Nikki Matters Shares Her Essential Well-Being Practices

The Senior Customer Success Manager at Thrive says the combination of cooking, working out, dancing, and inspiring others, always brings her joy.

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At the start of the pandemic, I was by myself in a small studio apartment with little light, and I was in the middle of COVID's epicenter —  New York City. During those first few weeks, I treated myself to ice cream and wine, and I would sit on my couch doing Zoom happy hours. I was always pretty committed to exercise — at least on the weekends — but during the pandemic I decided I could either emerge from COVID very unhealthy, and probably heavier, due to my sedentary “new normal” or I could come out of it in the best shape ever. That’s when I made the decision to make some positive changes.

I began doing daily workouts and then going for an hour-long walk each night after work to decompress, get fresh air, and get in some additional movement. This also allowed me to connect with friends and family, as I would call them on the phone as I walked. Instead of sitting and eating dinner, and then sitting and watching T.V. for the rest of the night, I’d have an early dinner, then walk for an hour, and I found that I still had time to watch a show when I got back. 

Movement is one of the Microsteps that helps me thrive. I generally try to workout every morning, and if not, I at least work some movement into my day. I once heard Gwyneth Paltrow say she treats exercise like something you just do every day, like brushing your teeth, and I love that mindset. It is a necessity for mental and physical health, and I personally feel so much better and more energized when I move.

This change impacted people around me too, as I also led Zoom exercise classes for my friends. And I began posting about my health journey — including my healthy cooking demos — on Instagram. I inspired others to exercise, and to not only cook, but cook in a more healthy way.  

For me, exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. If I don't eat well, I find my exercise suffers, and vice versa. Without both of them, I feel the physical effects immediately, which then affect me mentally. My body hurts without movement. Cooking improves my mood, as I love to cook and be creative in the kitchen. My healthy meals and my workouts leave me energized, proud, and happier.

Nutrition is the easiest to commit to when I’m at home, and I can control what I cook and eat. I love to eat healthfully and know that it can actually taste good too! One well-being practice that’s a bit more difficult for me, is getting proper sleep, as there are so many factors I can't control around it — I am a light sleeper and I have vivid dreams. And if I’m stressed or anxious, that really affects my ability to get quality sleep. I have found that when I do set a cutoff time for caffeine and read a bit before bed (ie. limit use of technology), my sleep quality improves.

On busy days, especially work days, I love to unwind by taking a relaxing shower. I find I can have a peaceful moment and connect with my thoughts. I soak up the hot water, close my eyes, and breathe. It's actually where I find I am quite creative, because I have time and space to think, without any distractions."

I am always interested in discovering more about every aspect of well-being. And my favorite Thrive learning course is Thriving Mind. I love the science behind it, but also, it’s so helpful to know your own biotype and know that they are all natural and none is "bad." It's also helpful to know how to manage my stress in an appropriate way for my particular biotype. As for what brings me joy: music, dancing, and cooking — if I can do all three at once, I am very happy!

Published on
September 14, 2023
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