When Del Monte Foods Inc. (2020) studied the state of healthy eating in America, 70% of Americans said that they feel like the best version of themselves when they follow a healthy diet. It was also found that 1 in 5 believes that healthy eating is also the key to living their best social life. This, however, is contrary to a study cited on Health Line (2021) wherein it was revealed that only less than three percent of Americans are practicing a healthy lifestyle.
In addition, 97 percent of Americans do not meet the ideal “healthy lifestyle” criteria which can potentially protect their hearts. These figures can be detrimental especially when public health is threatened by a pandemic.
Weight gain and obesity are also observed since the government campaigns for home quarantine as an attempt to contain the Coronavirus, staying at home meant the temptation to fall for unhealthy junk food, beverages and lifestyle in general. For these reasons, adopting a healthy lifestyle should be emphasized more than ever.
Building new healthy habits not only leads to better physical health but also improves mental well-being. This is further supported in Velten, Bieda, Scholten et al. (2018) where they underline the importance of healthy lifestyle choices for improved psychological well-being and fewer mental health difficulties.
Here are a few ways to get you started:
1. Revisit your diet
Quarantine season paved the way for diet trends. The emergence of these different diet plans has made it look easy to stay in shape and improve ways of life. Ketogenic, intermittent fasting, paleo and pescatarian, among others, are the most popular ones. Sure you can follow any but do not make the mistake of derailing yourself along the way. The trick is to do research on each of them and find the one you can commit to. Diet is a lifestyle, do not misconstrue it for cleansing.
The best and most effective one, if you would ask, is the good ol’ plant-rich diet which mostly or entirely consists of plant-based tasty meals. Feel heavy but light on the calories with a healthy plate derived from plants with no animal by-products nor artificial ingredients and preservatives. However generous on the greens, it is not at all vegan.
2. Check your habits or vices
Alcohol, smoking, fast food or even the simplest habit of finishing every meal with sweets can pose a problem in the long run. Alcohol at excessive levels and frequencies can lead to dependence, mental and behavioral disorders and can contribute to developing liver cirrhosis and heart diseases.
Smoking can cause lung and heart diseases and stroke. Fast food and too much dessert can lead to obesity. Most of these are only and associated with oral fixation which can be counteracted with a different activity.
Or walk for that matter. Adopting an active lifestyle pays in your overall health and wellbeing. Find the time in your day where you can exercise and utilize your extra energy. If an hour on a treadmill is not possible make use of YouTube exercise videos which you can do in 20 minutes. You can also compensate this by carrying out household chores or engaging in sports which can equally pump your adrenaline.
The least you can do is actually take a long walk home for a breath of fresh air instead of riding the bus. There are countless ways to get you healthy sweat. Try it out for a few weeks and observe how your breathing habits, recovery heart rate, and skin texture improve.
With this quarantine and work from home season, it only becomes harder to interact and provide ourselves the socialization we need. Humans are social beings and in order for us to reduce the amount of stress, feelings of isolation, and loneliness, we must make an effort to reach out. For this, you can schedule a Zoom video chat with your friends, try on a multiplayer game online or invite a friend to work on a hobby together remotely.
Living in quarantine can be monotonous and cabin fever needs to be avoided. When you are heard or listened to, you are unnoticeably taking the load off your shoulders as well. Invite positive talks and give out praises and appreciation. The world needs your light to shine on others who are also feeling down.
5. Rest and recreate
Quality sleep helps in achieving good health and well-being. This is the time for your body and mind to replenish energy and recharge. After a long and productive day is done, orchestrate your way to good sleep. Invest in comfortable sleeping trousers, soft pillows and blankets, and switch on your aromatherapy diffusers. Take the relaxing hot bath that you deserve. Allot 10 minutes for meditation and reflection to evaluate the day passing. Play a podcast or narrative that can lull you to dreamland. Get at least 8 hours of sleep so you are good for another day.
It takes a lot of effort to have a healthy mind and body. One needs to commit to forming habits contributory to the goal and objective. Starting with one today is one step towards making a big change. Change that your body will thank you for in the years to come.