Go from Surviving to Thriving in 2021!
If you are like the vast majority of Americans, 2020 has really pushed you to your limits. But with a few tips, you can go from surviving to thriving in 2021!
The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March spiraled into working from home, remote learning, financial questions, fewer social events, and being at home with the same people all the time. On top of that, 2020 has natural disasters, civil rights issues, new expectations, holidays…and all of this lot to handle in the present. Unfortunately, how we cope with and live through all of these events and situations can lead to feeling drained, overwhelmed, heavy, and unhappy.
But how are you supposed to “thrive” during all of this? You get back to the most basic of basics. Yes, it sounds easy, but as many of us have found, it can be very tricky. Here are some tips to help you make that first step and help you thrive into the new year!
Let go of your OLD expectations
Let’s face it, most of us were stressed out before the pandemic. We were juggling careers and homes and responsibilities. Our bodies simply aren’t designed to be in prolonged periods of stress. Now more than ever we have to re-create what self-care looks like. In many cases, this requires letting go of some obligations. Do you need to be on that committee at work right now? Can you ask your children to help out more around the house? Can you set some better boundaries? Maybe you don’t send out Christmas cards this year. It’s OK to simplify. This won’t last forever and we need to do whatever it takes to make it through this period of time as healthy as possible.
Detox from the screen
Social media can be a fun distraction. However, during the time of Covid and elections, news and social media can be a source of stress. Learn to limit your exposure. Read a book, take a walk, play a game. This is especially important before bedtime!
Drink more water
Coffee and alcohol actually pull water out of your body instead of adding water to it.
Water, on the other hand, helps keep all your cells working properly and helps ward off headaches. Water can be fun by having straws, lemon wedges, herbs, or silly ice cubes to help you stay interested in sipping throughout the day.
It’s important to incorporate active ways to minimize your stress throughout your day.
One great way to do this is through meditation. The simple act of slowing down your mind while also slowing down your breathing can be done in five-minute increments. This is a great way to get your body out of “fight or flight”. It helps with lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, and improving mood. There are many apps available including Calm, 10% Happier, Simple Habit, and Headspace.
When we are under prolonged stress, sleep can become disrupted. It is important when this happens that you minimize caffeine and alcohol. Try to turn off the screen well before bed. Build a consistent routine. Reach out for help if you are struggling in this area.
Move your body
Moving around, whether it is in your living room, around the block, or at the gym. This helps get the blood flowing and stretch muscles that may be tight from stress and sitting. Most importantly, make your movement fun and worthwhile so you want to do it again!
Schedule and plan
When you have a plan, it is easier to do healthy options and gives everyone the ability to contribute to the conversation. Having a schedule and plan also reduces stress and makes sure events and down-time are taken into consideration. Sit down with your family to plan your work/school days, meals, chores, grocery shopping, physical activity and social events for the week.
Start by checking in your house for what you can use for the week. Make a list (and stick to it!) to make sure you get everything you need. Stocking up on frozen vegetables, fruits and proteins is a great way to have sufficient amounts, food variety, and prevent spoilage. Many stores now offer to-go programs where they bag and deliver your groceries to your car or even your house. This can be a great option if going into the store won’t work in your life.
Have simple meals
A healthy meal typically has four components: protein (yogurt, meat, fish, eggs, tofu), carbohydrate (beans, bread, oatmeal, fruit, potatoes, peas, corn), vegetable (salad greens, broccoli, tomatoes), and fat (avocado, cheese, olives, peanut butter, oil). Instead of stressing about making meals that require a lot of preparation or ingredients, stick to this guideline for balanced meals that can have a lot of variety and customized to what you already have at home.
Enjoy the treats
A salty or sweet snack is not the enemy when it is planned and enjoyed in moderation. Take your time to eat a treat (like Halloween candy, a bag of chips, homemade baked goods) so you can savor all the flavors and textures. This makes the treat more of an experience than just a quick fuel. You don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying something, even if it isn’t super healthy.
We know now that this pandemic is not going away as quickly as we hoped. We also know that we have the ability to make positive changes, but we can’t do it when we can hardly get through the day. Use these tips and tools to help you simplify and stay healthy and go from surviving to thriving in 2021!