5 Ways to Improve Your Health at Home
- Written By:Dr. Amy Shah
Depending on where you live, you may be in a various level of self-isolation. Regardless of what your current schedule is like, it should be priority to keep your physical and mental health up right now. Here are five things that might be killing your health in quarantine — and how to fix them.
Move Your Body
When the greatest distance you have to travel in a day is from your bedroom to the kitchen, a sedentary lifestyle can be easy to adapt during quarantine. It is also one of the very worst things you can do for yourself! Make sure to move your body every day. Whether it is a walk outside, a home workout (there are tons of free ones right now on Youtube and various fitness apps), or chasing your kids around the backyard, just make sure to get UP and MOVING! Being inactive can have many short-term negative effects (moodiness, depression, weight gain) as well as long-term implications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Eat Fresh Foods
Processed foods can seem like the quick or simple solution for a meal, but they are often laden with unnecessary ingredients and chemicals and high in sugar and salt. Come up with some meal ideas and make a grocery list before you go to the store or order your groceries. With a bit of planning, you can make an inexpensive quick and tasty dinner in very little time. Staples like beans (canned or dried), leafy greens, fresh vegetable, and healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and avocados can come together quickly. Use different flavors like garlic, fresh herbs, lemon juice or vinegar to create different flavor profiles.
When stuck at home it’s easy to open another bottle of wine or find time for that happy hour cocktail regularly. While it’s ok to indulge in that occasional drink, creating a regular habit of alcohol consumption can result in weight gain, depression, and poor sleep. As you know I actually believe that alcohol can be healthy! But the dose matters. If you are a woman, stick to less than 5 drinks a week. If you have already started the habit of daily drinking, try replacing your cocktail with an iced tea or make a spritzer with sparkling water and a squeeze of citrus juice.
Call Your Friends
Self-isolation doesn’t need to mean social-isolation. While certain areas are still on lockdown, you can still virtually connect with your friends and family. Plan a Zoom game night, check in on your friends – especially those self-isolating alone, meet a friend for a walk outside if you’re comfortable. Even alone, we don’t need to be alone.
Follow Your Circadian Rhythm
Eating late and waking up late can both become easy habits to fall into when you don’t need to be at the office at a designated time or have a set schedule. Listen to your circadian rhythm and follow the movement of the sun. It may seem counter-intuitive, but waking up earlier will actually help you feel better and well-rested. Just make sure you are also going to bed at a decent time, and turning off those blue lights (phones, computers, etc.) at least 30 minutes before bed, although ideally 90 minutes.
Try to curb those late night snack sessions. Boredom makes it easy to do, but snacking late is one of the worst things you can do for yourself if you are trying to lose or maintain weight. As you may know from my other articles, I believe that circadian fasting(stopping food 2-3 hours before bed then not eating for 12-16 hours) is one of the most healing activities you can do for your gut, hormones and brain.
We are living in a pandemic. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your body. Our schedules are completely flipped upside down and it can be easy to adapt to bad habits, but by actively making healthy decisions, we will feel better both physically, mentally, and emotionally.