Healthy Habits in Times of Stress

In this challenging time, it’s easy to set aside our healthy habits because of fear. It’s important we know about our fears, but you don’t have to be controlled by them. Fear is normal and we need a certain amount of fear for good judgment and to stay safe. Your decision process can be affected if you are feeling anxious, especially if you allow fear to feed your imagination. We will always have obstacles when working on changing our habits, but I would ask you to remember your mindful eating practices and listen to your body when stressed or otherwise. It is easy to return to old habits and begin eating foods that are emotionally comforting. Pay attention and look for foods that are healthy.  One thing I noticed at the store recently - there was no shortage of healthy food choices, but non-healthy processed foods were scarce. Stay on track, journal your feelings, how much you’re moving and log your daily meals.   

Let’s talk about dealing with stress, boredom, and getting the most out of our day. I want to talk about moving and future proofing our bodies. Did you know that thirty minutes of exercise a day can provide tremendous benefits to your health?  These benefits include holding on to muscle mass, help offset osteoporosis, maintain a natural range of motion, lowering the risk of heart problems and avoiding back pain.  

How do you get these thirty minutes worked into your day? 

Here is information on how all movement is important in helping to burn calories. This process is known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or N.E.A.T. NEAT occurs with every activity that we perform except sleeping or performing sports-like exercises. It could be yard work, housework, getting out of bed, or even fidgeting. People scoring high in NEAT seem to fidget, move around for no reason, and get in more movement throughout the day. Think of the fitness watches and how they track your steps. These insignificant movements throughout the day add up and the cumulative effect is an increase metabolic rate. Research has shown that if we sit less and move more, we live longer. 

NEAT is a large contributor to total daily calories burned and could be the difference between gaining or losing weight, because of the accumulative energy throughout the day. You could burn up to 2,000 calories a day by just moving around and being on your feet. This may seem to be a simple decision, but for many of us it’s not a natural tendency to be on our feet and moving often. Our society has concocted all kinds of ways for us to move as little as possible.  

The Mayo Clinic reported a link between sitting for lengthy periods and health concerns. These health issues include obesity, increase blood pressure, as well as increases in the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

So, as you are tracking your food intake, log your movement or exercise activities. Here are some ways you can try to boost your NEAT score:  
  • Take a walk after each meal.
  • Move around while watching TV.
  • Walk around the house while you talk on the phone.
  • If you can walk there, do so.
  • If you can take the stairs, do so.
  • Walk your dog.
  • Deep clean your home.
  • Do some yard work.
  • Rearrange your closet.
  • Use your computer to learn Yoga, Tai Chi, balance or stretch classes online.
Research has shown that sitting less and moving more can help us live a longer, healthier life. The average sedentary time for Americans is ten hours per day!  Wow – so get up and move around more often. Stand up, walk around the house, just move – it all counts. 

Remember - small movements throughout the day add up and the overall effect can make a sizeable difference. 

“The fastest way to still the mind is to move the body,” - Gabrielle Roth 

Robin Anne Griffiths is a published author, certified master development coach, personal trainer and behavior change specialist. She works with groups and individuals on life transitions to create personal balance - physically and mentally.