By Emily Trama
Being stuck at home is a serious bummer. Not being able to see your friends, go to the movies, the gym, anywhere really, could be putting a bad taste in your mouth every day. Having school and jobs taken away could be leaving you with a lot of stress and little structure. It’s important now more than ever that we focus on ourselves. Working on our physical and mental health should be our number one priority to get us through this difficult time.
Adjusting my eating habits and incorporating fitness into my daily routine has given me more energy and structure throughout my days at home. It’s very easy to fall into the habit of eating junk food while watching “Tiger King” all day, and on some days that’s fine; but doing so every day will start to prove itself unhealthy for your brain and body fairly quickly. Eating right and getting your body moving will definitely shake away some of that self-isolation sorrow.
Let’s not go on a diet! Don’t put so much pressure on yourself in a short amount of time. Instead, creating a couple of guidelines for the way you eat can be a lot more effective, more positive and give you more freedom to choose a lot of what you eat.
I’ve never felt like it was good for my mental health to count calories and such, so I have created a couple of rules for my own eating habits that are cheap and give me room to ignore myself every now and then:
- Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!
Instead of cereal or any carb-heavy breakfast, eat some form of protein and fruit; I usually have one egg, a piece of ham or turkey bacon, and half an avocado (a healthy fat) or a banana (a healthy carb)
- Only one meal with carbs per day
Try to replace bread with lettuce, chips with vegetables, white rice with quinoa, etc.! When you are craving a salty snack, grab some vegetables and add a little salt to them- it does the trick, I promise
- Only one item with added sugar per day
This one can be hard, I’ll admit. For me, this one item could be a coffee, soda or candy; when you are craving something sweet, turn to fruit
- No dairy
Dairy can make you feel tired and bloated, the opposite of what you want when you’re stuck at home all day; dairy alternatives can be pretty costly so I try to steer clear, but almond, cashew, oat, soy, and coconut milk products are yummy too!
- Water, water, water
Water is your best friend. If you are not a water person and prefer something with flavor, infuse it! Leave a pitcher or water bottle in the fridge overnight with water infused with lemon, cucumber, mint, orange, or whatever fresh fruits, watery vegetable, or herb you enjoy most!
I generally try to eat mostly fresh foods throughout the day. Fresh foods are not only better for you because they are not typically processed, but they’re cheaper too! Buying microwave chicken nuggets and mac and cheese can add up after a while and make you feel sluggish; give your body a break with fresh fruits, veggies, fish and meats to fuel up with vitamins and natural sugars.
Let’s talk about fitness. Working out at home can seem like a complete drag. But we don’t need equipment or fancy facilities to pump up our endorphins and get a good sweat going. Working out in the morning offers an energy-filled start to your day and working out at night can bring a good night’s sleep. Incorporating fitness into your day will not only make you feel better physically, but mentally as well! It’s something to check off of your to-do list and boost your mood.
Working out can also make you more productive; I focus best and do the most work after I exercise. Workout in your room, living room, basement, anywhere! On nice days, take your workout outside or go for a run or walk around the block.
To help you get started in figuring out what works for you and your body, here is my daily workout:
- 25 bicycle crunches*
- 25 leg raises
- 25 penguin crunches*
- 25 russian twists*
- 25 straight leg crunches
- 50 standard crunches
- 25 “in and outs”
- 25 side plank dips*
- 25 side-to-side plank dips*
*__ reps per side
- 25 standard squats
- 15 side step squats*
- 25 fire hydrants*
- 25 donkey kicks*
- 25 wide sumo squats
- 25 hip bridges
*__ reps per leg
- 40 tricep dips
- 20 push-ups
- 25 shoulder taps*
- 30 wide arm circles
- 30 small arm circles
*__ reps per arm
If you have weights or resistance bands at home, use ‘em! I don’t have weights so, as silly as it sounds I sometimes use paint cans or bags filled with books. Youtube is also a great resource for free, high quality workouts. After my workout, I like to cool off with some yoga, light stretching and refuelling fresh fruits, vegetables and lots of water.
I know this is a stressful time for many and that a lot feels out of your control right now. So, give yourself this time to take control of yourself. We are all adjusting to this new normal together! I hope that what I’ve shared could give you somewhere to start. Remember to not beat yourself up; wash your hands and practice good public health etiquette. We are going to get through this! Stay positive and stay safe.