As a certified personal trainer and life coach, I am no stranger to spending most of my days working from home, supporting clients virtually. While not much has changed for me during this pandemic, I’m noticing that my clients, friends, and family alike are experiencing an array of new emotions and thoughts brought on by these unprecedented times. Where people once relied upon their work circles for support or their gym “ride or dies” for motivation—they must now look inward. But how?
In light of it all, I keep circling back to a handful of simple strategies that have resonated with clients, and my hope is that they may help some readers not only cope, but also prevail during these uncertain days. Here goes:
Move Your Body
Notice I didn’t say “start a difficult exercise program”, “start running 5Ks when you might not have run in 6 months”, or “challenge yourself to become the best you can at pistol squats”. Nope. Just MOVE. That is the key.
Countless studies show that the winning ticket in anything fitness-related is to consistently take action on something, as often as possible. Walk some laps in the apartment. Do 10 minutes of a yoga flow routine. Do 10 pushups every time you get up from the couch to use the bathroom. Can’t do 10? No worries – do 3. Do 1. Get to the ground and get back up. Consistency and patience with yourself is paramount right now, not holding yourself to tremendous standards.
Create A Routine
If you are fortunate enough to continue working from home, build yourself a routine around your work hours and aim to stick to it on a daily basis.
If you are out of work temporarily, create a routine filled with just a few things you’d like to accomplish each day. Don’t overload yourself, but maintaining some structure around how you’ll spend your time will prove wildly valuable.
Your emotional stability will improve drastically with a sense of structure, as your brain tends to interpret structure as purpose and certainty.
Connect With Others
This is a wonderful time to focus on your closest relationships or to foster stronger connections with acquaintances. Consider scheduling video chats or phone calls with folks you haven’t spoken with in a while. As human beings, a lack of social interaction can take a greater toll than we might realize.
Don’t feel comfortable with long chats, your face on a screen, or having to plan these conversations? No problem. Consider sending an audio recording to a loved one to tell them you’re thinking about them. Imagining how you’d feel receiving something like that yourself might encourage you to reach out with more urgency.
Seek Out Silver Linings
With the global climate and 24-hour news cycle, it’s easy to lose sight of positivity and gratitude. But, you know the adage: where focus goes, energy flows. To help reduce whatever is burdening you, challenge yourself to find moments of micro-gratitude. Your coffee might be delicious. You can read the text on this page. As minimal as the practice may seem, it will do wonders to boost your mindfulness, gratitude, and overall mental health.
Breathe, and Breathe Deeply
If you are able, guide your body to breathe deeply. Breathing at a slower rate with a focus on extended inhalation and exhalation can work wonders on the immune system. While that’s clearly a benefit for this moment in time, controlled deep breathing will also work magic on your emotional and mental state. There are some excellent deep breathing apps out there that can help guide your rhythm.
Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.