Updated: Apr 1, 2019
January is usually a month of new beginnings. People are making resolutions regarding both their health and finances. The new year is used as a reset for most. This January 2019, the month of reset is also the month of shut down. There are many who are affected by the government shut down which means they have not been paid for several weeks. The health goals made earlier this month are also on shut down due to limited finances. Let's discuss 8 tips to stay on track with your health goals during the government "Shut Down."
1. Drink Water - Water is widely available. Even store brand bottled water can be purchased pretty reasonably at stores like Target or Walmart. You can get 24 bottles for around $2. You also have access to water fountains, refrigerated water or tap water which are all free. Drink more water and stop drinking your calories. This shut down may help you learn to love water. You should drink 8 - 8 ounce glasses of water per day. Your body uses water to regulate bodily functions. You lose water during sweating, breathing, and digestion so you need to rehydrate. Stay on track by drinking more water.
2. Exercise - If you are out of work due to the "shut down" then use this as a time to increase your exercise. It takes at least 21 days to become a habit which is behavior through regular repetition becomes automatic or habitual. You can do exercises at your local gym, in your home or even outside. If you want to take the burden (using gas, time, effort) out of driving to the gym then there are free or low cost workout programs which can be done in the comfort of your home. One home gym program is Her Virtual Gym. Click here for more information. Whatever you decide. Get moving. Exercise can help you feel better, increase your energy, loose weight, and help your brain health. You should exercise at least 5 days per week for 30-45 minutes per day.
3. Read - Start reading health articles from creditable (unbiased and backed by evidence) sources to increase your knowledge base. These sources should speak fact and not opinions. There should be some citation of sources which you can refer to for research and other criteria. Take time to follow these sources both in print and on social media. Search for health related information regarding both what interests you and what you know to be a challenge. Spend at least 30 minutes per day reading. Remember everything you find on google is not creditable so search google carefully.
4. Eat More - Eat more vegetables. Eat more fruit. Eat more natural foods. Learn to eat more for less. Buy more of the foods that are good for you and less of the foods that are good to you.
5. Meal prep - Now is a good time to plan your meals. Meal planning helps to stay on track with your budget. It helps you to anticipate your next meals. Plan 3 meals per day with snacks in between. This is particularly important the more people there are in a household. Meal planning gives all your food a purpose and time to be consumed. It holds everyone responsible and accountable for what is being eaten. Try ordering your food from the grocery store online so all you need to do is pick it up. This will keep you from impulse buying in the store.
6. Use your benefits - Look at what benefits your job offers and make sure you are taking full advantage of them. Some other things you can do is seek promotional and free programs for government workers. Use discount and coupon codes. Speaking of coupons. You can use coupons to buy food and household items. You can use digital coupons or print from your mobile device.
7. Turn you hobby into a business - Now is a good time to take your hobby and start a business that can earn you some money. Somebody wants and needs the skills you possess. Work on your passion just as hard as you worked on your job before the "shut down." When you do what you like, it produces happy feelings. These happy feelings lead to less stress and more enjoyment. Did you really like your job anyway? Are you happier doing what you love? Spend time getting the tools and resources you need to work in your purpose.
8. Get to cleaning - Now is a good time to clean out your closets, cabinets and drawers. Get out all the things you no longer use. And all the things you have never used. All those things that still have price tags must go. You can either donate or sell these items.
Hopefully, soon the "shut down" will be a thing of the past. But it will go down as the longest in history. Don't allow your health to go down in history with the "shut down."