Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are at home more often than we normally would. Because of this isolation, you might find yourself slipping into unhealthy habits – like avoiding exercise, eating more than usual, or forgetting to carve out time for self-care.
Here are a few tips to make your home healthier, happier, and more functional during this stressful time.
#1: Start Moving More
We may not be able to visit the gym or engage in our usual workout routines due to shelter-in-place orders, but regular exercise is crucial for your health. A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of many chronic diseases, as well as cause harm to your mental health.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per day, with a goal of 150 minutes per week. Try to incorporate 2 strength-training sessions each week into your routine as well.
For exercise suggestions, visit our latest blog post on easy exercises you can do during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to these workouts, you can invest in a compact exercise machine, an active video game, or sign up for an at-home workout program.
#2: Assess Your Pantry Inventory
Grocery shopping may be difficult right now, but you can still fill your plate with foods that are nourishing and nutritious. Snacking on foods high in fat, simple carbs, and sugar is a common response to stress, but these items can harm our health.
Assess your pantry and ensure that the staples you have are whole, unprocessed foods. The next time you go on a grocery run, ensure that the snacks and meal staples you purchase follow the Healthy Plate Guidelines.
Make sure your home is stocked with fruits and vegetables – you can buy many of these products fresh and throw them in your freezer to stretch them across your meals. Broccoli, green beans, dark leafy greens, and bananas are good options that stretch for a long time.
Rice, pasta, and other carbohydrate staples free from added sugar or excess sodium are important basics for many meals – make sure you supplement them with lean meats and plant-based proteins.
For an easy guide on cleaning out your pantry to improve your eating habits, read our blog on how to spring clean your kitchen!
#3: Create Wellness Zones
In addition to your physical health, your mental and spiritual health may be at risk if you do not have the space to destress. Chronic stress can raise your risk of developing many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, and the COVID-19 pandemic may be exacerbating your stress levels.
However, creating small wellness zones around your home can help reduce and relieve this stress. Just 10 to 15 minutes per day in one of these spaces can allow you to relax, unwind, and keep your mind in a calm place.
To begin, follow these steps:
- Brainstorm what helps you destress. Is it calm music, meditation, fresh scents, or your pet? Create a list of these de-stressors and keep it in mind while creating your space.
- Find a relatively quiet space in your home that suits your relaxation needs. This could be a corner in your bedroom, your balcony or patio, or even your bathtub.
- Create a relaxation kit with the tools you need to destress. This can include a candle, your favorite playlist and a pair of headphones, a beautiful piece of art, or a meditation recording.
- Plan a time each day to retreat to your wellness zone. This can be as short as 10 minutes per day, or as long as an hour. Stick to the same routine each day.
#4: Try A Home Improvement Project
Being cooped up all day means that you’re staying in your home more often than usual. Take advantage of your shelter-in-place orders by trying a new home improvement project!
Freshen up your space by doing some spring cleaning. For example, you can remove the junk from your garage you’ve been slacking on, wash your floors until they’re sparkling clean, or even organize your kitchen! You can also spruce up your lawn or make a few minor home repairs.
You can also support local small businesses and artists by redecorating your space. Commission a piece of art from a creative, order a new rug from your local carpet store, or send an old piece of furniture to a local reupholstery company for repairs – just remember to disinfect it first.
These projects keep your hands and mind busy and gives you something to take pride in. Plus, creating a cleaner and more functional space can do wonders for your mental health – especially if you’re stuck inside all day.
If you’re struggling to stay happy and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. This time is stressful – but maintaining a consistent routine, exercising regularly, and eating healthy foods that nourish your body can help benefit your mental and physical health.