How to Invest in Yourself to Create a Happier Lifestyle

The months of facing a pandemic have been difficult for everyone, but it's possible to find a silver lining in almost every situation. While the situation might have put an end to parties, restaurant trips, concerts and other social gatherings as we previously enjoyed, it has also presented people with the gift of time. It’s an ideal time to invest in your health and well-being. Alexis Silver wants to help you thrive throughout the pandemic and beyond. With just a few simple tips, you might find yourself in better shape whenever COVID-19 is behind us than you did at the beginning. Physical Health America is a sedentary nation, and as Ergonomic Trends explains, that lifestyle is linked with a shorter life span. The pandemic has only served to worsen the situation. When you're watching television or working at your desk, it's easy for the minutes to turn into hours, and before you know what happened, the day is over and you haven't budged. Because physical activity is vital to good health, it's a wise investment of your time. In addition to strengthening your bones and muscles, exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and strengthen your immune system. It also reduces your odds of depression, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, heart disease and even some types of cancer. For exercise to be effective, the most important requirement is consistency. The form of exercise can vary from walking to aerobics, pilates to weight training. As long as you are elevating your heart rate every day, you will reap the rewards. If you need help with motivation and consistency, you may find it beneficial to join an online exercise program. Also consider a fitness tracker or smartwatch to help you stay consistent and reach your goals. For example, the Apple Watch records your workouts, but did you know it can also track your heart rate, monitor your steps, measure your blood oxygen levels, and even establish activity goals? Because your physical health needs to be a priority, investments like these can really pay off. Mental Health When investing time and effort into improving your health, don't overlook your mental health. Especially during this time of isolation, you need to be on guard and ready to react if any mental health issues start to arise. A recent study of the quarantine's impact on mental health revealed an increase in fear, loneliness, confusion and anger. Happiness feels more elusive when you are facing fear and isolation, so consider taking steps that can help. One approach to consider is talk therapy or counseling. Online therapy has become very popular, and most experts believe it can be effective even though you are not in the same room as the therapist. It can help you cope with stress, improve relationships, end destructive habits, solve problems and change problematic behavior patterns. There are also independent activities that can help lessen the stress and anxiety you might be facing. Meditation, for example, is a practice where you use a technique, such as focusing on breathing or a particular mantra, to center your awareness and achieve a mentally clear, calm state. Evidence suggests that you carry this calmness through your day, and in turn can feel relief from depression and anxiety. Another potentially helpful activity is yoga. Harvard Health Publishing explains that yoga benefits not only your physical health but also your mental health. Yoga has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety, sharpen concentration, focus attention, calm your nervous system and lighten your mood.   If you find yourself with more time on your hands during this challenging period in history, make the most of it and invest in your health. You need to protect and nurture your physical and mental health, not only for your own sake but also for the sake of your friends and family. The end result will be a better you!   If you or someone you love is struggling, connect with Alexis Silver, LICSW  Written by Cheryl Conklin of Central Wellness