Happy Sunday Educators. Well, we’ve made it through another week. Our reality continues to be surreal as we muddle through stay at home orders. It continues to be baffling how much life has changed in just a few short weeks. A constant reminder regarding how fragile life as we know it can be. So…how are you doing? Is life becoming increasingly challenging or are you starting to find a new normal that works for you? There is no right answer to this question. It is what it is for you and that is okay.
Last week I decided to write an affirmation that speaks to how I will look on the other side of COVID-19. There will be life after this, I’m sure, and when that life arrives, I want to be in a much better place than when it started. One of my affirmations is that I will be my most physically fit and healthy. In the past few weeks, I found that it was rather easy to stay inside, binge on news updates, shows, comfort foods and snacks, and start a downward spiral of emotional numbness and anxiety. So, although I already had a workout regimen…in the past week, I’ve become intentional about prioritizing my physical wellness. I know that when I feel whole physically, it is much easier to tackle life’s challenges and uncertainty. As a result, below are a few tips I’d like to share with you that you can take on to support your physical wellness during this time and beyond. Full transparency, I am a former personal trainer and a certified health coach so I do have the benefit of drawing on my past and current knowledge and experience. Great news…by reading this blog, you get to benefit as well😊. Here are 5 tips (in no specific order) to get you started. Pick one or two to start with and see how they work for you.
#1. Treat sleep like a necessity, not a luxury
Sleep is like the shower you give your internal being on a regular basis. It is your body’s opportunity to replenish itself, repair cells, strengthen the immune system, move toxins out of your body, etc. It is vital to your wellbeing and it takes time. Giving your body just 4 hours to do work that requires double that time is unrealistic. An overtired body is more susceptible to sickness, less adaptable, and takes longer to recover emotionally, physically, etc. In addition, significant stressors, such as the challenges of COVID-19, tax the body even more and may require more sleep than usual to feel fully rested. If you have found yourself even more tired lately, the emotional toll might be just the reason and your body is telling you that it needs a bit more time to recharge. Do your best to give it what it needs.
#2. Move…move…and move
Slap on your Fitbit or pedometer while you’re sheltering in place and you will find that you are barely moving in the span of a day. Our bodies were made to move daily and they feel much better when they do. Exercise releases endorphins that help to elevate your mood, it helps burn fat and increase muscle tone, it supports the digestive system, and lowers your risk for cardiovascular disease among many others. The list can go on and on. The point is, now more than ever, you have to prioritize movement. If you hate working out, try just going out for a walk around the neighborhood. If you can’t walk around the neighborhood, get on YouTube and find an indoor walking program. A good exercise regimen consists of training with resistance, cardio, and flexibility. Don’t think for once that since you can’t go to your gym, you’re off the hook…nope. Thanks to the internet and plenty of streaming services, a great workout is just a click away. Here are some YouTube channels you might want to look into:
YouTube Channels: Yoga with Adrienne; MadFit; Heather Robertson; Walk away the Pounds; Group HIIT; Fitness Blender
#3. Stay hydrated…with water😊!
There are so many reasons to increase your water intake. Here a few…clearer skin; balances your appetite; supports digestion; flushes toxins out of the body; increased sustained energy; prevents headaches; supports water and weight loss; helps mitigate brain fog; etc. So, how much water should you drink? Lots of opinions on this one but one that has stood the test of time is the idea of drinking half your weight in ounces of water. A person who weighs 100lbs would aim to drink 50 ounces. If you are nowhere near your amount right now, start small. Add 8 ounces to whatever you’re currently drinking and keep increasing from there every few days. Also, try drinking your first 8-16 ounces of water as soon as you wake up. Any idea why? You guessed it…it helps move your bowels thus helping your digestive system to function at a higher capacity.
#4. Increase your greens
There probably aren’t many foods out that are as beneficial as greens are. They have tons of antioxidants that fight free radical damage in the body that can lead to cancers and other diseases; they support the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, and brain health; and can aid with weight control. This is a short list of the benefits of adding greens. Try committing to one large salad or a green smoothie per day to support your overall health.
#5. Remember to breathe…deeply
As stress continues to creep into our lives, we tend to move further into more contracted and shallow breathing, right at the time when we need to become more expansive both physically and emotionally. Stop for a second and watch your breathing. Is it deep and slow or quick and shallow? If you are only engaging in shallow breathing, you’re missing out on the calm, the focus, reduced anxiety, and lowered blood pressure that can come from intentional breathing. It’s as easy as taking a few minutes throughout the day to breathe in deeply through the nose, watch the belly rise, and breathe out slowly through the mouth. Try it a few times today and see if you notice any changes to your mood.
#6. Bonus! Find your accountability partner or tribe
Commit to a new habit and tell someone about it. It is much easier to skimp out on a commitment when no one else knows about your intention. I, for one, have begun texting a sweaty selfie to close friends and family each morning to ensure that I get in my movement first thing in the day. We now have group sweat selfies going around throughout the day. It has been an amazing boost for me. Decide what you plan to do and be sure to share it with at least one person this week.
Okay…there you have it. Which one do you want to try to incorporate this week? I will certainly be working on breathing deeply many times throughout the day to bring more expansion to my day and my life overall. Let me what you try and how it works!
In Solidarity and Love,