Feeling exhausted? You’re not alone! The latest lockdown has seen stress levels rise and anxiety go through the roof. Combine this with a lack of good quality sleep, and life just seems plain exhausting. While most of us are in desperate need of a break, the reality is most of us can’t even leave our houses let alone jump on a plane to a tropical secluded island for some much-needed R&R. The good news is though, with a lifestyle detox – making a few easy changes – you can instantly bring some calmness back to your life.
Reconnect with nature
Getting outside and feeling the grass between your toes is one of the best things you can do for your health with research showing nature reduces anger, fear, and stress while also increasing pleasant feelings. Is life getting the better of you? These easy lifestyle changes will have you feeling energised in no time.1. In fact, Shinrin-yoku, or forest-bathing as it is also known, where you wander through forest trails has been identified as a suitable method for stress reduction2. Spending just 2 hours each week (or 17 minutes each day) in nature is all you need to boost to your wellbeing3.
Turn off your phone
Your phone makes you contactable 24/7 and in more ways than one. People can call you, text you, instant message you through social media accounts, FaceTime you or email you. Constant buzzing can be stressful as we feel the need to respond straight away irrespective of what we are doing or what time of day it is. The quickest and easiest solution is to simply switch off your phone. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes of the day, you’ll notice how much more relaxed you feel after going off-grid.
Schedule a specific time to check emails
Can you believe there is such a thing as email apnoea? It turns out our breathing changes when we read emails, with 80% of us holding our breath while we read them. While emails might make us feel important, continuously checking and reading them due to ‘push notifications’ produces tension and worry. Simply switching off notifications and will alleviate anxiety, says research from the UK4. Ditch the push notifications and only check and reply to your emails at designated times throughout the workday.
Fast-paced living means many of us take short, rapid breaths and fail to maximise our oxygen uptake. Inadequate oxygen uptake leads to lethargy and fatigue. Learning to slow down and deepen your breaths mean more oxygen is delivered to the brain, boosting energy levels. Slow, deep breaths also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers heart rate and induces feelings of calm5. When you’re feeling a bit stressed, take some time to practice deep breathing. Find a comfortable seat and place your hands on your belly. Take a deep breath in through your nose and let your belly push your hands out. Exhale out through pursed lips. Continue for 8-10 breaths.
Replace sugary beverages with unsweetened tea
Replacing just one sugary drink per day with unsweetened tea or water can lower your risk of developing diabetes by 14%6. Black and green tea contain L-theanine, an amino acid that has been found to boost mental focus. According to researchers, people who consumed 100mg L-theanine made fewer errors in an attention task compared to those in the placebo group7. You’ll find this amount of L-theanine in 4 cups of tea. Kanguru’s Wellness Blend also contains L-theanine.
Keep a Get Done list
To-do lists can be super overwhelming, mostly because they have too many non-urgent tasks on them. Swap your to-do list with a Get Done list which includes only things you need to complete today. Leave off any tasks that can be done later. Your Get Done list will remove any non-essential tasks from your day, helping to make the day less daunting. You’ll love how much freer you’ll feel!
Bring the outside in
Indoor plants pretty up your interior and clean the air you breathe. They also improve how your think, with research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology finding the simple presence of plants in the office boosted one’s ability to focus8. Such a simple (and attractive) way to be more productive!
- Mackay J, James G&N. The effect of “green exercise” on state anxiety and the role of exercise duration, intensity, and greenness: A quasi-experimental study. Psychology of Sport and Exercise 2010;11:238-245.
- Morita E, Fukuda S et al. Psychological effects of forest environments on healthy adults: Shinrin-yoku (forest-air bathing, walking) as a possible method of stress reduction. Public Health 2007;121(1):54-63.
- White M, Alcock I, Grellier J et al. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Scientific Reports 2019;9:7730.
- Derla K. Turn off push notifications from your emails: experts say email apps can harm your health. Tech Times. Available at URL https://www.techtimes.com/articles/121195/20160105/turn-off-push-notifications-from-your-email-experts-say-email-apps-can-harm-your-health.htm. Accessed August 2021.
- Russo M, Santarelli D and O’Rourke D. The physiological effects of slow breathing in the healthy human. Breathe 2017;13(4):298-309.
- O’Connor L, Imamura F et al. Prospective associations and population impact of sweet beverage intake and type 2 diabetes, and effects of substitutions with alternative beverages. Diabetologia 2015;58(7):1474-1483.
- Foxe J, Morie K, Laud P, et al. Assessing the effects of caffeine and theanine on the maintenance of vigilance during a sustained attention task. Neuropharmacology 2012;62(7):2320-2327.
- Raanaas R, Horgen K et al. Benefits of indoor plants on attention capacity in an office setting. Journal of Environmental Psychology 2011;31(1):99-105.