10 Biohacking and Wellness Hacks to Reduce Stress in Business Leaders

Biohacking and wellness hacks are becoming a mandatory item on a business leaders checklist as they face the daily stressors of managing staff, balancing deliverables, and hiring new talent.

Biohacking is defined as an approach to scientific learning that involves building or changing things quickly and monitoring what happens. It is usually applied to your nutrition, exercise, sleep, and mind (meditation mainly).

According to a study by Small Business Economics, mental health differences directly or indirectly affected 72% of the entrepreneurs and business leaders. Thus, knowing how to manage your physical and mental health is a prerequisite to effectively managing a balance sheet and other people as a leader.

Canada’s newest wellness retreat, Neo Retreat, invited me to interview three wellness experts who shed light on 10 biohacking and wellness hacks to both improve performance and reduce stress in entrepreneurs.

The wellness experts were as follows:

Oksana Andreiuk (@canadianbiohacker) - Biotechnology Scientist speaking on "Biohacking Better Sleep" (http://canadianbiohacker.com/)

Bryan Hardy (@bryanhardy7) - Holistic Nutritionist & Integrative Health Coach speaking on “Deep Wim Hof breathing” (http://bryanhardy.ca/)

Kiki (@mebykiki)- Wellness educator, retreat & workshop host, journalist, speaking on “How to incorporate Adaptogens into your daily life” (https://www.mebykiki.com/)

Full Video Interview Below

Biohacking and Wellness Hacks

  1. Leverage deep “Wim Hof” breathing to improve digestion and mental stability

“How it works is by quickly flipping the nervous system out of Sympathetic dominance a.k.a. fight, flight or freeze, and into Parasympathetic dominance a.k.a. rest, digest, and recover. This shift is a necessary first step to allow our brains and bodies to slow down, establish a calm presence, and start to heal.” - Bryan Hardy

2. Take five deep breaths to improve digestion

How it affects digestion is by turning on the rest and digest portion of the nervous system which allows us to take in the nourishment in front of you. it also allows you to smell the different aromas and simply take in the visual of the food, both of which help to produce saliva and tell your gut to produce the necessary enzymes and gastric juices required to digest and absorb the incoming nutrients.” - Bryan Hardy

3. Adopt adaptogens into your diet to de-stress your body

“Adaptogens help us to adapt to stress, support healthy metabolic processes, and ultimately restore balance in our internal systems. They do so by increasing the body’s resistance to physical, biological, emotional, and environmental stresses as well as by supporting normal physiologic function. Adaptogenic herbs are truly “magic” thanks to their ability to restore the balance of endocrine hormones, modulate the immune system, and allow the body to maintain optimal homeostasis.

They have a bi-directional effect, which means they work to maintain our natural optimal equilibrium and thus reduce hyperactivity or hypoactivity of the central nervous system, immune system, blood sugar metabolism, mitochondrial functions, and the HPA axis.

In terms of incorporating these super-herbs into your life, the possibilities are endless! If working on a particular ailment and needing more focused therapeutic protocol, it’s always best to work with a certified herbalist, TCM practitioner, or ND. “Recreationally” it can still be powerful to use the powders - but not just in smoothies or lattes like they’re often thought of as included in on Instagram. You can cook with adaptogens and use them in a variety of dishes including breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners - savoury to sweet. Check out this free Adaptogens Recipe Ebook!” - Kiki

4. Consider Red Light Therapy to sleep better

“It works by promoting natural melatonin production. Exposure to blue light after dark suppresses your ability to produce melatonin (hormone involved in regulating sleep cycles), which translates to trouble falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the entire night. Basking in red light before bed can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.” - Oksana Andreiuk

5. Limit your blue light from screens, particularly after sunset, and especially one hour before falling asleep

“How it works is that exposure to artificial light at night signals to our brain that it’s daytime, suppressing melatonin production and preventing us from entering deep regenerative sleep. You might still fall asleep, but it might take longer to fall asleep and you might not sleep as restfully as you ideally can. That’s because artificial blue light frequencies, found in all digital screen lighting and light bulbs, are also found in broad daylight, which works to set our internal clock. So, exposure to blue light emitted from phone screens, computers, TV, and even light bulbs signals to our bodies that it’s daytime, and can contribute to sleepless nights and feeling groggy the next day.” - Oksana Andreiuk

6. Invest in biotechnology that measures your circadian rhythms’ and analyzes your DNA

“How it works is that sleep tracking devices use heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, respiration, and a number of other metrics to measure the quality and duration of your sleep. One example is the Oura ring, which measures how quickly you fall asleep, how much time you spend in light, deep, and REM sleep stages, and how often you wake up at night. Tracking your data is a great way to get immediate feedback on the quality of your sleep and how certain activities from the previous day might affect your sleep quality. One of the best ways to start optimizing your health is to know your personal data and how your body works. Sleep is key!” - Oksana Andreiuk

7. Take half of your body weight in pounds to know how many ounces of water you should drink a day

By doing this, it helps you remain hydrated throughout the day which for most people is a real challenge. Chronic dehydration can contribute to everything from inability to lose weight to depression to poor digestion to brain fog and many things in between. Our cells need the right balance of fluids and minerals in order to function properly so ensuring we're drinking enough water that is of high quality, typically Spring or re-mineralized Distilled / Reverse Osmosis, is going to pay massive dividends in our overall health and vitality for the long term.” - Bryan Hardy

8. Consider getting more natural light throughout your day by going for walks

“90% of our days are spent inside so you need to get more light because natural light works to synchronize our circadian rhythm. However, in our urban modern society, we’re spending so much time indoors that we’re not getting enough light intensity during the day and getting too much bright artificial light at night, which causes our circadian rhythms to shift. This de-synchronization means that you don’t feel as alert during the day and you don’t feel as sleepy at night. Anchoring our circadian rhythm with daylight in the morning is just as important as blocking bright artificial light at night. Getting outside in the morning 9am-noon for 30 minutes can provide up to 80% of your anchoring effect for the rest of the day. Take a walk, have a snack, have a meeting outside – it’s worth your sleep!” - Oksana Andreiuk

9. Use sound baths to calm the nervous system and recharge the entire being through ambient sounds

A sound bath is best described as a meditation class that aims to guide you into a deep meditative state while you're showered in ambient sound played by instructors, or sound therapists. Sometimes you stay in a seated position on comfortable cushions during sessions, though some instructors ask attendees to lay on yoga mats. Michaela Bekenn led a dreamy session at both Neo Retreats and is the one to watch in this craft.

10. Nature Therapy is a real thing

The Atlantic describes how it works as that the mountains, and their attendant plant life and water features, are helping to lower people’s blood pressure, and their stress hormones, and keeping their heart rate variability normal. These are just some of the health benefits of spending time in nature that studies have found in recent years.

“Also, it allows us to reconnect to that more primitive, instinctual side of ourselves which has an intuitive connection to the plant and animal life all around us. Natural ecosystems are the original home of human beings and it was within these ecosystems that we thrived for hundreds of thousands of years. It's no wonder then why our bodies and minds feel and become objectively healthier when we are unplugged from technology and immersed in vibrant natural landscapes. In Japan, this practice of "Forest Bathing" is called Shinrin-Yoku and is prescribed by Medical Doctors to their patients. The best part is, it's free!” - Bryan Hardy