With so many different approaches to self care, wellness, and spirituality at our fingertips, how do we know what works? One of our favorite ways to learn about new practices is, of course, to see what our friends are doing, and how it’s working for them.
That’s what Radiance + Ritual is all about.
Radiance + Ritual is an interview series that takes a deeper look at individuals in our community who are living in their glow—what wellness rituals they practice, what self-care looks like to them, and what routines help them achieve their best self.
Introduce yourself! Who are you, what do you do for a living, for fun?
Hi! I’m Katie Wells, though online I’m known as Wellness Mama. I founded WellnessMama.com over a decade ago and it is now one of the top online websites and communities for women and moms. I also run the top-rated Wellness Mama Podcast. It’s my job and my mission and it’s been an honor to get to know so many amazing people through the community there.
As a mom of six, that’s my actual full time job! Most of my time is focused on family, and we love to travel together, spend time outside (especially in water), and take on new projects (most recently building a ninja-warrior style treehouse.
Obligatory additional unrelated randomness: doula, speed-reader, hates bananas, loves baseball, can’t sing, scuba-diver, INTJ, highly experienced in answering the question, “why.”
Walk us through your morning ritual and skin care routine
I’m admittedly not as good at morning skin care as I should be! For the last decade, a morning routine usually involved staying awake after one of the early morning wake-ups with a baby.
On rare days when baby would sleep a little longer or my hubby would take over for a little while, I’d grab a quick shower and use one of my homemade natural soaps to wash my face. Occasionally, I’d even get to use a fancy accidental face mask or moisturizing treatment made of food a toddler had rubbed on my face or baby drool.
Now that the baby days have calmed down a little, my morning routine is typically:
- Wake up around 7
- Dry Brush if I remember and spend some time in front of my red light doing CARs (a morning movement routine I learned from Hunter Fitness)
- Make breakfast for the family and some green tea or coffee
- Get the kids started on school and hopefully get some work done
- At some point, usually early afternoon, hop in the sauna (and sometimes cold tub)
- I usually do any skin care after the sauna since I find that products are more effective after spending time in the heat, and good cleansing helps avoid breakouts from anything I sweat out in the sauna
- At night, I sometimes do a mask or use a natural moisturizer
What's your wellness philosophy?
It’s changed a lot over the years. When I first started learning about wellness, I had undiagnosed Hashimotos and had to avoid a lot of foods for a while until I got better. I was much more dogmatic about health during this time. Over the years, I’ve realized that to some degree, maybe everybody has it right. In other words, every health “expert” has figured out what works best for them. While we can learn from everyone, their exact approach may not be what actually works for you or for me.
I think that real wellness is personalized and varied. It’s something we each have to dial in and figure out on our own, though thankfully there are so many people we can learn from now.
I also think that for a long time, the conversation was too focused on food and movement. To me, true wellness includes mental health, family time, addressing stress, sleeping enough, spending time in nature and finding your own version of balance.
How do you get your glow: Internally, externally?
Internally, I try to make gratitude a daily focus as it seems to be the remedy to overwhelm and negative thoughts. It’s so simple and something we also cultivate with our kids by just spending time thinking about and talking about what we are grateful for each day.
I’ve also found The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday really helpful in cultivating a positive mindset at the beginning of each day. We have the “Four Agreements” from the book by the same name posted in our kitchen to remind us to: “Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best.”
Externally, I think good hydration, great sleep and time outside in nature are the three best tools I’ve ever tried. Using natural skincare is also really important, but I think those three factors are absolutely foundational to healthy looking skin!
With so many health trends out there, what ones are sticking for you right now?
I mentioned earlier personalization and variation. I think variation (in diet, exercise, and routine) is an often overlooked key to health.
The body is so adaptable, which is great, but I try to avoid doing anything every single day, even things that are good for you. I skip supplements on the weekend (a tip I got from a doctor at a natural medicine clinic in Switzerland). As much as I love the sauna, I don’t do it every single day. Some days we fast, and others we eat three normal meals.
So with that said, there aren’t any health trends I do all the time, but some in regular rotation are: red light therapy, sauna use, cold water immersion, fasting, XPT (a type of underwater training with weights), superfood mushrooms (from Four Sigmatic), and occasionally ignoring all of my own advice and skipping all of it.
What's one wellness essential you can't live without right now?
My Ooler (updated version of the Chilipad).It goes under your bed sheet to keep your bed the temperature you like (for me- 61 degrees) and really improves sleep. I miss it when I travel!
Much gratitude and love to Katie for sharing some of her wisdom with us. You can check out Wellness Mama here.
If you have a suggestion for someone you would like to see on Radiance + Ritual, please [email protected]