Times like these give us perspective into just how important our health is; this includes physical, mental, and emotional health.
Although all facets of your health should always take precedence in your life, we now have the time to address and do any activities we were previously putting off. Ironically, you do not need a gym or personal trainer to help you do that!
At-home workouts are a great way to get your body moving even if you are in your pyjamas all day! (Albeit you might have to wash your pyjamas if you get especially sweaty, but the shower isn't far away either!)
You can choose from a range of activities such as yoga, pilates, strength exercises focused on certain parts of the body (ie abs, arms, shoulders). You can also choose to go into high intensity territory to try out H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training), circuit training, or tabata. All of these activities help you move your body, as well as helping with strength, flexibility, and just an overall sense of well-being and accomplishment.
You do not have to start with anything super difficult. It is important to work within your abilities, so don't push yourself too hard too fast, or you risk injury.
When I first started working out, I started with at-home exercises! When you are at home, you can do a whole lot of others things besides exercising. These activities often mean relaxing and maybe even binge-watching until the sun goes down. I had enough of that when I first started and I started my fitness journey doing strength exercises on Pinterest.
In doing at-home exercises, you learn a lot about yourself; your physical limitations, your strength, and how hard you want to push yourself. It also helps build your confidence. For me, I am always in competition with myself. If I feel I can't do all the reps, I push myself anyways. And guess what? I may be a sweaty mess at the end, but the next time I do those exercises it will be way easier.
These strength exercises made me realize I wanted more than just to move my body, I wanted to lose weight. As I stated in my previous blog post Adapt to Change, you need to change something that is no longer serving you. So I slowly brought my exercise regimen into low-intensity cardio and worked my way up to high-intensity interval training, which is when I lost my 20 lbs.
All this to say, your goals change over time and you may not even know that you want something until you start doing it. So don't be afraid of at-home workouts. Do a bunch of activities at your desired intensity and there is nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Mental health is something that is especially important to take care of right now. With all the negativity and statistics we hear everyday, it is normal to be inundated with feelings of fear and confusion, even anger.
A good idea during this time is to write about it. I like blogging because it helps me express my thoughts on paper (or in this case on a screen). It gives me an outlet for everything that is going on in my brain, and hopefully allows me to help others in the process.
This could be different for everyone. Another way to voice what is going on inside your head is to start journaling. Write a little bit everyday on how you are feeling, and even on how you can improve tomorrow. It is important to acknowledge and validate your feelings as you go, and to make sure that you are also listening to yourself.
Another great example is meditation. When I feel I need to calm down in times of stress, I meditate and control my breathing. To someone who has never done this before, they might think it is silly and useless (in which you can use a meditation app like Headspace). However, I have found that it helps me concentrate more as well as sleep better on restless nights.
Creating a to-do list is also beneficial to your mental health, if that is your thing. In a world that feels like it is spiraling out of control, at least this method gives you the power to control your own life. A to-do list can include tasks as simple as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and cooking yourself a meal. I don't know about you, but checking tasks off a list gives me a great sense of accomplishment and makes me hopeful for the days ahead. Plus, it helps in building healthy habits that also contribute to your mental health.
Now, I realize that there could be some commonalities between mental and emotional health, wherein you should validate your emotions and acknowledge your feelings.
If you feel like you are unmotivated, you can either choose to push past it or to simply listen to your body and take a day to relax. This could include indulging yourself in a bath, watching a comedy, or reading a book. In fact, your self-indulging activities can be included into everyday of your life as well.
Emotional health could also do with the relationships you have with others. In a time where we are so disconnected and forbidden from seeing each other, we can still speak and even see each other.
Something I like to do for my emotional health is make someone else feel happy. In turn, this makes me feel happy and accomplished.
Ways of doing this in your own life include calling someone unexpectedly, Skype-ing or face time-ing a friend or loved one to ask how they are doing, or even to send a letter to someone. You can also choose to help out one of your elderly relatives who might be unable to get groceries on their own (dropping the groceries off at a considerable distance of course!)
Something I am looking forward to this week is delivering groceries to my grandparents. They have both taken such good care of me that I want to give back. I might not be able to hug them, but a gesture such as that makes them feel appreciated and loved.
In the end, it is not so much what you choose to do, but how you choose to do it. Define what facet of your health you want to take care of today, whether it is physical, mental, or emotional, and focus on that. You do not need to take care of all 3 in the same day.
Create a goal for yourself for the future or just in the moment and fulfill it. As well, listen to your body and do what makes you happy most of all.