Detox your life
Here are 21 of the best (and easiest) expert tips to streamline your space, ease anxiety, and cleanse your diet.
1. Move differently “We know exercise is a great way to destress, but we don't necessarily realise that intensity plays an important part,” says personal trainer Amelia Burton (http://www.ameliaburton.com/). “Short bursts of intense exercise release more endorphins, or ‘happy hormones’, which counteract stress hormones. Go faster, heavier or harder for 20 to 60-second intervals, and repeat three to six times throughout your workout.”
2. Put it in your diary Chris van Hoof, director and trainer at Chisel Fitness (http://www.chisel-fitness.com.au/), suggests making exercise and imperative part of your daily routine, in the same way that showering, brushing your teeth and eating are. “Making a certain time of day your workout time – without fail – will remove stress from your life, because you’ll no longer be trying to ‘fit exercise in’.”
3. Eat alkaline foods “Western diets are highly acidic,” says personal trainer Edwina Griffin (http://www.edwinagriffin.com/). “To balance your body’s pH levels, eat more green vegetables, citrus fruits, papaya, raspberries, pineapple, figs, cranberries, cherries, and blackberries. Avoid processed food – your body sees additives and preservatives as foreign to the natural state for absorption, which adds stress. To cleanse your emotional energy, practise this exercise daily. Brush all over your body with your hands, moving them away from you to clear negative energy. Inhale deeply to bring in fresh, clean energy, and then tap your fingers on your chin, nose, below your lips, and on the crown of your head, as you exhale. Repeat. This acts as a ‘circuit breaker’, and resets your energy levels.”
4. Take it off the mat “Yoga strengthens body and mind, and provides core stability that creates the foundation for any physical activity,” says yoga teacher Charlotte Dodson (http://www.charlottedodson.com/).
* “Start every day with a positive affirmation. When you have challenges or doubts, recalling your positive intention gives you a restart.
* The most effective way to oxygenate your blood, boost your metabolism and launch yourself into the day is to breathe. Sit with your legs crossed, spine upright, chin tucked into your throat, and tongue touching the roof of your mouth. Breathe deeply for a count of one, two, three, four, or even five.
* Commit to daily movement, as any activity that gets you into your body keeps you light and vital – and the days you don't feel like practising are the ones you'll need it most.
* Choose certified organic products and fresh food so you're not ingesting nasties that clog up your system. Drink purified water with organic lemons to balance acidity, and try E3Live Superfood (http://www.e3live.com.au/) for an inner glow and sharpened clarity.
* When was the last time you thanked yourself for being you? Sit cross-legged, with your spine upright, wrap your arms across your chest, and bow your head slightly. Close your eyes and give yourself a squeeze of gratitude; remember to keep a long natural breath in this pose, for a minute or longer.
* There's a reason it's called beauty sleep! Relax in savasana, or corpse pose. Lie on your back, arms and legs spread at 45 degrees, with eyes closed. Allow all your organs to breathe and your limbs to completely relax.
* We often hold onto junk from the day, whether we realise it or not. Sit in sukasana, or an easy, cross-legged posture, keeping your spine long and straight. Raise your arms and start shaking them, and your head and shoulders, kindly and steadily, to release the energy from your day. Do this for 10 full breaths or more.”
5. Face the sun Holistic health and wellness coach Melissa Ambrosini (http://www.pathtowellness.com.au/) says, “Each morning, I sit on my meditation cushion with the sun shining on my face and meditate. I sometimes add breathing exercises, mantras, music or some light stretching. I say out loud everything I am grateful for and pick a beautiful angel card from my deck to finish my practice. This puts everything into perspective, and sets me up for a fantastic day. Checking in is really important and creates balance. Start with five minutes a day and go from there.”
6. Pick up a pen Do you feel that if you could just get ahead, you would sit down and make a proper plan? Feeling overwhelmed keeps you perpetually stressed, which science has proven makes you sick. Nutritionist and naturopath Olwen Anderson (http://www.olwenanderson.com.au/) says it’s best to approach planning from the other direction. “Schedule 30 minutes in your diary and switch off your mobile and email,” she says. “Plan your meals, shopping list, and fitness training. Even better, add two minutes to review your achievement, and congratulate yourself on your efforts.”
7. Unify yourself “Yoga creates a union between the breath and body, helping you to stay calm and connected to what really matters. While there are definite physical benefits, like improving flexibility and muscle tone, you will also walk out of your class mentally revitalised and with greater emotional strength," says Nadia Rihani, director and teacher at Yoga Village (http://www.yogavillage.com.au/).
8. Look to the East “Acupuncture is wonderful for reducing stress,” says acupuncturist Keri Krieger (http://www.kerikrieger.com/). “Studies prove that it reduces neuropeptide Y, a chemical which plays a key role in how the body responds to stress. Have a 'maintenance plan' – book regular treatments in advance, even if you think you’re doing OK. That way, you have some calming light at the end of the tunnel.”
9. Smile three times “Ensure you smile at least three times, each and every day,” says kinesiologist Marney Perna (http://www.kinique.com/). “It raises your happy hormones and lifts your spirit. Always look for the ace in the pack, by acknowledging something good in any given situation. This lets you focus on the positive, and not dwell on the negative. Use language that enhances energy, not saps it.”
10. Prime your pantry “Throw out anything in your cupboards that has ingredients your grandmother wouldn't recognise,” says Burton. “If it didn't grow in the ground or walk on the ground, don't eat it!”
11. Come clean “Remove caffeine and alcohol before going on a detox, as eliminating everything at once can make you lethargic,” advises homoeopath, nutritionist and coach Christine Pope (http://www.elementalhealth.net.au/). “I recommend cutting down gradually – it’s gentler on your body.”
12. Get juicy “Your system exerts a lot of energy processing and absorbing food, especially if it’s highly processed and sugary,” warns nutritionist Claire Obeid (http://www.urbanremedy.com.au/). “Consider a nutritionally balanced juice cleanse for no more than five days to give your digestive system a break, and encourage it to detoxify and renew its vitality naturally. You’ll be rewarded with increased energy, weight loss, clearer, brighter skin, improved digestion, reduced cellulite, better concentration, and fewer cravings for sugar or other stimulants.”
13. Release toxic emotions “Get rid of those negative thoughts!” says Dr Rebecca Harwin, chiropractor and PCOS expert (http://www.conqueryourpcosnaturally.com/). “Kick your shoes off, and run up and down on the spot for 60 seconds. This works best when combined with a glorious flailing of the arms and legs and a loud scream! The spinal motion increases serotonin, the happy hormone, boosts blood flow to the body and brain, and removes you from your serious side for a while.”
14. Have an eggs-cellent breakfast “Start the day with two poached eggs on a bed of baby spinach, with avocado, dukkah and cold-pressed olive oil,” says nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge, (http://www.ahealthyview.com.au/). “Eggs are excellent for cleansing the liver, because their sulphur-containing compounds remove toxins.”
15. Go slow “Walk slower, eat slower, and talk slower. This automatically calms your nervous system and reduces stress,” says osteopath Danny Williams, (http://www.travellingosteopath.com/).
16. Free your mind Erica Bagshaw, owner of The Alignment Group (http://www.thealignmentgroup.com/) suggests the following steps to ditch mental junk.
* Brain download - create a space of 20 minutes to jot down, in random order, everything that you are trying to juggle right now.
* Rate your stress - on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being urgent), how vital is it that each item gets dealt with in the next 48 hours? Write a number from 1 to 5 next to it.
* Prioritise - next to each item numbered 4 or 5, note the role you play, e.g. boss, Mum, partner.
* Delegate - pass what you can to others.
* Focus - write a list that only contains the remaining items with a 4 or 5 rating, and allocate your time accordingly.
17. Live clean "If you struggle to let go of things, think beyond their purchase or resale value – rather, consider their worth in your life and home. Is the item worth the space it's taking up, and the time and energy, physical and emotional, you spend maintaining, cleaning or moving it in order to keep it in your life?" asks professional organiser Beverley Scheepers (http://www.lifelinedesign.com.au/).
18. Say no Psychologist Victoria Kasunic (http://www.victoriakasunic.com/) explains, “What takes up our time are often things we do to make other people happy, rather than our own goals. Saying no to something or someone opens up an empty space in which you can say yes to something else. It means you are setting your course, rather than trailing in someone else's slipstream.”
19. Sit perfectly still “When you move into stillness you change your perception of your world,” says holistic practitioner Jo Brown (http://www.jobrown.com.au/). “It's then easy to discern what you need to let go of - whether it's a negative thought, a pair of old boots or your boyfriend! Take 20 deep and slow breaths into your belly every day. Make time to rest deeply. The clarity and insight gained by withdrawing beyond your busy mind creates space, and allows you to systematically release stuff you don't need any more.”
20. Break it down “The challenge with clutter is that it is a constant reminder of what has not been done, and what is still to be done,” says Jo Lukins, Director of Peak Performance Psychology. “This has an unsettling effect, increasing anxiety and reducing the capacity to relax. Viewing physical space as a work in progress instead removes the need to fix it all at once. Define a realistic space or task that can be challenged and completed in the time available.”
21. Pick a flower “The Purifying Essence Combination assists with clearing built-up emotional baggage, when used with diet, cleansing routines and detoxifying processes,” suggests Clare Chapman, Bush Flower Essence practitioner (http://www.flowertherapies.com.au/). “The Calm and Clear Essence Combination assists with relaxing and finding time for self. If you’ve come out of a relationship and need support, Relationship Essence Combination is aimed at clearing resentment, blocked emotions, and emotional pain. For de-cluttering, I recommend Bottlebrush Bush Essence to help you ‘brush away’ the past and let go of what no longer serves you.”