We sat down with Dr. Nikole MacLellan (aka Dr. Kokes), Naturopathic Doctor, registered dietitian, performance optimizer, and host of the Offseason podcast to get her take on what ‘beauty from the inside-out’ means to her. We chat about the five steps to building a beauty mindset rooted in self-care and why Rest & Digest breaks can mean the difference between surviving and thriving.
Q: What is the biggest mistake we make when it comes to taking care of ourselves?
A: Not putting ourselves on the ‘care-to-do list’!
This sounds simple, but it is not. Every day, we are told that we have to be faster, stronger, do more, go above and beyond at work and home. It’s exhausting, unsustainable and sets us up for failure – period. This impacts our health, how we sleep, whether we are eating enough or too much, and if we are anxious and struggling to make decisions. The pandemic shone a light on the cracks in our foundation and forced many of us to rethink and retrain our brains on how we take care of ourselves. It starts by loving ourselves and being aware of what we need to perform our best each day. In my opinion, this is at the heart of a ‘beauty from the inside out’ mindset.
Q: What are the five steps to building a beauty from the inside out mindset?
A: A ‘beauty from the inside out’ mindset is about setting daily habits that focus on your self-care.
You are the priority. If you don’t take care of yourself, then the rest will fall apart. If you feel good, you will look good – it’s that simple.
The below habits are the foundation that I do myself and recommend to my clients.
They are basic tips, but they are hard to do consistently. You also have to anticipate roadblocks and be ready for some creative problem solving to stick to these habits every day.
1. Getting a good night’s sleep:
How well you sleep will dictate how you feel and act during the day. When you haven’t slept well, you feel sluggish in the morning, find it hard to focus and get things done. Experimenting to find the best sleep routine and following it – is vital.
2. Eating real food:
We all know the importance of eating protein, veggies and carbs and limiting sugary and processed foods. We also need to be mindful when eating and focus on chewing and listening to our body’s queues when we feel full. Avoid scarfing things down in front of a screen or while stressed. Meal planning and having veggies and fruit already cleaned and chopped will also help you make better choices. Smoothies are my go-to if I have a packed day or am on the go.
3. Drinking water and staying hydrated:
You either love drinking water or hate it… but your body needs it. Here is an interesting stat – a 2% loss in body water impacts cognitive function, impairs reaction time, task performance and mood. Think about this for a second – water has a significant impact on our lives. I find drinking water hard, so I had to analyze why I didn’t want to drink and find a creative fix. I discovered that I only drink water when it is super cold, and I like using a reusable straw. I invested in the right type of water bottle and now drinking my water is less of a chore.
4. Building in Rest + Digest breaks in your day:
Stress is a constant. One way to calm the nervous system down is to take mini mindfulness and breathing breaks to help you deal with the daily stressors and re-focus and deal with the rest of your day.
5. Discovering what brings you joy and building time in your day to do it:
Taking time to do the things you love is essential. Find the thing that puts a smile on your face and schedule time in your day to do it and make it non-negotiable.
Q: What do these Rest + Digest breaks look like, and how often should you do them?
A: Whether you are working or a caregiver, fight or flight mode is something we experience multiple times a day.
My tip is to intertwine Fight + Flight with Rest + Digest. You need to book time with yourself to calm the nervous system throughout the day. Aim for three little Rest + Digest breaks where you practice box breathing during the day – that last for 2 minutes. Do it after a meeting or before you jump on the next task on your to-do list. What I love about mind/breathwork is that it doesn’t cost anything, and the more often you do it, the better you will feel.
Box breathing is easy to do. Just follow these steps:
Step 1: Breath in through your nose for four counts
Step 2: Hold your breath for four
Step 3: Exhale through your mouth for four counts
Repeat five to 10 times until you feel centred and able to take on the next challenge in your day. I also can not stress the importance of actually taking a lunch break. Working and eating at the same time will not only decrease productivity but also impair digestion for a lot of people. Try these Rest + Digest Breaks today and see how you feel – you might be surprised how this small change will make a big difference.
Q:When should we add vitamins and other beauty products to our routine?
A: Once you have the foundation in place, you can layer on vitamin supplements and beauty products.
Fish oil like Bend Beauty helps calm inflammation and skincare products rich in vitamins and antioxidants will help brighten and keep the skin hydrated. The team at Spirit Spa are the experts here and have a wealth of knowledge to share. But until you have the foundation set, you will only be using band-aids vs. solving the real problem. Building a beauty and self-care foundation is a crucial step in everyone’s routine.
The Benefits of a Beauty from the Inside Out Mindset
Creating this mindset and self-care foundation will help you feel better, build resiliency and empower you to navigate the next wave that will inevitably rock your boat. Adding yourself to the ‘care-to-do list,’ building Rest + Digest breaks and fueling your body and mind with nourishing foods, water and sleep will help you feel and look beautiful from the inside and out. If you struggle to build these habits into your life and need some 1:1 guidance, book an appointment with Dr. Kokes or another medical professional.