It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. There are very good reasons that I am sure many readers will relate to, such as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on our lives. But, even without this public health emergency, I have been experiencing stress and anxiety over another life-changing event – a relocation and transition to a brand new, higher level job. They say moving is one of the most stressful things a person can do in life. It’s right up there with starting a new job, general work life stress and health concerns. It’s bad enough when you have one of those stressors to deal with. I have multiple ones. This post is not about my stress, though, because despite it all, my family is healthy, we are employed and we’re doing fine. I know that is not true for a lot of people and I pray for them every single day. What this post is about is how to deal with stress and anxiety in these homebound days. These are tips that have worked for me and even if one of them helps you, I will be glad to have shared.
Keep a Routine
We’ve been home now for about seven weeks. If you’re doing the math, that’s approximately 49 days. Experts say it takes about 21 days to form a habit. So, it’s safe to say that by now you’ve settled into a new routine. Or have you? Some of you might be all over the place still, and that’s understandable. But, trying to keep some semblance of a routine is extremely important in these days where it can seem like Groundhog Day, the monotony is real. Routines are important for a few reasons. For one thing they keep you from wallowing in the self-pity and lack of motivation that can come from losing your normal life and activities. Another thing a solid schedule can do is help you accomplish the things you need to do so you don’t fall into the trap of being lazy and letting your anxiety cripple you.
I keep a bullet journal as I have always done. But I’ve added personal “to do” lists and habit trackers to keep me honest. I get up at the same time each day and try to do the same things I would have done had COVID-19 not kept me home all these days. I still workout first, followed by prayer, a shower and breakfast while I peruse the news of the day. I still start work promptly at 8:30 a.m. and I still break for lunch at around the same time. I go to bed around the same time as I used to, even though at times I’ve been tempted to stay awake longer and sleep in! I still make a grocery list on Fridays for a trip to the store on Saturday. And, I still tune in to Mass on Facebook Live Sundays at 9 a.m.
So, even though I never leave my house anymore, my routine looks nearly the same and that has kept me sane.
I mentioned above that I am still working out each day. That’s important. You need to exercise, eat well and get enough sleep to keep yourself feeling healthy. Not only will you avoid weight gain that can happen from being more sedentary at home, but you also can keep your stress levels in check. Working out at home is not the same as going to a gym or participating in a class. Believe, me I get that. It’s not fun for me at all and it’s been tough for me to keep at it. But there are so many different options popping up now for you to get at least 30 minutes of activity in whether it be through a free app, a jog or walk around the neighborhood or finding a new home workout on a fitness influencer’s social account. Try to commit to three days a week at least. But, if you want to do a little something every day, that’s even better. Walking the dog even for 20 minutes a day will do wonders for your mental state and it will get you some fresh air outside the four walls of your home.
Keep Eating Well
It can be tempting to snack all day when you’re home. But, don’t do it! You will only feel worse and your energy level will plummet. Eat as healthy as you can. For us, we’re trying to limit the amount of sweets in the house. In fact, since we’re preparing to move, we’re trying to use up everything we have, which has yielded a lot of creative recipes and saved money! Since meat is scarce, we’re eating more plant-based proteins and that has been less expensive, as well. We are also still meal prepping dinner and sometimes breakfast, as well. On Sundays, I make steel cut oats in the Instant Pot, for example, to have them on hand. Whatever you need to do to make sure you eat well, do it, whether that be to have only healthy snacks on hand to preparing. You likely have more time to think about and plan, as well as to make your own recipes! Take advantage of the time!
Keep Keeping House
We’re home all the time now. Why not take advantage of that time and spring clean? Or, better yet, reorganize and declutter. We have been doing that in anticipation of the move and it feels so good to purge. It’s a bit anxiety producing to see boxes all over but for the most part, my husband is moving the boxes out to the garage so out of sight out of mind! I have friends who are painting rooms, gardening and improving their homes. It seems as though we will be spending a lot more time at home in the weeks and months to come. You might as well make it the best environment you can.
Keep Taking Care of Yourself
Take the time for you. Last weekend, I spent a nearly a full day on my back deck in the cool sunshine reading a fabulous book. It may seem lazy, but it was much needed. Meditate, take a bath, do a face mask, pray. Whatever you need to do to focus on you, schedule that time in. It’s so important.
COVID-19 is a public health emergency that is causing untold issues for all of us. From health concerns to financial worries to overall stress and anxiety, we all need to try to focus on what we can control to keep us healthy and happy. In the coming days I’m hoping to post a few home workouts and healthy recipes for you all, as you create and maintain your own healthy routines. Is there anything else this personal trainer and nutrition coach can help you with? Comment below and stay safe, healthy and happy!