Now is the perfect time of year to start fresh and recommit to taking care of our bodies and minds. We’ve all been reminded lately how vital our health is and how interconnected our physical and mental well-being is. But not many of us know where to start when making lasting changes to our health.
The best place is always at home. You can control your environment there and make choices that affect your health daily. Plus, living healthier at home can save you time and money in the long run. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet.
Eating more plants has been linked with decreased risk of chronic disease, better gut health, and improved mood and cognitive function. If you’re not ready to commit to an entirely plant-based diet, start by adding one additional plant-based meal to your weekly routine. This can be as simple as swapping meat for tofu in your stir-fry or having a big salad for lunch instead of a sandwich.
Some people also find it helpful to meal plan or batch-cook plant-based meals on the weekends to have healthy options ready to go during the week. You can also try plant-based meal delivery services if cooking is not your thing. Make sure to research to find a service that fits your needs and dietary preferences.
2. Get moving every day!
Exercise has many benefits—it can help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, increase energy levels, and boost immunity—the list goes on. And you don’t have to go to the gym or buy fancy equipment to get moving. Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood, or try a yoga flow in your living room. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily can significantly improve your overall health.
If you’re not used to being active, start by adding some simple movement into your daily routine. Walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, park your car a few blocks away from the grocery store, or walk the dog an extra time around the block. Little things add up and can help you reach your goal of 30 minutes of daily activity. Make it a family affair and get the kids involved too!
3. Get more sunlight.
Sunlight exposure is essential for our bodies to produce vitamin D, which is vital for bone health, immunity, and brain function. Most people don’t get enough vitamin D from food, so it’s important to get some sun exposure every day, if possible. Just 10-15 minutes a day is all you need.
If you can’t get outside every day, try to spend time near a sunny window. Avoid staying too long in direct sunlight, as this can increase your risk of skin cancer. Try using an umbrella to block the direct sunlight, and wear sunscreen at all times. Some people also create more shade in their houses using home carports where you can stay outdoors while being protected from the sun.
4. Unplug and disconnect from technology.
With everything that’s going on in the world, it’s essential to take some time for yourself each day to relax and unwind. Disconnecting from technology can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve focus and concentration. Try setting aside 30 minutes each day—maybe first thing in the morning or right before bed—to disconnect from electronics and do something calming, like reading or meditating.
If you cannot disconnect for 30 minutes, start with 10 minutes and work your way up. It’s also essential to create some “technology-free” zones in your house, like the bedroom, so you can have screen-free time before bed. These small changes can make a big difference in your overall health and well-being.
5. Reduce stress.
Chronic stress can take a toll on our physical and mental health. It can weaken the immune system, increase blood pressure and heart rate, and lead to weight gain. If you’re feeling stressed, there are some simple things you can do to reduce stress levels. Try exercises like yoga or Tai Chi, which have been shown to help reduce stress. Meditation is also a great way to clear your mind and focus on the present moment.
If you’re not into meditation, try deep breathing exercises or listening to calming music. It’s also essential to create a support system of family and friends who can help you through stressful times. Talking to someone about what’s going on can help reduce stress and make you feel better.
Implementing small changes in our daily lives can greatly impact our long-term health. Today, pledge to take better care of yourself by following these simple tips. Your body will thank you! With a little effort, you can live a healthier life at home.