Upping healthy eats and exercise is a fixture of New Year’s resolutions, but recharging your habits is important too. Here’s our mental, emotional and physical detox guide for you to thrive in 2017.
1. Keep calm and drink tea
Drinking non-caff einated tea has been touted as a way to bring stress hormone levels back to normal. So for a restful bonding session, why not request that Hush Teabar bring its tea-drinking sessions to your workplace? Practise mindfulness during the quiet ritual led by hearingimpaired “tearistas”, who will use sign language and gestures to guide you through it.
After that, you’ll have a chance to reflect on your experience by finger painting with tea. You can also sign up online for a session at Epiphyte Cafe (47 Neil Road) on the first Saturday of every month, beginning Feb 4. Moving beyond helping people with disabilities, the social enterprise seeks to create an inclusive space, bringing everyday heroes and business professionals together to share tea in silence. www.hushteabar.com.
2. Strengthen your mind-body connection with yoga
Just standing up and stretching drives oxygen to your brain and jolts you awake, so imagine how restorative yoga can be. Less physically intense than other styles, Strala yoga – created by Tara Stiles, a yoga instructor in the US – focuses on guiding fluid movement instead of poses. A gentle approach that helps you connect with how you feel and move, it ties in well with meditation. The only certified outlet for classes here is Strala Yoga Singapore at Boat Quay. www.stralasg.com.
3. Rest before stress
“Lock in rest and rejuvenation time before planning your other to-do lists and meetings for the week,” says Ferina Aziz, founder of The Wellness Report, who sets aside 30 minutes daily for yoga and 10 minutes for meditation in the mornings and evenings.
On weekends, she goes hiking or cycling to recharge, and believes that breaks are most effective when taken before they are needed. By the time you feel depleted or sense brain fog coming on, you might already be on the verge of burnout.
4. Pause for deep breaths when frazzled
“When drowning in e-mails, I try to be mindful of how I’m breathing – whether it’s shallow or deep,” shares Ferina. Shallow gasps usually signal anxiety, so draw deep breaths to calm your nerves.
5. Take micro-breaks at work to browse social media
According to Brent Coker’s 2009 study fro m The University of Melbourne, those who spend up to 20 per cent of their time leisure browsing the web are 9 per cent more productive than those who resist the urge to browse. We need to zone out for a bit to replenish our concentration or to gain perspective – something Tjin Lee, founder of marketing and communications agency Mercury Group, advocates.
“I scroll through Instagram to calm down when I’m feeling emotionally riled up. Looking at the big picture, sometimes the things we fret about are so small. Images of my family help me gain perspective on what is truly important and what is not. There isn’t a whole lot I stay angry at when I look at my beaming three-year-old.”
6. Be present
“I believe in quality time when meeting others. It’s also about respecting the other person’s time. I get annoyed when I am out for meals with friends and they focus more on catching Pokemon or checking social-media feeds than on the people in front of them. I usually stop talking until they’re done checking their phones, even if they claim to be listening.
Eventually, they get the hint. With my family and close friends, I’m sometimes more blunt. Once, I walked out on a date who was more focused on texting than the conversation,” says Shih Hoon Yong, research and insights director at We Are Social.
7. Visualise a five-minute timeout without leaving your desk
Try this three-step guide by Robyn Silverton, a holistic physiotherapist and yoga teacher.
Step 1: Close your eyes.
Step 2: Uncross your legs; let your hands rest at your sides.
Step 3: Visualise a relaxing scene like the beach, then inhale and exhale.
Sitting in an open position helps energy flow freely. At the same time, visualisation raises the subconscious to a conscious level, allowing the brain to picture a mental image as real, thereby helping it unwind as it imagines being physically present at that location.
8. Bust the blues with light therapy
Did you know that a lack of sun exposure can lead to depression? Enter light therapy, which helps your brain enter a state of tranquility and release feel-good hormones that mimic the effects of antidepressants. La Source Spa offers a treatment that lets you bliss out while your brain engages with kaleidoscopic patterns.
9. Stand up for better health
With studies linking prolonged sitting with obesity, heightened blood pressure and other ailments, it’s time to get on your feet at regular intervals, like when you’re on the phone. Sally May Tan, author of Wellness, the New Luxury, swears she wrote at least half the book while standing.
10. Break down tasks into manageable steps
“I am a list maker, and putting pen to paper helps me prioritise, gain clarity and feel more in control of what needs to be done. I try to immediately know where to begin and how to accomplish it. I find that the Wunderlist app helps, especially when it comes to sharing to-do lists,” says Matet Lester, health and wellness specialist at Flight Centre.
11. Loosen up with laughter
We all know the old trick that smiling flexes facial muscles, which tricks your brain into thinking that you’re happy. As part of Pause (an initiative by The Wellness Report that curates talks, classes and workshops on living well), co-founder Stephanie Bovis goes one step further – encouraging 30 seconds of laughter from the audience by asking them to chant “Ha-Ha-Ha, Ho-Ho-Ho”.
The aim? Besides releasing endorphins, laughter increases your oxygen intake, which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. Sure, you might look silly, but at least you’ll feel happy. http://thewellnessreport.co.
12. Ditch eye strain with nifty Google Chrome Extensions
For most of us, it takes a conscious effort to remember to peel our eyes from the computer screen every so often in the course of the day. Besides leading to dryness and blurred vision, staring at the screen for long periods can diminish our concentration in the long run. If you need automated reminders to look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes, try the Eyecare Extension available from the Chrome Web store. It works even when the browser is not running and lets you customise the interval period.
CARE YOUR EYES
Did you know that it’s easier on the eyes if your monitor’s brightness matches that of your surroundings? The Care Your Eyes Extension adjusts a webpage’s background colour to reseda or night mode to minimise glare.
13. If you can’t completely switch off on vacation, schedule time for checking your inbox
“I used to work all the time while on holiday, so not working is itself a form of self-discipline. Now, if I go away for a week, I let my team at the office know that I’ll check e-mails from 9am to 11am on Monday and 4pm to 6pm on Wednesday. That way, they know when to send me files. I also turn off data roaming,” offers Ee Rong Chong, group managing director at Ogilvy.
14. Switch off your smartphone for a restful night
If you’re having trouble sleeping, your smartphone may have a big part to play in it. Chua Kay Tse, in-house naturopath at health and wellness brand Blackmores, says: “The light beams from mobile devices interfere with the secretion of melatonin, which controls your sleep-wake cycle. To fall asleep naturally, turn off your devices at least an hour before bedtime.”
15. Find your Zen with these apps
(The 10-day foundation level is free and available for download from the App Store and Google Play)
Even actress Emma Watson gives this meditation app two thumbs up. With its meditation and mindfulness guided podcasts, all you need is 10 minutes to ease yourself into your busy day or out of one. Throw in some meditation music or aromatherapy and you’ll feel like you’re right back at that idyllic retreat in Bali.
7 CUPS ANXIETY, STRESS & DEPRESSION CHAT & THERAPY
(Free and available for download online, or from the App Store or Google Play)
An emotional support service, this allows members and guests to connect anonymously with trained listeners about everyday issues, from relieving anxiety to dealing with loneliness and managing emotions. Whether you’re seeking advice or just need to vent, you can connect with individual listeners or a group. What’s helpful is that you can pick listeners based on their ratings.
16. Walk on the green side
“Often, when we go through emotionally turbulent times, we live too much in our heads, replaying unhelpful narratives. We experience detachment from our bodies,” says Robyn. “So, I would advise anyone wanting to calm their emotions to exercise more, particularly in nature, as this is a sure-fire way to get more grounded. It can be as simple as a daily walk.”
“I work in the CBD, and when I’m feeling drained, I go to my quiet corner and people-watch, allowing myself as long as I need to recharge,” says Ee Rong.
If you can’t step outside: “Take a walk to the pantry – get a drink to stay hydrated, loosen up your muscles and reduce fatigue,” suggests Cheryl Liew-Chng, founder of Lifeworkz and author of The 24-Hour Woman: How High Achieving, Stressed Women Manage It All and Still Find Happiness.
17. Juice your way to wellness
Refresh your senses and get a nutritional boost on the go with Ayomo cold-pressed juices. The brainchild of an Australiabased Singapore couple, the preservative-free, 100 per cent raw juices are freshly squeezed daily at Ayomo’s kitchen in Australia and flown in twice weekly.
We crave its zesty Summer Lovin, an apple and pineapple concoction ideal for those with a meat-heavy diet. The refreshing Black Potion, packed with coconut water, activated charcoal and B vitamins, is a great hangover remedy and metabolism booster. A set of eight juices a week costs $42. https://ayomo.net.
18. Chill with almond milk
Even if you’re not lactose-intolerant or vegan, almond milk is the perfect dairy milk substitute, thanks to its high magnesium content, which does wonders for relaxing the mind and body. Whether you’re having it with your morning cereal or as a base for smoothies, you can now have your daily dose delivered right to your doorstep. Besides its original flavour, The Mlk Co has two new offerings – macadamia and cacao. A weekly delivery of a one-litre bottle costs $24.28. https://themlk.co.
19. Journal your anger
Simmering anger can have a ripple effect. So instead of dismissing it, acknowledge your irritation and pen down how it affects you in your everyday life. Then decide on a course of action, be it internally or vocally with another party. In fact, why not stay on top of managing your emotions with a 365-day Kikki.k journal? www.kikki-k.com.
20. Make acai bowls your new breakfast fix
A top superfood touted as having antioxidant and anti-ageing properties, acai berries are ultra-yummy when frozen and blended. Plus, they pair so well with healthy bites such as honey, banana and granola.
With ingredients sourced from the Amazon, Selva Foods delivers its acai pots, which you can customise. What’s more, they’re free of dairy, gluten, preservatives and colouring and have not been subjected to any heating processes, so all the nutrients are preserved. Four pots (five servings each) cost $80. http://selva.sg.
Disclaimer: All apps, products and services mentioned should not be regarded as a substitute for mental-health treatment by a licensed clinician for individuals who need a professional level of care.
TEXT HOE I YUNE & CHERYL TAN PHOTOS JALAG/TINELLI, RICCARDO/SEASONS.AGENCY, 123RF & SHOWBIT.COM.