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Our homes have the magical ability to be many things to us. It's a personal oasis filled with the things we love. It's a place where memories are made. It's a little slice of heaven after a long day at work. Whatever meaning our homes might hold for us, there are wonderful activities we can do at home to care for ourselves and stay connected - activities that nourish our mind, body and soul and help us to recharge and rejuvenate.


Here are 12 ways on how you can stay healthy and well at home.


#1 Declutter Your Space to Free Your Mind

Have you noticed how calming spaces are often free from clutter? Have you wondered why spas and yoga studios feature Zen or minimalist designs? There's a scientific reason behind these design choices.

Neuroscientists at Princeton University have found that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress[1].

Clutter saps our time, energy and space. When you've decluttered your home, you'll be in a much better mood, feel less stressed and have more energy to do things that are important to you.

Get started straight away with the 4-step decluttering method. Take your time. You do not need to complete everything in a single day. Each time you declutter, you'll feel the difference. And that will keep you motivated to continue.

To stay clutter-free, put things away quickly and have a home for everything. For more tips like these to stay clutter-free, check out these 7 decluttering hacks.

#2 Cleanse Your Snack Bar

When you are face-to-face with a snack bar filled with snacks that are high in sugar and sodium such as chips and chocolate bars, it might be tempting to just indulge in these and forget about the need to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet. The solution? Snack bar cleansing. Switch out unhealthy snacks with nutritious ones to make your home a wellness sanctuary.

Fruits and vegetables such as grapes, apples, carrot and celery sticks, all make delicious and healthier snacks. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colours helps you get a range of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants which help to protect you against heart diseases, stroke and certain types of cancers.

Fruits and vegetables are also higher in fibre which help lower cholesterol levels, promote regular bowel movement thereby preventing constipation, and keep you fuller for longer. Choosing them over snacks that are high in fat and added sugar will help you maintain a healthy weight.

When fresh fruits and vegetables are not available, there's an equally nutritious alternative – frozen and dried fruits. They're just as tasty. What's more? You can make fruit popsicles with frozen fruit. On a hot day, that's nourishing and refreshing. When shopping for dried fruits, choose the ones with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS).

Do enjoy all food in moderation! No matter how nutritious your snacks maybe, you can still gain weight when you eat too much of a good thing. Snack smart! Watch what you eat and how much.

#3 Create a Corner for Relaxing and Reading

When was the last time you read a book? If you've read a book recently then you would have experienced the goodness of a good read.

If you can't remember, this could be the best time to pick up a book, create a comfortable, relaxing corner and read. Reading can also strengthen your brain and keep your brain active and engaged.

Visit www.nlb.gov.sg or use the NLB mobile app to bring the library into your home where you can browse and borrow e-books from the library's ever-expanding collection.

#4 Turn Your Living Room into a Studio and Workout

Move your coffee table aside, lay a mat on the floor and put on some workout music to instantly transform your living room into a cosy workout studio. Clock the recommended 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) every week to look and feel great!

No weights or equipment at home? No problem. There are plenty of exercises you can do to stay healthy without any equipment. Start off with some stretching exercises before a full home cardio workout. On days you're not feeling like an energiser bunny, strength-train instead.

Prefer to follow a group? Play these Stay Active Anytime, Anywhere! videos and exercise along. Reminiscing about The Great Singapore Workout? We have "The Greater Singapore Workout" just for you too!

#5 Curate and Compile Music You Love

Have you noticed how happy some people get listening to music or singing along as music plays? That's because music improves mood and reduces tension [2][3]. Whether you like music a little or a lot, you can use it to regulate your mood and destress.

At home, you have the time and space to discover new artists and songs and entirely new genres. Once you have identified new music you like, curate and compile them into playlists which you can play or share with your friends.

If you're not in the mood for new discoveries, you can always fall back on your favourite tracks. Pick a time to devote to them. "Memory Monday", "Throwback Thursday" and "Fav Friday" could be regular stay-home music days where you indulgently listen to songs from your carefree teenage years to uplift your mood.

#6 Refresh Your Recipes and Cook!

The wholesome goodness of a home-cooked meal can do wonders for our wellness. Being home, there are more opportunities for you to don an apron and cook nutritious, affordable dishes using healthier cooking methods like steaming, baking, stir-frying and grilling. Time to put the deep-fryer away.

Check out our affordable, healthy recipes and have a cookout at home. Nasi Kuning, Indian stir-fried chicken and sliced fish soup are healthier, tasty meal ideas that can be prepared with a budget of less than $20 for a family of four.

Food plays a big role when it comes to our health. With healthier, balanced and nutritious home-cooked meals, your body is nourished and at a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic illnesses.

#7 Start Journaling in the Privacy of Your Home

Journaling isn't just for those of us who love to write. Like exercise or eating healthy, anyone can journal and there are heaps of health benefits associated with gratitude journaling.

When we express gratitude in our journals, we are not merely writing. We are seeing the positive side of life. And being able to do so improves our mental well-being, making us better at coping with stress.

Before you go to bed each night, think of the little things you're grateful for and jot them down. Maybe it's a friend that asked about you today. Maybe it's the delicious dinner you had or the comfy bed you're just about to tumble into.

When this little habit becomes a ritual, you'll automatically see the positive side of life as you wind down for the day.

#8 Pick Up New Skills

Constantly learning new things stimulates your brain and nerve cells, keeping your brain refreshed and sharp. When your brain fires up and makes new connections, you'll also be keeping dementia at bay.

These days, you can learn virtually anything - virtually. Always wanted to learn Korean? There's a course for that. Curious about coding? There's a class on that too. Looking for something more serious like investing in property, data visualisation or machine learning? Search and ye shall find.

Many of these courses are free. If you fancy learning something and it comes with a price tag, check to see if the course is available on My SkillsFuture first. You can use your SkillsFuture Credit to offset the cost!

By picking up a new skill, you're increasing your future employability and rejuvenating your mind.

#9 Detox and Recharge for a Healthy Glow

When you're out and about, often you have no control over your environment, making it hard or nearly impossible to detox.

Staying home gives you the chance to detox from whatever is dampening your glow. Add 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night to your detox regime and you'll soon have a healthy glow and good skin to boot.

Drinking water, eating fruits and veggies and restful sleep gets rid of accumulated toxins and increases the anti-oxidants in your body. That's why you look and feel a whole lot younger when you stay hydrated, eat healthier and sleep well.

#10 Make Your Home a Base to Connect to Others

The beauty of modern homes is that they can be private spaces while being hyperconnected to the 'outside world' thanks to technology.

A tap or a click and we are instantly connected to friends and colleagues on chat applications. A few more taps and we could be video conferencing with a family member living a distance away or in another country.

Here's how we can use tech to deepen our connection with others. Think of your home as a base where you provide social nourishment to those you care about over the airwaves. Every morning, think about one or two people who matter to you, get on your mobile and ask them how they are doing.

When we reach out to our family or friends, we not only improve our wellness, but also the wellness of others. These small acts are how strong support networks are built.

Get online and connect today.

#11 Take Time to Mind Your Social Media Moments

When your home is decluttered, you've detoxed and you're recharged, you're in a good place and in great shape to show kindness to others. Showing kindness boosts your positive emotions while soothing someone else and reducing their stress levels.

As you scroll through social media posts at home, take a moment to say something kind. Something simple like “Thank you for sharing 🙏” or “Nice 🙌” will do.

Your single act of kindness may spur others to do the same. When there are more of us sending love, kindness and positivity, the world becomes a stronger place that can withstand trying times.

#12 Explore and Join Virtual Communities from Home

Most of us have interests that our friends and families may not share. When no one in our network shares our interest, we can feel like an oddball and isolated.

Letting our interests languish is not the answer! Instead, we can call upon our adventurous spirit, put on our explorer hats and search for others who share our passions on the Internet.

There are countless groups on social media. Into dancing? There's a group devoted to that. Love cooking? There are many groups for food-loving Singaporeans who love to cook. Pick up some new, healthier and tasty recipes from fellow foodies. Have an urge to knit? You'll find a virtual community ready to knit and purl.

There are also groups that provide practical help and support. Facebook groups by RC clubs and parenting websites for new mothers and caregivers of the elderly are just some of those filled with people who are willing to lend a hand or ear to those in need.

Making new friends online, being supported virtually and being part of a wider community is important for your mental wellbeing. Set aside time to seek out your virtual tribe.

Stay Well to Stay Strong

Give some or all of these 12 ideas a go to nourish and strengthen your mind, body and soul.

When you're caring for your home and health, you're focusing on what you can control instead of worrying about things unnecessarily. Calmly in control, you will be more discerning about what you can and can't shape.

If you are looking for the latest updates on COVID-19, always tune in to official sources from the Ministry of Health. Continue to practise good hygiene habits like washing your hands frequently with soap even when at home. When everyone pitches in, we will be able to stay well to stay strong together.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.


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References

  1. McMains S, Kastner S. (2011). Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex.The Journal Of Neuroscience, 31(2), pp.587-597.
  2. Linnemann, A., Ditzen, B., Strahler, J., Doerr, J. M., & Nater, U. M. (2015). Music listening as a means of stress reduction in daily life. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 60, 82-90.
  3. Thayer, R. E., Newman, J. R., & McClain, T. M. (1994). Self-regulation of mood: Strategies for changing a bad mood, raising energy, and reducing tension. Journal of personality and social psychology, 67(5), 910-925.