It’s always a good time to focus on wellness – both physical and mental. Maybe you need to set yourself some health and fitness goals for 2020? Whether it’s starting at the gym, looking for a personal trainer or coach, or just having a regular doctors check up these pointers will help make a healthier, happier and fitter you.
#1 See your doctor at least once a year
Checking in with your GP once yearly is important for many reasons; for example, identifying conditions that are asymptomatic or screening for certain cancers where early detection means a better outcome for a cure. As for which types of health tests to choose, your screenings should be tailored to your medical needs, family history and lifestyle, explains general practitioner DR REBECCA DALY of International Medical Clinic (IMC), Katong.
“The best place to start is to book a consultation with your doctor. After a thorough discussion of your current health and risk factors for illnesses, together you can plan what’s suitable for your needs at your current stage of life,” she says. “With advancing age there are more tests routinely offered; you may want to consider breast cancer screening from the age of 40, prostate cancer risk assessment from 45 and colonoscopy from the age of 50, to name just a few.”
Many GPs can even help with women’s regular gynae needs – including pap smears, contraception advice, IUD insertion and removal, for instance. It’s important to note that screening will only pick up signs of disease at that particular time, and risk factors can change with age. Therefore, Dr Daly says it’s essential to not see a health screening as a one-off check. “Incorporating an annual health check into your lifestyle will best help optimise your long-term health.” So, whether this means scheduling an appointment every January or around your birthday annually, figure out the best way to make (and keep!) your annual GP appointment.
#2 Make sure your vaccinations are up to date
Of course, your annual health check is a good chance to do this. According to the doctors at IMC, the routine adult vaccinations highly recommended for life in Singapore include influenza, pneumococcal, Hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (dtap), polio, Hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), and BCG, which protects against TB. And, don’t forget that if you’re travelling around Asia, additional vaccines may be necessary – so talk to your doctor before you go!
#3 Wear sunscreen every single day
Yes, even when you’re not by the pool, and even when it’s cloudy outside.
Though there are other risk factors for skin cancer, excessive sun exposure – particularly for those with lighter skin tones – is the biggest risk factor by far, explains general surgeon DR DENNIS LIM, whose subspecialties include head and back surgery, and surgical oncology. “The primary cause of melanoma is UV light exposure in those with low levels of skin pigment, which is why melanoma is more common in Caucasian people. Lighter complexions aren’t designed for life in the tropics, so a higher level of protection and caution is needed.”
Many people apply sunscreen just once and consider it done for the day. However, even the sweat-proof, socalled “waterproof” and long-lasting sunscreens wear off from perspiring and swimming. It’s best to apply the first batch at least 30 minutes prior to going outside, so it can absorb into your skin. Then, according to WHO, you should reapply every one to two hours, or immediately after you swim or sweat excessively.
#4 Compliment yourself!
“Your thoughts are such a big part of your overall health. But, what about the way you treat and talk to yourself? You know you’re your own worst critic – the thoughts running through your mind, the words you say to yourself that you would likely never say to another person,” says JEREMY LIM, who teaches yoga at The Yoga School – a boutique yoga studio in the CBD that offers over 20 yoga classes a week, including Hatha, Iyengar, Dharma and more.
“When was the last time you gave yourself a compliment? We do this for other people all the time. And, we love when others do it for us. So, why aren’t we as kind with our own self-talk? The vicious cycle of negative thoughts can lead to poor mental wellbeing.” His suggestion for practising positive self-talk? Taking 20 minutes a day to pay attention to the words you use when talking about yourself to others, and the thoughts that come to mind when thinking about your abilities, skills, knowledge, self-worth and relationship with others.
“Practice reframing negative thoughts by reconsidering them in a positive light. For example, you can reframe, ‘I can’t believe I made that stupid mistake at the presentation this morning’ to ‘People learn from making mistakes. I made a mistake at the presentation but I learned a very precious lesson,’ he says. “I also love using affirmations – positive statements that you repeat to yourself. I have these on my phone, which sends affirmations at set intervals.”
#5 Make time for stress relief
Whether it means running, meditating, practising yoga or unplugging from all technology, figure out what forms of self-care can best help you cope with stress, and relax.
“Self-care requires a whole deal of awareness. Remembering to take care of yourself and acting on your self-care practice is hard when we live in a world where something else is always more important, productive or socially desirable,” says Jeremy. For him, scheduling a fixed time each day that he knows he can commit to uninterrupted self-care is key. The strategy, he says, is to pick a time of day in which you know you won’t be distracted. One example: turn off your phone before bedtime, when you know you can stay undisrupted in the “Legs Up the Wall” (Viparita Karani) yoga pose for 20 minutes to unwind. “This may take some trial-and-error to find the best time that works for you.”
Jeremy also suggests starting with a shorter self-care practice time and progressively increasing the duration of the session. “This will increase the chance of habit formation over time, when your body and mind crave this valued state of deep relaxation.”
And, if you’re trying to shed some pounds this year, stress can have an impact on that, too. “Stress elevates cortisol levels in an individual. When that goes up, it’s hard for someone to lose weight. As such, find ways or means to relax,” says VANAN of EzFit, a personal training company that brings fitness to the comfort of clients’ own homes. “It is easier said than done, but you need to keep working at it!”
#6 Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Of course, stress can be much harder to cope with if you suffer from underlying depression or anxiety (feelings that can also be identified during an annual health check). “The stress of relocating to a new country or a new continent, often being away from family and friends, changing jobs or having to stop working to follow your spouse, and having to settle the kids in to a new routine can all take a toll on someone’s mental health,” says DR MÉLI NOËL of IMC Jelita.
“Everyone can experience days of feeling blue without any identifiable cause. Mood swings do happen and they can act as a useful little voice in our heads saying, ‘It’s time to take care of myself a little better, to take some time to do things that I enjoy and be with the people that I love.’ But, for some people, the mood just doesn’t swing back up. The days turn into weeks or months, and this is when we start thinking about clinical depression, which is a disease caused by changes in chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters.”
Symptoms of depression can include a depressed mood most of the day every day (feeling sad or empty, or being tearful), loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, changes in appetite, changes in sleep pattern (either insomnia or sleeping more than usual), loss of energy or fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, difficulty thinking or concentrating, and recurrent thoughts about death and suicide.
“If you are experiencing some of the symptoms of depression, talk to your family doctor. If making an appointment with your doctor feels like a huge task, reach out to a loved one and ask them to help you and bring you to the appointment. Depression feels like it is untreatable and like it will never end, but there are many effective treatments. By seeking help, you’re taking the first step towards recovery.”
#7 Find people who lift you up
“Always find people who dare you to dream, who challenge you to be your best and who see life as an endless range of possibilities and adventures,” says NICK MITCHELL, Founder and Global CEO of Ultimate Performance (including UP Singapore), which offers personal training and body composition coaching with a no-nonsense approach. “Negativity has no place in your life. Your friend who says, ‘Why do you want to lose weight?’ is no friend at all. Your friend who says, ‘That sounds like fun! It’ll be a challenge but I’m up for it with you!’ is the keeper.”
#8 Set goals thoughtfully
“A ship without a rudder moves aimlessly in the sea,” says RODERICK “ERICK” MENDOZA, Master Trainer at Options Pilates Studio. “Aim for something specific – for example, bodyweight, body fat, core strength, unilateral strength, flexibility, joint stability or improved posture, and a time frame or event.”
TERRI FORWARD, personal trainer at UFIT Orchard, says that because a healthy lifestyle requires practice, constant evaluation, refinement and consistency, goal setting is key. She recommends taking a behaviour-based approach.
“Traditional goal setting typically focuses on outcomes – for example, to lose weight or to do a press-up – but this can make us feel detached from the goal, especially if it will take some time to achieve,” she says. “It is more effective to work with a behaviour-based approach, where the focus is on practising new, manageable behaviours until they feel natural. Achievement of smaller, behaviour-based goals will ensure progress towards the long-term health and fitness goal that you’ve set for yourself.”
#9 Take it one goal at a time
“Often, one of the biggest reasons that we fail to implement change is that we take on too much. We want to change everything all at the same time,” says Terri. “If you’re struggling to move forward with your goals, start by prioritising just one healthy behaviour, plan ahead, and then go out and give it 100 percent. Once that has become routine, move on to the next goal.”
#10 Get on board with your lifestyle changes
When it comes to motivation, you shouldn’t be counting the days, as that’s not lasting change, says RAY YOE, personal trainer at UFIT Club Street. “By counting the days, you’re just telling people how long you’ve lasted in your ‘change’. You have to be convinced by the idea of trying something and making it happen for you, and then falling in love with the lifestyle and process that comes with it.”
#11 Think about feeling good, not just looking good
If you’re working to achieve a six-pack, your chances of sticking to an exercise routine will be low, says PAUL KUCK. He’s a medical personal trainer with over 20 years of coaching experience, and also the founder of Fitness Tutor, which provides personal and corporate fitness-related services to busy professionals. “Intrinsic motivation means you’re working out because it makes you feel good, both physically and emotionally; motivations aren’t driven by rewards or avoidance of punishment,” he says. “Intrinsic motivation helps adults adhere to their fitness programmes without having to drag their feet to the gym.”
Paul’s advice for getting intrinsically motivated? Doing the activities you actually enjoy, learning easy movements and making small, progressive movements, enjoying the positive feelings you get from exercise, and knowing you’re doing it for you, and only you. Once you’ve found something you love, accomplishing goals like weight loss will become easier, he says.
12 Try new things
Finding something you genuinely enjoy doing may mean trying new things. And, once you find what you love, you’re more likely to stick with it, creating a more sustainable exercise routine in the long run. So, now’s your time to experiment!
“If you find something you enjoy doing, then it isn’t a task,” says VIVIAN TWISS, founder of The VIVA Group, which has two studios here in Singapore – VIVA Pilates Sentosa and the brand new VIVA Pilates Keppel Bay, which opens this month. “Once you find an exercise you love, commit to a weekly routine – three times each week, for instance.”
If you’re looking to try something that’ll tone and trim in a low-impact way, Pilates might be a good fit. “Pilates not only tones your muscles without creating bulk, it also lengthens and aligns your spine, corrects muscle imbalances and creates a mind-body connection. The result is a balanced and aligned body that looks fit, feels revitalised and moves with ease,” says Vivian.
Pilates also helps improve body awareness, which, in turn, encourages proper alignment, says Erick of Options Pilates, which offers a variety of private and group classes across four locations in Singapore. Correct posture and alignment are key to effective functioning throughout everyday activities, whether it be working out at the gym or sitting at your computer.
And, the good news is, Pilates can be practised by anyone, regardless of age, gender or fitness abilities. Instructors can adjust the exercises to suit each client’s specific needs and health conditions.
Looking for a more intense cardio workout? High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be for you. It’s a form of interval training where you alternate short periods of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods.
“HIIT is an effective, versatile workout that involves exercises and work-rest ratios that can be adapted to suit your personal training needs. And, it can be done in a short time to achieve maximum results,” says TOMMY YAU, head of fitness education at True Fitness and TFX. The latter offers technology-enabled training where members can track results through wearable devices and all sorts of innovative gym machinery. “In fact, with a HIIT session, 30 minutes is all you need to get an effective workout.” Perfect for those of us short on time, TFX’s small group training classes last for just 30 minutes, as the circuits are so energetic.
#13 Get outside
Research shows that getting outdoors more often can boost our energy and mood, relieve stress, fight depression and anxiety, stimulate creativity and concentration, reduce inflammation and lower risks of heart attack.
That being said, exercising in the great outdoors can be very advantageous, explains NATHAN WILLIAMS, head of group training at UFIT, which runs over 90 sessions a week at 15 locations island-wide.
“Humans are meant to be outside, it’s that simple. As health professionals, we should be advising our clients and friends to spend as much time in nature as possible to provide a much needed ‘system interrupt’ away from our daily working lives. Combining nature and exercise, especially with some early-day natural sunlight, can provide numerous benefits that will lead to improvements in our overall health,” he says.
If you’re not into bootcamp, no problem. There are loads of opportunities to be active outdoors – from nature hikes and leisurely walks along the river to cycling and tennis. Head to expatliving.sg/health for inspiration – we’ve got all the ideas you need for outdoor activities in Singapore, from where to play beach volleyball to the top hiking and biking trails. (Just don’t forget your sunscreen!)
#14 Buddy up!
Setting and working toward a goal is always more enjoyable when you’re doing it with like-minded peers – another reason why bootcamps are so popular. They’re a great way to keep one another accountable and create a consistent support network – not to mention a great way of making fitness more fun.
The same goes for other types of group fitness classes, whether it’s Pilates, yoga, kickboxing or Muay Thai. Try looking for small group training classes to ensure you don’t get lost in a crowd!
Even working out with just one other person can give you the nudge you need to stay motivated and put in the effort, explains Paul from Fitness Tutor.
“Working out with a buddy offers the benefits of accountability, friendly competition to keep you on your toes, and some social stimulation to make time fly by. Start by finding some interesting physical activities and ask a friend or two to join you.”
#15 Invest in a trainer
Another way to hold yourself accountable? Working with a trainer who understands your needs, says Vanan of EzFit. “Do your homework and find someone who can get things integrated into your lifestyle. Training should be personalised to an individual so he or she can do it for the long term rather than just the short term.”
According to the experts at UP, “If your resolutions have any impact upon your health and are genuinely important to you, then professional advice should be regarded as an investment, not an expense. Too many people waste too much time getting nowhere and following erroneous, if well-meaning, advice. A good professional can fast-track your progress and often be the difference between success and failure through frustration caused by mistakes and overly slow and limited progress. We rarely see a new client who isn’t familiar with the gym, but we almost never see a new client who knows how to exercise and eat properly for their specific goals and physical and biochemical makeup.”
#16 Mix it up
“Try different sports, different workouts, you name it,” says Vanan from EzFit. “Sometimes, it helps to schedule it in three-month intervals so that you don’t get bored. The body always needs a new stimulus after a while. People who do the same workout day after day, year after year, look the same without any changes.” (Vanan says this goes for food, too; mix things up so you don’t get bored!).
Paul from Fitness Tutor agrees that doing the same activities over and over for long periods can take a toll. “Not only will your joints and muscles take a beating, you may also experience mental exhaustion. To combat this, you need to keep things fresh and varied by doing some cross-training. If you’re a regular runner, try to hit the elliptical trainer, rowing machine, bike or swimming pool once a week. If your routines primarily centre around heavy weight training, it’s time to lift lighter weights or try new exercises; for example, doing some bodyweight exercises,” he says. “Switching things up will give your joints a break and improve other components of fitness like flexibility, endurance and agility. It is also a great way to give your mind a mental break from the usual mundane stuff while rekindling focus and interest – hence avoiding boredom and demotivation.”
According to Tommy from TFX, “If you’re someone who is used to doing only cardio or strength training as part of your workout routine, you can change up your workout with a HIIT session, which combines both.”
But, regardless of what exercise you choose to mix things up with, Tommy suggests changing up your workout to help prevent monotony and falling into a plateau. TFX has 3 different signature Small Group Training (SGT) classes (AthleticX, StrongX and MetconX) that members can choose from to vary their workouts.
#17 Sign up for sports events
You can also keep things fresh by signing up for sports events throughout the year (head to expatliving.com/health for a list of upcoming runs and races). After all, something to work toward is always a great motivator! Whether you participate in a fun run or a full-on marathon, there’s no doubt you’ll want to do well on the day itself. Tip: Add on some extra incentive by earning money for charity with each mile you walk, run or bike. The free Charity Miles app lets you choose a charity, then help that charity earn money when you move! Learn more at charitymiles.org.
#18 Keep moving forward
“When the going gets tough and the setbacks mount up, there’s a natural tendency to peer upwards at that lofty goal and think ‘Forget it! That’s just too hard and I don’t want it badly enough,’” says Nick from UP. “Only move the finish line when you feel yourself within touching distance. Those rules apply to just about any project or goal that I can think of. Move forward constantly, keep excited because your goal is just within reach, and keep on expanding your horizons.”
#19 Ditch the discomfort
Rarely do discomforts go away on their own, explains REBECCA ALDRIDGE, a physio who works as an exercise trainer at Health2u, a company which provides physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, massages, rehab and fitness training to adults, mums and children in the comfort of their own homes throughout Singapore. They also have a clinic located at Telok Ayer. “The longer discomforts are left, the harder they are to treat. It’s worth having a physio session to work out where the discomfort is coming from and then having the right treatment to cure it,” she says.
#20 Take steps to prevent pain
The same goes for pain, which often develops due to misalignment, weakness or inflexibility in the body that have not been resolved. “Forget the saying, ‘no pain, no gain’ when you are training and recovering from an injury,” says Rebecca. “If you’re doing an exercise and it hurts in a spot where you’re injured, it’s your body’s way of saying ‘stop!’ It’s worth having a physio help you adapt the exercise so that you can do it without the pain.”
It’s important to start the year with a full-body assessment by a physio who can provide you with exercises tailored to your needs. It’s also key to try to prevent injuries in the first place. Here’s what Rebecca suggests when starting a new exercise regime for the year:
- Get cleared by your doctor and physio
- Choose workouts that suit you
- Learn proper techniques
- Choose the right exercise gear, including trainers with good arch support and cushioning
- Start gradual and build up
- Warm up five to 10 minutes before exercising
#21 Perfect your stretching
Rebecca says it’s important to get your stretching right! “Sustained stretching where you take a stretch position and hold it is not the best way to stretch before doing exercise; in fact, it can lead to muscle tears. Dynamic, active stretching for five to 10 minutes is better; for example, leg swings, arm rolls, knee-ups and small jumps.”
#22 Drink more (water, that is)
Drinking water is important to staying hydrated and can even help control cravings. “Drinking two litres of water a day is the recommended amount to stay hydrated, and I have to say, it really works,” says Vivian. “Sometimes, we can mistake hunger with thirst; staying hydrated will keep you away from those little snacks in between meals that only end up adding to your daily calories intake.”
Vivian suggests carrying a big bottle of water with you everywhere you go, and placing one on your desk at work so you won’t forget. “If you feel peckish, reach for your bottle of water!” Staying hydrated can also stop water retention, says Vanan from EzFit.
“We need water to flush out water, plain and simple. While the downside is that you have to frequent the loo more often, it’s just something to get used to,” he says. “Most of us have around 40 percent of water in the body when it’s supposed to be 60 percent. Talk about not taking in enough!”
#23 Get a good night’s sleep
Getting a good night of sleep is vital in order to keep hormones regulated, allow brain cells to regenerate and avoid exhaustion, which can lead to cravings from low blood sugar, says Vivian. Her advice? Keeping your phone away from your bed to prevent late-night Instagram distractions.
#24 Find your food foes
You owe it to yourself to finally figure out those food hypersensitivities that are making you lethargic and headachy, bloated and itchy. Removing “trigger foods” can prevent inflammatory reactions, which can cause a variety of symptoms.
“The foods that are good for you might be harmful for someone else,” say the experts at ImuPro, a company that offers blood tests for IgG food allergies – delayed allergies that can create an inflammatory response up to three days after consuming the trigger food. “It is very difficult to pinpoint which food causes you problems because of the delayed appearance. An IgG test helps to localise and limit the suspects.”
The blood sample is sent to ImuPro’s laboratory, where antibodies in your blood are measured against different foods, which are then categorised as “not elevated”, “elevated” or “highly elevated.” Once results are delivered, you’ll be given post-test nutritional guidance; this includes personalised, detailed instructions on which foods to avoid and sample recipes to help you adjust to your new diet.
“An optimal diet can help you to find the path back to a better, active life,” says the ImuPro team. “Identifying trigger foods that are causing problems, and changing your diet with the ImuPro Nutritional Concept, can be a powerful tool.”
There are different test options available, from a simple screen test that checks 44 of the most common foods, to the most comprehensive test, which screens 270 foods and additives. There’s even a test dedicated to vegetarian diets!
#25 Change your attitude towards food
“Imagine if you could eat the food that gives you joy, but you had to choose whether or not you want to eat it today, knowing full well that you can also eat it tomorrow or the day after. You won’t feel that you’re deprived, or think that if you don’t eat it today, you’ll never eat it again. And, if you do eat it today, then own it, appreciate it, savour every morsel and make some minor changes over the next 24 hours to make up for it,” says ALY KHAIRUDDIN, a STOTT-Pilates certified instructor, personal trainer and nutrition coach. Aly is also the founder of FitNut Loft, a boutique fitness, Pilates and nutrition coaching studio that helps women ditch the dieting mentality for good and get stronger, healthier and happier through both private and small group classes.
#26 Don’t buy the food that you don’t want to eat
“Live by the mantra that ‘whatever food is in your house is bound to be consumed’,” says Aly. “Therefore, it’s best to not even buy all your ‘red light foods’ (those that you can’t control yourself around, and that make you binge eat) that are high in calories. Fill your house with healthier options, and make them visually accessible. If you see them, you’re more likely to eat them. So, if you see healthy food, you’ll eat it, and likewise, if you see unhealthy food you’re likely to eat that as well. It’s best not to tempt yourself in the first place!”
This concept of visual access can be applied to the way you dine, too. “Eating ‘family-style’ at home, with shared plates on the table, can lead to overeating; continually having access to the food in front of you means you will keep piling on extras as you go. It may help to leave the food in the kitchen and help yourself there, then bring your plate back to the dining room. Getting a second helping means actually getting up and walking over to the kitchen, and that tiny barrier is normally enough to stop you from getting more food.”
#27 Forget fad diets and detoxes
“Food selection must be sustainable and for the long-term,” says gastroenterologist DR ANDREA RAJNAKOVA, who provides patients with holistic care by focusing on their diets, lifestyle choices and food allergies.
“There’s no point in ‘dieting’ for a few weeks or months and then returning to your original eating habits. That will only create a yo-yo effect, not just in one’s weight, but in one’s health as a whole.”
She says that people are able to comply with healthy diets only when they feel satisfaction from the foods they take in. “Starvation is the biggest enemy of healthy diet and lifestyle. It never brings good results!”
Neither do detoxes or juice cleanses, say the experts at UP. “Juice cleanses, by their very definition, are unsustainable. It’s far better to spend January laying down solid, foundational nutrition habits that will support your training throughout the year.”
Eating more protein and vegetables, and adding in some healthy fats and carbs depending on your activity level, are good habits to adopt, according to UP.
Aly from FitNut Loft believes it’s a great idea to cut dieting out of your life altogether. Her tip? “Eat slowly, and only until you’re 80 percent full. By doing this, you’re able to listen to when your body is no longer hungry. Losing weight is still calories in versus calories out. So, if you’re eating less, that’s already a big win; but by eating until you’re 80 percent full, you won’t be starving, nor will you feel deprived.”
#28 Eat more plant-based food
Studies have shown that frequent red meat consumption and the mode of its preparation are associated with an increased risk of development of colon cancer, says Dr Rajnakova. Which is why, she says, removing meat from the diet even at least once a week can be beneficial. “Thanks to their high intake of plant-based foods, vegetarians have less risk for development of certain types of cancer and other diseases.”
But, this doesn’t mean you have to give up meat cold turkey. It may be worth considering a flexitarian diet – one in which you follow a mostly vegetarian diet but occasionally consuming seafood or meat. This type of diet allows you some flexibility while still being mindful of food choices, and the ethical and environmental impacts of those choices. Unlike veganism, which promotes the complete abstinence of animal products, including eggs and dairy, a flexitarian diet might mean abstaining from meat six days a week to one person, but going meatless only once a week to another.
No matter how you adapt the diet into your lifestyle, the goal is to maximise your health by minimising animal-based protein, thus helping to reduce your carbon footprint. According to the United Nations, reducing meat consumption and shifting to a more plant-based diet is key to addressing climate change, deforestation and species extinction. These days, it’s super easy to eat a more plant-based diet here in Singapore. Countless restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan dishes that are all sorts of delicious! See our guide to vegetarian and plant-based eating at expatliving.sg/wine-dine!
#29 Start using essential oils
“Some of the most toxic chemicals in our homes are found in fragrances – perfumes, air fresheners, candles and room sprays. Adding essential oils to your daily routine can be a great way to improve your family’s health this year,” says MARRA HENSBY. Marra is an environmental and social responsibility professional-turned-eco-living advocate here in Singapore who’s focused on helping consumers shift to a natural lifestyle using 100 percent pure essential oils. Her company My Pure Earth works directly with farmers around the globe to source organically and sustainably produced essential oils.
“You can simply diffuse essential oils around your home or use them in your own DIY sprays and candles. Personally, I always have a diffuser going in my house; a nice, natural-smelling environment always adds a positive vibe to my family’s day.”Even if you’re new to essential oils, you can pick up a good quality diffuser and try different blends. Marra recommends her immunity-boosting blend, which includes three drops of lavender, three drops of clary sage and three drops of geranium.
“You can diffuse this blend around your home during the day, or diffuse for one hour in your bedroom at night; it’s best to limit the time to one hour if your door will be closed – less is more with pure essential oils.”
#30 Swap out toxic household products
“Many ingredients in common household cleaning products are harmful to our health. As consumers, we believe that as long as our family doesn’t ingest these products they will not be harmed, but think about the exposure they will have through their skin and respiratory tract,” says Marra. “Children are especially at risk, as they are frequently in contact with chemical residues that household cleaning products leave behind by crawling, lying and sitting on freshly cleaned floors.”
Using essential oils in your daily cleaning routine instead of toxic store bought products is a great way to reduce your family’s exposure to nasty chemicals, she explains. In fact, My Pure Earth offers different hands-on workshops that teach how to remove toxic chemicals from your home, reduce your impact on the environment and save you money at the same time. If you’d like to learn how to clean your house from top to bottom naturally, check out My Pure Earth’s “Pure Cleaning Products” workshops for helpers and homeowners. You can even order spray bottles, blending supplies and other accessories along with the oils from My Pure Earth’s site.
Additionally, Marra’s blog (mypureearth.com/blog) has some great tips and recipes for a healthier, chemical-free lifestyle.
Marra’s all-natural glass-cleaning recipe
What you’ll need:
• 250ml water
• 250ml vinegar
• A spray bottle
• Lemon essential oil
• Eucalyptus essential oil
1.Add equal amounts of water and vinegar to a 500ml spray bottle.
2.Add three drops of lemon essential oil and three drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
Andrea’s Digestive, Colon, Liver and Gallbladder Clinic #21-11/12 Royal Square Novena 101 Irrawaddy Road 6264 2836 andrea-digestive-clinic.com
Dennis Lim Surgery #11-09 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, 3 Mount Elizabeth 6836 5167 | dennislim.com.sg
EZ Fit 9007 9742 | ezfit.sg Fitness Tutor 9751 3400 | fitness-tutor.com
FitNut Loft 2 Pandan Valley, #01-201 fitnutloft.com
Health2u 101 Telok Ayer Street, #03-01 6255 5250 | health2u.sg
ImuPro Asia Pac imupro.sg
International Medical Clinic 4 clinics across Singapore (Camden, Jelita, Katong and Children’s) 6733 4440 imc-healthcare.com
My Pure Earth mypureearth.com
Options Pilates Locations at Orchard Road (International Building), Oxley Rise (One Oxley Rise), Bukit Timah (Sime Darby Centre) and the American Club Singapore 6235 9725 optionspilatesstudio.com
TFX – Xtraordinary Fitness Locations at Funan (6690 2388), Millenia Walk (6820 9000) and Pacific Plaza (6733 9555) tfx.sg
The Yoga School #39-01 OCBC Centre 65 Chulia Street 6532 8228 | yogaschool.asia
UFIT Health and Fitness ufitclinic.com | ufit.com.sg
Ultimate Performance Singapore Ground Floor, Manulife Building, 8 Cross Street 6536 8649 | upfitness.com.sg
The VIVA Group – Pilates & Wellness • #01-23 Quayside Isle Sentosa Cove 31 Ocean Way | 9186 0716 • #02-02/02-02A Marina at Keppel Bay 2 Keppel Bay Vista | 9186 0716 thevivagroup.com
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This article first appeared in the January 2020 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!