10 Things to do at Home to Stay Happy and Healthy
Across Canada and around the world, we’re all doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 – and protecting our health has never been more important.
But the usual routines that we depend on for our everyday health and happiness aren’t accessible when we’re practicing self-isolation and social distancing, and it is a difficult transition for many to be home all of the time.
Here are 10 ways to help support your body, mind and mood at home throughout these uncertain times.
1. Eat Well
Eating well is the foundation of a healthy body and mood. Grocery stores and health food stores are open as essential businesses but minimizing shopping trips to once a week or less is encouraged. Take stock of your fridge and pantry and do some meal planning to make your trips as efficient as possible.
Purchasing non-perishable food items is advised, but buying fresh produce is important too. Fruits and veggies like broccoli, carrots and apples can keep for weeks, and produce can also be cut up and frozen for months. Sprouting seeds at home is an excellent practice for keeping nutrient-rich fresh greens on hand.
Stress and boredom eating are easy habits to fall into when cooped up, so have healthy snacks ready, like these Savoury Organic Bliss Balls. Get inspired with our healthy recipes for everything from hearty meals to soothing beverages.
2. Get Restorative Sleep
Quality sleep supports every aspect of your health, including appetite, mood, and immunity. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night, avoiding screens (and the news) for a few hours before settling in.
You can relax with chamomile or lemon balm herbal teas, which have traditionally been used for their calming effects, and as sleep aids. Sublingual melatonin can also help, reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and increasing total sleep time.
3. Avoid “Too Much” News
Checking the news is important to stay informed on the current situation and up to date on public health advisories, but constantly checking statistics and reports can be anxiety inducing. Once or twice a day is adequate to get the information you need. This goes for social media too. If you find that your feed is giving you more feelings of stress than connection.
4. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude journaling can shift the focus away from stress, sadness and helplessness towards the positive forces in our lives. Every day, make some space and time to sit quietly and record five things you’re grateful for. These can include things, people, memories, or anything that comes into the mind. Practicing this daily can help to organize thoughts, encourage restful sleep, cultivate presence and reduce anxiety.
5. Move Every Day
Exercise has the power to lift blues and support overall health, but without gyms and fitness studios, activity levels can drop off. Depending on where you live, it can even be problematic to get out for a short walk.
Fortunately, fitness instructors are responding to the crisis with more online classes than ever. Many fitness websites and social media platforms have a variety of options you can easily access. Some links we love include: Fitness Blender, Core Power Yoga Live and Gaia Yoga.
As far as equipment goes, DIY it! Grab a couple of cans of beans for weights, hand towels as sliders and a sturdy stool as a step-up prop.
6. Stick to a Routine
Keeping up with a regular routine provides comfort of the familiar and encourages regular healthy habits. Posting a list of daily “to-dos” can help you stay on top of your health, work and household duties. This applies to the whole family, as children can also be reassured by consistency and familiar patterns.
7. Use Stress Management Tools
All these tips contribute to healthy stress levels, but some extra help may be needed. Certain supplements can help to relieve stress, as can a daily meditation practice of sitting comfortably in stillness for 10-15 minutes. Or, settle nerves by simply taking 10 deep, slow breaths regularly throughout the day to help ground you and find calm.
Remember – feelings of fear, stress and worry are normal in a crisis and there are resources available to support your mental health.
8. Clean Your Space
At home, frequently wiping down high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and light switches is a good practice, but unless a member of your household is sick, obsessively cleaning with harsh solvents isn’t necessary.
Nonetheless, a fresh, clean house is good for general health and decluttering can help create a calm atmosphere. With the arrival of hay fever season, reducing allergens in the home is also important for a relaxing, healthy living space.
9. Practice Self-Care
Isolation, pressures from working at home, parenting responsibilities, financial stress and concern about loved ones are worries that are affecting all of us. Look for opportunities that can help cultivate happiness, whether it’s a nap, a dance party or family game night. We’re all outside of our “normal” right now, so it’s important to be gentle with yourself.
10. Make Connections
Even if following best practices for social distancing, the safest place to be right now is at home, which is inspiring people to connect with loved ones in more creative ways. Online platforms allow for work meetings, video chatting and even organizing a group video meet up. Good “old fashioned” phone calls are another fantastic way to connect. Checking in with loved ones can help reduce feelings of isolation and be an enormous comfort to you and them.
We’re all in this together and making the best of staying home is crucial for everyone’s safety and health – and necessary to get us back to our normal lives. Use these tips to support your health and happiness at home and don’t forget to wash your hands!