If you’re anything like me, you’re finding that being healthy in quarantine is more than an uphill battle. Some days, it feels like a deep existential struggle just to get out of bed and go through the motions of daily life, let alone attempt to reach optimal health and well-being.
We’re all facing an unprecedented set of challenges and roadblocks right now. And that means it’s time for a little self-compassion. To make it as easy as possible to get started on your health restoration journey, I’d like to share a few super simple good health practices I’ve put into place recently in hopes they might work for you. Each of these practices should take you five minutes or less to implement in your life today, and each of them could help steer you toward big results in the future.
1. Complete three minutes of exercise.
There’s a reason why you can’t seem to motivate yourself to complete that yoga video or go for that run. You may have great intentions surrounding exercise (one of the most important contributors to our physical and emotional well-being) but getting started on your workout still feels impossible.
We can blame this phenomenon on physics – one of the most fundamental laws is that an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. This means that transitioning from a passive state to an active state requires inertia, force, and energy – both physical and mental! To make this transition easier on myself, I like to commit to only three minutes of exercise. I put on my workout clothes (usually at the start of the day), and then when I decide it’s time, I set a three-minute timer. I promise myself that I can stop the exercise when the timer is up. However, once I’m moving, I usually find that the activity is more pleasant and invigorating than expected, and I voluntarily continue moving after the timer goes off. And even if I don’t keep moving, I still fulfilled a commitment to myself and got a bit of exercise, got the blood flowing and feel ready to attack the day with more energy. So, it’s a win-win.
2. Create a daily health alert.
This is an astoundingly simple practice, but very few people use it. I recommend setting a health-related reminder to pop up at the same time every day. I use my phone’s alarm function for this, and make sure that the sound is on so it can’t be ignored. My alert says, “Eat an apple and take your supplements.” As a health product company founder, I’m passionate about the usage of vitamins and supplements of many varieties and believe they can have a hugely positive effect on my overall health and well-being. Getting a pop-up alert makes me much, much more likely to take them on a consistent basis. But your alert could be for anything related to good health and well-being, as long as it’s simple and takes just a moment or two to complete (i.e. drink 8oz of water, stretch back on the floor, make a green tea, etc).
3. Write out five 5-minute meals.
Nutrition is perhaps the single most important factor in health and well-being. And most of us are in a deep struggle with it on a daily basis. To begin to change your eating habits, I recommend starting with ease, convenience and simplicity. Get a piece of paper, a dry erase board or a set of index cards and brainstorm some meal ideas for yourself.
But here’s the catch – these meals need to meet three important criteria – they need to be tasty enough that you’ll actually eat them, preferably repeatedly; they need to elevate your health in some way (i.e. incorporating additional vegetables, meeting a calorie limit, or utilizing only whole foods); and they need to take five minutes or less to put together. This may seem impossible, but there are a plethora of online resources to help you out as you brainstorm, and you may surprise yourself as you start to think up ideas. One of my favorites is a simple spinach salad – pre-washed baby spinach, pre-cooked and chopped rotisserie chicken, some matchstick carrots or pre-chopped zucchini, plus a sprinkle of dried cranberries, goat cheese, sunflower seeds and some vinaigrette. It takes me just a few minutes to throw it all in a bowl, tastes delicious and provides a powerful nutritional punch.
4. Sleep – even more than you think you should.
The last bit of advice is the easiest and simplest yet. Sleep more – even more than you think you should. The fact is, 70% of American adults report they get insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11% report insufficient sleep every night. In this time of quarantine, when you’re spending more time at home than ever before, why not take full advantage of the situation by scheduling some extra rest? Your body and mind will thank you and your immune system needs it. It’s when we sleep that our body does most of its repair work and strengthens itself for optimal health.
As a health and wellness entrepreneur and innovator, I have both a professional and a personal interest in motivating and encouraging you to put your physical health at the forefront of your daily routine. There’s nothing more inspiring to me than watching a friend, family member or customer make some changes to their physical well-being – even if the changes are small at the start.