If you've felt your health starting to slip over the past couple of years, you're not alone.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many people to lapse from their regular diet and exercise programmes, and many have also experienced a deterioration in their mental health due to several years of isolation and stress.
Plus, despite an increased marketing emphasis on 'natural' health products, many supplements and diet pills still contain ingredients that can have serious side effects, and which may interact with regular daily medications.
Therefore, if you're looking to kickstart your lifestyle into a healthier way of living, you might wish to consider a natural approach first.
With this in mind, here are 3 ways to improve your health from home - no expensive pill plans or risky side effects required.
1. Have Home Workouts
Forget about shelling out for a gym membership each month or jogging around the block in the pouring rain: your home is a comfortable and completely private fitness suite that’s quite literally on your doorstep!
Home workouts are very flexible and can be tailor-made to what suits you and your lifestyle. You can choose whether to do regular, short high-intensity exercises, or test your endurance and relieve stress with longer, low-intensity exercises such as yoga or pilates.
You can also choose whether you like to work out alone, watch a workout video, or even connect with other people over social media.
And if you don't have any equipment? There are plenty of options for you too - from body weight presses to using common household items to challenge your body and improve your fitness levels.
Exercise plays an essential role in moderating levels of cortisol and adrenaline, the stress hormones. Cortisol and adrenaline cause your body to go into ‘fight or flight’ mode, creating feelings of anxiety, irritability, and increasing emotional vulnerability.
If we were living in the wild, we would have ‘burned off’ these hormones by fighting the threat or running away. But while we still experience stress from other sources - such as work or social problems - we are now living a more sedentary lifestyle, leaving many people struggling with high levels of stress and anxiety in their everyday lives.
Incorporating more exercise into your routine is an easy way to improve your physical and mental health. Just adding a couple of minutes to your day can have noticeable results.
Tip: Still feeling uninspired? Why not make it fun by choosing a workout video that makes you laugh? For example, Yoga With Adriene’s videos feature an approachable, humorous style and easy-to-follow yoga routines.
2. Ditch The Fast Food
If you’ve got an intense job, or get very little time to yourself, it’s easy to get into the habit of ordering takeaway food or buying microwavable meals. But resist the urge! Eating high levels of junk food is associated with weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, and (despite the high-calorie content) malnutrition.
Research also shows that eating foods with low-nutritional content also increases your chances of developing a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety.
Taking the time to cook, however, is a simple change you can make that helps you to explore your creative side, manage the stress of your day, and improve your capacity for mindful eating.
But if time is a factor for you, there are hundreds of healthy, time-eﬃcient recipes available online. The BBC’s Good Food section is a great place to start.
3. Practise Meditation
Meditation has been used for thousands of years for its unique stress-management and spiritual healing properties. It has been proven to have significant physical, mental and emotional health benefits, and these benefits have been used in a wide range of clinically-approved medical and psychological therapies.
If you suffer from a health condition that causes chronic pain, you may be relieved to hear that research shows that meditation helps to ease pain, and even improves your pain tolerance when practised regularly.
With documented results in areas of cognition, emotional regulation, mood levels, and pain management, a short meditation daily could turn your mood around, help manage your stress levels, and even help you to achieve better results at work.
There are many meditation videos available on YouTube, so why not have a browse and see what works for you?
However, make sure that you find somewhere clean and hygienic to unwind and relax your mind, as dirty carpets in the home can contain some very nasty bugs indeed, and sitting among them will do your health no good at all.
Tip: Feeling fidgety? You don’t have to do a sitting meditation! Mindfulness exercises, such as mindful walking or even mindfully participating in an activity can achieve the same benefits without sitting for too long.
Want to improve your health and wellbeing using safe, natural methods? Why not try some of these top tips!