If you’ve been struggling, feeling down, or just not feeling like yourself, you’re not alone. Over the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to major lifestyle changes. Many experienced being socially isolated at home, have lost loved ones, and felt the financial impact from inflation or unemployment. All of these things can take a toll on our mental, physical, and emotional health.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the 12 most important habits that can curb feelings of stress and anxiety, reduce your risk of disease, and boost energy and vitality.
According to the CDC , regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve mood and self confidence.
When you exercise, your blood flow increases and your body starts to produce feel-good endorphins . Endorphins improve mood, reduce stress, and alleviate pain. Increased oxygen is great for circulation and reducing inflammation, and can also improve cognition and mental performance. Research suggests that exercise can also promote neuroplasticity in the brain which plays a big role in learning new skills, activities, and languages.
Longer workouts are great, but even seven minutes is enough time to gain benefits. If you’re pressed for time, take a quick stroll around the block, jog in place, do some jumping jacks in your living room, hold a plank position, or take your dog for a walk.
2. Take A Few Minutes To Meditate
Some people struggle with meditation and it’s no wonder – we live in a world with constant stimuli and the simple activity of keeping your body and mind still can be challenging. The great thing about meditation is that you can start small, and work your way up through practice.
Taking just a few deep breaths can have big benefits, such as helping you relax during a stressful scenario, or improving your focus and performance at work. Meditation helps to clear your mind and focus on the present which can lead to boosts in creativity and productivity.
Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can improve your social wellbeing- increasing empathy, laughter, and connection with others. It can also help us better understand ourselves and process our emotions first before acting on them. This sort of mindfulness is great for emotional wellbeing and promoting happiness within ourselves and our relationships.
This can give you peace of mind and lower stress levels. When you get a chance, take the time to research it, mediation can definitely be a great tool to use in many of life’s situations.
3. Massage Therapy
Many studies have been published over the last decade that prove how beneficial massage therapy can be. Massage can have emotional, mental, and physical benefits. We’ve shared many resources that show how massage can help you in your everyday life.
Plus, with massage therapy treatments, you have a wide range of options to choose a specific massage that can help you with some of the conditions you may be experiencing.
Take Swedish massage for example, this type of massage is gentle and relaxing, a great choice for anyone that needs to relieve stress and anxiety. You also have prenatal massage , this type of massage can help with some of the unique conditions you experience while you’re pregnant.
Soothe offers massage therapy in over 70+ different locations across the world, check here to see where Soothe offers massage services.
4. Dental Hygiene
A simple cavity has the power to destroy all of your teeth, if it’s left untreated. Your mouth contains a lot of bacteria and while most of them won’t harm you, some of them can. Your mouth is the portal to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria can cause diseases.
Good oral health care is extremely important, so make sure you’re brushing your teeth everyday daily and flossing – this will help you keep the bacteria under control. Without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease, these can lead to trouble.
This is why dental treatment is very important.
On top of that, new dental technology has come a long way. Take Aspired for example, they offer laser dentistry. This breakthrough technology replaces the dreaded drill for a gentler, faster, and more precise treatment. If you’ve been scared of getting dental work done because you are fearful of the drill and pain, laser dentistry may be a much better option for you.
If you’ve ever experienced tooth pain, you likely know how severe that pain can get. You don’t want your teeth to get to that stage, proper dental care is essential to avoiding discomfort, brushing your teeth daily is a very important healthy habit.
5. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Sleep is very important to your health. When you’re sleeping, your body works to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. Getting inadequate sleep over time can raise your risk for chronic (long-term) health problems.
The U.S. Department of Health And Human Services recommends the following:
- Teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night
- School-aged children need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night
- Preschoolers need to sleep between 10 and 13 hours a day (including naps)
- Toddlers need to sleep between 11 and 14 hours a day (including naps)
- Babies need to sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day (including naps)
- Newborns need to sleep between 14 and 17 hours a day
With that being said, they also shared that getting the proper amount of sleep daily can help you get sick less often, lower your risks for health problems, think more clearly, avoid injuries, and make better decisions.
6. Take Time Out For You
“Burnout” is a real thing. We all need a vacation from time to time, many people love going somewhere new, right? A well planned vacation can be a great fix to get rid of your blues.
Going on vacation has a lot of perks, it can help you feel energized, less stress, rested, renewed, and less anxious. What’s interesting, the happiest feelings you may experience during the whole trip is often during the planning stages of a trip. Simply planning out a brand new adventure can be enough to make you feel better. It’s well worth a try.
It’s great to have something to look forward to, this alone can be a great positive mood-booster for you. It might be a great time too do some research on some locations you’d like to visit and start planning to take that getaway.
While some people do prefer to be alone, it can have a negative impact on you. Even if you enjoy living that lifestyle, all of us need relationships with others. Just the sound of a familiar voice can have a big impact on the way you feel.
Think about those who mean a lot to you, think about those that care about you. It could be a father, mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or just a close friend. Try reaching out to them and see if they have a few minutes to catch up. If it’s a family member, try planning a few hours to reconnect with them, it could be a dinner, sports game, a get together with the kids, or other meaningful events. Even an invitation to your home can work here. This can quickly boost your mood and others may need that boost as well.
If you don’t have time to visit or make a phone call, try sending over a text or reaching out to them via social media. We all want to feel we’re loved, that’s being a human. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple message saying “hello.”
You can put this in action today, think about a close friend or loved one you haven’t talked to in recent memory. Give them a call and reconnect, you may be surprised just how good it can feel.
8. Take A Walk Daily
While walking is definitely exercise, we feel it deserves its own space because walking is more than just exercise: Research from the University of Michigan has found that being in nature can improve cognitive function. For those of you that live in nature or have a passion for the outdoors, you can likely understand this.
In one study, an hour-long trek in a woody park improved subjects’ performances on memory and attention tests by as much as 20 percent, compared with a walk in an urban environment. If you live in the city, try planning a walk outside of the city limits, somewhere secluded. It may be well worth the trip.
9. Learn To Say “No”
Do you have trouble telling others no? If so, you’re not alone. Here’s the thing, when you try to do more than you can handle, most scenarios end up with you being overwhelmed, frustrated, and stressed out. If you do this a lot, it could have health impacts on you.
If someone asks you to do something and you know that you don’t have the time for it, know that it’s completely fine to say no. If you’re in the situation where you can’t say no, make sure you reach out for help. And if you can’t do it, explain why you can’t but do be firm about it.
10. Make Sure To Set Goals
Goals can be powerful motivators. If you make a schedule and set goals for yourself for the week, “you’ll be more on top of your days, and when you’re more on top of your days, you’re more on top of your life.
Try making a checklist of the exact steps you need to take to reach your goal. Once you finish each step, make sure to cross it off. Many of you should feel a sense of accomplishment, this can help you reduce stress and feel better. It’s a great healthy habit. Plus, this is effective to reaching your goals.
If you don’t have any goals set, today is a great time to commit to a new goal.
11. Work And Home Balance
Balancing home and work can be a big challenge. Due to the pandemic, more men and women are working at home now than ever before. This presents a big challenge.
If you’re spending too much time at work, you need to make the effort to schedule time with your family. This can become a difficult tasks, especially for those of you that are being required to work a lot of hours. If you’re working a job like this, it may be time to find a new job. While it may not be a issue at first, working too much can lead to burnout.
Burnout can be difficult to describe. However, it’s not a medical condition. According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology , burnout is defined as “physical, emotional or mental exhaustion, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance and negative attitudes towards oneself and others.”
Spending more time with your family and friends can help with burnout and balance your work/home life.
When you’re balancing work and home, there’s a few things you can do to level it out. Try creating a checklist of things you can do with your family, such as playing games, going for walks, going for a picnic, or taking a hike. Make sure you’re scheduling something fun and entertaining each week, this gives you something to look forward to as well as your kids. Consider doing something for your better half, you could get them a Soothe gift card so they can get a massage or facial. Try cooking for them, set up a romantic dinner for two. Don’t forget about the little things too, such as a love note or a sincere message on the kitchen whiteboard.
Make sure you put more dates in your calendar to enjoy time for fun, either alone or with others.
12. Eat Healthy
We can’t discuss healthy habits without talking about eating healthy. The Delaware.Gov website shared some really great tips on eating healthy.
- Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables (3 or more servings a day).
- Eat a variety of fruits (2 or more servings a day).
- Eat whole-grain, high-fiber breads and cereals (3 to 6 servings a day). Reduce or eliminate refined or processed carbohydrates; most of the grains in your diet should be whole grains.
- Drink fat-free or low-fat milk and eat low-fat dairy products.
- Choose from a variety of low-fat sources of protein — including eggs, beans, poultry without skin, seafood, lean meats, unsalted nuts, seeds, and soy products. If you eat meat, eat white meat at least four times more often than red meat.
- Reduce intake of saturated fats and trans-fats (such as partially hydrogenated oil) as much as possible.
- Use vegetable oils (like olive or canola oil) instead of solid fats.
- Reduce daily intake of salt or sodium. Reduce to less than 1,500 mg. per day if you are older than 50, or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
- Restrict or eliminate “junk food” — foods that contain refined white flour, solid fats or trans fats, added sugars, and are high in sodium.
- Restrict or eliminate sodas and other sugar-added drinks that are high in calories and contain few or no nutrients.
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Drink only when it doesn’t put you or anyone else at risk.
There you have it, 12 healthy habits that can help you start feeling better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Massage therapy has a lot of health benefits, book a massage with Soothe today.