We are all facing an uncertain time in our lives. The world is trying to contain the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, a highly contagious respiratory illness that is quickly spreading among us.
In Colorado, schools, restaurants’ dine-in areas, bars, hair salons, gyms and more are closed; graduation ceremonies are getting canceled; and there are more empty shelves in our grocery stores. It can feel like the end of days are near.
As a group fitness instructor, the closing of gyms hurts. Teaching and taking fitness classes was how I’ve been staying in shape and maintaining my mental health. But I have confidence that we can get through this together, even if it is from afar. We just need to keep moving and keep our minds busy, so we don’t go stir crazy.
Here are 10 ways to keep your mind and body active and healthy while maintaining social distancing:
1. Livestreaming workouts: There are a lot of streaming services that offer a variety of at-home workouts. Beachbody and Les Mills are two On Demand services I’ve used; they both offer yoga, dance fitness, strength and high cardio workouts suited for all fitness levels on a free trial period. Also, if you have a favorite personal trainer or group fitness instructor that you follow on social media, they are most likely teaching livestreaming workouts or classes, so reach out to them. I may be doing this soon, so stay tuned.
2. Virtual connection: At a time when we are being directed to stay our distance from one another, we need to find ways to remain connected. Join more social media or private messaging groups, use video platforms to chat with family and friends, send texts to check on loved ones, or simply call those you care about and have a conversation. Use these platforms to send inspirational quotes or silly pictures of your pets. Plan for a virtual happy hour among friends while you enjoy a glass of wine or your favorite beverage.
3. Online career building or learning: Take advantage of technology and learn a new skill to strengthen your career skill set or simply learn a new hobby. There are plenty of webinars, online courses and free video tutorials available for all interests to keep the mind engaged and sharp.
4. Enjoy the outdoors: Go outside and soak in a little vitamin D. There are plenty of trails open that you can hike, bike or run — even though the Incline in Manitou Springs is temporarily closed. If you want to stay close to home, walk or jog around your neighborhood. Also, take breakfast, lunch or dinner outside for a change of scenery. If you’re a parent or guardian homeschooling your kids, make sure to give kids some recess time to run outside and play. Just remember to avoid gathering in groups when you’re doing these activities.
5. Organize your living space and your time: Although the world has been thrown into uncertainty, we still have control of our living space. We’re all spending a lot more time at home and if we don’t have order of our personal belongings, it could create more stress. Start spring cleaning now, purge unnecessary items and get organized.
Some of us are working remotely from home; homeschooling kids; working out at home; doing household chores; or just trying to relax. With all of these things being done under one roof, it can be tough to keep them separate. Set a daily schedule and create to-do lists to manage your time more efficiently. Also, designate certain areas of your home as workstations and lounge or play areas to keep the balance between work and downtime for you and your kids.
6. Try new recipes: Constantly cooking at home can feel like a chore and become boring. Plus, the way we prepare our daily meals has changed with the family staying at home. Try a new recipe. Bake with your kids to keep meal prepping fun, while teaching them a life skill.
7. Practice good hygiene: If you never leave your home, it can be easy to fall into the rut of wearing the same clothes day after day. Wash your hands, shower, change your clothes and brush your teeth. It may sound silly to be told to keep up with daily hygiene routines, but it’s necessary to stay clean and refreshed. Also, treat yourself to a warm bubble bath to calm your nerves and soothe aching muscles.
8. Take a break from your screen: Putting the phone down or stepping away from our desktops may be difficult to do — especially when we’re trying to stay connected with each other. Extreme overuse of these devices can strain your eyes and ruin your posture, which can lead to back, shoulder or wrist pain. Also, turning off the TV and taking a break from watching continuous coverage on the coronavirus is needed to help clear our minds. While it is important to stay informed, it can be overwhelming. Sit back and relax with a good book or listen to your favorite music to unwind.
9. Get some sleep: At a time when things could change quickly from day to day, it’s crucial to get proper sleep so we have the energy needed to tackle daily responsibilities. Lounging around the house does not qualify as sleep. It is suggested that most adults get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
10. Spread compassion: Dealing with a pandemic can heighten fear, anger and depression. Sharing kindness and generosity is needed now more than ever. Donate to a food bank; go to the grocery store for someone who is physically unable to leave their home; give your delivery driver a generous tip; share your stash of sanitizing products; communicate with family and friends daily; and most importantly, continue to implement social distancing measures to prevent this virus from spreading.
Stephanie Swearngin has been a nationally certified fitness professional since 2009. Follow her on Twitter @StephCES.