As you know, the world has changed a lot over the past few weeks. A global health crisis, economic turmoil, travel restrictions and social distancing are all things that we hear about in the news everyday. While all these changes are cause for worry, there is one good thing that many of us may have gained: TIME.
Time is the greatest asset of all. Something you can spend only once and can’t earn back. Before all of this craziness, most of my coaching clients have said that they never have enough time to get things done: too much work, too many activities to shuttle the kids to, too many at-home projects that need to be handled. Most of them generally state "lack of time" as being the number one reason why they can’t keep active, don’t have time to plan and prepare healthy meals, or address their own self-care needs...
Here's the chance! Now that you have time, what could you do to improve your health and wellness? You have plenty of options.
Let's look at 3 important steps in creating a healthier you!
1. Get Started: Investigate your options
First, it's great to start with doing some research! Start by thinking about what you would like to accomplish for your personal wellness needs and find out what options you would like to investigate.
While your local gym may be closed, there are tons on online resources and videos that can teach you how to stay active (even if you don’t have any fitness equipment at home). Before being active, make sure any exercise routine is safe for you (and not cause or aggravate any existing health condition that you may have). Also look at the level of intensity as well and make sure that it matches with your level of fitness.
If you're feeling a little anxious these days. Maybe you may find some online meditation programs helpful to manage your stress. Puzzles and games (like sudoku) are also great to keep your mind active and may help prevent thinking about what you see on the news for a while.
As for nutrition, look up healthy recipes that you find appealing and that you may want experiment preparing. Perhaps there is something that you have always wanted to try. Now is the time to give it a go!
Once when you have a few ideas, experiment!
2. Experiment: Find out what works for you
Try out some things you researched. Take note of what you're enjoying, and what's bringing you into better health. Note that the experimentation process shouldn't be looked at as a success or a failure. It's better to look at it as a learning process. What you're doing is finding ways to see what options best fit your lifestyle (you won't know until you try).
While being active, be aware of what your body is feeling. Take your workouts slow and steady and progress gradually. From there, make a mental note of how you are feeling. Is the activity too easy or too hard? Did anything cause you joint pain or other problems? At the end of the workout, how did you feel?
As for stress relief, what strategies or practices worked best for you? For example, was that breathing practice more relaxing than that 30-minute comedy show? Or, was it the other way around? Make a record of the things you try and see if you can spot a trend.
If you are experimenting with preparing healthy meals, makes notes of: how long that meal took you to prepare, the ease or difficulty of making it, the cost of the ingredients, and how much you enjoyed the food when you were done. There are lots of fast, inexpensive, and tasty meal options out there. You'll just need to find out the ones that fit your lifestyle, tastes and budget. What will you try?
3. Establish: Turning experimentation into practice
Ask yourself, of the new habits that you're trying, what can you carry forward when life gets busy again? Start repeating all of your successful experiences, and work on making them become a regular part of your life.
When this crisis finally winds down, where would you like to be? Would you rather lay low, ride out the crisis, and hopefully be in the same place that you were before... Or, would you like to be in a better place when things finally settle down? Would you like to be more energized, stronger, nourished, active, and less stressed? This is a great opportunity to create a wellness practice that can last a lifetime! Setting up healthy habits now can go far in making a healthier long-term future!
Mark Connor | Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer, Behavioral Change Specialist.
Mark is particularly well-known for guiding clients through stress management and creating healthy, enjoyable lifestyles.