This global pandemic, and the resulting quarantine, are things none of us have ever experienced before. Our lives have been drastically disrupted, almost overnight, all in the name of the greater good. While we have joined a global effort, we’re all individuals at the end of day, and we experience individual circumstances. As a society we’ve seen the collapse of our economy and, basically, life as we knew it. This has caused a rise in depression, anxiety, suicide, and domestic violence. This affects us all differently on an individual level. And it goes far beyond being stuck inside, sedentary, and eating too many calories. While that can certainly take a toll on your health, combined with pre-existing health conditions like clinical depression for example, can have a significant impact on your overall well-being.
This article is about more than just exercising and/or eating well for your physical and mental health. The magnitude of implications resulting from this quarantine for each and every one of you is not lost on me. We have been stripped of what we would once call “normal.” All of us have been divided into essential and non essential workers. Those deemed essential are likely taking on hazardous work without any further incentive(we thank you). The rest of us, we’ve either been let go from our jobs or we’re doing more work for less pay. This is hard on everyone. We still have bills to pay and groceries to buy. We have family members and loved ones to worry about. But, we can’t do any of that, or at least not in a healthy way, without worrying about ourselves, too.
While I’m certainly not saying that exercise and nutrition will solve all of your problems, it’s a great place to start. Engaging in regular exercise has a laundry list of health benefits, both mental and physical. And if you’re physically healthy, you’re more likely to have a positive perception of yourself. In fact, a positive self perception can directly influence objective health markers, and vise versa. Which leads me to my short list of helpful reminders:
- Physical Health. I think this is important to note during these tough times. Your mental health state has a direct link to your state of physical health. Regular exercise and appropriate nutrition is a great way to manage both. Do your best to keep exercising and eating well, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t, none of us are perfect. Try setting aside time daily for exercise and penciling it in your schedule!
- Mindfulness. Simply put, mindfulness is one’s awareness in the present moment. Feel connected with yourself by acknowledging feelings, bodily sensations, thoughts, breathing. All of which can all be very therapeutic. I highly recommend reading up on mindfulness and finding some techniques to practice that fit your individual needs. You can start with some deep breathing or meditation.
- Family and friends. Remember that we are all going through difficult times. This is just as new and stressful for you as it is for everyone else. And just because we can’t gather and be social, doesn’t mean we can’t reach out and talk. Or FaceTime, zoom, or other platform you can stay connected through. Try a game night! That might be just the comfort one needs right now.
- Resilience. In my personal experience, any tough situation or hard time I’ve struggled through has always made me a stronger person. As human beings, we have an amazing ability to adapt and evolve. But, we cannot grow without accepting, confronting, and overcoming what’s in front of us. Everyone has the ability to come out of this thing a stronger, more resilient person. Use this as an opportunity to show yourself what you are capable of.
We all want to get back to our normal routines. I know I do. I want to see my friends, and my training partners. I want to be able to go back to the gym––both to coach and to train. Those are the things that I miss the most, but I know this won’t last forever. I know that, at some point I’ll be back in the gym training with my friends, coaching, and enjoying my life. And so will all of you. For now, we just have to weather this storm, but I know we’ll all come out stronger and more resilient human beings.