Keeping your momentum going as the challenge ends.
When this challenge started, I would never have imagined the world looking the way it does now that it’s ending. That being said, with everything that is going on right now, it is even more important than usual to improve or maintain your health, so I want to make sure we talk about how to best do that under the current circumstances.
Depending on where you live, your gym is probably closed, you’re homeschooling your kids, you’re probably working from home, and nearly everywhere you could have gone is closed. Where I am even the parks have closed, and our whole family is starting to go really stir crazy. I want to give you a couple of strategies for keeping your sanity and maintaining or (hopefully) improving your health while stuck in quarantine.
Try to get outside and move.
I know that may not be possible for everyone, but getting some fresh air is really good for you physically and mentally right now. If your neighborhood isn’t too busy you can go for a walk around the block and still maintain safe social distancing. If that’s not possible, try to hang out in your backyard when you can. If you’re in an apartment and aren’t allowed to go outside, at least open the windows when the weather permits, and try to keep the blinds open. Move a little every day, whether it’s YouTube workouts, one of my free daily workouts, or just having a Nerf gun war with the kids. You’d be surprised how much of a difference this makes in your emotional health!
Do your best to eat healthy
I know this is easier said than done when meat, eggs, frozen veggies, and a lot of other staples are just not available at the store. Just do your best to focus on making the best possible choices you can, because proper nutrition can play an important role in your immune system, mental health, energy levels, and nearly every other aspect of your health.
Look at what you have in your pantry and refrigerator, and just aim for a protein and a green veggie at every meal, a lot of water, and minimal (or no) processed carbohydrates. Canned meats and fish work great if you can’t find eggs or fresh/frozen meats. If you can’t find fresh or frozen veggies, canned don’t always taste as good but they’ll work in a pinch. You’ll need some healthy fats in your diet anyway so cook them in butter and use your favorite spices, it should cover up that canned taste.
Use any fresh veggies you can find first so nothing goes to waste. I found asparagus and avocado on sale, so I threw those together with a bunless burger and some onion. If I can’t get fresh veggies the next few weeks the asparagus will probably be replaced with canned green beans and there won’t be avocado, but it will still work for my goals.
Find a way to do something for yourself.
You’re likely overcrowded, overworked, overstressed, and sleep deprived. While buzz words like “self-care” might seem frivolous right now, I promise you that it’s necessary. The amount of stress related to the complete upheaval of everyone’s lives right now combined with the stress of trying to avoid a potentially deadly illness is likely to send your cortisol levels through the roof. Without getting into the science, chronically high cortisol is very bad for you. It can not only cause weight gain, but a host of other problems that you really don’t want to add to your plate right now. Find whatever helps you relax, and find a way to do that at least a few times a week. Put the kids to bed early and take a bath or read a book. Take a walk around the block, do some yoga, read scriptures, write in a journal, sing some YouTube karaoke, or work in your garden. Whatever it is that helps you feel centered and at peace, please find a way to make that happen periodically.
I’m not going to give you a giant list of more things you should be doing right now, that would just pile on more stress. Instead, I’m going to tell you to give yourself grace. This situation is unprecedented in our time, and no one was fully prepared for it. Give yourself a break if homeschooling doesn’t go well today, the dishes don’t get done, or you skip a run in favor of a nap. The next few weeks will not be perfect, and we all need to let go of the extra stress of that expectation.
Do your best today, and know that tomorrow will be better.
How can I better support you during this pandemic?