Schedules can drive every aspect of our lives, including physical health. When the pandemic prompted us to stay at home more often, it shifted our priorities, jumbled our routines and created a ‘new normal’ for our bodies to adjust to.
We’re familiar with the emotional and mental toll the pandemic has on our lives, but physical health has been affected too. For some, fitness goals were put on hold and others may have fallen out of their routine—either way, these ongoing changes may have led to some unwanted weight gain or a workout rut. If you’re looking to refresh your routine or try something new check out the tips below to handle the ‘pandemic pause.’
1. Practice mindful eating.
The act of being mindful is not reserved for mental health – it plays a role in nutrition too. It’s a tried-and-true way to combat bad habits and shift the focus to positive habits; however, mindful eating is no simple feat, it will take some time to work into your daily life. A few ways to start mindful eating include:
- Keep more healthy foods around. Stock up on nutritious snacks and make healthy swaps when possible, and you’ll find yourself reaching for more nutritious foods that keep you full longer.
- Eat your meal slowly and, if possible, without distraction. It can take our brains up to 20 minutes to realize we’re full. Eating slow helps avoid overeating, as does focusing on your meal rather than trying to multitask.
- Engage your senses by recognizing colors, smells, textures and flavors. This aids in helping you slow down while eating and teaches better appreciation of food – make each meal an experience for all your senses!
If you’re up for the challenge, start with one meal a day to focus on these points. When it becomes more natural, start implementing the habits into more meals.
2. Defeat dehydration.
Dehydration is more common than most people think and if you’re craving water, chances are you’re already mildly dehydrated. Proper hydration has many proven benefits—improving dry skin, increasing energy, even stimulating weight loss.
While there are many factors that determine how much water to drink in a day, one way to work more into your routine is to drink water before each meal. Excessive liquids during meals can lead to bloating or indigestion but drinking water more than 30 minutes before a meal can help curb cravings that may be disguised by dehydration.
3. Get movin’.
Incorporating movement into daily life is essential to general wellbeing and a healthy weight, but we’ve been conditioned to sit (at the desk, on the couch, in public) so it may feel like a daunting task.
If getting steps in is a struggle, turn a meeting into a walking meeting by skipping video and dialing in, or set a timer to take a 30-second to 1-minute break for some stretches or calf raises while standing at your desk. Priority Health members can use the Wellbeing Hub to sign up for walking challenges or try new exercises.
4. Thank your body.
When a friend helps you with a task or does something helpful, you thank them. So, when your body helps you walk two miles or clean the house, thank your body. It may seem silly, but speaking kind words to yourself creates affirmation and shifts the focus from weight loss or gain to how you feel right now. Even if weight loss is the goal, appreciating where you’re at is extremely important part of self-care.
Don’t know where to start? Try these:
- “I honor my body by trusting the signals it sends me”
- “I am strong and capable”
- Or a “thank you ___ for ___” (i.e. “thank you arms for helping me clean today”)
There’s no better day to start than today, try combining these tips to kickstart a routine your body will thank you for.