Start 2021 with a detox: Mind, body and soul

11 January 2021

There’s no time like the start of the year to do a total detox — for mind, body and soul. And yes, that means a digital rethink, too. Here’s how.

2020 was certainly interesting. Keen to make a fresh start? There’s no time like the beginning of a new year to do just that. But rather than simply setting a goal to overhaul your diet or your exercise routine, why not think bigger? After the year that was, you deserve it. Here’s how to push the reset button on your body, mind and soul in a way that willl deliver long-term benefits rather than a temporary quick fix.

To detox your body

Cover half your plate with vegetables

Only one in 13 Australian adults eats the recommended five-or-more serves of vegetables a day, which means a whole lot of us are missing out on important nutrients and antioxidants. A simple fix is making sure half your plate at each meal is vegetables, and ‘eating a rainbow’, so that the veggie part of your plate is always covered with a few different coloured vegetables. It’s important because the phytochemicals that give vegetables their different colours all have unique health benefits.

Make friends with fibre

Most Aussies don’t eat enough fibre, either. That’s unfortunate, considering it plays a role in helping to prevent everything from bowel cancer to diabetes and heart disease. Bumping up your vegetable intake will help, but other fibre-rich foods include lentils, soy products, nuts, seeds and wholegrain foods.

FYI, if you need a little help, the top two levels of Suncorp Extras Health Insurance include coverage for dietary advice — along with a wide range of other treatments.

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To detox your mind

Turn your devices to silent for a few hours every day

Nearly two out of three Australians say they’re trying to limit how much time they spend looking at their phones, to buy both more time and more headspace. And with research showing how simply hearing that notification ‘ding’ causes the same amount of mental distraction as actually using a phone or tablet, on silent you’ll find it easier to take tech-free intervals.

Make mindfulness a daily habit

Research shows mindfulness is something that not only encourages a sense of calm, it combats stress and helps your mind stay sharp and focused, too. Set aside 10 minutes every day to do a simple mindfulness breathing exercise, paying particular attention to what’s happening in the present.

Go for a walk

Any and every type of exercise has a mood-boosting effect that lasts long after you’ve taken your workout gear off, but research shows it’s the outdoor variety that produces the biggest effect for your mind. Most people also get more of a genuine, in-the-moment kick out of exercising outside compared to inside, which means you’re more likely to keep doing it day after day. So add a walk to your daily routine.

To detox your soul

Lay off social media

Cutting down on social media is key — particularly if you use it passively, scrolling through other people’s posts and updates, rather than interacting. A 2020 study revealed it’s a pattern that results in something called ‘upward comparison’, where we’re inevitably left feeling like our lives, by comparison, aren’t as good as other peoples. Take a break from your social media accounts and see how you feel.  

Volunteer for something

Volunteering is a good-for-others activity that’s also good for you. While research shows that volunteering later in life specifically enhances mental health and well-being, other benefits include feeling calmer and stronger. Volunteers often have a higher sense of self-worth, too. Visit Volunteering Australia’s website, which helps match volunteers with opportunities.

Quit buying stuff

When a 2019 study delved into which sustainability habits produced the biggest improvements in wellbeing, buying less came out head and shoulders above other eco-friendly purchasing options. The researchers think less ‘stuff’ equals less stress, which helps us feel happier and more satisfied with life — and that’s got to be good for your soul.

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