There are lots of changes we can make to improve our physical and mental health, and not all of them are drastic. Implementing simple tweaks to our daily routine can actually benefit our overall wellbeing in noticeable ways. Detox retreats are brilliant for a reset, but perhaps the most important part of any wellness escape is coming away equipped with tools to improve your lifestyle going forward. A good retreat will support its clients with advice on positive (and crucially, achievable) habits to adopt once they return to the hectic pace of their real life.
I recently spent a weekend at Spain’s Palasiet Clinic, and I came away with a new appreciation for just how effective small, positive changes can be. Below, the new habits I’ve adopted—and benefitted from—following my own reset.
Make less time for social media, and more for meal planning
When I explain to nutritionist Irene Domínguez, who heads up the nutrition department at the clinic, that one of my biggest obstacles when it comes to eating better is the lack of time to cook, she makes the valid point that it’s often not a lack of time that’s the problem, but how we are managing the time we do have. “Think about the time you spend on social media that you could be cutting back on,” she says. The time I save, she adds, I could spend on “planning menus, shopping and cooking”. From now on, I’ll be limiting my scroll time (the average daily usage for most people is two hours and 23 minutes), and organising myself better in the kitchen. As another of the team’s nutritionists, Paula Valiente, told me: “Improvising in front of the fridge is the worst way to start a meal.”
Stop to stretch
I’ve had a quick daily exercise routine in place for some time now, but I always overlooked the stretching part. Big mistake. Not only is stretching essential to prevent injury, it also, the Palasiet team points out, helps to ward off bad posture. The clinic measures clients’ height when they arrive, and says that, after a week of muscle chain stretching classes, many visitors find they are as much as a centimetre taller as a result.
Add strength training to your workout
After a complete analysis of my metabolic markers, Domínguez urges me to boost the strength training element of my daily routine, because it activates the metabolism more than cardio. Strength training has been shown to increase the basal metabolic rate.
Consider a thought for the day
Lourdes Ramón, the clinic’s resident psychologist, invites me to establish a small habit upon waking that she says will revolutionise the way I face the day. “It’s good to wake up, do some stretching and conscious breathing, and then write down the first thought that comes into your head,” she says. Not only that, she suggests smiling, too, to send positive signals to the brain. We have more power over our mood than we think, she insists, and if we choose to face the day in an upbeat way, it will have a positive effect.
Make your breakfast organic
Everyone knows the benefits of eating lots of fresh, organic produce. If nothing else, Domínguez suggests sticking to organic eggs and milk when picking up your weekly shop. “What the animals eat, we eat ourselves,” she says.
Small tweaks can make that lunchtime salad far more appealing. Valiente recommends incorporating as much texture as possible with lots of crunchy veggies. “Add a crunchy touch by roasting chickpeas, which can also be spiced,” she suggests.
This story was originally published on British Vogue.