Social distancing and pandemic fears seem to be ruling our days, but the behaviors you adopt now can go far to improve your well-being. HealthEase fitness pros offer some tips you may not have considered…
#1 Take Control of Whatever You Can
It might feel like parts of your life are spinning out of control, but there are still plenty of things you can do to create a sense of purpose and restore your drive while you’re stuck inside. Here are suggestions from Joe Pepe:
- Plan your day ahead by making a checklist of things to do and schedule them at specific times.
- Make your bed, spring clean each room of your house, get dressed in real clothes – accomplishing small tasks makes you feel productive.
- If you’re sitting a lot, set an alarm to get up every 15-45 minutes and move!
- Get a training accountability partner: call up your usual gym buddy and set up an accountability plan. Let them know when you plan to train each day and how. Have them share the same info with you and when the time comes text each other to check that you’re both following up on your plans.
- Give back: it’s easy to feel helpless right now. We’re here to remind you that we can all help in our own way. We can all be our own heroes. So look after a neighbor in need, donate blood, cheer up a friend or relative with a phone call or Facetime session.
#2 Keep a Schedule
While working from home, it’s easy to become distracted and off your “normal” schedule. Maybe you are going to bed later, skipping meals or workouts, and taking less time for activities that help you decompress. To help combat this, Mike McCool suggests you set a schedule that mimics your normal workday. For example, set a half hour aside at lunchtime to enjoy a healthy meal, create a reminder for your usual workout times, and take advantage of some spring weather by taking a head-clearing walk around the block. Keeping on track physically and mentally helps us stay positive in the face of uncertainty.
#3 Resist Stressing Out
Yes, this is a stressful time but with a few coping skills we can keep anxious feelings under control. HealthEase fitness pro Liz Reichel suggests a few action items (because it’s better to stop stewing and start doing). First, she says to focus on being well rather than being super fit. In other words, now is the time to work on joint mobility, stretching for flexibility, outdoor walking, and favorite activities. Tackle the TO Do list that has been on your backburner. Put meditation or yoga on that list. And get quality SLEEP!
Alex Michaels recommends reading this comprehensive help guide for tips on coping with stress, fear, and anxiety.
Research has shown that journaling is an effective stress reliever. By writing down your thoughts you get them out of your head where they are ruminating and onto paper where you can step back and process what they mean. Even if you’ve never kept a journal before, give it a try and start with a single sentence. You may be surprised how helpful it can be to express your worries, record your experiences, and remember what you’re grateful for.
#4 Try Insight Timer
Speaking of meditation, Megan Forgie recommends the app Insight Timer for meditation and breathing exercises. There are thousands of free resources on the app; some are guided exercises with positivity messages that help keep us sane. Some offer music, sleep support, morning wakeups, and more.
#5 Create or Join a Virtual Community of Exercisers
Liz Courtney encourages creating a group chat or email thread with people who you normally workout with. Keep each other motivated by sharing completed workouts, fun recipes, or even a little biggest loser challenge over the next few weeks. The communication will bring a more “friendly” atmosphere to our temporary quarantine while helping encourage people to get up off the sofa and keep up with their peers’ workout accomplishments!
#6 Add Structure to Mealtimes
While we must wait at home until the pandemic is flattened before resuming our normal routines, we can watch our weight with these strategies from Nicole Bergoine, RD.
Add structure to meals by eating together at the table instead of in front of the TV or in bed. Try eating your meals more slowly and mindfully – especially if you have more free time on your hands.
Are you guilty of boredom eating? Nicole suggests distracting yourself from food by engaging in hobbies and productive activities that can occupy your mind.
Use your free time to try homemade recipes that are made from whole foods like fruit, vegetables, legumes, and grains. You’ll be healthier for it!
#7 Snack Smart
Schedule your snacking so you don’t graze all day, says Nicole, and choose snacks with protein that will keep you satisfied longer (e.g., Greek yogurt, peanut butter, hard boiled eggs).
When “quarantine shopping” resist the urge to load up on high-sugar, high-fat comfort foods. Ty Tomlinson and Toni Ficarra urge you to buy nutrient-dense, filling snacks, like nuts, which have healthy fats, quality protein and high fiber. Limit yourself to one cup that you can nibble on at a set time period or throughout the day.
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