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5 Healthy habits to improve your lifestyle this ECQ

By Enn Santos Published Aug 05, 2021 12:29 pm

As we enter another two weeks of lockdown, many of us are likely to show signs of COVID fatigue. For some, being stuck at home means that you are moving less than before. While for others, its adding a lot of emotional distress.

As the Dalai Lama once said “If you feel ‘burnout’ setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.”

When you pay attention to your health, you’re not only thinking about your own needs, you’re also helping other people, too. But how? It’s quite simple: by being the best version of yourself. When you are physically and mentally healthy, you can easily and effectively take care of other people.

During times of trouble, it's natural to feel stressed or overwhelmed in our own homes. Anxiety, worry, and sadness are some of the emotions that people experience when they are faced with uncertainty. This month of August, National Wellness Month focuses on activities that promote self-care and stress management.

Self-care, as basic as it sounds, is something that many of us overlook, and while we spend most of our time within our homes, this might be the best time to create and improve a healthier lifestyle. Below are five basic ways on how to improve your self-care routine. Try these tips and you'll be amazed at the results!

1. Increase your water intake

Start off your day with a glass of water. Research shows that drinking enough water helps improve your mood. According to a 2018 study, individuals who drank more water are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, while another study conducted in 2014, showed that those who increased their water intake felt happier.

So how much water should you drink? It depends. Dr. Mike Varshavski says that water intake depends on one's age, sex, diet, activity level, and lifestyle. If you’re curious about how much water an average person must drink, watch this video:

2. Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet

When you eat well, you feel well. Eating fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of being diagnosed with anxiety. According to a recent study from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, people who ate fewer than three sources of fruits and vegetables per day had a 24% higher risk of having an anxiety condition.

Consuming fruits and vegetables also has an overall impact on your health. Results from the Produce and Better Health Foundation showed that eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium lowers your risk of cancer, heart diseases, hypertension, and stroke.

Watch this short explainer from The Dr. Binocs Show to know how vegetables help your body.

3. Fix your sleeping habits

Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise. It has an effect on our immune system as well as psychological health, metabolism, and cardiovascular health.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, individuals who don’t get enough sleep have greater risk of heart disease, kidney diseases, diabetes, obesity, stroke, and high blood pressure.

A recent study from the National Sleep Foundation indicates that young adults (age 18-25) and adults (age 26-64) should have 7-9 hours of sleep. Getting a full night’s sleep can actually lead to good moods, because sleeping helps our body and mind recover and if you are well rested, you maintain a good physical and mental health.

Watch this animated video that tells why sleep is important for our body:

4. Exercise as stress relief

Exercise helps you reduce your overall stress levels and improve your mental and physical well-being. 

Physical activities help boost blood flow and improve your body's ability to use oxygen. It helps stimulate the release of endorphins in our brain. Endorphins are “feel-good” neurotransmitters that cause your body to feel good.

Meanwhile, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends working out for 30 minutes at least 5 times per week. But, no matter how long or short your workout is, the important thing is you're getting your body moving and heart pumping. 

Find out in this video how exercise is beneficial for your body and mind:

5. Practice meditation  

Meditation is a continuous process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. It is also the simplest and most effective method for reducing stress and anxiety.

A meta-analysis showed that in 1,300 adults, meditation has shown to reduce their anxiety. Another study indicated that 47 persons who experienced constant pain and went through a 8-week meditation program, noticed an improvement in reducing depression, anxiety and pain.

The most common form of meditation is yoga. Through this exercise, you execute a sequence of postures while controlling your breathing, which helps your body’s flexibility and achieve peace of mind.

Check out how meditation affects the brain in this short informational video below.