2020 has been pretty rough for most of us and much worse for some. Unfortunately, an election and still raging pandemic mean that we’re approaching the usual Christmas stress with plenty of uncertainty and anxiety. If this year has taken its toll on your mental health, you certainly aren’t alone. Most of us feel very tense and unsure, and none of us know what to expect from the coming months.
In times of stress, we often reach for unhealthy crutches to get us through. We overindulge in comfort foods. We drink more alcohol. We spend more time cuddled up on the sofa binging Netflix favorites and far less time exercising. While a little overindulgence is expected, and a little extra comfort, whether it comes from food, TV, or baggy old sweatpants, is a good thing. Too much, over an extended period, can start to hurt both your physical and mental health. Here’s a look at some of the things you can do to stay healthy during a stressful time.
Understand Your Habits
We all reach for different things when we’re stressed out. You might be drinking more, eating more, or falling into other habits without really realizing it. It’s often slow progress, and to cut down, we need to look at Why Do People Drink Alcohol, what we’re overindulging in and why.
Try to be more mindful of your habits, paying attention to what you are doing, and why. Then, you can look at making some healthy swaps.
Make Time for a Daily Walk
When we’re stressed out, it’s tempting to hide away. But, a lack of exercise or even movement can make your stress worse, lead to weight gain and affect your cardiovascular health. Making time for a daily walk and forcing yourself to get out even when you don’t want to can be a big help.
Keep in Touch with Friends
Reducing stress so that you don’t reach for unhealthy comfort is the best solution, but it’s not always easy. Making an effort to keep in touch with friends and family and talk about how you feel will still help, even if you can’t see them.
Have Healthy Snacks to Hand
Comfort food is a big problem when we’re feeling a little down or stressed. The occasional treat, in moderation, won’t hurt you. It could even improve your mood. But, make sure you’ve got plenty of healthy snacks to hand so that binge eating doesn’t become a habit.
Get into a New Routine
When our lives change as much as they have in 2020, our old routines no longer work. But routines are good. They keep us moving, they make it easy to fit in exercise and talking to loved ones, and they give us focus. Your old routine might not work, and if you are working from home now, it can be a significant change. That doesn’t mean that you can’t create a new routine, with room to practice healthy habits and hobbies.
Remember, as the weather turns and winter settles in, finding ways to stay healthy becomes more important than ever, especially as we try to avoid or fight off COVID-19. Often, small changes have the most positive effects, so take it slowly and focus on making sustainable changes to your lifestyle.