Hello everyone! We hope you are all safe and healthy during this global health crisis. We know it has been incredibly stressful and completely life-changing for some. While we don't know when this will end or how things will be when it's over, it is incredibly important for us to try and maintain some sense of normalcy in ways we can control.
Luckily for me, I am still employed and have income. Work (from home) has kept me pretty busy during the day. But when work is done, I've needed to find ways to entertain myself that are different than what I was doing before. I can't go to see my friends, go to the gym, or the local pub for darts. Those all seem like minor activities but the little things we do regularly make up our entire routines. And when all of that is gone, we're kind of stuck wondering wtf are we gonna do now? But throughout this period, I've been making sure to find new ways to keep busy or dive into hobbies I already enjoy but in different ways.
As you all likely know, I love cooking and now that I have so much free time, I am able to try new cooking methods and techniques. I learned how to make homemade french fries, berry turnovers, and I'm even going to try my hand at bagels! While going out and buying supplies is incredibly stressful, I make sure to plan ahead with what I'm cooking so I can get in and get out. I maintain social distancing rules and keep hand sanitizer on me when I enter and leave the store and I try to go during off-hours. Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies and the excitement I feel when something I try actually turns out well helps keep me going and looking forward to my next day in the kitchen. I would highly suggest getting in the kitchen and cooking something you find challenging. Or recreating one of your favorite meals from a restaurant you might not be visiting right now. And if it somehow doesn't turn out how you imagined, there's plenty of time to try again!
In addition to cooking, one of my favorite hobbies is lifting and going to the gym. Before all of this, I was lifting five days a week, with no exceptions for over a year. It has been a challenge switching my mindset to home workouts. At the gym, I can lift heavier, use my favorite equipment, and there's no risk of distraction. But at home, I have to make it work with lighter weights and a messy basement. But rather than see it as a challenge or a reason to stop doing my favorite type of exercise, I decided to see it as a way to train myself in a different way. I have to focus on rep maxes instead of weight maxes. I can work on muscle endurance while overloading incrementally as much as my equipment allows. Additionally, by focusing on performing these movements slowly and more controlled, I can increase my time under tension which will work my muscles in a different, but effective way. There are plenty of home workouts online that can suit your needs whether you have dumbbells at home or no equipment at all!
And when I couldn't get my head in the space to lift, I started going on walks! I'm not much of a walker, but the weather is getting nice and that fresh air really hits different when you're stuck inside (I'm keeping safe, of course). Walking is a great way to clear your head and when you don't have a destination and are just doing it for fun, it's actually so nice! I think I'll definitely continue going on walks once it's totally safe again because the weather is only going to get better. I'm sure many of you are also reeling from not being able to stick with your normal fitness routines if you have them. And that's okay! But if you're missing movement, a simple walk can really get the blood flowing and boost your mood.
This ordeal is not easy for any of us. It's scary and stressful and we're all just waiting for things to get back to any semblance of normal. Personally, I have found that modifying my existing routines has helped me feel most at ease and get through my days. But the most important thing I can stress is that you are gentle with yourselves. It is okay to not be on what you would consider your "A-Game." Feel your emotions and let yourself be present each day to remember you are doing your best. Use this time to find healthy ways to cope with stress or to find a new activity you like doing just for the fun of it. Try a sheet mask, do a puzzle, bake a cake, and pet your animals.
We will get through this and we will do it together! Be kind to one another, keep your distance, and continue taking care of yourselves.