This year has been full of stressors for many of us, mostly from the coronavirus pandemic and its side effects. It has been very hard to stay healthy through all the stress brought upon us by the pandemic. Many of us have been unable to go to work or find a job, barred from school, not to mention being unable to go to the gym. All this along with the lockdown confinement is sure to have gotten to us. Even those who had healthy habits before probably have been unable to stick to them.
Restrictions have eased a bit but we're still not out of the woods in terms of COVID-19's threat. Many of us still have to take measures that isolate us and are unable to go about our regular routines. But that doesn't have to be an excuse to make us stay unhealthy.
Now is the time to change our habits for the better. Healthy eating doesn't have to be that expensive if you choose wisely. And you can still stay in shape without the gym. Follow these five tips and you will be feeling better and more motivated.
1. Eat healthier
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It can be as simple as adding some fruits and veggies to your plate. The new healthy way of eating, the one that's recommended by dietitians, is to balance your plate into three parts. One part starch (like bread, macaroni, rice or potato), one part vegetable, and one part meat or protein. It can be tempting to grab an unhealthy snack to keep you company while watching your favorite show, or order a pizza instead of fixing dinner — we all have probably done that one too many times. To avoid that you need to have some healthy snacks on hand. Don't be put off by the idea of cooking, there are a lot of simple recipes that are really easy and enjoyable to fix. There are also many healthy take out options if you focus on the balance of protein, vegetable, and starch. In most cases, home-cooked is better, but we must have other options considering our busy lifestyles.
2. Add more fiber to your diet
The American diet is lacking in fiber, adding this important component can help get rid of many ailments and protect us from heart disease as well. This is especially important if you are trying to lose weight or have high cholesterol. Adding fiber can be done by eating foods that contain more fiber than sugars. Whole wheat breads and some cereals are good examples. But there's another easy way that will help you lose weight too: psyllium fiber. Most grocery stores sell it. The brand that comes to mind is Metamucil, but there are others. It's a powder that you mix a teaspoonful in a tall glass of water and drink promptly. It doesn't taste appetizing, but it isn't disgusting either. If you take it right before your heavy meal every day it will help you lose weight, as it will take up some of the room from your food. It's also a good way to reduce cholesterol without medication or drugs since that always comes with a laundry list of side effects. Try it and see for yourself.
3. Start your day with a workout
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We all know by now that exercise helps reduce stress and is necessary for our health and wellbeing. But for many of us it feels like a daunting task or another burden that we keep putting off. Instead, let's think of it in a different way. Exercise does not have to be lifting weights at the gym, it can be simply a brisk walk. If you start your mornings with a brisk 15-30 minute walk, or workout of your choice you will feel charged and ready to face the day. It's also preferable to do your exercise before eating or a few hours after, an added benefit of starting your day with a workout. Stop putting this off! Come on, give it a try for a few days and see if you feel a difference.
4. De-clutter and commit to being more organized
Clutter can make it harder to find things, waste time, and be overall stressed. With all that's going on, we don't need any more stress than we are already dealing with. If you have a little extra time on hand it's a great idea to start de-cluttering. Despite the pandemic putting off goals and ruining our plans, we can look at things from the bright side — we now have a chance to organize and be better prepared. You should first start by organizing your space, then work on organizing your time and future plans. If you need tips on how to organize you can check out one of my previous posts where I gave some tips on how to organize and de-clutter.
5. Add a healthy hobby to your toolkit
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The pandemic caused many of us to have more time at home or isolated from society, giving us extra time that we wouldn't otherwise have. We often will fill that void with watching TV or playing, but instead, we can use this time to enjoy a hobby we like or adopt a new one. It can be as mundane as taking a picture every day, as long as it's something you enjoy and makes you feel good. If there's a skill you have or have been wanting to learn now is a good time to work on it. Having to stay away from friends and family can be stressful, but this is one good way to relieve stress and give you something to brag about!