7 Tips for maintaining a healthy life
Everybody has experienced COVID-19 differently, but the one thing most everyone has in common is that they’ve gotten to know their own homes awfully well. Under normal circumstances, a home symbolizes a place of refuge and comfort from the stressful outside world. Nowadays, however, your own house can feel like a prison, as you repeat the same monotonous tasks multiple times a week just waiting for things to go back to normal. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some tips for healthy living and maintaining a happier life when you’re stuck at your house.
MY FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS
To begin, I want to point out two “fundamental truths” that I usually try to live by, but have been trying to follow even more during the last few months. These are good tips for anyone, especially during a stay-at-home order.
1) Have a consistent schedule.
I know what you may be thinking: “You literally were just complaining about repeating the same monotonous task a bunch of times a week.” And while I understand that thought, it’s not exactly the same as keeping a consistent schedule. What I’m talking about here is always knowing what you’re going to do in a day beforehand. Creating a list of things to be done every day can help you achieve a sense of progress that can make your day seem less empty. I may just be a sucker for checking something off a list, but clearly defining what needs to be done ahead of time gives my days more of a sense of normalcy.
2) Always have things you are looking forward to.
Story time. I used to go to a Summer Camp that I hated, and I mean HATED. But to get through it without becoming miserable, I picked my chin up, and set a few dates to look forward to. Every day, I would look forward towards the end of the day, while in the meantime I would look forward to the day when the summer camp ended. And I became much happier.
Healthy living is much easier when you have both short-term and long-term events that you can look forward to. Whether that be a physical thing or a date, these events can help keep you going when times get tough. I know that in our current atmosphere it’s hard to look forward in time and see anything physical being set in stone, so it may be easier to look forward to smaller things. Maybe you can look forward to a family dinner, or even just the weekend.
Now that we have those two things out of the way, we can move on to more specific tips that you can use every day to help your life be a little bit better.
So this may be super obvious to a lot of you, but exercise is still very important even in a pandemic. The CDC states, “All adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week.” That first 150 minute-a-week goal can be met with 5 days of 30 minutes of exercise, with 2 rest days in-between.
While this may seem daunting for some of you at first, just start by placing a 30 minute block into your schedule at the beginning of a certain day. The hardest part of doing something is actually starting it. Once you’ve started doing it, or once it’s on that schedule of yours, it will be much easier to perform than if it was just a shapeless idea you were told to do.
“But what can I do to exercise if I don’t have equipment available at my house?” I can hear you ask. Well there’s a lot of things you can do. Going outside to take a walk or jog around the block or neighborhood can be very healthy for you and your heart, and if it’s sunny you will be supplying yourself with extra Vitamin D (just remember to wear sunscreen). Going even further, you can take a bike ride. If you have access to a pool you can swim, or access to a backyard you can garden. You can play games or even do physical chores around the house to get those 30 minutes in.
2) Eat well!
Another obvious one. But eating well is extremely important for healthy living, as it has been proven to improve your mood and your physical health. A great way I sometimes make sure I’m eating well is (you may have guessed it) making a schedule. Having a meal plan lets you figure out in advance what you’re eating, and it 1) helps keep you from unnecessary snacking, and 2) lets you figure out if you’re putting all the right things in your body every day.
If you’re having trouble trying to find some yummy foods to eat, you can read one of our articles on super foods that would benefit your diet:
3) Practice having a strong mental space!
While eating and exercise are helpful for physical health, it’s also important to have strong mental health. It’s important to sit down and reflect on your own mental state so you can recognize areas of weakness and then figure out how to improve them.
There have been quite a few days these past few months where I felt mentally down. In response, I lied on my bed and asked myself why I felt this way, and realized that most of my problems stemmed from the fact that I couldn’t control a lot of what was happening around me. To respond to this, I focused on what I COULD control, things or actions that I could physically put into my own hands. And by focusing on that, I noticed that I became a lot happier. This method of reflection, discovery, and response has been extremely helpful for maintaining a good mental health. But you may struggle with finding a good way to adequately reflect. This brings me to…
Yoga is a fantastic method for both truly getting inside of yourself for reflection and maintaining inner peace. We’ve done a lot of writing here at Holistic Healing News on Yoga, so if you want to check out an article on how Yoga can help heal you, as well as different types of Yoga, check this out:
As someone who has struggled with Yoga in the past, I understand that it may be difficult and frustrating if you cannot immediately get it right. However, with practice, Yoga is a great way to preserve and fortify your mental strength.
In a time where many people are doing work in their pajamas, often times people forget how important sleep is to maintaining healthy living. The CDC states, “A third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Not getting enough sleep is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions—such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.”
As usual, I would recommend a schedule to maintaining a good sleep pattern. Since sleep is already kind of on a biological schedule, it can be a lot easier. Going to bed at around the same time everyday is extremely important to maintaining a good schedule.
Furthermore, try to spend the time that you’re awake away from your bed (I know for many this can be hard). A study by the Penn Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program discovered, “spending more time in bed actually makes it harder to sleep” because your brain doesn’t associate your bed entirely with sleep anymore.
Overall, maintaining a healthy lifestyle during this time can often seem harder than it would when everything is normal. But with a little work and a little forethought, you too can maintain healthy living while spending almost all of your time at home. Stay safe!