In 2020, the world changed drastically because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Slowly, people, businesses, societies, and governments are finding ways to resume life in the wake of this global public health crisis.
Whether you are eager to get back out into the real world or still staying close to home, this period of change is an ideal time to revamp your personal mental and physical health. Follow the below tips to look and feel your best as you enter the “new normal.”
Create a safe space at home.
Due to shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, you likely spent more time than usual at home in the past year. You may find that you’re feeling tired of your space and that your family is fighting more at home. It’s time to eliminate that negative energy and create a safe space where you feel at ease.
There are scientifically-backed solutions for injecting positivity into your home, from eliminating clutter (which produces anxiety) to creating outdoor spaces where you can safely socialize. You can also clear out bad energy by smudging the rooms of your home with sage and opening windows to let in fresh air and sunlight.
Aromatherapy is another way to create a more serene and welcoming home. Research shows that scent can impact your mood and alter your behavior. Certain smells are especially helpful in encouraging relaxation, including lavender, rosemary, lemon, and peppermint. Invest in an essential oils diffuser to keep your place smelling fresh.
Find more time for sleep.
A lack of sleep can leave you feeling tired, unable to concentrate, and irritable. Chronic sleeplessness also has health repercussions, increasing your risk of anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. Adults aged 26 to 64 are supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep per day. If you aren’t achieving this minimum target, adapt your sleeping schedule.
Transform your bedroom into a sleep-friendly oasis. Invest in new silky new sheets, get a white noise machine to block out extraneous sounds, and buy blackout curtains to keep out light. Additionally, cut out any screen time a couple of hours before bedtime. The blue light from phones, tablets, or computers can interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
Cook more at home and eat out less.
Instead of running back to restaurants as soon as they reopen after lockdown measures lift, stick to more home cooking. According to Johns Hopkins researchers, people who cook at home tend to have healthier diets than those who always get takeout or eat at restaurants. As a guide for healthy eating, check out the U.K. government’s Eatwell Guide.
Prioritize whole grains, fresh veggies and fruits, dairy, and lean protein. Whenever possible, get fresh foods instead of ready-made items. What you eat impacts not only your physical but also your mental health. For example, certain foods like fatty fish, turkey breast, bananas, and yogurt have been shown to help combat depression.
Make exercise a priority.
Exercise can improve strength and endurance, and enhance muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness. It also has benefits for your mood. According to Time Magazine, physical activity is linked to decreased rates of depression, improved memory, and faster learning. It can also boost happiness.
Hate working out? Don’t skip this point. Maybe you simply haven’t found the right exercise to suit your style. If you hate running, try circuit training, jumping rope, or interval walking instead. These are just a few of the alternatives to traditional workouts you can explore. There are many options available and you can do activities like yoga from the comfort of your home.
Be proactive about preventing anxiety.
Anxiety has a number of negative health effects. It can increase blood pressure, for example, resulting in a greater long-term risk of cardiovascular ailments like stroke or heart attack. Be proactive about keeping anxiety at bay, especially in the wake of the stress caused by COVID-19.
Meditation is a great way to calm your thoughts and turn your focus inwards, away from external stressors. If you’ve never tried it, don’t worry. There are many free apps available to guide you through the process. The Headspace app is one option and even offers meditation programs specifically for anxiety.
Find creative ways to stay social.
Recent COVID-19 restrictions made it more difficult to see friends and family. Many people found creative ways to get social during this time, such as holding online book clubs or cocktails via Zoom. Maintain your commitment to staying social as you adapt to the “new normal” of a post-COVID reality.
Social isolation can leave you feeling lonely and increases your risk of depression and anxiety. If you’re seeing people face-to-face, you can combine your socializing with some of the other tips on this list. For example, you can cook with your family or exercise with a friend. If you’re still socially distancing, you can take part in online cooking classes or workouts.
Start a hobby you love.
It’s been a tough year. Finding activities you enjoy and that takes you away from the stressors of everyday life can help you maintain balance and find happiness, no matter what’s going on in the world. Find a new hobby that you can do just because you love it, not because it serves some greater career aspirations or life goals. If you like to get creative, you might consider beading, knitting, photography, or similar activities, for example.
The world we’re living in has changed. While that can be scary, it’s also an opportunity to reevaluate, rethink, and redesign how we live our lives. Seize this opportunity to implement positive habits that allow you to thrive mentally and physically. The above list is just a small sampling of some of the ways you can enhance your wellbeing going forward.
Power to Live More is committed to bringing readers quality content they can use to live more, work less, and enjoy life to the fullest. For more practical resources and actionable tips that you can easily incorporate into your day-to-day life, visit the Power to Live More blog or check out the podcast.
Photo Credit: Pexels.com