Deep Breathing, Infrared Saunas, and Colorful Food for Self-Care

Deep Breathing, Infrared Saunas, and Colorful Food for Self-Care

breathing for self-careHealth

I look at self-care as a necessary component in achieving my personal mission: to add value and leave a positive impact on those around me. And filling up my self-love bucket is an essential part of paying it forward.

I genuinely believe that to provide value and a positive impact on those you love. You need to love yourself first. Even though I’ve chosen to fill my life to the top every day—which usually results in a packed schedule—I prioritize self-love is a part of my daily routine.

A little background on me:

I am a generous, loving mom to two boys aged 12 and 10, a dedicated and committed wife. And I am a caring daughter to parents (who recently moved to Kansas City, where I am from, to be closer to their grand-kids and for me to help with their periodic struggles with various health issues). Finally, I am a business owner who is extremely passionate about enabling our team to thrive!

If you feel tired even reading this, it’s true: The most straightforward path would be the one of least resistance—to not have a self-care routine.  However, I am definitely a better mom, wife, business owner, and daughter when I am feeling healthy, fit, and grounded.



Our mission at Sunlighten, the leading brand of innovative saunas and wellness products that feature personalized infrared light therapy, is to empower others to live the healthiest lives possible. We strive to make a difference in this world and to leave it a healthier place as a result of what we do every day.

Therefore, I feel a sense of responsibility to lead by example and make choices to be the best me possible. When I take care of myself, I make better business decisions. I think more clearly, I have more energy, patience, and empathy to take care of those who I love and adore.

Five Self-care Routines to Adopt Right Away

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Now, let’s get to a self-care routine that will make you feel great.



1 – Deep Breathing and Success Visualization

To start the day, before even getting out of bed, I begin with deep breathing and a visualization of what success looks like in the next 24 hours. First step: deep belly breaths, which give me a burst of energy and mental clarity before I start thinking about my day.

Deep breathing increases the intake of oxygen, helping to nourish the brain and body—which helps calm my mind so that the beginning of my day is relaxed and clear.

Then, I visually go through the day and picture the outcome that I would like to see or feel for each aspect.  If I have an important presentation, I visualize feeling fulfilled after the submission. If I am nervous about a meeting, I picture being super excited about the results. I imagine everyone around me sharing good news and their success stories.

2 – Hydration as Self-Care: Hot Water with Lemon

I’ve been drinking hot water with lemon for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my mom always started her day drinking warm water with lemon, and she’s always been, my role model. So before I was aware of its benefits for the body, I drank it because I wanted to be like my mom.



Today, my hydration routine is a mandatory element of my daily self-care routine, even on vacation. When I started the method, I only drank hot water with lemon in the morning. Years ago, I switched to drinking hot water with lemon all day. It immediately warms me up in the morning and starts my circulation. It also suppresses my appetite, so I don’t feel like I am” starving.”

I add as much lemon as possible for its vitamin C and antioxidant benefits. When I arrive at work, preparing my hot water with lemon is the first task I complete. I grab my pitcher, fill it up with fresh lemons and warm water, and continue to refill the pitcher throughout the day.



Benefits of hot water with lemon:

  • Improves digestion
  • Boosts immunity
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves hydration – I drink at least three times more hot water with lemon than cold water or water without lemon.

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3 – Consistent Sunlighten Infrared 3-in-1 Sessions

Ever since we started Sunlighten, I have included the enjoyment of a Sunlighten session as a method of pampering and self-care. Over the years, I have done it for different reasons and experienced a variety of benefits. The three most consistent over the past 20 years include the following: brain-boosting, pain relief from muscle recovery, and glowing, healthy skin.

The brain-boosting benefit comes from the infrared waves increasing our circulation and detoxifying the body, leaving me feeling more energetic and lighter.  I like to say that using the Sunlighten sauna is like “emptying the deleted items on my computer” to allow for more storage space.

After a Sunlighten session, I have more room in my brain to discuss new opportunities, innovate, or take on a new challenge.  The pain relief program we have in the Sunlighten mPulse 3-in-1 provides alleviation on all aspects of the body.

The Near-Infrared provides relief in my feet, knees, and back of the neck. The Mid helps my joints and tissues, while the Far heats my core temperature and purifies my body with a deep cellular sweat. The glowing skin benefit is a result of cleansing the body.

When you purify the body, the skin will follow and appear younger and more refreshed. At Sunlighten, we are all “glow getters.”

Taking time for myself inside my Sunlighten 3-in-1 sauna is a must-do! Another benefit is having my kids join me…for priceless quality time.

4 – Exercise

Doing some type of physical activity each day is crucial to my overall well-being.  I am the best me when I work out five or six days a week.  My go-to exercise, which is also the most fulfilling, is running a 5K with my husband Aaron or with a girlfriend. This allows me to be able to catch up with them while getting the workout in—for the best of both worlds. Exercise gives me the energy I need to take care of everyone else, so I prefer to work out early in the morning before I start my day.

5 – Colorful Food is Self-Care

Aaron and I both LOVE to eat, and we are passionate about good, quality food!  One of the ways I take care of myself is by being intentional with the food I put in my body.  I focus on “eating the rainbow,” and making sure I get plenty of each color in my meals. Additionally, I enjoy healthy proteins, fruits, and vegetables and stay away from gluten.

I minimize my sugar and dairy intake, but I do like to enjoy a delicious dessert on occasion. My goals are twofold: to make smart choices and drink an abundance of water.

One of my favorite meals to make is avocado toast on gluten-free bread.  I find exciting ways to update the avocado spread and add healthy, delicious toppings, such as poached egg, nuts, cucumbers, kale, and roasted beets.

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Final Thoughts: Find a Self-Care That Works for Your Needs

In summary, these are some of the items that “fill up my self-care bucket.”

These are what empowers me to have a positive impact on my family, friends, and our Sunlighten community. I hope they’ll inspire you to create your own!



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Connie Zack

Connie Zack, along with her husband Aaron, started Sunlighten in a basement in 2002. They had joined forces with Connie’s brother, who had suffered from chronic illness for nearly a decade before finding healing with infrared therapy. Nearly two decades later, Sunlighten has grown into a global company. Connie started her career at Procter & Gamble holding several leadership positions in sales and marketing. Being one of the few female leaders, Connie made a commitment to herself that when she received promotions, she would reach back and pull other women through the organization. Subsequently, Connie served as a member of the P&G Women’s Board - a mentoring program for junior-level female staff. Today, from its Kansas City headquarters, Connie and her team at Sunlighten, design, manufacture, and market infrared technologies, most commonly in saunas. Sunlighten has unique LED infrared technology, patented as Solocarbon™, and more recently 3-in-1® infrared, offering near, mid, and far infrared wavelengths, a first in the industry. Sunlighten prides itself on its new product development pipeline to continue to find solutions for people to live their healthiest lives. Sunlighten was featured in Inc. 5000, as well as appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz, and The Doctors television programs. Sunlighten headquarters is also home to Sunlight Day Spa, a premium customer-centric spa experience with focus on holistic healing. Connie is a St. Louis, MO native and received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Indiana University and also studied Italian and French. Connie has always had a passion for communication and does not believe language should be a barrier. Connie and Aaron reside in Leawood, KS with their two boys, Hudson and Aiden.

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