For many of us, the past year has meant spending a lot more time in our living spaces. Kitchens have doubled up as office spaces, spare rooms have become studies, and many people have had to adjust to working from home. A lot of parents have also had to get used to having their kids around when schools have been closed during lockdown. All of these factors have made it increasingly more difficult to stick to healthy habits within our daily routines. Now that we’re all a little more accustomed to the new normal, I thought it might be a nice idea to share five tips that will help with creating daily healthy habits at home. These should all contribute to a mental health boost in the coming months, and as the pandemic slooooowly starts to run its course.
1. Embrace Home Cooked Food In Your Schedule
The first step to creating healthier habits is to look at how and what you’re eating each day. There’s no need for a full debrief about every single meal and snack, but it helps to take a step back and consider which unhealthy habits might have crept into your routine. I always say that we should try and enjoy home cooked food as much as we can. When we prioritise cooking our own food, we’re not only more likely to consume something healthier (especially if take-aways are becoming very frequent in the household), but we also know exactly what we’re putting into our bodies. See home cooking as a hobby, rather than a chore. Learn new recipes, bond with loved ones by sharing recipes and tips, and embrace the process.
2. Introduce A Healthy Morning Ritual
While I’m not exactly a morning person, I have found that introducing small things into my morning ritual has made a world of difference to how the day starts. It usually also affects how the day ends up going too! One thing I like to do is to start the day with a glass of lemon water or green juice. This not only provides a signal to the brain that the day is kicking off (and that I need to step into concentration mode), but it also helps to introduce a healthy habit into the fore, even if I’ve had trouble sleeping the night before and it’s a little harder than usual to find my motivation. Small actions like these end up creating bigger changes over time, and will generate momentum for you to work other similar ideas into the rest of the day as well.
3. Find a Health Buddy or Buddies
As the old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”. The same kind of thinking can be applied to how you think about the healthy habits you work into your day. You certainly don’t have to go at things alone! On the contrary, it’s always better to have some support, to help with staying motivated and to learn more about things that have and haven’t worked for the people you trust. Find a person, or a group of people that you can talk to about bringing more healthy habits into your routine. Ideally, pick someone that you can bank on to join you for that bi-weekly online yoga class, or even just someone who can share a few meals with you during the week. This not only creates ample bonding time (even if it’s over Facetime or Skype!), but leaves you feeling more encouraged about sticking to your healthy habits in a more sustainable way as well.
4. Remind Yourself That Balance Is Key
This next tip is simple to introduce into your routine, perhaps as a small affirmation that you read or write down every morning when you start your day. When it comes to any healthy habits, balance is key. If you feel like you’re doing anything in excess, it’s time to pause and reflect. If you’re doing anything too little, it’s also time to take a beat and think about how you can gently switch things up. Easing out the things that don’t work based on your own goals, and crowding in the things that have worked for you over time can be a great way to achieve this balance. Remember that it isn’t about achieving perfection. Just being in the race itself is already winning when it comes to daily healthy habits!
5. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
Last but not least, the best tip I can share about creating healthy habits at home each day is to remember not to be so hard on yourself along the way. Establishing a healthy routine takes a lot of trial and error, so expect failure, expect to have to pick yourself back up (without playing the blame game), and expect to be surprised by the things you enjoy too. It’s true that habits are able to form relatively quickly, but making them stick requires being gentle with yourself and looking honestly at where to find the right balance between healthy choices and things that bring you joy. Once you hit that sweet spot that caters to your own needs while challenging you a little bit, you’ll be into the home stretch, and can then begin encouraging others to make similar changes in their lives. Just imagine how great you’ll feel once the pandemic is over, and a sea of new choices outside of the four walls at home present themselves to you. Until then, stay strong, and keep going!