Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Easy ways to detox your life | Lifestyle

After a long summer of barbeques, parties, weddings and holidays, many people plunge into autumn with a nagging lethargy, dreading the return of dark, cold, wintry days. For most of us, too, the prospect of Christmas combines the wonder and delight of bright lights, delicious food and fun family times with the worry of extra stress and considerable weight gain.

It makes sense, therefore, to deal a double blow to these two problems, with some simple detox steps, designed to refresh your body and mind. Cue a release of energy, new enthusiasm and – if all goes well – a little physical enlightenment in the run-up to the festive season.

We understand that people’s lives are different, but try to work in at least two or three of these handy tips over the coming months, and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards.

Go Outdoors
Make sure you get some fresh air every day – whether it’s through going on a walk, popping out to the shops in your lunch hour, or simply sitting near an open window. Fresh air helps boost your concentration, helps your lungs work to their maximum potential, and the extra oxygen in your blood will give you more energy to face the day.

Get Fresh
A really easy way to make your diet healthier is to make sure you have one fresh piece of food with every meal. Breakfasts could be fresh fruit on yoghurt or cereal; lunches could mean lettuce in your sandwich or carrot sticks as a snack. For the evening, try replacing frozen peas with mini corns on the cob, baked beans with pan-fried leeks and cabbage, and normal potatoes for sweet potatoes, which are both lower in carbs and keep your blood sugar levels steady. Fresh foods have tons more vitamins and minerals, and most veggies can be cooked in a microwave within just a few minutes.

Give Up
Quitting smoking is one of the most effective ways to detox your body and mind in one go. Studies show that it only takes your body a couple of days to regain energy levels and begin working more efficiently. If you’re not sure you can go cold turkey, try e-cigarettes – an electronic version of normal cigarettes, they use a solution called e liquid, which heats up to create a vapour that you inhale. E-liquids contain only five key ingredients, none of the harmful chemicals normally associated with smoking, and although they have nicotine in them, you can gradually reduce the amount, meaning it’s a great way to wean yourself off an addictive habit.

Go Fizz Free
Caffeine- and sugar-filled drinks like tea, coffee and fizzy pops are a favourite with most of us for various reasons, and although we’re aware of the risks that drinking them can cause (sugar highs, diabetes, insomnia and a need to go to the bathroom more often) we stick by them somewhat resolutely. Don’t try to be a martyr to the detox cause, but instead limit your intake – allow yourself one fizzy drink a day, one coffee to wake you up, one a cup of tea to chill you out. Replace lemonade with carbonated water, flavoured if you like, especially if you usually combine it with squashes or fruit juices, and try flavoured still water as your daytime drink – it still tastes nice, but has zero calories.

Get Active
Try to give over 20 minutes a day to exercise. It doesn’t seem much – it could be first thing in the morning, during a morning break, at lunch or when you get home – but you’d be surprised at the difference it makes. If making time every day is difficult, aim for at least two over the course of a week. If you’re stuck for ideas, there are plenty of 15-minute exercise DVDs on the market, giving you 5 minutes to get ready as well as a full workout.

Switch Off
Before you go to bed, set aside some time – ten minutes, half an hour, however long you can manage – to do something totally separate from your life, when your brain doesn’t have to work overtime. Read a book, listen to music, or take turns with your partner giving massages. Don’t do anything that involves a screen, as this will make your eyes think it’s daytime and so ensure your mind stays alert. Don’t use this time to discuss issues, problems or annoyances either – this is a chance for you to unwind, meaning you’ll get a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed.

Be Brave
Once a week, try something new. It might be a new TV show, a new recipe, a new skill, a new place, a new musical artist – but make time to adventure out of your comfort zone. Not only will you gain in self-confidence as your horizons expand, but you may well discover things you never knew existed, or find a new interest.

Go Teetotal
We would never dream of suggesting that you give up alcohol permanently, but cutting down on the amount you drink is never a bad thing. Try to have at least 4 days a week where you don’t drink, and drink sensibly – it’s no use abstaining Sunday to Friday only to drink 20 pints on Saturday night. If you’re feeling confident and charitable, try your hand at one of the many monthly campaigns like Sober For October to combine staying on the wagon with raising money for a good cause.

End On A High
Keep your spirits up by ending each day on a positive note. This can be a hard thing to do if one of the things you are doing is giving up smoking as it is hard to get over the nicotine cravings but at night, think or talk about a high point in your day – maybe a nice meal you enjoyed, a joke someone told, something nice a colleague did for you, or something cute or amusing one of your children did. It’s widely accepted that the things you focus on last thing at night and first thing in the morning go into your long-term memory – so make sure you remember the good times, not the bad.

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