COVID-19 changes have come at us thick and fast these last few weeks. Some of us are struggling in more ways than one. Some of us are doing ok but are wondering how long we can ‘keep this up’ for. Some of us have had the rug swept right out from under our feet and are laying on our back staring dazed and confused at the ceiling whilst our toddler repeatedly hits our head with a toy hammer. If COVID-19 changes like Social Distancing and Self Isolation have thrown a giant spanner in your exercise routine, or put a massive dent in your motivation to move, check out my four tips below.
1. Set your minimum
Now is probably not the time to be chasing your ideal or demanding perfection in your weekly routine. I often refer to times like this, as ‘survival mode’, as opposed to ‘thriving mode’.
Survival mode means taking things back to basics. Simplifying. Minimising. Obviously survival mode is not where we want to stay long term, but for the short term it is where we find ourselves from time to time. Like that time I started full time high school teaching, and that time I became a new mum, and that time my 10 month old got sick with croup, and that time I started a new business with a FIFO husband and a 12 month old child. Survival mode is not meant to last forever, but it can help get you through the TOUGHER times without burning out.
When in ‘survival mode’ my big tip is NOT to stop all those important health and fitness habits…. but to dial them back. Think about it like a volume dial, rather than an on/off switch. What’s the minimum you can dial it back to? So instead of starting the new week setting that ‘ideal goal’ (or cranking the volume right up to that “pre-COVID-19 setting), just set a minimum!
Your minimum might mean less time, less intensity, less variety etc. Your minimum might demand much more flexibility with your approach – including the time of day or day of the week you do your workout(s). And this is why we program A LOT of flexibility into our timetable (ie. workout video play back options) and our classes (ie. workouts that are designed for you to chose your own pace).
EXTRA TIP : A lot of women (especially Mummas) I speak to have this ‘idea’ in their head that exercise HAS to be at least 45mins in duration for it to be worthwhile. But let’s be honest, 45mins is NOT always possible (especially if you have kids hanging off your legs 24/7). Setting a new minimum means aiming for something as simple as 5mins. I bet you would find it easier to find multiple 5 min blocks in your week as opposed to multiple 45min blocks right?
2. Start simple or simply start.
Want to make a ‘start’? And by that I mean, do you feel adding exercise into your week would benefit your physical and mental health? Then just start. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. Start by making a phone call or writing an email to that exercise provider you’ve been following online for 6 months and get answers to your biggest questions or concerns. Start by signing up to an intro offer. Start by pulling out your workout clothes so they’re ready for you to use. Start by putting a pair of sneakers on first thing in the morning. Start with exercise you are somewhat familiar with. Start with a friend so you can support each other in getting started.
Got a few nerves about starting because you haven’t exercised in, like, for-e-ver… this article might help.
EXTRA TIP: If you’ve set a minimum, like mentioned in tip #1, you’ll likely find making a start a lot less overwhelming!
3. Don’t rely on motivation.
I personally don’t believe it is possible to feel motivated 100% of the time. Just like happiness, joy, sadness, or frustration… motivation is an emotion. It ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes, and if you’re relying on motivation to strike to get started, or you think motivation will always be there to keep you going through this whole self isolation situation… I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s not really how it’s gonna work!
My biggest two tips when it comes to motivation are:
- Visualise how you’ll feel after! Instead of thinking about how hard it seems to do exercise at the moment, flip your thinking and visualise how great you’ll feel after you get an at home workout done. Even if that at home workout is just 5mins! I can tell you now, in this craaaaazy time, NOBODY is regretting spending time (even if its just 5mins of their time) on their health and wellbeing!
- Remember your why! For a habit to stick, it has to matter to you. When your habits connect to a deeper purpose, all those obstacles that stand in your way (ie. lack of time, inconvenience, distraction) will be less likely to knock you off course. The clearer we are about why we’re committing to our resolutions, the higher the chances we will succeed. Perhaps you are a beautiful friend or partner and your why centres around spending more time being active and tech free in the presence of your nearest and dearest. Maybe you’re an unstoppable Mumma and your why is to be a good role model for, or to get active more often with, your kids. Or, perhaps you are a fearless Boss Babe who’s why is linked to chasing big dreams of yours! Keep your reasons front of mind, or write them down and keep them in view!
4. Connection and community is vital.
The women who have walked through our door in the past, have ALL said how ‘at home workout videos’ just don’t excite or inspire them. They walked through our door because they were looking for MORE than ‘just’ a workout…. they craved connection and community. So for most of us, our motivation has taken a hit during this Social Distancing and Self Isolation time. It’s just not what we would ‘normally’ sign up for right? And research kinda backs us on this! Sharing your goals and progress with others helps motivate you to stick to them; And, people (women in particular!) are less likely to skip their workouts when a friend is ‘joining’ them. In this strange and surreal time, we’re struggling because we want to connect, we want to engage and we want to contribute to our community!
The good news is – there is actually plenty of connection and community spirit happening in virtual spaces these days! We are learning to adapt – and we’re learning this fast! Saying Yes to an ONLINE COMMUNITY (especially a local one) will offer you so much more than just watching at home workout videos.
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