As different states across the country slowly emerge from the months-long disruption that shelter-in-place has put on our normal routines, we thought it might be helpful to put together a resource on how to create and recreate healthy habits after being stuck at home so long. Naturally, this will take some time, so from the outset we say—be gentle and go slow. We’re looking to change our lifestyle, and that’s a process!
The Power of a Morning Routine
A lot of people swear by morning routines, and I know that in the past, when I’ve had them, they’ve had a huge impact on my life. Whether you want to use one temporarily to recalibrate your day-to-day, or whether you want to start one for the long haul, morning routines are a great way to set intention and focus for your day.
It’s not hard to set a morning routine. It should consist mostly of things you feel good doing, and one thing that’s a little bit of a challenge. A little bit of yoga, movement, or bodywork is great, a full workout is even better if you’re up for it. Consider some kind of journaling, like gratitude, or simply checking in to see how you feel. Definitely write down the things you’re focusing on for the day, so you can presence them early and then couple it all with your favorite morning smoothie or cup of coffee and you have crafted a routine you’ll be excited to wake up for.
Breaking Bad Habits & Building Good Ones
The disruption that shelter-in-place had on all our lives was unprecedented, even for me, and I’ve been working from home for 5 years. It re-established my whole day-to-day existence, offering space for a lot of healthy new things (lots of time relaxing on the balcony), while at the same time building a few extra bad habits (higher alcohol consumption and less exercise). While I don’t think those habits had long enough to become deeply established, (and I’m hoping the vibe of opening back up will swing me out of them), I thought it would be worthwhile to visit some resources on breaking bad habits.
James Clear is essentially the habit guy at this point. In a fascinating article titled “How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One,” he tells us that bad habits are a result of two things—boredom and stress. He says that in order to break a bad habit, you need to replace it with a good one. “All of the habits that you have right now — good or bad — are in your life for a reason. In some way, these behaviors provide a benefit to you, even if they are bad for you in other ways.” His article goes into detail on exactly what you need to do to break bad habits and create good ones, so if your shelter-in-place looked anything like mine, I highly recommend checking it out.
Exercise & Eating Well
The cornerstones of good health are exercise and healthy eating, and both these things have a snowball effect, feeding and fueling each other forwards. It can, however, also work in the opposite way, where a lack of exercise often leads to decreased motivation to eat healthy, and vice versa (which was a large problem with my shelter-in-place). Getting back into a healthy exercise and eating routine usually requires a lot of energy at first to set your momentum in place.
You could try challenging yourself and your friends with a 21 day health challenge where you exercise and eat well everyday. Investing in a personal trainer and a healthy meal delivery service can also be a great place to start. Signing up to an outdoor bootcamp challenge, or any fitness challenge could give you the spark of motivation you need to get started again.
This is also a great time to revisit our blog “How to Reach Your Health Goals in 2020,” where we go into detail on how to set and achieve goals – including getting the support we all need, focusing on the process and not the outcome and investing financially in our goals – because that often adds the extra motivation we all need to achieve them! We hope you’ve found this blog helpful. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below.