Men's Health (USA)

The GuyÕs Guide to Getting

- BY MARKHAM HEID

How to break your bad #stayathome habits and get back on track.

what was initially stay-at-home “self-care” has gradually turned into an Everest of White Claw cans, more than a few pounds, and a languishin­g list of workouts you were going to do tomorrow. We all let our games slip. But now that months have passed, all those temporary coping measures are in danger of becoming permanent. Now’s the time to check in with your physician, derm, and other docs to make sure that you’re really still “mostly healthy.” And then nip your nascent vices in the bud to get yourself the rest of the way there. It doesn’t take much: Improve some health behaviors by a mere 10 percent and it can mean a big difference to your body. Here’s how to make that happen.

FOR A LOT OF US,

FIX IT: The more time you have, the more time you have to waste. That’s the takeaway from a lot of research on procrastin­ation, which has found that people often struggle to finish a task when given extra time to complete it. This helps explain why you keep missing workouts even though your new schedule (theoretica­lly) allows you more time for them. Whether you’re back at work or still home, the antidote is the same: Commit to a time and place for exercise, says Piers Steel, Ph.D., a psychologi­st at the University of Calgary and

THE HABIT: author of

The Procrastin­ation Equation. He says routines are procrastin­ation

kryptonite because, once formed, they mostly remove

the temptation to bail. “They’re like highways without offramps,” he adds. Schedule the week’s workouts on Sunday and try a social workout tracker like Strava to stay accountabl­e.

THE HABIT:

FIX IT: Late bedtimes and wake-ups won’t fly if you have to be at a desk most mornings or want to be productive from home. If going to bed earlier is a struggle—you toss and turn forever—use this hack: Do nothing. “But it’s the hardest nothing you’ll ever do,” says Michael Perlis, Ph.D., director of behavioral sleep medicine at the University of Pennsylvan­ia’s Perelman School of Medicine. After a bad night’s sleep, “doing nothing” means no napping, no sleeping in, no early bedtimes. Set a schedule and stick to it. Build up enough sleep debt and “the ship will right itself”—usually within three to five days, he says.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. Multitaski­ng is a misnomer, Newport says; people can do only one task at a time. “Switching decreases your cognitive capacity for whatever you’re trying to do,” he says. You lose time attempting to refocus your attention, and you’re less able to grasp complex material and more prone to mistakes. You might have to call in more tech to break your tech habit: A program called Freedom (freedom .to) lets you temporaril­y block your computer’s or phone’s access to web pages and apps. Start by blocking access for 15 minutes at a time, says Larry Rosen, Ph.D., a professor emeritus at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and coauthor of The Distracted Mind. “You’ll know it’s working when those 15 minutes go by and you don’t want to stop what you’re doing.”

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