Healthy Living a Week Into Self-Quarantine
We’re more than a week into self-quarantine and it’s been interesting to see how quickly we’ve adapted routines not just to being in the house, but to being home in general. In some ways, I was already heading towards this even before we had to actually get into self-isolation, though, so it’s made things a little bit easier for us emotionally. Making it home after a tense couple days made the first few days of staying inside feel OK, other than feeling guilty asking people to pick up groceries for us. While we’re still stressed and anxious (and incredibly grateful that we can stay inside and still do most of our work), I think we were both feeling the need to get into some kind of routine after not being home since November. I’m sure by the time I look at this next week, my feelings will have shifted yet again, but for now, the routine side of things is what’s keeping me even-keeled (mostly) right now. So, what are we working on?
Working on the fitness that I can work on
Do pull-ups make me a better ultra-runner? Likely not, but they certainly can’t hurt. When the options are slim, we do what we can with what we have—and for us, that’s me doing yoga sessions for Ontario Cycling virtually, and playing on our pull-up bar. I’ve said it before, pull-ups are a pretty awesome metric of overall fitness/muscle/strength, so they’re something I come back to often. In times like this where my options are limited, they’re a good way to feel semi-accomplished regardless of what else I can do.
I actually had FaceTime coffee
I couldn’t believe it either. I know everyone keeps suggesting this and everything, but I’ll be honest, I sort of thought this was the kind of advice I would give but not take. But in the last week, I had a great FaceTime coffee with a friend, I had FaceTime dinner with my parents and sister, and we’re planning FaceTime drinks with our close friends this week. I thought it would feel goofy, but really, it didn’t. And that’s from an introvert who rarely bothers with video meetings unless it’s for a work.
I set up a workspace
Since we’ve been gone—5 months—I haven’t had a dedicated desk. Being able to get one set up again has felt a little magical. I know a lot of people working from home don’t have that luxury, and mine is definitely not luxurious by any stretch! But it is a place where my computer and our recording stuff and my notebooks can life and I feel infinitely less scattered. It’s also made the couch more for lounging, rather than half lounging, half working as it has been for the last few months wherever we’ve been. (And the less I say about the 120 square foot studio apartment we were in for a week, the better…). If you’re new to the work from home thing, I cannot urge this one enough: it’s so much better for your mental well-being to set up a space that is just for your work. It doesn’t take much!
We’re working very hard to be extra understanding
Trying to do a work interview while your husband rides the rollers in your fairly small condo? Normally, this would set me off in a very big way. And admittedly, yeah, there are definite moments of extreme irritation. But instead of making things like that into a fight, I’m trying to be extra mindful of the fact that both of us are like huskies: we need a lot of exercise to feel normal and be rational human beings, and right now, we’re not really getting it. I went from 25+ hour weeks of training to 5-ish hours of moderate activity—and that’s not even taking into account pretty long daily walks sprinkled in. So yeah, someone riding the very loud rollers while I’m trying to work is annoying. But if it means that we’re staying active and it’s helping one of us stay in a better mood, it’s worth it. There’s definitely a balance to be had, though, and we are 100% still trying to find it.
I’m being mindful of my eating
This isn’t to say I’m dieting, going low-carb or doing anything that could be construed as truly restrictive. But with the severe decrease in exercise, I’m trying to balance having the treats and foods I love that are, frankly, keeping me feeling a little more even-keeled (you can pry the milk chocolate from my cold dead hands), while not ending up with a huge amount of extra calories. That means small things like skipping rice at dinner and sticking to protein and veggies so I can enjoy a some chocolate for dessert, and cutting down on the amounts of those desserts and treats. It’s hard for me right now, to be honest, simply because I just came off a huge base block where I was eating probably upwards of 5000-6000 calories most days and no food was off the table. The priority was eating more. Most of us are going to be training a little less these days—whether it’s because you’re now working remotely and dealing with kids home from school or you’re in self-isolation mode for whatever reason. This isn’t a call to start restricting calories, it’s just a reminder to try to keep your food relatively matched with your current activity levels. It might be time to cut the second glass of wine, or dial down the amount of pasta on your plate.
Finding the balance of comfort and motivation
I go through waves right now: One minute, I’m feeling ready to take on the world (or my inbox), write all the things, do all the projects, do all the pushups… And the next minute, I want to hide under my covers and re-read Harry Potter and block out the rest of the world. I’m trying to remember that both of these feelings are normal under these kinds of circumstances, and while there are times when I’ve needed to kick my own ass and get into gear and back to work, most of the time, I’m trying to just let those feelings come and go. And yes, I know we’re extremely lucky that we can allow those feelings to dictate work schedules (and I’m still working 8-10 hours per day for the most part—we can just make our own hours, so sometimes, it’s 9PM when I’m feeling motivated and that’s OK). I realize most people don’t have that flexibility, but trying to take a minute when you can (even if you have to sneak to the bathroom to read a few pages rather than cozying up on the couch!) is a good idea.
Remembering our core healthy habits
Things like morning core, having a bedtime and wakeup time, drinking water first thing in the morning, keeping healthy food easy-to-access, meditating… All of those things become even more prominent now. They also become harder to do when times feel uncertain, and if you fall off the wagon, that’s OK and understandable. But try to get back on—the healthier you can keep your body, the easier it will be to keep your emotions in check as well. It’s not going to be the perfect solution, and all the #selfcare in the world can’t solve the current crisis, battles with depression or anxiety, or feelings of uncertainty. But taking care of yourself is still one of the things you can hopefully control, so do the best job that you can on that. (Reminder: We have a free 7-day email kickstart for healthy habit change!)
So, that’s what I’m up to. Hopefully a couple of these give someone else a bit of motivation or an idea of what to do at this point. And we have a pretty solid library of videos that can be done at home with yoga and strength, plus some backyard bike skills videos you can play with!