When you find yourself stuck inside your home - whether it be because of poor weather, a hard winter, an international crisis, or some other reason - you might find yourself lacking in motivation and resources to pursue a healthy lifestyle that you know is best for your body. There are plenty of simple things you can do to boost your overall wellness, though, and many of them do not take much time (or even effort in some cases). Of course, always contact your primary healthcare provider(s) before implementing any drastic lifestyle changes.
1. Drink Water
Being at home means being near a supply of water at all times, which may actually put you in a better position to stay hydrated than if you were working at a busy office with only a lone water cooler and some paper cups or on the road running errands with just your water bottle to rely on. The general rule is to aim for 64 ounces of water per day (often counted in eight eight-ounce glasses), but you can calculate a better target for yourself by dividing your body weight in half and drinking that amount in ounces, i.e. drinking 70 ounces of water a day if you weight 140 pounds. Isolation also might be the perfect time to try a water challenge because you have unlimited access to a bathroom.
Whatever your goal intake, set up an easy system to stay on track. If you have a dry erase board on your refrigerator, mark a tally every time you down a glass of water. If that seems like too much work, dig a big pitcher or bottle out of your cabinet, fill it up, and then pour from it through the day so that you only need to count say three thirty-ounce containers instead of a higher amount of smaller glasses. You may also want to add frozen fruit, fresh herbs like basil leaves, or other natural sources of flavor to vary the taste and make drinking more water enjoyable and appealing.
2. Eat well
Being busy and on the go can lead to skipped, rushed, or not-so-healthy meals, but being at home means having a bit more time to dedicate to cooking and eating. Then again, being at home also means more opportunity to graze on junk food all day! Set yourself up for success by being mindful of your choices at the grocery store (i.e. limiting the amount of sugary and greasy snacks you buy), prepping nutritious meals at the beginning of the week, and blocking off time on your schedule and/or setting an alarm to remind yourself to stop what you're doing, take a few deep breaths, and savor your food.
No gym, no yoga studio, no personal trainer? No problem! Staying active at home can take you into unexplored territory as you get creative with your space and what household items can be used for fitness. Mats, dumbbells, and resistance bands can go a long way, but there are also exercises that use body weight or no weight at all if you don't have any equipment. YouTube has tons of free fitness videos, and if you find an instructor you really like, you can check to see if he or she has a subscription service granting access to even more content. Outside of traditional aerobics and strength training, broaden your horizon by trying other fun forms of activity. Qigong, yoga, Pilates, belly dancing... You'd be surprised at how many different ways there are to move your body and how enjoyable doing something new can be.
Just like there are a million and one ways to exercise, there are also a variety of forms of meditation, almost all of which can be done inside. Traditionally meditation involves sitting still and clearing the mind, but if that's not for you, try these other techniques:
- Guided meditation: Search YouTube or your favorite app for one of these to listen to a gentle voice leading you through breathing and/or visualization exercises. We see this as the easiest way to meditate because you'll have something definite - the voice - to come back to when your mind wanders.
- Heartfulness meditation: Especially great if you're feeling down, this type of meditation revolves around sending and receiving love from those that you cherish, i.e. by visualizing them wishing you happiness and peace.
- Breath-centered meditation: Focus on your breath to anchor you through your meditative practice, either by counting your breaths or being aware of the location and feel of your breaths (i.e. placing your hand on your diaphragm and tuning in to its motion as you breathe in and out).
- Word-centered meditation: Choose a word or two that you wish to attract and use it as the core of your meditative practice, i.e. repeating "harmony" to yourself. This is similar to but definitely not the same as Transcendental Meditation.
- Mindfulness meditation: Practice being hyper-aware of your surroundings to truly experience the present moment. This one is fun because it can be done any time, anywhere, for any amount of time to heighten your satisfaction with what you're doing. You can of course practice it sitting on a chair or lying on a couch - feeling the texture of the furniture's material, listening to the noises of your house, etc. - but you can also get creative. Try mindful walking by taking slow, deliberate steps and feeling the ground beneath your feet as well as the little muscles involved in balance and motion, or try mindful dish washing by taking a few moments to notice the temperature of the water on your skin, the aroma of the soap, and the rainbow of colors inside the soap bubbles. The possibilities are endless!
Finally, being stuck at home means no worries about hitting traffic on your commute and is therefore the perfect time to find your perfect sleep schedule. It may feel nice to stay in bed a bit longer, but if you're waking up naturally way before your alarm, use the extra time to develop a routine based on our previous recommendations.
Most of what we discussed here is common sense, or put another way, the things you know you should be doing for your health regardless of the circumstance. However, being isolated inside might provide challenges to your normal routine, but the beauty of holistic wellness is that there is always another solution to support your body if you only do a little digging and keep an open mind.
Kathleen Ellerie is a Licensed Acupuncturist and the owner of Beachside Community Acupuncture. She loves providing affordable acupuncture to the residents of Addison, Dallas, and Farmers Branch, Texas, and educating the general public on how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat everything from pain to infertility to stress and beyond. Click "Book Now" at the top of this page to book an appointment or feel free to contact her at (214) 417-2260.