CLEVELAND — The past two years have been tough for many of us. From a pandemic to political unrest, events near and far can take their toll on our mental and physical health. But improving those—even with small changes—can make a big impact. Consumer Reports has some ways to shake up your routine and make 2022 healthier and happier.
In a recent Consumer Reports survey, 42% of Americans said they’re experiencing more anxiety than they did before the pandemic. Self-care is important because stress and anxiety can cause, among other things, difficulty sleeping, shortness of breath, and even chest pain.
A stress-free day often begins the night before. If you’ve been feeling a bit anxious, especially at night, a weighted blanket, which is filled with tiny glass or plastic beads, might help you relax into a restful sleep. Several studies suggest that weighted blankets can help ease anxiety and reduce insomnia and fatigue for some people. A heavy blanket causes your muscles to relax.
Interested in trying one? You should look for a blanket that’s about 10 percent of your body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d need a 15-pound blanket. CR found the YnM Weighted Blanket for around $60 to be a good option to try.
Add in a meditation app like Calm, Pzizz, or Headspace, and you might have the best night’s sleep in years.
One of those massage guns that are advertised on social media might help, too. Some people use them as a warm-up device before exercise or after a workout to help reduce soreness. They’re also a way to stimulate muscles that feel stiff after sitting all day long. At $100, the Renpho R3 Massage Gun is a good choice for most people.
If you’re not ready to invest in a massage gun, foam rollers are a great affordable option. Simply lie on the floor with the roller beneath you and roll on the area that needs relief.
And CR says it’s not surprising that sales of houseplants are booming right now. The greenery can keep indoor air cleaner, and seeing and nurturing plants can help you feel more tranquil and more connected to nature.
So with some newly found rest and relaxation in your life, 2022 may be your healthiest and happiest yet.
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