It’s time to get out of this funk! Sunny days are just around the corner and we’re celebrating with a special 10-day challenge that will help ensure that your physical and emotional health gets a fresh start. These fun ideas will revive you and help you feel more alive by improving your mood and improving your diet and fitness routine. Get ready to center yourself, relieve stress and enjoy the ride.
Day 1: calm your mind
It’s normal to feel depressed from time to time – but roughly one in five Americans has had more serious mental illnesses. Do you need help? Call 800-662-HELP (4357). Run by SAMHSA (Administration for Substance Abuse and Mental Health), this 24/7 national hotline is a free and confidential way to find resources, local treatment facilities, support groups, and more.
Day 2: Strap on a tune
Listening to a favorite song can lift your spirits, studies say, and they get even higher if you sing along. Singing has been shown to increase oxytocin (which helps regulate anxiety) and decrease cortisol (the stress hormone).
Day 3: Perfect Your Posture
Here’s a cool reason not to slouch: it could affect your mood. What?! There is something called embodied knowledge – the brain-body connection, where the way you move or hold yourself affects your emotions and your mental state. Studies show that good posture can help you recover from a bad mood or prevent it from happening at all.
Day 4: do a quick decryption
Day 5: get (or borrow) a pet
Day 6: Food cravings
People with celiac disease eat gluten-free because they cannot digest gluten, a type of protein found in wheat. However, you don’t need to be sensitive to it to consider cutting. Here are three benefits you may see from working gluten-free. It could…
• Cut off a few pounds: A gluten-free diet has been linked to weight loss, especially those with a smaller waistline, according to one study.
• Relief from your pain: In studies of people with endometriosis, eating at least six months of gluten-free pelvis reduced the pelvic pain that the condition can cause.
• Taming IBS: Do you have bowel problems? Patients with irritable bowel syndrome have found, according to research, that their symptoms improved when they cut gluten out of their diet.
First, try this gluten-free recipe for mussels, chilli, and lemon with quinoa spaghetti.
Day 7: soothe your pain
Do you want to counteract the effects of too much sitting (hello, back pain!) And soothe tired muscles after a workout? Try a foam roller.
The 101 of these useful devices: They are lightweight tubes made of compressed foam that are available in different lengths and strengths. You will also see rollers with ribs or bumps that help reach the tissues deep within the muscle, as well as vibrating rollers for a massage effect.
In a pinch, a tennis or lacrosse ball works. Foam rolling increases flexibility, reduces muscle soreness and loosens tight knots. If you feel a little stiff while standing or doing basic movements or after a workout, you will likely benefit from a quick foam rolling session.
SHOP FOAM ROLLERS
Day 8: Cruise through life
Bike sales skyrocketed over the past year as people looked for new ways to spend time outdoors at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few great reasons to jump in the saddle and join the cycling craze, plus an important safety reminder:
• Get a low impact workout. Cycling is a particularly beneficial exercise: it is easier on your joints than walking or running. And the pedaling motion seriously affects your muscles, from your legs to your glutes, your abs – all the way up!
• •Take some time to breathe. Spending time outdoors and being physically active has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. And cycling offers the best of both worlds!
• Help the earth (and your heart). A bike path is good for the environment and your heart. According to a study by the BMJ, cycling to work was associated with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
• Buckle up the chin strap! Always wear a helmet to protect your noggin. A properly fitting helmet should feel comfortable and snug (measure the circumference of your head to choose a size). You can also find light clips that you can use to cycle after sunset.
Day 9: Build a better salad
Give your salad a break and throw in a few different types of greens instead. Add mixed herbs (whole leaves or chopped), microgreens and sprouts or shredded cabbage or Brussels sprouts. A few salad options when it comes to thinking beyond kale and romaine:
• Mustard green has a peppery taste and is filled with vitamin K, which helps blood clot, as well as calcium and iron.
• watercress leaves are sensitive, but they’re a rich source of antioxidants like vitamin C and lutein, as well as vitamin A, which are vital to good eye health.
•Arugula is good for gut health – it contains sulforaphane, which can relieve constipation, and folic acid, a B vitamin that helps the body digest carbohydrates.
Lastly, try using crispy chickpeas instead of croutons for crisping. something sweet like pears, apples, or grapes; or a dressing that spices things up – we’re looking at you, horseradish.
First try the recipes for watercress steak salad with horseradish vinaigrette and vegan bratwurst salad with caraway vinaigrette.
Day 10: Feed your health
This month we’re celebrating a delicious way to eat that will benefit your heart, brain, and pretty much your whole body: the Mediterranean Diet. The eating style emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean and vegetable proteins (especially fish). Here are the basics:
• •Make smart pantry swaps. Switch to white rice and pasta for whole grains like quinoa, farro, brown rice, and whole grain or bean-based pasta. Use olive oil instead of butter for its healthy fats.
• •Eat more fish, less meat. Try to eat heart healthy seafood at least twice a week. grilled or baked is better for you than fried. Minimize red meat and focus on lean poultry or legumes like beans and lentils.
• •Be adventurous with products. Since this type of eating places the emphasis on plant-based foods, push yourself out of your comfort zone and pick up unfamiliar fruits and vegetables from the store. Then look for recipe ideas.
First, try the recipe for cod.
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