Everyone knows the old saying: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. It’s a simple phrase that allows us to redirect our thoughts and actions In the midst of a less-than-ideal situation to a more optimistic outlook. The recent turn of events on a global scale surely carries a lot of weight of uncertainty and anxiousness. But instead of focusing on factors that may be out of our control, we can take this time as an opportunity to revamp our routine, learn new skills, and incorporate healthy habits you’ve been neglecting. Here are some ways you can take advantage of social distancing to venture into a new healthy way of life!
ESTABLISH A MORNING ROUTINE
The secret of many successful business moguls lies in their morning routine. Have you been thinking about transitioning to early morning workouts, but hadn’t made the commitment? Are you one to skip breakfast in a rush, and end up tempted by office doughnuts mid-morning? During this time of social distancing, now is the time to take advantage of the opportunity to experiment with different morning routines that we know will result in more focus, energy, and productivity. If you are now working from home, use the extra 30 minutes you save from your regular commute to try an on-demand workout classes, or to whip up a balanced breakfast to start your day! Practicing this new morning routine for a few weeks will now make it a habit that transitions into your every day life.
INCREASE SLEEP QUALITY / QUANTITY
Sleep is our body’s ultimate recovery process. It is the one chance everyday where our entire metabolism undergoes a complete “reset and repair” of all body systems. When we get into a rut of our day-to-day routine, sleep is often one of the forgotten elements toward achieving fitness goals of weight management, performance, and hormonal balance. Take this rare opportunity during our days of social distancing to develop a regular sleep routine. Turn off electronics 1 hour prior to bedtime. Set up a cool, dark and quiet sleeping environment. Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep. You’ll likely be surprised at how your body responds to this natural state of stress reduction in your appetite, mood, and mindset are modified during waking hours!
INCREASE WATER INTAKE
It is recommended to consume half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. Are you someone that sips on coffee all throughout the day, just because it’s available at the office? Maybe your communal office refrigerator always offers a plethora of soda options that distract you from pure H2O. Take back control of your water intake by removing temptations and distractions of other beverage options, and keep your water bottle full next to your work station at all times! Keep a tally of how many times you fill your water glass to start your habit of tracking your water intake. Doing this daily will likely double your water intake and kick excess soda or coffee habits in no time!
BREAK UP WITH THE INTENSITY MINDSET
‘Less is more’ applies to many areas of life – but especially fitness. We can often dig ourselves into a deep hole of over-exercising and poor recovery in the hustle of our daily routine. Do you have a nagging injury that’s been lingering for months without reprieve? Has your weight, body fat, or strength PRs been in a deadlock plateau you can’t bust through? Sometimes it takes a wake up call, like an injury or gym closure, for us to pump the breaks and treat our bodies to some much needed recovery. When caught up in our day-to-day grind, we tend to notice these frustrating injuries or plateaus and make the grave mistake of increasing our workout frequency or intensity. In reality, these are all tell tale signs that our body is ready to pull back. These are times to take two rest days per week instead of one (or none!) These are times to increase our active recovery strategies of foam rolling, yoga, or soft tissue therapy. These are the times our body won’t respond positively to another high-intensity session, but would benefit more from an easy walk outdoors. During our time of social distancing when our regular workouts may not be available to us, use it as a chance to give your body some much needed TLC by dialing back the intensity – and enjoying the results that come with it!
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR NUTRITION
One of the best perks that comes from our social distancing time is more control over our food availability & choices. Take this time to try different, healthy recipes – you may find a new go-to! Since you aren’t shuffling from one child’s dance recital to another child’s soccer practice, you can use your evenings and weekends to your advantage to plan & prep food for the upcoming week. Practice a new habit of planning out your meals & snacks for the week. Spend an hour over the weekend batch cooking proteins and veggies for easy to assemble lunches. Having more control of food in your environment can help rid your daily routine of extra sugary treats that snuck their way in – such as the office candy jar, birthday cookies in the break room every other day, or the morning drive-thru latte. Use this time of social distancing and working from home to take notice of how you can take control of introducing small nutrition habits that add up to a big difference!
While we are all practicing our social distancing, it is easy to get caught up in the mindset of having to sacrifice some of the habits we’ve leaned on for so long, but I would urge you to consider the potential opportunity this presents to add to your life. Maybe social distancing is giving you back time or investment resources, consider how you will use those to your advantage in establishing new habits you have been holding out on instituting into your daily routine. The secret to success in your long-term goals lies in how consistently you can change your daily routine, and there’s no better time to start than now!