Lifestyle

5 Tips to Stay on Track in Quarantine

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The world as we once knew it has been turned upside down in a matter of a few weeks.  The sudden onset of COVID-19 across the globe has taken a toll on so many aspects of our daily lives it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to putting the pieces back together.  As we begin to adjust to this new normal of at-home work, at-home learning, and at-home fitness it’s easy to put your health and fitness goals on the back burner.

Staying on track with your health and fitness goals may seem harder than ever right now, nearly impossible, but there are a few ways you can keep yourself looking and feeling great despite the chaos going on around us.

1. CREATE NEW HABITS

A few months ago, you had a great routine going.  You packed your gym bag the night before, planned your workouts around your busy schedule, meal prepped your lunches for the week and you were feeling on top of the world… then, it all came to a halt.  The gyms were closed, the grocery stores were empty, and no one was holding you accountable.  Your carefully curated routine was ripped right from under you and you were left stranded.  It’s time to create a new system.

Take a look at your old routine, the one that was working so well, and decide what aspects of that routine are still important to you.  If you still want to make time for meal planning and exercise it’s time to create new habits involving those things and to learn what works best for you now.  Here are a few simple habits to implement during quarantine:

  1. Set an alarm to wake up at the same time each day.  Decide what days of the week / time of day you’ll exercise and write it down in a calendar or journal to keep you organized.
  2. Leave your exercise clothes out the night before, so they are ready to go the next day or better yet put them on right when you wake up.
  3. Plan ahead before you go to the grocery store.  Create a list to make sure you know what you need in order to create meals for the week. Continue to meal prep on the weekends so there is always healthy food close by to prevent unhealthy choices.

2. BLOCK OFF TIME

You have to create time for the things that are important to you, even if you’re stuck at home.  You may have a lot of new distractions such as constant work emails or unexpected interruptions from children, so it’s important to block off time to reach your goals.  This means setting time on your calendar to exercise, to grocery shop, to meal prep.  These things may not be new to you but they may be much more difficult now.  A few ways to help you block off your time are:

  1. Set an alarm on your phone to go off when it’s time to stop what you’re doing and go for a walk.
  2. Create a meeting with yourself on your calendar to meal prep food for the week, treat this like an important meeting you can’t miss.
  3. Stick a Post-It note on the fridge so everyone in your family knows your schedule (and when not to bother you).

3. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE

If someone goes to the gym and they don’t take a selfie, did it even happen? The answer is yes! And even if you can’t take that mirror selfie you can still get in a great workout.  Figuring out how to exercise by yourself is definitely a new challenge and one that makes most people want to throw in the towel all together.  Here are a few things to try to keep yourself accountable:

  1. Workout via Zoom or FaceTime with a friend.
  2. Try joining an online fitness challenge or workout group.
  3. Choose realistic goals you know you can stick to.  If you were making it to the gym 5 days a week before, try for at least 3 days a week of at-home exercise.  This could mean taking a brisk walk or attending a virtual yoga class.  It’s much easier to hold yourself accountable when you set yourself up to succeed.

4. REST AND RECOVER

Being able to manage your stress and anxiety is an essential part of getting a good night’s sleep and getting a good night’s sleep is an important aspect of your overall health and wellness. These days there is more to stress about than ever before and anxiety is at all all-time high. The ability to get enough rest and recover is what allows us to wake up the next day and do it all over again. In order to lose fat, gain muscle mass, and keep your brain functioning properly, 7-9 hours of sleep is essential. Here are a few ways you can de-stress and get in those ZZZ’s:

  1.  Create a bed time routine. Begin to wind down before bed by turning off the TV (especially the news) and putting down the phone. Try to do a de-stressing activity such as reading, journaling, or meditation.
  2. Exercise! Yes of course exercise will help tire you out but try to avoid it 2-3 hours before bedtime, all that adrenaline could keep you up.
  3. Avoid caffeine before bed. Caffeine may be beneficial earlier in the day or before exercise but try to switch to tea or water as the day goes on.

5. PRIORITIZE MENTAL HEALTH

The most difficult, and arguably most important component of staying on track during this time is your mental health.  This pandemic has brought on more stress than anyone could have ever anticipated. Many people have lost loved ones, lost their jobs, and lost the ability to stay connected with friends and family. 

Making sure you’re in the right head space can contribute greatly to your physical health and well-being.  If you’re feeling isolated and lonely you may want to over eat to comfort yourself. This over-eating may not only negatively affect your physical health but may increase anger or anxiety, affecting your mental health as well. Below are 3 ways to keep yourself in a good head space:

  1. Reach out to family and friends regularly (via phone or video chat) even if that means taking time away from other tasks.
  2. Realize it’s okay to feel the way you do, and remember a lot of other people are feeling the same way, no one’s life is normal right now.
  3. Know that the health and safety of you and your family comes first, be realistic with your goals. Some days will be great while others your motivation is nowhere to be found, and that is to be expected.

When everything is going according to plan it’s much easier to crush your health and fitness goals but when that plan gets de-railed, the pressure is on and staying on track becomes a new challenge. Remember, we are in a global pandemic, and your health and the health of those you care about is top priority. Don’t be too hard on yourself, stay focused, and stay positive.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Kinesiology, Julia is currently a Certified Nutrition Coach, CrossFit Athlete, and former bodybuilding competitor. She believes everyone should have the opportunity to live a happy, healthy life while eating the foods they love and reaching their goals. She has a passion for educating people about nutrition and the human body with the hopes to get them off the diet roller coaster forever.

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