As businesses nationwide take steps to keep people safe and healthy, many of us are spending more time at home than usual.
Whether working remotely or just limiting the time you spend among others, all those hours indoors can interfere with your normal routine and leave you feeling out of sorts. When that happens, healthy habits can fall by the wayside and unhealthy ones can start to develop.
If you find yourself spending too much time on the couch, munching on snack food and scanning the latest headlines on your smartphone, take a moment to breathe, reassess, and refocus on your health.
SIMPLE WAYS TO STAY HEALTHY AND PRODUCTIVE AT HOME
- Stick to your everyday routine (minus the commute, obviously). This is a great way to keep things feeling "normal" and to help you stay motivated. If you're used to getting up at a certain time for work, continue to wake up at that time, shower, and get dressed as you normally would. Same with going to the gym; if you typically work out at noon or 6:00PM, set aside that same time for physical activity. No home gym equipment? No problem! Follow along with an online fitness class, go for a run, or take the dog for a walk.
- Get outdoors as often as possible. While many parks and sports fields are closed, a lot of natural spaces are still accessible and offer plenty of space to stretch your legs and ease your mind. Not only is sunlight our primary source of vitamin D, which has been shown to help ease depressive symptoms and promote a positive mood, but spending time in the natural world—even just pruning your herb garden—gives your brain a chance to relax and de-stress, which in turn improves your ability to receive and process information from the world around you.
- Find your inner chef. Been eating more meals at home? Sounds like the perfect opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. Hop online and start by finding simple recipes that include some of your favorite foods. Then, as you get more comfortable in the role of household chef, you can try tackling more advanced cuisine and cooking styles. Pretty soon you'll be making your own homemade yogurt! Another great idea? Getting the whole family involved with meal prep and cooking is a fun way for everyone to spend quality time together.
- Plan your next vacation. Just because your travel plans have been put on hold doesn't mean you can't explore your next destination. Immerse yourself in maps and travel books, plan an itinerary for your ideal getaway, or make a list of all the places you want to go on your next road trip. The National Park Service is inviting would-be visitors to "Find Your Virtual Park" with ideas for at-home activities and opportunities to take a virtual tour of popular National Park sites. Many of the park sites also have webcams so virtual visitors can check in on their favorite places and catch a glimpse of the local wildlife.
- Practice self care. Changes to your normal routine can feel overwhelming and stressful, which is why it's just as important as ever to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health. Yoga, art therapy, journaling, reading a book, listening to music, taking a hot bath—all of these are simple ways to practice self care as you acclimate to spending more time at home. Another important tip? While it's important to stay informed, try to limit your news intake to only once or twice a day and avoid scrolling through social media headlines for hours on end.
- Revisit projects you put on hold. Now is the perfect time to pick up where you left off on that bathroom remodel, the quilt you started making for your sister, or clearing out the clutter from the hall closet. All those hours you would normally spend on your daily commute or zipping around running errands is time that can be spent productively doing things around the house or revisiting personal projects that have fallen by the wayside. Another great idea? Take a moment to write a letter or send a card to someone you love.
- Start a family game night (or a virtual game night with friends). One night a week, put away the smartphones, turn off the TV, and pull out the board games. Family game night is a great way to relax, relieve stress, and reconnect with those you love. If you're not all together, grab your phone, tablet, or laptop and start a virtual game night! Try trivia, charades, "Never Have I Ever," or even 20 questions. Get creative and have fun together—even when you're not.
At the end of the day, while your 9 to 5 routine may look a little different, your mind and body health goals are still the same. Use these simple tips to help you stay focused on your physical and mental wellness, and be sure to pass them along to your friends and family as we work together to stay healthy, happy, and connected.