When you are at home a lot, especially during the pandemic, it can be easy to become lazy with your health habits. Instead of eating well, exercising, and ensuring you get enough vitamins and minerals, it can be easy to swap those with bad habits. Yet, it is important to know that it can be simple to stay healthy at home. Getting back into the swing of your healthy habits will ensure you are in better health, inside and out. For some tips to get back on track and ensure you are maintaining your health whilst being at home more, keep reading.
Being at home does not mean you cannot talk to your doctor and have your routine checkups. Most doctors are offering phone or virtual appointments, which means you can still discuss your concerns or ask for advice when you need it. For instance, if you are suffering from Scoliosis and need additional medication or treatment, you can call your doctor for a consultation to get the help you need. Instead of leaving an issue unattended, you can get the help you need quicker than booking an in-person appointment. You should never leave concerns unattended as the situation could worsen. Thus, always ensure to contact your doctor should you have or need a checkup.
Get outdoors more
Whether you have garden space or just a small balcony, try to get as much fresh air as possible. Fresh air is important to clear the mind and to clear bad toxins from your body. If it is a pleasant day, you could enjoy meals outside or even work outside if you are working from home. If your time is short but you have a spare half an hour at lunch time, get outside and stretch your legs and get more movement and oxygen into your body.
If you live in a small home, the circulation may be poor. Thus, getting outside every day is important to get a good amount of oxygen into your body. You may not have enough space to exercise or budget for a gym membership. So you could take your exercise outside, stretch out that muscle pain or get in that lunch time run you have scheduled. Exercise is important, so if you struggle with self-motivation it is a good idea to get an exercise buddy. Working out with a friend can help you to put in longer hours and push your limits, and always makes exercising more fun. Consider a distanced outdoor workout (following the latest government guidelines) or set each other challenges to try separately – and hold each other accountable in a regular online catchup. You could even hold an exercise session together over video chat.
Look after your skin
Speaking of being outside, you should always protect your skin. This goes for working on screens all day too. SPF is crucial to protect your skin from sun damage and aging. Sun protection shouldn’t be limited to the beach. Around 80% of UV rays penetrate through clouds, making it important to protect your skin all year round even if you’re just walking to the shops or doing some gardening.
If you lack a skincare routine, now is the time to introduce one. Even if you manage to use one or two products every morning or after each shower, you will be protecting your skin more than not using any products or SPF at all.
Get enough downtime
Being at home is not always as relaxing at it sounds. You may be working from home, or you may have a long to do list when you are at home. Either way, you should ensure to schedule in some down time. Relaxation is the key for a balanced mind and healthier body.
Even a 5 minute meditation every day is enough for you to centre yourself and improve your mood. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can help to reduce anxiety, improve your mood and lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. You can find an online class on YouTube, if you’re not sure where to start.
Eat balanced meals
Sticking to a healthy diet and building healthy meals from scratch can feel like a hassle during the winter months, but this is a great time to set healthy habits in place – starting with wholesome, nourishing food choices. It needn’t mean buying fancy ingredients – making the most of what you’ve got is key. We’ve all got foods lurking in our cupboards, so use up what you have and love your leftovers. Aim to include a variety of foods from the different food groups across mealtimes. Creating a healthy routine can help you find some order in your day. Establish set meal times, plan and prepare your meals and stick to it
Breakfast could be cereal or porridge with dairy or a milk alternative, sprinkled with dried fruit, nuts or seeds; or a slice of wholemeal toast topped with scrambled egg, or nut butter and a banana.
Lunch could mean a wholegrain sandwich or roll; soup made from tinned pulses stashed in your cupboard; or a baked potato topped with cheese, beans or tinned fish.
Dinner might be a hearty bean and vegetable chilli with rice (brown if possible); a noodle-based stir fry with fish, chicken or tofu; or pasta with fish, tinned tomatoes or veggies.
Picking high-fibre foods and keeping yourself hydrated will help you stay full for longer: water, tea, coffee, milk, juice, sugar-free drinks, soups and stews all count. Habitual fridge raider? You can work one to two 100-calorie snacks into your daily meal plan – just stay mindful. If you’re a snacker, make sure you have healthy snacks available. Hide any unhealthy snacks, or limit yourself to one a day, or once a week – think about the 80:20 rule – try to be good 80% of the time.
Cut out bad habits
Smoking and drinking are all easy habits to do from the comfort of your own home. Since the pandemic, you might find yourself doing more of those bad habits. Or, you may have picked them up out of boredom. The best thing you can do for your health is to cut them out.
We’re all allowed to enjoy a tipple every now and again. Too much, however, can play havoc with our health. Stay within the recommended weekly alcohol limit of 14 units.
Another bad habit can be eating too much salty or sugary foods. If you do, then swap them for healthier options and practice eating mindfully with only the essential nutrients filling your plates.
Turn off technology
Speaking of bad habits, being online too much is one of them. We are often on our phone or laptops all day for work or catching up with people during the pandemic. Yet, getting time off the screen is important for the mind and the body. You need to make time to switch off. Set a limit on how much time you spend on digital devices. Stay present in your offline downtime by fighting the urge to check emails or social media notifications.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep can be difficult if you are spending 95% of your time at home. It is more difficult to switch off when working from home because your work station is a 2 second walk from your bed or the kitchen.
Shutting off from work at a set time every day will help you create a healthy routine. Make time for dinner, socializing, exercise, or whatever it is you like to do. These mindful activities will help you switch off and unwind, which will help you sleep better.
A good night’s sleep is crucial to feeling your best. Most people need a minimum of eight hours of good quality sleep every night, so make sure to have a set bedtime and stick to it.
Creative play isn’t just for kids. Journaling, sketching and painting are all great ways to boost mood, express ourselves and build connections with others – even when we can’t be with them in person. Data shows that being creative can significantly improve our mental health and wellbeing – and create an opening for connection.
What we need more than anything right now is to stay connected – just not by holding hands. Being creative can act as a vehicle to community and reflection – it is a conversation starter, a distraction; it can be surprising, inspiring, collaborative; and it’s a chance to use your brain and body a little differently, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary – whatever that means to you. Try new crafts, sing in your shower, plant new things in your garden, learn an instrument, “commute” around your house, make stuff out of loo roll tubes. Then share what you’ve done – start an online book group, knitting club or creativity cafe.
When considering lifestyle changes, make gradual adjustments that are easier to maintain, to ensure that new habits will stick.