The perfect time to start healthy habits is now
Are you a half a glass full or half a glass empty type of person? Ponder this for a moment.
Before being a trainer, I was the latter. I’d see the negative in all and every situation. However, when you’re coaching someone up and pushing them, being negative doesn’t work.
Unless you’re a jackass.
Being positive as a trainer turned my cup upside down and being a negative nelly is a thing of the past. However, if I ever slip back into old habits, my wife is quick to slap me upside the head.
And that hurts.
Now You Have All This Time On Your Hands…….
To slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus a lot of you have been required to shelter in place. Working from home or not working at all and spending more time with your family is now commonplace.
And while being uncertain about how this will all play out, it’s on you how you respond. Finding the blessings and being positive amid chaos are great options. Because there’s a lot of negativity going on now.
With this extra time on your hands, take this as an opportunity to work on developing healthier habits that help bring a sense of control while the rest of the world is out of control.
But What Are Habits?
A habit is a routine of behavior that’s repeated regularly and tends to occur without you even thinking about it. You just do it, like the Nike slogan. It’s a settled tendency, that’s ingrained in your brain.
Habits Are Usually Divided Into 3 Groups.
The first group of habits you don’t notice because they have been part of your life forever—like tying shoelaces or brushing teeth. These are automatic.
Second are habits that are good for you and ones you work hard on establishing—like exercising, eating well or getting enough sleep.
And then there are bad habits—like smoking, procrastinating or overspending. These are the ones you try to get rid of. Or maybe not because you enjoy them too much. 😊
Here are 6 tips to help you establish better habits.
Steps To Take To Get Healthier Habits
1. Start small– Most people want to create big change as quickly as possible. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight start with drinking a glass of water before each meal
2. Get hooked on your habit- That’s the point. It takes a little while to make it a habit to stick. Don’t worry if you miss a day. Just don’t miss it twice.
3. Have clear intentions- Having a goal always helps. For example, you want to lose weight to keep up with your kids.
4. Celebrate your small wins- You have to enjoy the journey. Even if you walked for an extra 10 minutes or did an extra rep of an exercise, give yourself a pat on the back.
5. Design your environment- Make it easier for the habit to stick, not harder. For example, if you want to go to the gym, pack your bag the night before and make it one of the first things you see when you wake up and get moving
6. Surround yourself with supporters- If you’re trying to lose weight but your partner is still pigging out on ice cream, do you think it makes losing weight easier or more difficult?
And you can do this.
5 Healthier Habits You Can Start Now
Keeping the above in mind, here are 5 healthy habits to develop (if you haven’t already) to help your mind and body healthy in this time of crisis. Not only will they build your fitness and immunity, these will (hopefully) stop you from punching holes in the wall also.
Start And End The Day With Gratitude
Daily, for the past 2 years, I’ve started the day writing 3 things that I’m grateful for. And for the past 4 years, I’ve exchanged texts with a friend daily, texting 3 positive things.
During this time, I’ve had bad days. Friends dying, getting fired and going through intense physical and mental pain. But I’ve always managed to find something positive for the day.
This is not about denying bad things happen or it’s all sunshine rainbows and unicorns. It’s about having a more positive outlook and to be on the lookout for positive things in your day. Because it’s never hard to find the negative.
Please buy a notebook and start journaling today and text a friend to see if they want to exchange 3 things of positivity. Because having a positive mindset goes a long way in keeping your sanity during difficult times.
Get Inside Your Own Head
For 10 minutes a day, I shut myself off from the world, close my eyes, get inside my head and breathe. Otherwise known as mediation.
I used to think this was for hippies with long hair who took way too many drugs. But once I made mediation a habit, I realized first hand all the benefits it provides.
Now it does take a while to shut the monkey brain off and get the hang of it but once you set aside some time each day to dive into your own head, you’ll reap the benefits too.
And when you do it at the same time, in the same place, start small (5 minutes instead of 10) and you don’t miss 2 days in a row, it will soon become a healthy habit for you also.
Aim For 8000-12000 Steps Per Day
There are numerous health benefits to walking and there’s no need to rehash it all here. However, the hidden benefit of walking is it reinforces our natural human contralateral (opposite arm opposite leg) pattern of movement.
And it’s easy, simple and you can do it anywhere.
The contralateral act of walking also activates the left and right hemispheres of the brain which helps you think clearer. And walking is a great stress reliever because it stimulates the brain to release serotonin and endorphins, which help you feel better physically and mentally.
Here are suggestions to add more walking to your day.
· Walk before you eat lunch. For example, if you get 30 minutes for lunch, stroll for 10 minutes and eat and relax for 20 minutes.
· You know that stack of laundry and dishes that need doing? They’re not going to clean themselves.
· Other household chores like vacuuming and cleaning the bathrooms need to get done also. And you might earn brownie points with your partner.
· Outdoor activities like mowing the grass, weeding, watering and clearing out the garden beds will raise a good sweat.
· Walk the dog or yourself for 10 minutes or more.
· Get your kids off their video games and go play catch, basketball or hide and seek.
Drink More Water
Do you know your body weight? If not, go weigh yourself.
Then half this and that’s how much water in ounces you should drink. Obviously, this is dependent on how active you are and whether you’re outside sweating buckets.
But it’s a good starting point.
Furthermore, it’s difficult for the body to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. So, if you’re feeling hungry, you might be dehydrated. So, try drinking a glass of water instead of eating.
Research has also shown that drinking a glass of water before a meal helps you to feel fuller and eat less. A win-win for you and the weight scale during this time of self-quarantine.
If you’re struggling to drink enough water, the following suggestions might help.
· First thing in the morning after you do your morning duties, drink a cup of water from the tap.
· Have water instead of anything else while you’re eating out.
· Have a glass of water with your meal at home.
· Set reminders on your phone to drink water.
· Buy a reusable water bottle and keep it handy.
And seeing a lot of your body consists of water, it’s a handy idea to drink and replace water lost through bodily processes.
Eat More Protein
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.4 grams per pound). And this is on the low end of the spectrum.
To maintain the muscle you have, you need to eat protein because losing muscle is bad for your health and for the way you look in your favorite pair of pants.
I understand it’s sometimes difficult to meet your daily protein needs. This is why it’s good to supplement with protein powder (drinks) along with other lean sources (eggs, cheese, chicken, tuna) of protein because keeping your muscle is vital for your health and vanity.
When the world is out of control, you have to find things within your life you can control. And you can take my word for it because I haven’t punched a hole in the wall.
If you’re looking for an exercise program to do while you’re home, I have one right here. You can thank me later.