We are past the hump of ‘New Year, New You!’ health and wellbeing advice and into the cold reality of 2021 – which is that many of the obstacles of 2020, specifically around trying to maintain good mental and physical health during pandemic restrictions, have followed us into the fresh calendar year.
It’s easy to become anxious, overwhelmed and chronically distracted, particularly when trying to balance work and household tasks with children’s schooling and care, and for many of us, brain fog tends to set in. Mental clarity is one of the best tools we can have in our arsenal in busy and high-stress times – so what are the top tips for moving closer to that holy grail, in 21 days or less?
1. Breath work. Yes, you already know breathing is important! – but how does it help calm and focus the mind? Try box breathing, which US Navy SEALS rely on to de-stress themselves in life-or-death situations. You simply picture a square or a box, and inhale for four counts as you visualise moving up one side of the square. Then hold your breath for four counts while you picture moving across the top. Four counts as you exhale down the other side of the box, and hold for four as you move across the bottom. Then repeat.
Experts say the visual helps you concentrate as you form a breath rhythm. Try it for a few minutes, and see if you’re not calmer afterwards.
2. Take baby steps. Dr BJ Fogg, founder and director of the Behaviour Design Lab at Stanford University, recently told RNZ’s Jesse Mulligan that the secret to forming healthy habits and breaking bad habits is to start small – for instance, when you’re making your morning coffee, you tidy one thing in the kitchen, or you do one squat, or maybe one round of box breathing, as you brush your teeth. Dr Fogg says that the idea of habits forming through repetition is misinformation – rather, find a place in your life for a new habit and nurture it through emotion, one small step at a time. Twenty-one days later, you may find yourself with a new good habit.
3. Boost your diet. Diet mentality conditions us to cut things out, but what if we reframed our diets to think about what we can add in to enhance brain function and mental clarity? Check with your GP before using any supplements, and if they give you the go-ahead, look for supplements that will complement a high-nutrient diet and promote mental clarity.
One such product is NatureBee Power Pollen, a fresh, wild, multi-floral plant pollen and raw food gathered by bees and which is potentiated to make it more bio-available. As a whole food storehouse of nutritional compounds, it has none of the things that can interfere with your ability to focus – like added sugar, artificial colouring, preservatives or gluten – and is simply a brain-friendly vegetable food in a capsule. It can be taken on its own or sprinkled into smoothies, protein shakes, on salads, homemade ice creams and cold soups.
Ideally you will find one or two supplements that will give you the brain boost you are looking for – many of those who start consuming potentiated pollen find the benefits are such that they no longer need other supplements in their diet. Best of all, the results are likely to be evident well within 21 days.