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Ten Tips for Staying Healthy When Your Routine is Thrown Off

Given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the need for most of us to stay safe at home, it is easy to feel like our usual routines are thrown off. The regular schedule of going to work or school helps us feel organized and focused. Without that structure, we may feel like we are not taking care of ourselves as much as we are used to. Adapting to change and reorganizing your routine can feel pretty overwhelming right now. Here are a few health tips to help get you through this:

Eat Breakfast

Since the majority of us are home during the week, chances are we have more time to consume breakfast instead of rushing out of the door without time to eat. Focus on eating a nutritious breakfast such as oatmeal with fruit or scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast. Eating breakfast is great for adding structure to your new morning routine, and for getting your metabolism started! 

Focus on Creating Balanced Meals 

You may feel the urge to consume more junk food than normal, or snack and graze throughout the day while being home, instead of creating balanced meals. However, a silver lining of being home is that there is extra time to cook something nourishing and satisfying! Aim for 3 balanced meals a day filled with lean proteins, fiber, fruits, and vegetables. Without good nutrition, our bodies tend to lack energy and our ability to stay focused. Balanced nutrition can also help us better manage stress, which is an important part of both mental and physical health during periods of heightened anxiety. 

Meal Prep for the Week 

Meal prepping for the week can help you save time while working from home, while also allowing you to continue a weekly or bi-weekly routine of preparing home-cooked meals. Meal prepping can also save stress by avoiding last minute decisions on what to eat and trips to the food store (which we should try to avoid, given the current public health recommendations to social distance and stay home). Preparing and creating meals for the week will help contribute to an overall more balanced diet. 

Do a 10 minute Meditation or Journal Exercise 

With all of the confusion and worry that exists in the world right now, it is important that we aim to manage our anxiety as much as possible. Meditation and journaling are great tools to use to increase clarity, focus and calmness. Aiming for 10 minutes each day can reduce stress and increase feelings of relaxation. Some great phone apps include Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer and Aura. 

Get Outside 

Being stuck inside all day is no fun, especially when we aren’t able to take part in regular social or recreational activities. Going for a 30 minute walk or simply sitting outside can greatly impact your mood, and as of now, these are still considered safe activities! With the warm weather coming up, take this extra time to enjoy the sunshine and nature. 

Stay Hydrated 

Being well-hydrated improves sleep quality, cognition and mood. It also plays a role in removing waste from our bodies. Aiming for eight cups of water each day will keep you hydrated, energized, and in a good mood. 

Aim for 7-8 hours of Sleep Per Night

Maintaining 7-8 hours of sleep per night is important for our immune system, cognition, managing hunger levels, and stress. To improve sleep quality, avoid stimulants at night, avoid blue-light exposure, exercise regularly and manage your stress throughout the day. 

Make Time for Activities 

To take your focus off all of the chaos in the world and your work, make time for a fun activity that you want to try or that you enjoy. Some fun activities that you can do include puzzles, crocheting, learning a new language, organizing your home, or cooking a new recipe. 

Schedule Time for Exercise 

Making time for exercise while being stuck at home may seem like an impossible task. Scheduling time for exercise not only ensures that you will complete a workout, but also helps you create a routine for yourself. Simply putting a 30 minute walk or a short workout video into your calendar can make a huge difference in how you feel throughout the day. 

Stretch 

We know that stretching increases flexibility, but did you know that it can also help with managing stress levels? Simply stretching for 10 - 15 minutes each day can calm your mind and increase your overall energy. 

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-staying-hydrated

https://www.healthline.com/health/science-sleep-why-you-need-7-8-hours-night#takeaway

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