The population as a whole seems to be starting off 2022 with enthusiasm and optimism after the last two years of widespread health-related unrest. Pandemic circumstances have changed the way we operate and function on a daily basis in so many ways; ways that affect the foundation of who we are. When focusing on getting or staying healthy we have to realize that it involves several pillars: 

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Emotional health

To achieve true all-around wellness we have to manage our bodies, minds, and emotions. Of course everyone is different but we can outline some simple ideas and suggestions to help you stay healthy in 2022 and beyond. These tips can be implemented at any time and in any order. Don’t get overwhelmed by thinking you have to do all of them. Too much information threatens the brain which could end up in nothing getting accomplished at all. Follow along to learn how to protect your body from illness and your mind from stress and unrest.

Morning Routine

You will not find a fitness expert, business superstar, or any other person at the top of their game that does not have a solid morning routine in place. How you begin the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Study after study has shown how a few morning steps can have a dramatic impact on the positive benefits to your health. The most important steps include:

  1. Sunshine outside: get some immediate sunshine (even on cloudy days) first thing in the morning. This is especially critical for those with insomnia issues. Sunlight triggers the reset of your circadian rhythm and fires off the proper hormones to get your body going for the day, moving from sleep mode to wake mode.
  2. Lemon water: as reported by one of the country’s top medical institutions, the Cleveland Clinic says that drinking a of glass of lemon water first thing in the morning:
    1. Helps cleanse the liver and prevent kidney stones.
    2. Supplies a  hearty dose of vitamin C.
    3. Has powerful antioxidant properties.
    4. A glass of lemon water might help you cut down on calories if you are replacing fruit juice and/or calorie-heavy hot beverages.
    5. Boosts digestive power in your guts.
  1. Meditate: This is an amazingly important part of a morning routine and can be achieved in several different ways. Basically what you’re doing is starting your day with focused attention and manifestation. The scientific benefits are overwhelming.
    1. Many people like to do this first thing when they wake up, right in bed. 
    2. Important to do before you check your cell phone or connect to the ‘world’
    3. There are many, many different ways to meditate so do a little research to see what resonates with you. There’s quiet mind-journaling, focused inner breathing techniques, guided meditation to soft music, manifestation meditations…really, something for everyone.
    4. Starting your day in calm and not chaos helps you stay centered and focused and hopefully with a more peaceful vibe as you navigate life’s challenges.
  2. MOVE! Even if it’s just for 5 minutes while you’re heating your water up. Five minutes gets your blood flowing and starts your metabolism working. This is ideal to do before you have breakfast and sets the pace for your body for the rest of the day. 
    1. Arm circles
    2. Squats
    3. Hip rotations
    4. Knees up
    5. Dance, stretch, do anything you enjoy to get any stale energy and creakiness leftover from sleeping and to jumpstart your engine.

Daily Walks

With many of us spending a significant amount of time inside our homes, the need to get out and get some fresh air is more important than ever. Not only is this beneficial for your physical health but also your mental and emotional health.

  • Every day that the weather permits, get out for a walk. 
  • And even when it’s raining or snowing, challenge yourself to see if you can overcome your instinct to stay inside. You most likely have the gear to brave the elements so take advantage of them and have fun in inclimate weather. 
  • It can be as little as five minutes around the block or for as long as your schedule permits.
  • Walking is a great way to get the blood circulating throughout your body. 
  • It’s good for heart health and muscle strength. 
  • The fresh air and sunshine benefit the immune system.

Get Some Vitamin D

Another bonus of walking is that it will help your body absorb more natural Vitamin D from the sun. 

  • Vitamin D is crucial for the immune system and overall wellbeing and studies have shown that nearly half of all Americans may be suffering from Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Furthermore, Vitamin D deficiency can have a negative impact on individuals who contract COVID-19, since it is associated with an increase in inflammatory cytokines, increased risk of pneumonia, and other upper respiratory viral infections.
  • Consult with a physician if you’re considering a Vitamin D supplement.

Virtual Fitness Classes

Social distancing choices may have kept you from going to the gym in recent times, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work out.

  • Many gyms and fitness centers are offering live virtual classes as part of your membership or for a stand-alone fee.
  • Budget-friendly options might be at a local community and senior centers around your city.
  • And there are certainly hundreds of free videos to follow along to on the Internet, as well as apps that offer online streaming fitness classes for a very small monthly fee.
  • This guide outlines all different types of equipment and ways to exercise at home.

Strength Training

Strength training, also known as weight or resistance training, is a physical activity designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance, including free-weights, weight machines, or your body weight.

  • Even light strength training like some forms of yoga and Pilates can result in some major physical benefits. 
  • When you work to strengthen your muscles, those muscles will be better able to protect you from injury from a fall while also improving balance.
  • Can help strengthen your bones. 
  • Assists with weight management and can even improve energy levels.

Eat More Plants

Eating more plant-based foods can help reduce cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar, and many of the vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in plant foods are excellent for the immune system.

  • Commit to one plant-based meal a day or even a week. 
  • Join the “Meatless Monday” movement with millions committing to a vegetarian meal every Monday.
  • Incorporate fruit and veggies into your snacks throughout the day. 
  • Begin by cutting down the meat and dairy portions at every meal and add in more plants.
  • This guide outlines how to set up your kitchen for a new year of healthy eating and cooking habits. 

Creative Outlet 

Tapping into your creative side is beneficial for you all around.

  • According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, creative projects can actually relieve the stresses of chronic disease
  • Boredom can affect mood and mental health tremendously, resulting in feeling depressed due to a lack of stimulation and socializing.
  • Time to find a hobby or creative outlet that stimulates the right side of your brain! 
  • Book clubs, knitting circles, creative writing, virtual painting or cooking classes, start birdwatching, look into interesting podcasts… explore and do whatever resonates with you.
  • This guide shares many creative outlets that suggest different ways of rejuvenating your spirit.

Mindful Breathing

Our breath is our life. Many people take their breath for granted and don’t realize the magnificent tool at their immediate disposal every moment.

  • Breathing in longer and deeper breaths can give you a surge of energy.
  • Alternatively, exhaling longer and deeper than your inhale can slow your heartbeat down and relax you in tense situations or when trying to fall asleep.
  • The word meditation may have an undesirable connotation to you for whatever reason, but meditation simply translates to ‘“get to know oneself”. You can start this inner discovery process by just learning how to breathe mindfully.
  • To begin, take a few long, deep breaths in through your nose, all the way down to your belly, and then exhale out of your mouth.
  • As part of your morning routine, do this when you wake up. The quiet of those first few moments help you pay attention to your breathing and how your body feels.
  • Whenever you feel stressed, repeat the process, listening to and feeling each breath.
  • Eventually, you may choose to extend the amount of time you practice.

Less Daily News

What you focus your attention and energy on is where your emotions will get influenced from. Thus, bombarding your system with constant news, which unfortunately is overwhelmingly negative, is going to take a toll on your emotions thus in turn affecting your physical body. 

  • Try cutting back on your daily news intake. 
  • Check the headlines once or twice a day. 
  • Consume the news in small 10-15 minute increments.
  • Switch to soothing non-vocal music for your background setting versus letting news channels cycle endlessly. 

Sleep Routine & Schedule

As important as your morning routine, your evening sleep routine is just as crucial. If you are one of the lucky ones that sleep regularly and well, congratulations. For others who might struggle, following the rules of good sleep hygiene is vital to get deep sleep which is so important for all aspects of your health.

  • Quality sleep is when our body and brain flush out toxins and repair.
  • Set a sleep and wake time and stick to it every day of the week. 
  • No electronics in the bedroom!
  • At least one hour before your bedtime, begin your wind-down routine. 
  • TV and electronics off for the night. 
  • No more work. 
  • Do some gentle yoga stretching; have hot tea and read a book; journal (this is a great way to download any thoughts and ‘To Do’ lists in your head so you can peacefully fall asleep).

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