Now that we’re closer to the end of the year than the beginning, I wonder how those New Years resolutions are going? This is the time when things can often feel the hardest, and with remote and hybrid working on the rise, for many of us the parameters of our homes have permanently shifted to include work and exercise.
There are pros and cons to this post-pandemic way of life, and blurring the boundaries between work, play, and rest in our abodes can easily become a hindrance to good health. Fortunately there are a few steps we can take to simplify nurturing our wellbeing without having to step past the front door.
It’s as easy as it sounds but there is some science behind it. The concept of ‘skychology’ is being examined by researchers who are exploring the role the sky plays in our wellbeing. As Paul Conway – the brain behind the emerging field – notes, our modern relationship with the sky is set within the context of unprecedented global urbanisation and the erosion of interactions with nature.
There is plenty of evidence that green spaces are beneficial for people’s wellbeing, but incorporating this as part of a health maintenance routine can involve time we don’t always have. Early research findings are indicating that a process of self-regulation could be taking place when we stop to observe the sky. Though the faces and landscapes around us change throughout our lives, the sky is a constant companion and inspires awe.
Take five minutes each day to observe the sky, in all its movements and colours, and notice if you find a sense of peace by removing yourself from daily stressors. I’ve written previously about how the concept of habit stacking can help us to nail big goals, so if being present or reducing stress is on your list, you could use the moments waiting for the kettle to boil to face the outdoors and simply cast your gaze upward.
Make room for proactive health.
Even if you don’t have space for an area in your home dedicated to exercise and movement, you can create a zone that encourages you to routinely check in with yourself. A few little tweaks could transform your bathroom, for example, into a place you feel inclined to linger in – encouraging you to check for lumps and look for moles and floss your teeth.
This can be more powerful in managing your health than you might think, aside from catching potential problems early or being praised by your dentist. Studies are showing a correlation between poor oral health, where gum disease and tooth loss are present, and cognitive impairment! Mouth bacteria has been identified as potentially playing a significant role in brain inflammation.
So how can you make your bathroom an enticing place? If you’re a music lover, I’d suggest the addition of a portable waterproof speaker. Rolled hand towels go a long way in cultivating a sense of luxury, and you could introduce a candle or a diffuser. Before you cringe, it doesn’t have to be pink and smell of watermelon, but a clean and earthy smell (say, sandalwood) can be surprisingly grounding. This recipe can be chopped, changed, adapted, and applied to other areas of your home if you prefer.
Divorce devices from the bedroom.
This may be a particularly painful breakup for those guilty of scrolling in bed on their phones. However, the Sleep Foundation warns that blue light electronics can mess with our body’s sleep-wake cycle. Physiological changes occur as we scroll Instagram at night, with the blue light delaying our body’s natural release of melatonin – the hormone that makes us feel sleepy. Best to avoid temptation and make the bedroom a screen-free zone.
Focus on immunity and energy.
Not with caffeine or a pill pack either. As you move through the seasons and your diet changes in line with produce that is readily available and cost-effective, it’s worth considering the vitamins and minerals you may not be getting. This is where Mother Nature’s superfood comes in; the potentiation process of our bee pollen means you’re getting the most bio-available absorption, without the myriad of other supplements to help one do the other’s job.
Simplicity is key!