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  • Melissa MacDonald DC

Time for Self-Care: 4 Easy Things for Health at Home

Updated: Apr 14


Currently, the world is fending off a virus that is at pandemic portions. Everyone is being affected by events being canceled, schools closed, and where possible, jobs are having people work from home. All the changes happening at once can be frightening and/or aggravating. But now that everyone is home and without having a commute to work, you might have gained 1-3 hours per day, not driving. What if you took those extra hours and did one thing to better yourself? Have you ever wanted to establish a workout routine? Meal Prep?

Photo by Adomas Aleno on Unsplash

Now might be the opportunity to use this extra time to establish the routines for the future. You have four weeks minimum to better yourself and your family. Here are some ideas, granted just pick one to develop over the next month.

FOOD

- Family/Friend Meals

- Meal Prepping

- Healthy Cooking

- Drink More Water

When it comes to food, this is something that is a daily part of our lives. Quite a few people have developed an unhealthy relationship with food, whether it is eating too much or too little, but the food is necessary to live and be healthy. While we are staying safe at home, it may be fun to eat dinner together, set aside the electronics, and eat. Granted, if you are home alone, keep the electronics out and have a zoom dinner date. This will help you eat more slowly due to conversation and allow your stomach to tell you when you are full. We are social creatures, and right now, we aren’t able to socialize in typical situations, and sit-down meals can allow for normalcy.

Now with your meals, consider filling half your plate with vegetables and some fruit: soups, Salads, Stews, raw or frozen vegetables, and smoothies. They are nutrient-dense and calorically low, meaning they are essential to a healthy diet. By adding variety to your menu, you’ll ensure you are getting a range of unique benefits from a wide selection of ingredients. For instance, instead of your regular morning toast, try overnight oatmeal or add differently colored vegetables to your shopping cart.


Now you’re home for all the meals, but when home, it is easier to graze and eat throughout the day. “Boredom” can happen and eating can occur, lets change that narrative and schedule meals starting with the morning, because you need to focus and stay energized during the daytime, you should eat a filling breakfast, a medium-sized lunch, and a light dinner. You’ll go to bed feeling more comfortable, and you’ll wake up feeling hungry, which is what you need to start all over again and take control of your food.

Photo by Melissa Walker Horn on Unsplash

Another way to curve hunger and improve health is to drink water. Water is essential for staying hydrated and avoiding headaches, fatigue, and problems focusing. The amount is water varies from person to person based on activity and size, but there is a baseline of eight glasses of eight ounces. Here are three simple guidelines to follow at the very least:

1. drink when you’re thirsty

2. When you’re no longer thirsty stop drinking

3. During high heat and exercise, make sure to drink enough to compensate for the lost fluids


Try to use a reusable water bottle on hand and always place it in sight to remind you to drink regularly. Tea, herbal tea, and unsweetened coffee are also good options for upping fluids without sugar. Although, coffee and tea are thought of as diuretics or something that will make you urinate, its only in high doses, not normal daily consumptions. It would take more than 5 cups of coffee to reach the amount of caffeine required to be a real concern, so having a cup of tea or coffee to break up the water is ok.

Being Active

In North America, prolonged inactivity is a problem that’s as prevalent as a general lack of exercise. This problem has increased with our stay at home order and closing of gyms. Staying seated for hours at a time decreases the body’s ability to consume fats and sugars, which can lead to several health problems.


There is a simple solution:

  1. stand up as often as possible

  2. stand up when you’re on the phone

  3. use the stairs

You should set regular reminders to adjust your posture. Bring your neck and hips into a neutral position, then pull your shoulder blades back and stick your chest out. Seated cat/cows can alleviate some of the pressure. Try and perform five once per hour of constant sitting. A good posture helps every muscle work optimally and reduces stress on your joints. In the long run, you’ll reduce your risk of getting backaches, and in the short term, you’ll feel more confident, energized, and you’ll be able to breathe better


The one thing we can do outside is be active, so do so whenever you can. Walk. The minimum number of steps you should be taking every day is 10,000. On a typical workday, you might take a break and walk around the building or run an errand to the store. Now, most days, you’re staying home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t walk around the neighborhood to work towards your goals. Plus, a great bonus of getting some fresh air every day is one of the most comfortable and most pleasant ways of improving your health. There are significant health benefits of natural daylight, including improved mood, vitamin D, and just getting out of your home. Furthermore, spending time outside is an excellent way to manage your stress.


Now might be a good time to start a home exercise program that is more “aggressive.” Currently, the clinic is releasing daily home exercises that require minimal to no equipment. It is crucial to load our bodies to prevent osteoporosis, age-related muscle loss and can prevent backaches. Being active can simply make activities easier; it’s in your best interest to use your muscles as often as possible.


Sleep Hygiene

Sleep, just like exercise and a healthy diet, is one of the pillars of good health. Getting enough sleep, between 7 and 8 hours every night, regularly, will have a positive effect on your mood, memory, longevity, as well as your cognitive and physical performance. The first step to improving sleep is to be consistent. Meaning you need to try and go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time. This can be hard if you have a schedule that changes or you are a shift worker that can have things flipped around. The next step is to make sure the bedroom is set up to sleep, which includes the space being quiet, dark, relaxing, and a comfortable temperature. Now the hard part, removing electronic devices. This includes TVs, computers, and smartphones, which can be hard if you use your phone as your alarm. Part of the pre-bed routine involves what you consume before bed or what you should not consume – avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol. Another way to help you sleep is to be active during the day to help manage stress and make you feel exhausted, which can help you relax. With all the suggestions, do the best you can.

Well Being

Photo by Natalia Figueredo on Unsplash

Working on the picture of wellbeing can be a vital part of staying healthy, and now while at home is an excellent time to start. Putting away your smartphone might seem like an enormous challenge but being connected 24/7 can have adverse side effects on your memory, creativity, and productivity, and now with working at home it is hard to escape it. I know every day breaks from electronics can seem insane but it only takes an hour. Think of it as a micro-vacation. This simply means a moment in your day when you can rest and relax, lay back and stare off into the distance, and let your brain wander. You’ll be surprised at how beneficial this can be for your creativity and energy levels. Disconnect at least one hour every day and give your brain a well-deserved break and be an essential part of mental health. During that downtime try reading, meditating, or perhaps even working out. This is a natural habit to adopt and will significantly impact your mood. Merely raising the corners of your mouth produces endorphins, providing instant happiness.

In conclusion, one of the advantages of adopting healthy lifestyle habits is that it’s possible to maintain them forever. This isn’t always possible with extreme solutions that often turn into a fad. By focusing on healthy lifestyle habits, you’ll ensure your success is long-lasting. Take these four weeks at home to create at least one healthy habit to take forward with you.

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