Good Health

Hit REFRESH

If you’ve ever cleaned out your pantry or wardrobe, you’ll know how great it feels. A general detox has top-to-toe benefits, but we’ve covered eight key areas so you can target any specific concerns one by one – and that includes your wallet!

NUMBER ONE: YOUR MIND

If you feel overwhelmed by day-to-day life, work out what worries and stressors are cluttering up your mind and start setting in place strategies to help reduce your mental load and give your nervous system a chance to recharge.

THE KEY IS TO REMIND YOUR MIND AND BODY WHAT IT’S LIKE TO NOT BE UNDER CONSTANT ATTACK

YOUR THREE-WEEK ANTI-STRESS TOOLKIT

Those small everyday stressors add up and take their toll. Finding that regular switch-off time will ease the load on your nervous system, and even if you can’t change your circumstances, you can change your body’s reaction to stress. The key is to remind your mind and body what it’s like not to be under constant attack by introducing one of these steps each week for three weeks.

WEEK 1: GET INTO 'ME-TIME'

The most effective stress-buster is ‘me-time’. For at least 15 minutes every day, stop doing everything for everyone else, and get a taste of self-care – it’s addictive! Schedule in some relaxation; read, listen to music, have a bath, go for a walk – whatever you find soothing. Make it digital-free for maximum effect.

WEEK 2: GET MOVING

Exercise helps stop stress accumulating in the body by keeping levels of the stress hormone cortisol in check. As soon as you feel stressed, take a brisk walk, if possible. It will deepen your breathing and immediately help to relieve muscle tension. To double the exercise benefits, book into a daily yoga or tai chi class. The combination of fluid movements, deep breathing and mental focus has an extremely calming effect on your nervous system.

WEEK 3: GET FRIENDLY

Studies show levels of the stress hormone cortisol are higher in lonely people and, worse still, the damaging health effects of not feeling connected can be compared to smoking.

Make the most of every chance to spend time with friends and family. If you’d like to make new friends, joining a local fitness group, trivia night or book club can be a brilliant way to meet your neighbours, too.

Try this

This week, allow yourself to acknowledge your feelings as they arise and give them the attention they deserve. There is nothing wrong with feeling bad when things don’t go well, say the researchers: “It’s okay not to be positive all the time, and it’s unrealistic to believe that you can be happy every moment.” »

NUMBER TWO: YOUR DIET

Even if you have plenty of healthy food in the house, you’d be surprised how many processed items and prepackaged foods end up in your fridge and

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