A lot of people got into unhealthy habits during the pandemic.
More than 60% of people reported significant weight gain during the pandemic, with the average American gaining 29 pounds, according to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association.
People also reported eating more junk food, drinking too much alcohol, avoiding exercise, and watching or streaming more movies and entertainment shows.
These and other negative behavior changes may have been related to an inability to cope with the enormous stress of remote work, virtual school and social isolation, the APA survey found.
It’s time to get your life back on track and start making healthier choices.
Here are 13 tips for living a healthier life:
- Eat a good breakfast — Your first meal of the day kicks your metabolism into gear and reduces the likelihood that you will overeat later in the day. A healthy breakfast will also help you stay focused at work, and help kids do better at school. We like to include NADI Happy Hearts Apple Chips with our breakfast to get extra fiber in our diet.
- Drink plenty of fluids — Water is important, and low-calorie juices can also be part of a healthy diet. We like to drink NADI Wild Rosehip juice because it’s loaded with Vitamin C, antioxidants, polyphenols and other nutrients.
- Plan meals — When you plan meals and buy groceries ahead of time, you’re more likely to serve healthier food with more fruits and vegetables.
- Take breaks to exercise — Get up and move several times each day. Even a 10-minute walk around the block or climbing a few flights of stairs can get your heart pumping, clear your head and help you focus when you sit back down to work.
- Give up smoking or vaping — There’s a misperception that vaping is healthier than smoking, but e-cigarettes and vape pens can still contain harmful chemicals and many of them still have addictive nicotine. Try to kick the habit for good.
- Learn something new — Whether it’s learning to play an instrument, learning how to speak a new language, taking a painting or ceramics class, our minds become more engaged and active when we challenge ourselves. Learning new things has also been linked to better outcomes and less severe symptoms for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders.
- Unplug from electronics — Most of us idly pick up our phones or check social media dozens of times each day, and we’re often not even conscious of doing it or we don’t have a pressing need or purpose for doing it. Try to break that habit, and instead pick up a book or magazine, do something creative like doodle, take a walk, or have a conversation with a colleague or friend.
- Create a healthier bedtime routine — Stop watching TV or using your phone right before bed! The blue light and lull from scrolling through social media can interfere with your circadian rhythm and disrupt your sleep cycles. You should also avoid looking at your phone first thing in the morning when you wake up.
- Get sufficient & better quality sleep — Most adults need 7-9 hours per night, yet many of us have chronic sleep deficits. A wearable fitness device can track the quality of your sleep so you can make adjustments and try to get more sleep and deeper sleep each night. Make the room cool and dark, and consider using a white noise machine or a sleep mask if it helps you sleep better.
- Limit alcohol consumption — Drinking too much can make you sleepy initially, but it can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night as your body processes the sugar from the alcohol or as your bladder becomes full.
- Do strength training — Using weights and doing other strength training helps your body convert fat into muscle and improves your metabolism. Try adding strength training to your exercise routine a couple times each week.
- Find your balance — Exercise that includes balance, such as yoga or pilates or tai chi, can strengthen your entire body and minimize the risk of falling or becoming disoriented.
- Practice mindfulness — Being mindful when you eat and paying close attention to your body’s response such as when you no longer feel hungry can help prevent overeating or stress eating. Mindfulness also applies to our mental health and emotional well being, and meditation can reduce stress levels and improve your ability to cope with difficult situations.