Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 June 2020

6 simple life hacks that make a difference

These small changes can help clear your head and better your well-being

Drinking more water and cutting back on social media can help improve our overall well-being
Drinking more water and cutting back on social media can help improve our overall well-being

We constantly hear about the need to make big shifts in our lives to see results, whether in the form of New Year's resolutions or intensive diet plans that promise quick and easy weight loss.

I've been there, and even when I did manage to stick with them until the end, the final results weren't what I had hoped for. However, I have come to realise that stable outcomes are best achieved through making small changes over time.

Here are six simple life hacks that have helped clear my mind and better my wellbeing.

1. Set reminders on your phone

The reminders app on my phone helps organise my day and forces me to commit to certain routines. Adding notifications to drink water, go to the gym, do the laundry and even to take a long bath all allow me to pause and take care of myself.

You can organise them to best suit you, whether that's by creating separate lists for chores, work and self-care, or one big to-do list for the day. I span tasks out realistically so as to not overwhelm myself, which has increased productivity and decreased stress.

2. Carve out time for art

Whether that's time to create your own art or simply exposing yourself to it, I try to devote an hour per day to creativity. This can be in the form of going to a cafe to write or draw, reading a book for an hour before you sleep or listening to a podcast while commuting.

Politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has referred to social media as a 'public health risk'

Mentally, forms of expression give me time alone to relax and reflect. Art is a vital form of self-care and important to invest in.

3. Prioritise sleep

Numerous studies have linked lack of sleep to poor performance at work, depression and overall health. "Research continues to show the emotional benefits of sleep," states New York based clinical psychologist, Elizabeth Graf. It is recommended that healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 65 get between seven and nine hours sleep each night.

Setting a range of seven to eight hours of sleep every night has improved my focus, motivation and innovation. I’ve had more energy in social interactions, and become less dependent on caffeine. We tend to neglect sleep for work or our social lives, but I try to maintain a regular, self-set, sleep routine.

4. Clean up your social media

For many, a large portion of time is spent on some form of technology. It is where much of the information we digest daily is found, and what you read or see online has the ability to impact you drastically. Politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even referred to social media as a "public health risk," after leaving Facebook last April. According to research published in the peer-reviewed journal Computers in Human Behavior, the negative affects of social media are not solely based on our time spent on it, but also how we engage with it, whether active or passive, consuming information intentionally or aimlessly.

I try to disconnect as much as possible, and have also cleaned up my social media. To begin with, unfollow influencers, politicians and others who don’t contribute positively to your mental health, and instead, follow new content that matters to you. This way, you control what information you take in.

5. Cut out sugary drinks

From fizzy sodas to artificial sugar in juice, reducing your intake or even entirely cutting out these drinks makes a drastic difference for your bodies health. They are a source of unnecessary, and easily avoidable, sugar.

Victoria Tipper, a nutritionist in Dubai, recommends parents to avoid even bringing soft drinks into the house. Instead, Tipper suggests to replace them with a daily smoothie including apple or berries for natural and healthy sources of sugar. Fresh juices are another alternative, or even better, water to keep yourself hydrated. I drink a glass when I wake up, another 30 minutes before each meal, and one before I sleep; aiming for at least two litres per day.

6. Try something new at least once every two weeks

Whether it be eating at a new Indian restaurant downtown, or going kayaking at the mangroves, exploring is a way to positively disrupt routine, and get out of your comfort zone. At times, trying a new ice cream flavour while taking a walk on the Corniche is the perfect remedy to a stressful week.

Updated: January 5, 2020 01:01 PM

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