Having finally waved goodbye to far too many lockdowns, new research has shown that whilst the pandemic brought about a rise in healthier living for many, 39% of Americans have admitted that their health has not improved, with the blame placed squarely on bad habits.
In a new poll conducted by health and wellbeing company Juice Plus+, 58% said that lockdown has inspired a new outlook and different priorities and, of the people who admitted they have developed bad habits said they want to leave behind at least one of them, with the worst behaviors being watching a lot more TV (27%), spending unproductive scrolling on devices (28%) and sleeping in too late (27%).
Over a third admitted that they want to be a better person, embracing the opportunity to live their lives in a healthier and better way than before and, positively 35% will put their mental wellbeing above all else, 30% will focus on eating a balanced diet and, with a newfound appreciation for what we are putting into our bodies, 32% of us are keen to continue cooking healthier meals more rather than opting for a takeaway or a dinner out.
Another 19% will be opting for outdoor exercise and getting as much fresh air as possible.
Perhaps most importantly, the research also revealed that over half (54%) are confident that it will be easy to keep up with these healthy habits they developed, but that does leave 46% who will struggle to stick to their goals.
Now it is all about seizing summer, and two thirds (62%) plan to embrace it.
To make this as easy as possible, Dr Zelana Montminy, the renowned behavioral scientist, positive psychologist and bestselling author of 21 Days to Resilience has come up with 5 simple tips to ensure Americans are living their best lives possible this summer and beyond:
1) Don’t try to fake positivity – accept all your feelings, negative too. Once we’re able to acknowledge and be honest about what we’re going through, we give those negative emotions less power over us. Then we’re able to reframe our thoughts into more hopeful ones and take action to move forward.
2) Saying you want to stay active is great, but it requires actually building it into our calendar to carve out time like we do anything else that’s important. Staying active does wonders for our mental health. If you have a hard time staying motivated, partner up with a friend and hold each other accountable. Instead of meeting people for a coffee, meet up for a power walk and catch up while on the move – win win!
3) Mindfulness isn’t just limited to meditations, and while that can be really powerful, it’s also important to practice throughout the day to be fully present in whatever we’re doing. Research has shown being engaged in the moment increases our productivity and engagement immensely. Instead of bogging yourself down, create a habit and practice looking inward throughout the day, even create a timer on your phone for check-ins.
4) Edit your social media feeds and contact lists. The pandemic has hopefully helped us wean toxic relationships, and figure out who we can really live without. Tune into that and use it as a tool. When it comes to social media, it’s really hard to compare our behind the scenes with everyone’s edited highlight reels. Unfollow people who make you feel like you’re not doing enough, who you’re always comparing yourself to, or who make you feel bad about yourself.
5) Create a different space outside of work and home that is yours only – book club, painting studio, dance class, whatever it is that you enjoy. Make sure it’s a place or activity that you love so much that you forget where you are, so that you’re in the flow of that moment, and that it’s not related to your career or your family. This will nurture the child still in all of us, and develop all aspects of who you are. There’s so much joy when we are fully immersed in something we enjoy just as we once did as kids – and it’s an incredibly effective way to refresh the mind and spirit.
Dr Zelana comments: “What many people don’t realise, is that by taking a simple step like eating and drinking more healthily, we are affecting our own subconscious. In eating well and exercising more, we are telling our brain and body ‘I am worth it’ which goes so far for affecting our moods positively and spurring us all on to keep up as many healthy habits as possible. We’re subconsciously reinforcing the positive feedback loop in our brain that builds self-worth when we’re careful about what we put into our bodies.”
Lockdown was all about following trends, and optimistic Americans see no excuse for this not to continue as restrictions ease. 60% believe their work life balance will improve, giving them more time to dedicate to their favourite lockdown pastimes from baking banana bread (36%) to learning TikTok dances (23%) and walking around their local parks (48%).
Sea News, July 30