It’s National Health Education Week and we want to highlight the importance of healthy practices. To be a well-rounded healthy person, you need to take care of both your physical and mental health needs.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has changed the ways we’re able to care for our physical health. As we head into flu season, while also still navigating the pandemic, it is important for us to make sure we are actively making choices to keep our bodies healthy.
Eat this not that
Be sure to eat foods that help keep you energized and support a strong immune system. Check out the lists below to learn what foods to eat, and which to avoid.
Foods to Eat
- Greens – Kale, Spinach
- Tropical and Common Fruits – Apples, Grapes, Avocados
- Forest Fruits – Berries
- Complex carbs – Rice, Pasta, Potatoes
- Grains and Cereals
- Beans and Lentils
- Protein – Chicken, Beef, Tofu or other Vegetarian Protein Options
Foods to Avoid
- Saturated and Trans Fats
- Anything with Chemical Preservatives
- Sugary Snacks or Beverages
- Refined Carbs such as White Flour
- Fried and Salty Foods
Apart from these foods, remember to keep dairy and meats to a minimum, and if you plan to eat animal products, try cooking them with steam or baking them to avoid adding extra fats.
Most people don’t drink enough water, and while there isn’t really any science behind the famous 8×8 rule, generally speaking the more you drink water regularly, the better off you’ll be.
Drinking water can help with the following:
- Headache relief due to dehydration
- Healthy metabolism
- Kidney health
- Joint pain and inflammation
- Mood improvement
- Immune help
Exercise Every Day
You don’t have to be an all-star athlete but making time to be active is going to keep you physically healthy. It’s important to get your heart rate up and work your muscles. Exercise will also benefit your mental health by helping your body to release endorphins, which are seen as natural painkillers and can bring about feelings of euphoria and general well-being.
Examples of a few exercises that are COVID safe:
While the pandemic and being locked indoors has taken a toll on our physical health, it has also caused us significant stress and affected our mental health. Mental health struggles have historically been and still are very prominent in Native communities. It is important that especially during these times of uncertainty that mental health issues are not pushed aside or ignored. Make the choice to start actively managing your mental health today!
Take Time to Socialize
Social distancing has become a main part of our lives but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the effort to be social. Weekly online get together with friends or family is a great way to keep social. Check out apps like Zoom and Houseparty.
Keep your Mind Active
Take this time to explore passions of yours, or projects you’ve been putting off. Maybe you’re interested in art, yoga, hiking, or reading. Absent-minded time will leave your brain to wander and at times idle time can lead down a rabbit hole of negative thoughts. When your brain is focused on something it enjoys, it has less time to think about the negative. This ultimately boosts serotonin — a chemical in the body that contributes to wellbeing and happiness.
Manage your Stress
While it’s important to keep your mind busy, make sure you’re also giving yourself time to manage your stress. If you’re having a bad day, take time to truly feel those feelings so you can properly process them before moving on. Brushing them off and pretending things are normal can cause these feelings to come back twice as strong, leading you on the path towards anxiety or depression.
Take time to do an activity that helps you relax, such as listening to music, yoga, or guided meditation. Oftentimes, just taking a 15 minute nap can help us get out of a mindset by reenergizing us and allowing us to shift our mindset.
Need more resources to help yourself or someone you love? Go to our Circles of Care page to learn more.
National Health Education Week may only last for 7 days, but keeping these tips in mind will affect your health positively for years to come! Don’t stop here! To learn more, visit the Health Net Facebook page for more resources on how to stay healthy.