I don’t know about you but since we started hearing about the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 I have been curious about what I needed to do to keep my family and me ‘healthy’. As many of us found in the last 12 months I had time allocated differently and I was definitely able to spend more time reading and researching on health. Here’s what I found---wellness doesn’t come in a packet or a pill. Wellness and better health are super simple and yet insanely challenging to achieve if we don’t make them a priority.
Across multiple sources regardless of what ‘camp’ people found themselves in when it comes to philosophy on diet and health here is what I found the experts all agree on:
- Sleep—sleep is one of the most crucial weapons in our arsenal of immunity defense. It is recommended that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Start to build to that goal by figuring 9-10 hours back from the time you need to wake up and head to bed at that time. Work to create a bedtime routine that makes sense for you and supports your morning activities. Set up your coffee pot; lay out your clothes for the next day so you don’t have to rush for things that you ‘have’ to do. Then place your phone in do not disturb or ‘bedtime’ mode and relax with a book or some guided meditation to help you settle in to sleep. It will take time to set up this routine but in the end, you could see huge improvements in your energy levels and your ability to focus during waking hours.
- Drink water---we have all heard about the importance of drinking water but not a lot of the why. Did you know that your body is roughly 60% water? Water helps with digestion of food, keeps the nasal passages moist to protect from damage, and improves performance in exercise. Drinking of water also helps transport vitamins and minerals throughout the body and helps to control appetite….and let’s not forget—all of those frequent trips to the restroom from being adequately hydrated keep us moving—which leads us to...
- Move your body more—find ways to keep moving that you enjoy. Dance in your kitchen, walk the dog, go for a run, play tag with your kids or grab a workout. The data keeps supporting that exercise is an important tool in maintaining not only our physical health but our mental health as well. Next time you feel overwhelmed by a task I encourage you to take a 5-minute movement break of some sort—it will help break the feelings of anxiety and create an opportunity for more clear thought.
I felt better about taking care of my family when I recognized that all of these things would cost us nothing financially—don’t get me wrong, it takes planning and sometimes some not so gentle coaxing to get my boys away from their video games-but they are worth it. I hope as we move forward in 2021 we can continue to focus on things that bring us joy, improve our health, and make our families stronger.
--Theresa L., Association Director of Health & Wellness