My heart goes out to everyone disrupted by the COVID19 pandemic, which is generating fear and uncertainty in communities all around the world.
I have received questions from clients about how to modify their fitness routines to minimize the COVID19 threat. Some are also worried their motivation will start lagging if this pandemic lasts more than a few weeks.
Here are my thoughts on staying positive and moving forward as you navigate this difficult situation:
At times like this, it's easy to let your emotions get the best of you. But amid all the news of people fighting over rolls of toilet paper or lining up outside grocery stores, it's essential to step back, reflect, and remember how we're all connected. As a quote circulating in Italy reminds us: "We're standing far apart now so we can embrace each other later."
It's no coincidence that those who focus on others in need and support their communities, especially during times of crisis, tend to be happier and healthier than those who act selfishly. Helping others not only makes a difference to your community—and even to the wider world at this time—it can also support your mental health and well-being. Much of the anguish accompanying this pandemic stems from feeling powerless. Doing kind and helpful acts for others can help you regain a sense of control over your life—as well as adding meaning and purpose.
Take Care of Yourself
Now is an extraordinary time, and all the tried-and-true stress management strategies apply, such as eating healthy foods, getting plenty of restful sleep, and exercising.
Even more than usual, we have a very good reason to exercise: Engaging workouts contribute to good health, which in turn helps us maintain strong immune systems. People spend more time at home now, far from the friends and family they usually see, and might find their energy lagging due to loss of face-to-face interaction. Fortunately, though, exercise is well known for its mood-boosting abilities, and many of us could use a lift.
Beyond that, here are some tips for practicing self-care in the face of the unique disruptions caused by COVID19.
Be kind to yourself. Go easy on yourself if you're experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual. Have faith that conditions will improve. They will, we're just uncertain now as to when.
Maintain a routine. Even if you're stuck at home, try to stick to your regular sleep, exercise, meal, school, or work schedule. This can help you maintain a sense of normalcy.
Take time out for activities you enjoy. Read a good book, watch a comedy, play a video game, make something—whether it's a new recipe, a craft, or a piece of art. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as it takes your mind away from your worries.
Get out in nature. Sunshine and fresh air will do you good. Even a walk around your neighborhood can make you feel better. Just be sure to avoid crowds, keep your distance from people you encounter, and obey restrictions in your area.
Find ways to exercise. Staying active will help you release anxiety, relieve stress, and manage your mood. Eventhough gyms and fitness studios are closed, you can still cycle, hike, walk, stretch, or do bodyweight exercises. Or look online for exercise videos you can follow. In fact, G3CP's exercise video library is coming very soon!
Take up a relaxation practice. When stressors throw your nervous system out of balance, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and isometric stretching can bring you back into a state of equilibrium. Consistent training delivers the greatest benefits, so see if you can set aside even a little time every day.
Smile. A genuine smile shows in the eyes – smile from your heart, not your head.