Young professionals right now are mostly going back and forth with their onsite jobs and working from home. As the busy cities slowly reopen, limited social contact and overwhelming work requirements may cause one’s physical and mental wellness to decline and take a turn for the worse.
However, there are many ways to cope with the aversive stressors around us, and ultimately, to prevent a full-on burnout and/or breakdown. Interspersed with both activities for physical wellness and mental health, here are easy and fun ideas to stimulate your senses, and reinvigorate your body and mind while staying at home.
Cooking hearty meals every so often.
Yes, you read that right. Hearty cheat meals are necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Most dietitians refer to this as carb cycling: we allot certain days of the week to pig out but most days of the week, we eat only the right amount of food. The logic behind this is that it’s impossible to eat healthy 24/7, and our body actually needs fat and carbohydrates.
But after you eat your cheat meal, you couple it with good stretches, jumps, runs, and even dance sessions if you want to make it fun. What this method does is prevent people from binge-eating food after a long time of having tasteless “healthy” meals and putting weight back on in turn.
When you do carb cycling, you watch your eating but you don’t deprive yourself of delicious food. This method is tried and tested by the trainers of Hollywood celebrities. So go ahead, cook your favorite dishes and guiltlessly savor your yummy grub.
Squeezing in a little exercise.
No time to exercise on weekdays? No worries. Just stretching and moving in between work duties is fine. But if you are free on weekends, then by all means exercise. It’s good for our bodies, as exercise improves posture, strengthens muscles, and builds endurance.
Exercise is also good for the mind because it releases endorphins that relieve our stress and pain. Take a walk around your area or allot 10 minutes for limb stretching.
If you’re into light exercises, try pilates or lagree. If you want medium intensity workouts, then dust off your treadmill and do some cardio for 15-30 minutes, or better yet, jog around your area.
If you're short on space for running, use a jumping rope. You can also ride an actual bike in lieu of a spin class that can actually pose health risks to you.
If you’re into performing arts, then aerial yoga or zumba are good choices. But if you’re taking exercise to a higher level, then consider CrossFit or HIIT (high intensity interval training). These usually involve a lot of discipline and lifestyle changes, so if you are a beginner, start with lighter, less intense exercises first.
Maximizing your break time.
A hectic schedule often has little room for resting, let alone sleeping. To fill this gap, you can take 10 to 20 minute naps to relax and recharge, which are often called power naps. If you are overwhelmed with household chores or work requirements, then do yourself a favor and take a short nap.
Giving your body time to recharge is not a waste of time. Instead of doing your tasks in a bad mood and taking that anger out on the people around you, just sleep. Sometimes, it’s really what your body and mind needs.
It’s exhausting to keep up with current trends, to respond to the demands of professional or academic life, and to be in the know all the time. It won’t hurt to slow down a little bit amidst a busy lifestyle.
Take 10 minutes to just close your eyes, let them rest, and stretch your neck, arms, and legs slowly in between work duties. In your downtime, read a relaxing book while having a facial mask on, preferably one with a cooling effect to add a refreshing twist to your me-time.
Play soft and slow songs while taking a warm shower or just swim a few laps in the condominium pool (if you happen to live in a condo). Light scented candles while putting flower petals like those of roses or orchids and fruit slices like oranges and lemons in your bathtub.
Whatever activity can help you slow down, engage in it. As much as possible, refrain from using your device so you can fully unplug and relax.
Use social media for self-care.
For some of us, social media is our bread and butter. We have our jobs and businesses there, and we use it everyday. It’s getting harder and harder to leave social media, but the thing is, we don’t have to. We just have to be smart when using it.
Download apps like Calm or Mindbody and use them when you feel tired, stressed, or anxious. Unfollow accounts that don’t give you peace of mind. If you can, put your phone away during your break time so you can focus on eating, drinking, and just doing nothing.
As more young professionals experience email burnout, it can be harder to calm yourself amidst school or work pressure. What we can do, however, is to combat this by unsubscribing to mailing lists that we do not need or are not interested in.
Before replying to emails, we must take deep breaths and give ourselves sincere affirmations to get through heaps and heaps of demands from people. Hype yourself up and highlight your strengths and achievements so you get a boost of encouragement while dealing with things at work.
As for social media apps, if they really stress you out, then delete them. If you need social media for your business or your job, then temporarily remove your personal accounts from the social media apps and just focus on your work or business account. When you’re ready again, reinstall them. But if you like the tranquility of having no social media, then quit for good. We don’t need to respond to people and to bad news all the time. Sometimes, we just need to take a second and gather ourselves.
Starting a gratitude journal.
With everything that we see on social media, like seeing attractive and rich people online who seem to have zero problems in their lives, or bad news that never seems to stop, people can really feel stuck, left out, and anxious.
Battle these feelings by listing down the things you are thankful for; the positive things that are happening in your life. Get in touch with your artsy side and pick from the countless options you have for journaling: a written diary, scrapbooking, bullet journaling, or even a video diary (make a vlog if you want!)
Gratitude journals can help you savor more of the good stuff and disregard your reference points for happiness. Wake up earlier than usual if you want to do this every day.
If you’re running on a tight schedule, then write during your downtime, like on weekends or before going to bed so you can end your day on a more positive note. If you’re religious or spiritual, you can take time to say a gratitude prayer and listen to calming or worship songs while doing so.
Take a break now, will you?
This is the sign you are looking for. Making money is nothing if you’re going to end up with sickness after sickness later on. Don’t neglect the red flags when it comes to your physical and mental health.
It’s high time we pay attention to our general wellness, especially at home. A body at its optimal performance and a mind that knows how to filter the outside noises are essential to get by in this fast-paced and ever-changing world.
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Ducharme, J. (2020, March 18). How to Stay Physically and Mentally Healthy While COVID-19 Has You Stuck at Home. Time. https://time.com/5804130/covid-19-social-distancing-wellness/
Millard, E. (2020, March 18). Your Work-From-Home Survival Guide for Self-Care. Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/your-work-from-home-survival-guide-for-self-care/
Saporita, N. et al. (2020, December 2). 40+ Lab-Approved Solutions to Creating the Ultimate Self-Care Routine. Good Housekeeping. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/ health/wellness/g25643343/self-care-ideas/
Sweet, J. (2020, December 28). 10 Wellness Trends You Have To Try In 2021. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonisweet/2021/12/28/10-wellness-trends-you-have-to-try-in-2021/?sh=55d20bb2ed8a