Let’s face it. We are all pretty stressed out these days. Uncertainty is everywhere. Uncertainty about our health and the health of others, economic uncertainty, and uncertainty around how long this will last and how we will be able to come out of it.
On top of that, we are stuck at home, with what may seem like very few options related to how we like to live our lives.
Let’s see if we can make lemonade out these lemons.
I would like to propose three ways we can use these times to re-write the script in order to come out healthier on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.
#1. WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE
Obvious, right? But you can take this concept and apply it to your health and fitness. Huh?
Let me tell you a story. Back in the day when I was making the decision to take action to preserve my health and fitness, I realized something. I WAS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. Meaning, that my life and my habits will be with me for the long haul. Not a 3 month diet program or a 6 month fitness challenge. The long haul. So, I devised a way to slowly change over to some new habits that I could sustain, even enjoy. If it was a slow change-over, so what? As I said, I wasn’t going anywhere. Except forward. I realized that what I do, the focus I have, determines how my life unfolds in the future.
What did I want for myself? Was the transitory comfort of eating dessert or junk food on the couch more important than doing something for myself that sustains my health for much longer than that? I decided that it wasn’t.
You can use this time to realize that YOU ARE NOT GOING ANY WHERE. Make a plan (more on that further down) to come out of this with a few new habits that contribute to your overall health and well-being. This is a great opportunity to nail down how you want to be when you can start getting back to “normal”. It will be a new normal. You can take this opportunity to develop your own new normal on the other side of this.
#2. MANY OF US ARE TAKING ON NEW PROJECTS AT THIS TIME
Some are learning to knit, deciding to clean the garage, or just finally getting to some of those books that are on the shelf. These are good coping mechanisms. They give you a feeling of accomplishment, expanded self-image, and a vision of yourself as resilient. Very important these days. Why not include building a few new skills around nutrition and exercise?
Example: Some of us are being forced to consider a new exercise routine since we can no longer get to the gym and/or see our trainer. What to do? Here’s where you may notice that you depended on the gym machines and your trainer to get you through a workout. Now you may have to jump on a learning curve in order to learn what to do on your own. This does not have to be a drag. You can think of it as empowerment and building autonomy.
Both of these things are highly valuable when it comes to the long haul. Why? It means you are taking charge of your health and fitness. Notice that it involves learning. Learning involves curiosity. Also knowing deep down that you have the ability to make informed changes that will help you keep exercise as a habit.
For something concrete, download your one-page 9 Ways to Get the Most from Your Exercise here. It is a guide to getting the most out of any exercise that you do. It’s a cheat sheet that can help you with your at-home exercise or workouts, and keep you safe.
#3. IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU
That’s the good news and the bad news. The good news is that you are in charge. The bad news is that you have to figure out what action is going to work for YOU. Let’s say you have decided to come out of this healthier and more active. What are a few of your habits that you can replace with better ones?
A few concrete examples: if you are wedded to having dessert every night, could you take a half portion, or do this every other night instead? Or—even more spectacular—stop having baked goods for dessert or other times, and swap them out for a piece of fresh fruit. On another note, you can take a look at your grocery list. What are a few things you can change on it that would be healthier options?
In terms of exercise, now is a good time to go for more walks. They get you out of the house, it is allowed, and you might even run into some people (from at least 6 feet of course) to help you feel connected.
Some additional thoughts about all this
You may see a trend here. The underlying theme is that there are no magic bullets. Ever. That’s why acting NOW to choose a few new habits for yourself is a great strategy for these times and beyond. Doing this can give you more confidence in your ability to make good choices for yourself going forward, which is HUGE.
Making some changes for your health is a PROJECT, just like learning to knit, organizing the garage, or reading more books. But, like anything else, if you break it down into small bits, it will get done.
Last but not least, it’s about SELF CARE. Once again, it is about YOU. You are the only one who owns your body. It’s up to you to decide what to do with it. Remember, you are not going anywhere!
© 2020 Kristen Carter, MS. All rights reserved.