As 2020 nears its end, it is not an exaggeration to say that this has been a difficult year for all of us. With the COVID-19 crisis causing so much pain, and with this year's presidential election, stress levels seem to be at their all-time highs.
One of the best ways to get through this tough time and start 2021 on the right foot is by taking care of yourself and your health.
As we all work either part-time or full-time at home, it is easy to fall into unhealthy habits that affect our work lives and our personal lives.
Here are 6 health-hacks that you can follow to finish the year on a good note and be prepared for a great 2021.
- Water: Stay Hydrated
Water is one of the most important substances on earth and plays a fundamental role in our lives and health. Consumed daily in sufficient quantities, water keeps your body in good working order and can prevent and heal many disorders.
Many of the symptoms and health issues we deal with daily can be dramatically helped by simply drinking water. Those symptoms include fatigue, headaches, psoriasis, depression, inflammation, joint pain, stomach issues, arthritis, high and low blood pressure, and premature aging.
There is tons of misinformation about how much water we should drink, including the myth that anything liquid adds to your totals. It is just not true. Your body needs a large amount of pure water every day to perform properly.
Action Item: Drink half of your body weight in ounces of pure water every day. Try it for one month and see what happens! If you are not feeling well, immediately drink two glasses of pure water and see what happens … you could be amazed at the results!
- Fresh air every day
Only a few simple pleasures feel better than going outside and taking a big deep breath of fresh air. But science also shows us that getting fresh air does much more than just feel good. It can have many surprising health benefits.
These benefits include:
- More energy
- Improved mental focus
- Clears your lungs
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps you heal faster
- Improves digestion
- Makes you happier
- Strengthens your immune system
Action item: On your smartphone, schedule at least 10-minutes a day for a walk outside. Your body and your mind will thank you!
With all the sun and skin cancer talk, many people do not get enough natural sunlight regularly. Your body is meant to be in the sun, and exposure to sunlight during the day is crucial to your health and wellbeing.
The list of benefits of sunlight is long, so we have listed just a few of the main benefits here:
- Triggers the body production of Vitamin D
- Protects against inflammation
- Improves brain function
- Reduce depression
- Promotes weight loss
- Reduce heart disease
- Increase happiness
- Enhances your mood
- Improves sleep
Action Step: Get outside for 20 minutes every day, especially during the winter months. And make sure you have exposed skin to absorb the sun's rays and the vitamin D it produces. Of course, protect yourself if it's below zero this winter!
- Take care of your gut
Gut health is one of the most neglected parts of your overall health and wellbeing. It has been said that all health begins in the gut, and hundreds of studies have confirmed that. All food is broken down in the gut to a simple form that can enter the bloodstream and deliver nutrients throughout our bodies.
A healthy gut contains trillions of healthy bacteria and immune cells that fight infection, viruses, and fungi. It has been discovered that over 70% of our immune system resides in our gut. And of course, that immune system is what we need to fight off the COVID-19 virus.
Also, something called the Vagus nerve connects the gut and the brain and affects our entire mood and well-being. It cannot be emphasized enough that you will be a much happier person if you take care of your gut.
Action Step: It all begins with eating real food to fuel your body, starting with vegetables, fruit, water, and healthy protein. Take a few minutes and research the gut; you will be surprised by what you learn!
- Take care of your posture
We've all heard it from our Mom's, "sit up straight," or "stop slouching." And even though it frustrated us as children, it couldn't have been any better advice.
Bad posture can cause all sorts of short term and long-term problems. And with so many of us slouched over a computer screen all day, it makes things much worse.
Some of the issues and symptoms caused by bad posture include:
- Chronic neck pain
- Aggravating arthritis
- Poor circulation
- Decreased mood
- Rounded shoulders
- Forward head posture
- Jaw pain
- Shoulder pain
- Low back pain
- Impaired lung function (something you do not want during Covid!)
- Misaligned Spine
Action Step: It all begins with being conscious of your posture. Doing upper body exercises, use a standing desk, strengthen your ab muscles, and look into picking up a posture corrector.
Hard to argue with the idea of laughing; we've all enjoyed the positive results from a good hardy laugh. Laughter is simply a good thing. Scientists have proven that laughter lowers blood pressure, increases muscle tension, reduces stress, increases circulation, increased antibodies in the bloodstream.
But along with the physical benefits of laughter, it also is good for our soul. Laughter brings all of us closer together, whether it be co-workers, family, and friends. And it often happens spontaneously and unexpectedly, which is a gift.
Laughter helps us stay positive, helps us keep things in perspective, and makes us much happier. It is said that children laugh over 200 times a day and adults less than 20.
Action Step: Identify what makes you laugh and pursue it. Try starting with a big smile, even if you are not in the mood. It will change your mood and eventually cause you to laugh. Do this once every morning, afternoon, and evening … it will change your life!
The Full Takeaway: These are simple things you can do every day to be happier, more productive, and help you get through this very difficult time while working from home. By following these simple tactics, you will be happier.