It’s a weird and overwhelming time as people are currently worried about their health for various reasons: Perhaps they were working on some health and fitness goals before all this started; perhaps they want to be more health conscious in the midst of this health crisis; or perhaps they’re experiencing issues with shopping frequently, feeding their family or exercising regularly.
It’s going to be different for each of us. It’s likely to change every day of the week. And it’s ok that things are a little out of our control right now. – we need to let go of the reigns a little bit. We know this will not last forever so this is not the time to be super stressed about whether your kid is eating all the veggies you put in front of him, or if you’re meeting those weight loss goals you had in mind…. this just isn’t the time for that.
We need to cut out the noise, and focus on what’s important – and thats the basics. Anything we can do to stress less, is going to be good for our mental health and immune system.
1. FOCUS ON SHORT TERM HEALTH FOR NOW
You don’t need to be preparing meals from a #fitspo cookbook or aiming to smash all your fitness goals right now. This situation is only for a short time. Whatever happens in this time won’t have a massive impact on your health! We need to do what we can to get through this now – eating regularly and trying to keep up with the habits we had before will help our stress, our mood, how well we cope, and how well we come out the other side! We can worry about our long term health after we get through all this.
2. DIAL EXERCISE BACK RATHER THAN SWITCH OFF
Don’t stop all your exercise habits…. but do dial them back if life feels more hectic than usual! Think about it like a volume dial, rather than an on/off switch. What’s the minimum you can dial it back to? Instead of starting your week/day 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). Need some at home exercise inspo or workouts?
*** 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? ***
3. THINK ABOUT YOURSELF FIRST
Most of us our worried about everything and everyone else. But we kind of need to be focusing on ourselves to start. If we don’t look after our own health, or manage our own stress – it’s only going to impact those around us. It’s important you make time for yourself to eat and move. Our days are different – we’re so busy trying to keep up’ or ‘keep others happy’ that we often forget to make time for ourselves.
4. GET BREAKFAST READY THE NIGHT BEFORE
If you’re finding yourself skipping breakfast, or snacking because you’re legitimately hungry, doing some kind of prep the day/night before can seriously help! My go to for an easy pre-prepared breakfast is SOAKED OATS.
5. PACK YOUR LUNCH
If you’re used to packing your lunches for work and for school then try and keep to this routine. (Need some help with lunchbox recipes – check out Sarahs lunchbox e-book!). Sticking to your usual lunchbox routine AND prepping breakfast the night before can seriously help make getting ‘the basic three meals a day’ easier for yourself!
6. BLOCK TIME IN YOUR DIARY FOR MOVEMENT
Pre-booking your workouts into your week (ie. writing them into your diary) means you have to mentally make a commitment to yourself and your wellbeing. Something else that can really help with this is pre-organising your workout gear (ie. clothes, shoes, water bottle etc)! It can help to minimise the impact little daily distractions or de-motivators have on your readiness to workout.
7. SET A SIMPLE PRE-WORKOUT ROUTINE
When working out at home you lose the important act of ‘getting outta of your house’. Often its this VERY ACT that provides us much needed MOMENTUM (or motivation) to go do the workout! Hence, it can work in your favour to set a simple at home routine to help you mentally and physically prepare for (and commit to) doing your at home workout! ??
- Take 5 big deep belly breathes and have a drink of water before you go get changed and set up??
- Plug some motivating music into your ears whilst you get ready to workout at home (ie. get changed, fill up your water bottle, grab your workout equip)??
- Do the same simple but invigorating warm up routine before every workout??
- Jump into our private facebook group and comment on the workout post you’re about to join or complete. Jump back on after and comment on how you went.
8. USE VISUAL REMINDERS TO HELP YOU EAT BETTER
Visual reminders can lower that burden of you having to think! If it’s written or can easily be seen, you are more likely to grab it.
- Keep a LIST of meals or easy snack options in view (ie. stick a post it note on the fridge). For example you might write SNACK ideas like rice crackers & avocado, carrot & hummus, apple slices & peanut butter.
- Place some healthy snacks on your desk.
- Place a water bottle on your desk.
- Leave things out on the bench at night to jolt your memory in the morning (ie. water bottle and fruit to remind yourself to drink more water and cut up some fruit to store in the fridge)
- have healthy snacks all chopped up and ready to go. This limits you opening the fridge and staring blankly inside.
- Having foods/snacks all ready to go in little containers on a shelf little ones can reach can also reduce the ‘burden/stress’ off of you!
9. WHEN YOU FEEL THE STRESS STARTING TO RISE, TAKE A FEW DEEP BREATHS
Don’t underestimate the SELF CARE power and MENTAL HEALTH benefits of RELAXED BREATHING! Many women I know carry so much stress in their neck/shoulders. This mixed with our typically tight chest muscles + weak upper back muscles (thanks to our ‘computer work’ posture and carrying babes) means we typically breath short and shallow into our chest. This style of breathing doesn’t bode us well when we’re feeling stressed! Try RELAXED BREATHING.
10. VISUALISE HOW YOU’LL FEEL AFTER YOUR WORKOUT!
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!
BONUS TIP: STAY CONNECTED
Connection and community are vital to our health and wellbeing! At times like this when we CAN’T connect with others in person, its important we remain connected online (or virtually). Zoom call catch ups with family, facetime play dates with friends, or online get togethers with likeminded women for a little fun – however you can, STAY CONNECTED! Want a bunch of like-minded women to connect, vent and celebrate with?
Article written in collaboration with Perth Nutritionist Sarah Moore