The coronavirus outbreak has taken a toll on the mental health of many who are filled with stress and worry about how the disease will affect them and the people they care about. It can also take a toll on physical health, with many areas temporarily closing gyms and workout studios. Fortunately, there are ways to nurture your physical and mental health for little to no cost, that you can do right from your home.
Note that these tips are general health strategies and will not prevent coronavirus. But these healthy habits might help you through this crisis time and beyond — and all cost $40 or less to follow.
Last updated: March 19, 2020
- Cost: Free
“Meditation is like free therapy — your intuition is your therapist,” said Amber-Lee Lyons, lifestyle and business coach and founder of The Chakra Girl Collective. “When you sit in silence and tune in, you uncover your true self underneath all the social media, work pressure and masks you wear on the daily.”
Studies have shown that meditation can reduce stress, and can also help your physical well-being by improving sleep quality.
Walk or Run
- Cost: S Sport by Skechers Brennen Athletic Shoes, $39.99
The only investment you need to get into the habit of walking or running is a good pair of athletic shoes. Plus, it’s a great way to stay active now that gyms are closed in many places.
“Walking, if done fast enough or long enough, can help to maintain bone density and muscle mass, and can build aerobic capacity,” said Shawna Curry, a registered nurse, health coach and owner of Your Lifestyle Strategy.
Add Probiotics to Your Diet
- Cost: GNC Probiotic Complex Daily Need, $9.99
Probiotics improve immune function, help prevent infection and improve digestion, according to Harvard Medical School. The microorganisms have been used to treat and prevent a variety of ailments ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to eczema. You can add probiotics to your diet in the form of a supplement or by eating or drinking fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha, miso soup and sauerkraut.
Stock up during your next essential grocery store run or have these probiotic-rich foods delivered right to your door with a grocery delivery service if it’s available.
- Cost: DesignWorks Ink Lined Journal, $6.99
“Studies have shown that writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you cope with depression, reduce anxiety and deal with stress,” said Morgan Statt, health and safety investigator at ConsumerSafety.org. “Your journal can be used in any way you choose, and there’s no particular formula you have to follow to reap the mental health benefits. Remember that you are doing the activity solely for your benefit, so whatever you choose to write down is great.”
Statt suggests jotting down three things you’re grateful for in your journal each night before bed. “The act of showing gratitude has been scientifically proven to help you feel healthier, lower stress and improve self-esteem,” she said.
Work Out Using YouTube Videos
- Cost: Free
Many YouTube video workouts require little to no equipment and can be done right in your own home. You can find pretty much every type of workout on the video-sharing site, including strength and conditioning, dance, yoga, Pilates, martial arts and Tabata, a highly effective 20-minute, high-intensity interval training workout.
“Tabata kicks your metabolism into overdrive through anaerobic and aerobic exercise, which makes it a good fat-burning workout,” said Dr. Patrick Suarez, a board-certified orthopedic and sports clinical specialist, of the cheap workout trend.
Drink a Green Juice Every Day
- Cost: Jùs by Julie All Green Everything, $7
Studies have found that consuming the leafy greens often found in green juice blends can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and improve cholesterol.
Health food advocates say that drinking green juice helps remove toxins from the body, though there is no hard scientific evidence to demonstrate this to be true. Regardless, green juice is still a good way to get an extra dose of vegetables.
Many juice companies, including Jùs by Julie and Pressed Juicery, will deliver their juices right to your door.
Sleep for an Average of 8 Hours Every Night
- Cost: Free
“During sleep, our body heals and regenerates,” said Samantha Salmon, integrative nutrition health coach and founder of RawFoodMealPlanner.com.
Getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night is essential to our immune function, memory, metabolism and learning, in addition to making sure we have enough energy to take on the day. There is also a link between sleep and weight gain: Adults who sleep for less than five hours or more than nine hours are more likely to gain weight.
Try Oil Pulling
- Cost: Nature’s Way Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, $15.19
The ancient Ayurveda practice of oil pulling involves taking a tablespoon of sesame, coconut, sunflower or other unrefined oil of your choice and swishing it in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes. Dr. Leslie Renee Townsend of Jefferson Dental Clinics recommends oil pulling several times per week. “Dental benefits of oil pulling include cavity and gingivitis prevention, fresher breath and reduction of bacteria,” she said.
Townsend and other practitioners of holistic medicine believe that oil pulling can have additional health benefits, including relief from inflammation, headaches, common colds, bronchitis and insomnia.
Nature’s Way organic extra virgin coconut oil is available on Amazon Prime.
Use the Freezer for Eating Healthy on a Budget
- Cost: 365 Everyday Value Organic Mixed Vegetables, $1.99
“The freezer can be your best friend in two ways in regards to making healthy eating affordable,” said Dr. Candice Seti, also known as The Weight Loss Therapist. “First, check the frozen section for good deals on frozen fruits and vegetables. As long as nothing is added to the produce, the nutrient value is typically not compromised when it is frozen. Secondly, utilize your own freezer at home. When you find a sale on things like organic meats, take advantage of it and buy extras to stock your freezer with items purchased at better prices.”
Now is an especially good time to stock up on healthy frozen foods.
Dry Brush Your Body Before Showering
- Cost: The Organic Pharmacy Skin Brush, $19
“Body brushing improves circulation and lymphatic drainage,” said Dr. Idelle S. Brand of The Brand Wellness Center.
Dry brushing also exfoliates the skin and can even temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. To dry brush correctly, use a firm-bristled brush and use long, upward strokes to brush your body from your feet up through your arms. For the most benefits, brush before you shower so that whatever treatments you use in the shower can penetrate into your pores better.
The Organic Pharmacy skin brush is available on Amazon and ships for free.
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Buy Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruit in Bulk
- Cost: Kirkland Signature Extra Fancy Mixed Nuts 2.5-pound Jar, $18.49
“Don’t skip over the bulk bins at the grocery store,” Seti said. “Buying items like nuts, seeds, dried fruit and chia seeds [from bulk bins] can have significantly lower prices than packaged versions of those same items.”
Seti also recommends shopping at warehouse stores to find cheap healthy food. “Many warehouse stores are catching onto consumers’ desires for more real, whole foods, and are starting to stock options for health-minded shoppers more regularly.”
If you’re planning another Costco run to stock up on essentials, add these items to your cart.
Jump On a Mini Trampoline
- Cost: Pure Fun Mini Rebounder Trampoline, $39.99
Jumping on a trampoline, aka “rebounding,” can be a way to change up your cardio routine — and it’s something you can do at home.
An American Council on Exercise study found that a 19-minute mini trampoline workout provided moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise and expended calories equivalent to running 6 miles per hour, biking at 14 miles per hour or playing football, basketball or ultimate Frisbee. As a bonus, study participants found the exercise fun to do.
Additionally, some holistic practitioners believe that jumping on a trampoline can give a boost to your lymphatic system.
“Two minutes a day of jumping will improve lymphatic drainage to remove toxins,” Brand said.
The Pure Fun Mini Rebounder Trampoline is available on Amazon Prime.
Swap Out Soda for Water
- Cost: Pogo Sport Tritan Straw Water Bottle, 32 ounces; $8.99
Swapping out sugary soda drinks for water is an easy way to trim your budget and your waistline. “For the cost of a case of your favorite unhealthy drink, purchase a 20- to 32-ounce reusable water bottle,” said Mary Black, an anti-aging lifestyle coach.
Drinking water helps to regulate body temperature, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells and keep joints lubricated, according to CNN. Conversely, soda is a cheap drink that can have negative health consequences. Soda is packed with sugar, which can lead to health problems including adverse metabolic effects.
Observe ‘Meatless Monday’
- Cost: 15-ounce can of Bush’s Black Beans, $1
“Adding a meatless Monday — or whatever day you prefer — to your week will not only help you add more vegetables to your diet, but it can also help you cut your grocery budget,” Seti said. “Protein-rich options like beans and mushrooms are less expensive than meat and are packed with nutrients.”
Beans are a good example of a food item that’s good for you and your wallet. At $1 for a can, you can eat healthy for just a buck.
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