2020 has been an incredibly turbulent year for all of us. Maintaining our physical and mental wellbeing amid social distancing rules and continuous lockdowns is particularly challenging. Today, wellness is more critical than ever before.
As we get accustomed to the new normal, it is crucial to make our well-being a top priority. If you have not already committed to a consistent wellness practice, now is the time to begin.
Here are my top five tips for a healthier you:
1. Stay Hydrated
As your body consists of about 60% water, it is not hard to see how even mild dehydration can reduce your mental and physical performance. Proper hydration is critical to regulating body temperature, keeping joints lubricated, preventing infections, delivering nutrients to cells, and keeping organs functioning properly.
Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. For optimal hydration levels, drink about half a gallon of water each day. If still water is not satisfying, try sparkling instead. My tip here is to always have a glass of water with you no matter what you are doing. This way, you will get in the habit of drinking it throughout the day.
2. Move Your Body
Research has shown that exercise boosts your immune system. Movement also increases the production of endorphins, which are the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. As a general goal, aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.
There are countless workout classes available online. I recommend Melissa Wood Health, The Class by Taryn Toomey, Tracey Anderson, & Alo Moves, all of which offer a free trial. YouTube is another great place to find workout videos. If looking for a low impact activity, walking is a great way to get some movement and connect with nature. Setting a specific time each day for working out can help. I enjoy working out first thing in the morning because it sets the tone for the rest of the day.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Your body needs around 7-9 hours of sleep to heal and repair. A decrease in the amount of sleep can increase your stress levels, cause impulsive eating, reduce your productivity, weaken your immune system, and even lead to depression.
If you have trouble sleeping, I recommend looking at your food and beverage intake. Are you drinking a lot of caffeine or alcohol? How about eating processed foods that are high in sugar? If you can’t kick the coffee, try switching to decaf. If you enjoy drinking wine or other alcoholic beverages at night, try to just have one drink. If you crave sugar, try switching to fresh fruit.
4. Seek Nourishment
A balanced diet will foster a robust immune system. Think of food as fuel, and realize that what you put into your body directly impacts your performance and energy levels. It is essential to eat clean, whole foods because this is the best way to get the vitamins and nutrients needed to perform at an optimum level.
While I believe in bio-individuality, meaning there is no one size fits all diet and you need to find what works best for you, a standard healthy eating plan typically emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products. It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Lastly, be mindful of saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Let’s face it, stress – good and bad – is a part of everyone’s life. The mere act of living in our modern society predisposes us to a wide range of stressful situations. According to science, ongoing stress harms our immune system and is a sure-fire way to burnout and depression.
It is critical to slow down, breathe, and focus your attention within. Practice mindfulness or meditation regularly by sitting quietly for 5 or more minutes each day. Quiet your mind and think about being in the present moment. Sit and observe your thoughts passing by like clouds on a stormy day. Find your happy, quiet place and watch your inner world transform.
In such uncertain times, when so many things are out of our control, we can still decide to make our well-being a top priority. Use this time as an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and create a powerful self-care and wellness routine. When you give yourself permission to put yourself first and feel good, it will cause a ripple effect that transforms your entire being.