) has been shown to shift our pain perception, encourage better sleep, and help manage depression.
- Magnesium is a mineral that is found in every cell in your body. When taken as a supplement, it may help to alleviate pain, improve metabolic function, and reduce inflammation.
Healthy habit: “Five minutes of journaling every day.”
How I got started: “It’s a quick and effective way of keeping track of my progress and staying motivated.”
Why I love it: “It helps me clear my mind and set my goals for the day.”
What the science says: According to Ann Stoneson, MS, LPC-S, a psychotherapist located in Austin, TX, “Journaling is beneficial because it creates a pause, when we can reflect and respond instead of reacting. Pausing actually brings different neural networks online in the brain, enabling us to make more thoughtful and beneficial choices about our lives, instead of leading from our pain and distress. Journaling offers some of the same benefits [as therapy]—the gift of your own time and attention—and with the luxury of being able to review and reflect on as many times as you need in the future.”
*These tips are not medical advice. For all medical advice, please consult your doctor.